Monday, July 14, 2008

ESPN's Toughest Call: Punch Or Bestwick In The Booth?


After a long first half of the 2008 season, ESPN is closing-in on that network's coverage of the final seventeen Sprint Cup races. Some of these events will be on ESPN, but the final ten will be on the ABC Broadcast Network. There is no bigger stage in TV sports.

ESPN has come a very long way since the 2007 NASCAR season, which signaled the return of the network to the sport. This Friday night, the NASCAR on ESPN crew was at Chicagoland Speedway. While normally the Nationwide Series races are on ESPN2, this first night race from the track was on ESPN.

The TV production experience that ESPN brings to NASCAR is second-to-none. At Chicagoland, the pictures and sound were once again flawless. The graphics were crisp and easy to read. The TV production effects for racing elements like green flag pit stops and restarts worked just the way they were planned. While the in-race reporter continues to need work, the helmet-cam on a pit crew member has been fantastic.

The network has also gone out and made some wholesale changes in the on-air talent. In came Dale Jarrett to be the Lead Analyst while Rusty Wallace migrated down to the Infield Pit Center. Wallace has also worked selected races in the booth, like the Chicagoland event, with great success. Wallace has come alive with this one simple change of scenery.

Jarrett has been the consummate professional since he arrived. He continues to walk in the footsteps of his father with a good word spoken and a bad word held back where NASCAR commentary is concerned. Jarrett has also proven to be a master at learning the "TV skill set" as he works seamlessly with the other members of the NASCAR on ESPN announce team.

The biggest change this season is the addition of Allen Bestwick. This multi-faceted on-air talent has seen the highs and lows of this business first-hand and longtime NASCAR fans certainly know it. Once the play-by-play announcer of NBC's NASCAR coverage, Bestwick later found himself as a pit reporter for ESPN2 on the Nationwide Series.

One thing fans have seen from Bestwick over the years is determination that matches his legendary preparation. From standing in pit road for ESPN2 as a reporter in 2007, Bestwick earned a promotion to become one of ESPN's most vital connections with the fans. Whether hosting the pre-race show, dealing with weather delays or coordinating post-race interviews, Bestwick has been the face of NASCAR on ESPN this season.

On Thursday of this week, a practice session rained-out for the Nationwide Series. Instead of Bestwick and Brad Daugherty in the Infield Studio, ESPN put the telecast crew of Punch, Wallace and Andy Petree in that location. The timeslot for this practice session was one hour and thirty minutes.

The task for Punch was to fill this entire time with conversation among his panelists and various guests that would come to the set. Over the next ninety minutes, Punch welcomed drivers Landon Cassill, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Stanton Barrett and Carl Edwards. It was wonderful.

This was a chance for some NASCAR fans to see Punch in the setting in which he thrives, interviewing. Punch is a TV reporter and a darn good one. He led this program through five different drivers on-the-fly, always had his information correct and kept the conversation entertaining and humorous the entire time.

Friday night, ESPN put Punch back in the setting in which he is not thriving. That is calling the play-by-play for multi-hour NASCAR races. For those of us who watched both programs, it was a painful reminder that ESPN should perhaps consider making one more change to the network's NASCAR line-up.

It is time to flip Jerry Punch and Allen Bestwick. The current situation is not working for the fans and does not seem to be working for Punch either. Perhaps, just like Wallace, one change would allow both Punch and Bestwick to thrive.

This feeling was reinforced by Punch's wonderful Thursday hosting of the "rain fill" program from the Infield Media Center. In what had been Bestwick's chair, Punch looked right at home. He was animated, happy and kept the energy high even as the rain poured down.

Last season, ESPN used Allen Bestwick to cover some stand-alone Nationwide Series events. Partnered with Randy LaJoie, Bestwick showed that he still had the TV skills to handle the play-by-play role with no problem. Bestwick is a very good "TV traffic cop" who can direct traffic on-the-air and let the other announcers use their skills to tell the story of the race.

Now, with Dale Jarrett on the ESPN team full-time, there is little doubt that Bestwick and Jarrett would be a potent team in the announce booth as The Chase rolled through the final ten races on the ABC Broadcast Network.

Punch would equally be a major player in his infield host role with interviews and the ability to use his outstanding reporter skills once again in the sport he clearly loves.

