Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"NASCAR Now" Misses A Reporter

Allen Bestwick normally plays host to a revolving panel of three on the Monday hour-long edition of NASCAR Now. This week all three panelists were in place, but one perspective was missing.

It was Johnny Benson who joined Ray Evernham and Boris Said in the ESPN2 studio to talk about the weekend at Daytona and preview the upcoming Chicagoland race. Bestwick did not mention to viewers why reporter Marty Smith was not on the panel as previously announced.

This changed the dynamic of the show and left Bestwick as the only media representative. Normally, ESPN reporter Mike Massaro has been the semi-regular media guest with the exception of themed shows like the recent "all Wallace brothers" program. Marty Smith and Brad Daugherty have also sat in the media chair on the panel.

There is certainly no problem with having two drivers and one crew chief/owner making up the program, but it leaves a slice of the NASCAR pie on the table. Massaro and Smith bring observations from a media perspective, something Bestwick is lacking because of his current Infield Studio role.

In the host role on this show, Bestwick had to work harder than normal to get some energy out of the panel. The three personalities he had to work with are just not the type to respond in the same way as a Dale Jarrett or a Marty Smith. There was simply no spark for the discussion.

Viewers might have found it interesting that the authoritative Benson often left Said with nothing to say. Benson has a vast amount of experience compared to Said in NASCAR and currently drives full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series. This appeared to be an uncomfortable role for Said and it showed.

Responding to Said's comments about bumping on the closing laps, Benson offered the opposite view and told Said it was not OK to just drive "like a dog with a hand grenade in its mouth" as Boris likes to say. Said's own accident in the race was not discussed.

Normally, this program features two "liveshot" interviews with NASCAR personalities. Surprisingly, this episode did not. Bestwick just gamely led the panel through a wide variety of issues that received factual but not very interesting answers.

Fans of Johnny Benson had to be pointing to the fact that he and Evernham usually teamed to answer the NASCAR questions on this program. Benson had a long run on Inside NEXTEL Cup on SPEED before being dismissed, and one wonders why he does not show-up on other NASCAR TV shows.

It seems that Bestwick enjoys Benson and Massaro on this Monday show and both have been frequent guests. As ESPN takes over the Sprint Cup Series telecasts in a couple of weeks, it should be interesting to see which panelists the NASCAR Now Producer selects down the stretch.

This was an informative show but had less of a vibrant feel than most episodes. Despite working hard, Bestwick was not able to make the panel respond and have some fun with their comments. Having no interviews or liveshots in the program also contributed to a less than stellar hour.

Once again, NASCAR Now paid less attention to the Nationwide Series than was deserved. Since ESPN telecasts the entire series, this continues to be confusing. After much-too-brief highlights, Bestwick led the panel into a discussion about Toyota having an advantage in the Nationwide Series.

Bestwick closed-out the show with a Chicagoland preview and Evernham showed his value to ESPN with a great explanation of what teams will face running at night under the newly-installed lights without testing.

While all three personalities made good points in this program, it was clear that the show needed a spark from a media type or even commentator Brad Daugherty. The three "human ingredients" Bestwick was given were familiar, but no matter how hard he stirred there was just no excitement or fun to be found from this combination.

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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Chris said