Every single NASCAR team is forced to make changes as the season progresses. Fans have seen drivers, crew chiefs and many team members come and go. The one reason this happens is to improve the performance of the team. The key to accepting the changes is the commitment to be as good as possible while the race is on.

It is time to ESPN to take a look in the mirror and see if they are as good as possible with the network's on-air announcers in their current positions. The big question is going to be, can change take place if it is needed for the overall good of the team?

The Allstate 400 at The Brickyard begins ESPN's seventeen race Sprint Cup coverage on July 27th.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your opinion.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree AB would be better in the booth. Since you know him, or does anyone else know if he will accept the job if offered.I guess it would be a promotion, and more money, but he seems comfortable with what he is doing now.

JohnTaylor said...

JD:

You are one of the best things to hit NASCAR and the internet in a very, very long time. Your site is a daily "must-read" for me and everybody else who is interested in this side of NASCAR.

That being said, I simply don't get the negativity toward the Good Doctor when it comes to his play-by-play work for The Worldwide Leader.

Simply put, I guess I just don't get it. I rather enjoy hearing Punch as the play-by-play guy. Guess we could nitpick everybody to death, but the veiled vitriol for what he does in his current role just doesn't register in my head.

Everybody has their own way of hearing races, and what is pleasant to their own ears and eyes.

From my end, Punch makes me feel comfortable. He's a soothing voice emanating from a network that has no business covering this sport.

Is he without fault? Of course not. Even Cindy Crawford has that mole thing.

He's no Mike Joy, but, then again, who is?

He's no Bill Weber, for which I we can all be thankful.

He is what he is, and what he is in my mind and a lot of other people's minds is a very solid, professional broadcaster whose positives in his role as a play-by-play guy far outweigh any nitpicking that goes on post-broadcast.

Just thought I'd take a stand for one of the truly great broadcasters motorsports has ever seen. And one whom I welcome into my home as the person calling the Race to the Chase.

Burton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

John,

I would invite you to Google DalyPlanet+Punch to read some archive material.

There is absolutely nothing negative in this column, and never will be. Punch is a professional and even suggesting an agenda on my part is off-base. Here is the reason why.

Fans deserve to know what is in-progress on the track during the race. Simply put, that is not happening for ESPN.

Fans deserve to hear a good play-by-play call of the race just like they do in other major professional sports.

The announcers hired to do this are play-by-play guys. You mentioned Mike Joy, but guys like Dave Moody, Marty Reid and Bob Varsha have been doing it for years. It is a skill set.

Instead of focusing on the negative, how about the positive? What if they flipped Bestwick and Punch for the Nationwide Series race next week and it was great?

Then, we all might say "that was a good idea" and get on with our NASCAR racing. People get moved all the time to see if a new combination works better.

I worked with Punch waaaaay back when, and he is a great guy with a fantastic history in the sport. The question is, would fans be better served if he was talking to us from the Infield while interviewing guests and quizzing his panelists?

After he absolutely came alive during the Thursday rain delay show, I think the answer might be yes. Just one guy's opinion.

JD

SonicAD said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Allen Bestwick has always been terrific at play-by-play. Jerry Punch is best suited to pit road... maybe put Mike Massaro in the studio then? I would be happy with this turn of events.

Anonymous said...

"It is time to flip Jerry Punch and Allen Bestwick"

I like Jerry A LOT, but I agree that the show would be better if they flipped roles. Allen is one of the best in the booth. He should be calling Cup races.

JohnTaylor said...

JD,

I would never deign to suggest that you have an agenda against Mr. Punch, and if that's what came across to you from my post then I apologize. That was not my intent at all.

The only intent on my part was to say that Punch as a play-by-play guy goes over well with a good portion of the people I know/watch races with/interact with. Never heard a person I know personally who watches NASCAR who has a bad thing to say about Punch.

In fact, it's quite the opposite in MY experience.

And I understand this is all just opinion, and what's palatable for one group may not be so for another.

Maybe I'm myopic, but I just simply do not have a problem with Punch's play-by-play work.

Again, my post was not meant to degrade you or your opinion. It was simply meant to point out that there are those out there who enjoy and appreciate the work Punch does as the play-by-play guy for ESPN.

Now, if ESPN were to go with Mr. Bestwick as their standard bearer? I'd have no problem with it as he is outstanding.

Wouldn't understand it on one level, as I like what Punch brings to the in-race booth. But, Bestwick is a tremendous talent who I would also enjoy.

Such a switch is ESPN's call, and I won't stop watching regardless of what decision they may or may not make.

Again, keep up the great work. You provide a service and an outlet that is invaluable to fans of this great sport.

Kyle said...

Last year, the major problem in the ESPN booth was Rusty (Mr Aero loose at bristol himself). The change made to DJ was a welcome one. Rusty has come a LONG way since last year, but I think he blew his shot.

This year the minor problem in the booth is Punch. Its hard to get revved up for some of these races, but getting excited to go to commercial is not the way to run a rail road.

We got a small glimpse of AB in the booth for 2 races last year, and was excellent at both. In the final laps melt down at Canada last year, he kept his cool and did a outstanding job explaining the situation and both sides of it.

I don't think anyone here would have a bad word to say about Dr Punch on a personal level. He would be outstanding in the infield-pits. I think the world of his reporting off of pit road from years back.

Another area I would love to see him at is NASCAR NOW. With his depth of experience, and knowing everyone since Christ was a mess cook, he could host some interesting round table's. Or even a "History of NASCAR" type of feature once a week would be a cant miss in my book.

Karen said...

Anonymous said...

I agree AB would be better in the booth. Since you know him, or does anyone else know if he will accept the job if offered.I guess it would be a promotion, and more money, but he seems comfortable with what he is doing now.


JD, didn't you say a while back that the hosting job AB has now was a step above PBP; that the most prestigious of all was AB's job now? It wouldn't be a promotion for AB and I doubt seriously JP would be demoted down to pit road. But in monetary terms, he could do in-studio and still save face with all the seniority he has with ESPN (keep his seniority, etc.) and his bountiful race knowledge and history in the sport.

Do I have my facts correct?

bevo said...

Very good points JD. The great strengths of Dr. Punch are his reporting skills and his unique background. To make it as a doctor you have to be very analytical, detail oriented and above all else calm - despite what some tv medical shows would have you believe. That is why he was the best pit reporter in racing and also why he's such a good interviewer. He cares about the people he covers and he's curious.

A play by play guy on the other hand has to be somewhat excitable and capable of being swept up in the moment while still being a traffic cop. It's not an easy thing to pull off and that's why the great ones are so memorable and why fans feel such a connection to them.

I think Dr. Punch would be great as the studio guy before the race and an occasional observation during the race. The other thing ESPN should do is have him host a one hour post-race show on ESPN News.

Anonymous said...

Let Punch do interviews. AB would be far better in the booth. Jarett is just outstanding in the booth. He's very professional and objective. Really knowing what happens today with the Cot both in the car and on the track is a huge plus. Send Rusty to the garage where he can can interview those "cats" like his son who embarreses himself every week.

Anonymous said...

On a scale of 1 to 10 in any broadcast situation, Punch is a 5; Bestwick is a 9.5 !!
'Nuff said !!

delenn said...

There is one thing I agree with johntaylor about. I have never heard a Nascar fan with a bad word to say about the Doc. Indeed, most people love him to bits, which is what makes this really hard for fans.

Noone wants to go at ESPN with the vigour fans did to get rid of Suzy, Brent and Eric. It's just that Jerry doesn't call the race. He does the marshalling bit, but DJ is now calling race action more than Jerry.

There is no doubt that the Doc is a valuable member of the ESPN team, and after Thursday, I think the evidence is well in. Give Allen the play by play, give Jerry the pre-race and racebreak slots, and let Jerry and Allen share the practise calling duties to keep them both fresh. Just as long as Allen keeps doing the Nascar Now roundtable.

A booth of AB, DJ and Andy will instantly turn into the best booth crew in the land, yes, even better than Mike, Larry and Darrell.

That is the one last change that ESPN need. Have faith ESPN. Make the change.

Daly Planet Editor said...

karen,

You are close. AB also hosts the Monday version of NASCAR Now and when the Cup coverage begins on ESPN and ABC he will be hosting NASCAR Countdown for both series. That is the biggest NASCAR role ESPN has every offered anyone.

In this column, we are only talking about Bestwick moving to the booth and Punch moving to host all of the activity from the Infield Pit Studio. He will not be a pit reporter in any way.

As you may know, all the years that ESPN was gone from NASCAR Punch was a college football sideline reporter and only Mike Massaro covered NASCAR for ESPN in any way.

Meanwhile, Bestwick was working every race in the sport during that entire time for the NBC/TNT package in the role of both play-by-play and infield host. He has been in the sport the entire time.

Thanks for aksing me to clarify, I appreciate the opportunity.

JD

Rick said...

I respect Dr. Punch's history and talents, but he is not a play-by-play man. He would be excellent as the race host or as a pit reporter.

Bestwick in a play-by-play role rivals Mike Joy, IMO.

It's time for ABC/ESPN to make the change. I honestly can not watch a race with Punch in his current role. I turned off the NW race last night after about 20 laps as I was being put to sleep.

Newracefan said...

JD Do you know if ESPN or AB for that matter is even considering a change? I would be thrilled if it happens but if it's not possible how about we push for DJ and AP doing more of the PBP. AB in the booth would make it perfect but if I have to accept baby steps for this year I promise I will complain less, not stop but less.

Ken said...

I guess I'm different than most. If what I hear is accurate and objective, I don't much care who does it. I want good camera work and good direction. I can figure out what is going on myself. Listening to the Waltrip brothers and Rusty, I have learned to ignore some of the talking heads while hearing others.

stricklinfan82 said...

I've gotta believe a change will happen next year. I just hope they make the right decision and give the spot to Allen Bestwick. My fear is that ESPN will reward tenure and give it to someone from another sport or another racing series just because they've been with the company for a long time. Nothing against those others, but Allen Bestwick is the guy that should be the torch-bearer for ESPN's NASCAR coverage. We need a NASCAR Cup play-by-play man in the booth, and AB is certainly the best available candidate in my mind, regardless of how "new" he is to ESPN.

Sean said...

Hopefully a change is made next year. The ESPN booth would be perfect with AB in the play-by-play spot

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for those of you who would like to make a comment about Friday night's Trackside show.

JD

GinaV24 said...

ESPN should allow each of these men to play to their talents and Jerry's isn't the play by play stuff, but he's a great reporter and Allen is a better play by play man in the booth. Switching their roles would seem to be a no-brainer and would benefit both of them and the fans. I wish they would do it this season but it probably won't happen. And Rusty should NEVER be in the booth -- he is awful. Too many conflicts of interest (a lot like DW) for him to be in that role.

Dot said...

Why can't an experiment be done by switching AB with JP just once?

ESPN, give the fans what they want.

Jo said...

JohnTaylor said...
JD:

You are one of the best things to hit NASCAR and the internet in a very, very long time. Your site is a daily "must-read" for me and everybody else who is interested in this side of NASCAR.
-----
OK I agree with you
-----
From my end, Punch makes me feel comfortable. He's a soothing voice emanating from a network that has no business covering this sport.
----
I do not want soothing for race play by play ; )
------
He is what he is, and what he is in my mind and a lot of other people's minds is a very solid, professional broadcaster whose positives in his role as a play-by-play guy far outweigh any nitpicking that goes on post-broadcast.

July 12, 2008 12:42 AM

-----------
No one has debated that what I hope I have been able to convey is - he is in the wrong spot! His talent is being wasted!!!!
His rain delay work was awesome, he is being horridly misused and it shows on air!!! We are not saying fire him, we are saying use him where his talents are!

Anonymous said...

Diane said:

Jo said:

No one has debated that what I hope I have been able to convey is - he is in the wrong spot! His talent is being wasted!!!!
His rain delay work was awesome, he is being horridly misused and it shows on air!!! We are not saying fire him, we are saying use him where his talents are!

-------------

Well said!! While we have a tendency at this site to throw some folks under the bus...LOL...that is just not the case with the good Doctor. In fact, most all always start comments with clarifiers...JP is a good man...like JP telling stories, interviewing, on the pits etc. So, ESPN, we are trying to be respectful while at the same time letting you know JP is in the wrong job! When your color guys are doing the play by play something ain't working right!

Justin said...

Jerry Punch just doesn't add any excitement to the race like Mike Joy and Bestwick do. The Milwaukee and Canada races were 2 of the most compelling Nationwide Series races last year, and Bestwick did an excellent job at both races. Bring back Bestwick, please.

Adam T. Martin said...

A switch with Jerry infield and Allen in the booth would be epic.

Just thinking of the duo of Allen, Dale, and Andy in the booth could give ESPN/ABC the coverage that it's competitors (Fox, Turner Broadcasting) green with envy.

I believe no one was better than Bob Jenkins and Benny Parsons, but with Allen Bestwick in the booth with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree would be great.

Anonymous said...

I have been watching NASCAR since long before Jerry Punch made his first appearance on TV. I am one of those fans who built up a great deal of respect and admiration for him during his years as a reporter. It always seemed to me that JP had a more friendly and personal relationship with drivers and other particiapants. People seemed to open up more with JP. More than anyone else, he seemed to be able to put the human face on the sport. And as I believe JD pointed out earlier, Jerry Punch handled some difficult situations with respect and compassion.

With those kinds of skills and the good will of so many fans, it puzzles me why ESPN would isolate him by putting him in the play by play booth. He is being kept away from the personal contact that showed him at his very best.

I am in the minority in that I do not mind JP's rather flat delivery of the play by play. I am a laid back individual who does not need an announcer to tell me when to get excited. I find hype and forced enthusiasm to be annoying. It reminds me of a laugh track on a sitcom. I know what strikes me as funny, and I don't need a laugh track telling me when to laugh.

My criticism of JP's play by play is confined to issues of substance rather than style. He misses some important events that are appearing on camera, and he makes mistakes or misspeaks at times. I don't expect perfection from anyone, but his batting average is below what I consider acceptable. There have been times when my laid back manner disappeared and I started shouting at the TV. It's a bad sign when I reach that point.

Not everyone is cut out for every job even with unlimited training and practice. I couldn't do NASCAR play by play if someeone gave me 10 years of practice. But it's not a choice of me or Jerry Punch. ESPN has AB available, one of the very best in my view.

I vote for ESPN to move Jerry Punch back to a posititon where he has contact with the people in the sport. He is the best there is at that type of reporting, and it is a shame not to use his many talents to their best advantage.

Michigan fan

Richard in N.C. said...

I am a big fan of both Dr. Punch and Allen B., and I do much prefer Dr. P to Bill Weber. I do not have any big problem with Dr. P's work, but I do feel that Allen B. could handle the race call better. Maybe putting Dr. P in the host spot might really unlock talents he's not able to fully use calling the race. I suspect there are very few people in the media more highly respected and trusted in the garage than Dr. P.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:55PM,

Could you drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv when you have a chance please?

In the meantime, we would be interested in your opinion of Dr. Jerry Punch and Allen Bestwick.

JD

Lisa Hogan said...

We all know that the doofus level was very high among the decision makers at ESPN when they picked the people to cover NASCAR last season. They so wanted their “branded” people to be front and center that they assumed that these people could learn their new NASCAR assignments over a long lunch.

Jerry Punch was placed in the wrong job from the beginning. Since Bestwick wasn’t one of their “branded”, the ESPN folks didn’t really know what to do with him. Starting at Indy, Bestwick should be placed in the play-by-play position. All of this reminds me of the old Mikey commercial, “I’m at the wrong track”. Mr. Punch should be saying, “I’m in the wrong job”. :)

During the NW race, Rusty mistakenly said that Tony was in the #33 when he was talking about the incident between the #20 and the #33. Bestwick would have corrected this and everyone would have moved on. Instead, all three in the booth made the same comment.

Speaking of Rusty, I would like to add a few thoughts. Viewers who didn’t like Rusty on the track were not going to like him in the booth. I happen to be one of those who liked Rusty on the track and like him in the booth. All the Wallace males are hyper. Rusty was not going to change his personality just because he had a new job. I think that he was trying too hard the first season. I think that a lot of his “over talking” was trying to cover for Punch. And Rusty didn’t invent the draft tracker; yet, he was blamed for that whole embarrassment.

In an earlier post, someone mentioned Punch doing a series on the history of NASCAR. I think this is a hugely wonderful idea! DVD Collector’s Set, anyone????

Daly Planet Editor said...

The Ultimate NASCAR collection is available on Amazon.com and through other Internet outlets.

That is one great series.

JD

Kenn Fong said...

J. D.,

The "Ultimate NASCAR" collection is available from Netflix.

Ultimate NASCAR Vols. 1-4
Vol. 1 - The Explosion
Vol. 2 - The Dirt, The Cars, Speed & Danger
Vol. 3 - Greatest Drivers, Biggest Races, Hottest Rivalries
Vol. 4 - 100 Defining Moments

There were 19 results when I searched for "NASCAR."

Kenny
Alameda, California

They also have at least a dozen other DVDs from NASCAR. I didn't look at the entire list.

ttc said...

Jerry Punch was placed in the wrong job from the beginning. Since Bestwick wasn’t one of their “branded”,

Lisa: Absolutely correct; ESPN likes to reward their own. A great example was a few years ago when ESPN got the radio rights to the World Series. Rather than choose Vin Scully, the dean of all baseball announcers who had done the WS for CBS radio, they went with their "own:" Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Ditto with Monday Night Football after Al Michaels left.

All the Wallace males are hyper. Rusty was not going to change his personality just because he had a new job.

Maybe they are hyper but I thought that Mike Wallace did a much better job in the booth than his brothers when NBC did the two telecasts from Homestead in 1999-2000 prior to getting the entire package. Mike is the real announcer in the family.

red said...

kenn fong; thanks for mentioning those nascar dvds! for anyone looking to learn about our sport from its beginning, that set of four dvds is a must! they might seem a bit pricey but i personally recommend them (for what it may be worth!) and suggest that they make an excellent birthday or holiday gift that any nascar fan will treasure.

that being said: i still contend that nascar is missing a gigantic marketing opportunity by not gathering much more of their material into dvds for the longtime and newer fan! one of the only parts of the endless pre-race shows that i try to watch is the piece with the nascar legends. altho' not always as cohesive as i'd like, it at least introduces fans to people who might be unfamiliar to them and may lead the fan to research more on his or her own. i certainly would love to see more of those segments going forward.

as for punch and bestwick discussion? simply summarized by "the right person is in the wrong place." flip their roles and it's a can't lose situation.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Bestwick hasn't been in the booth. In my opinion, he's one of the best.

rhaegar targaryen said...

I"ll never forget AB calling the Intimidator's last win at Talladega. "Dale Earnhardt, beaten and battered will not be denied, donuts down the right side of his car, it looks like it,s been at Bristol. 23'rd to 1st in the closing laps" thats probably not an exact qoute but it's about right. I remember the call of the race and it was magic. It still brings chills to my spine.

Anonymous said...

I agree- Allen Bestwick is one of the best play-by play callers. Flip him and Jerry and they will be the best. Now for Fox, please get rid of Mr. self promoter, 'ole DW. He is way past his prime as a driver, has very little up to date factual info, and generally just likes to flap his jaw with drivel. NASCAR watchers need consumate pros in the announce booths, not ex jocks with mouth trouble...

ttc said...

I"ll never forget AB calling the Intimidator's last win at Talladega.


rhaegar targaryen: It was Jerry Punch, subbing for Bob Jenkins, who called Earnhardt's Fall 2000 win at Talledega.

Daly Planet Editor said...

ttc,

How is that possible? ESPN was out of the sport entirely at that time.

Wasn't it NBC for that race?

JD

ttc said...

JD: In 2000 ESPN (and TNN, TBS, CBS, ABC etc.) were still doing Winston Cup.

The initial Fox//NBC six-year agreement began in 2001.

As Casey Stengel might have said: You can look it up!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks, great answer! I worked on the first Homestead Cup race and I swore it was 2000.

JD

Rockin Rich said...

JD, it was 2000 when you did Homestead. NBC had a "tryout" run for that race. However, the Fox/FX/NBC contract didn't begin until the 2001 Daytona Speed Weeks.

If you remember, that was when we lost Earnhardt The Greater, (as differentiated form Earnhardt The Lesser).

I know, I know; off topic, but I had to jump in, (and reveal my "political leanings" in the process).

Daly Planet Editor said...

rich,

Thanks for that response. It all makes sense now.

One funny note about that Homestead race. The Infield Host was the one and only Brian Williams. I think he might have a future in TV.

JD

ttc said...

JD: If memory is correct, the first Homestead Cup race was 1999, won by Tony Stewart in his rookie season. NBC televised both the 1999 and 2000 Homestead races.

I remember Joe Gibbs and Mike Wallace being the analysts for one of those years but can't exactly remember who did play-by-play. Was it Bestwick?


And JD, did not know you were a broadcaster.

Daly Planet Editor said...

ttc,

Just a little freelance gig for a friend. I was the guy in the NASCAR tower who coordinated between the TV truck and the Helton gang in NASCAR control. That is a fun job.

JD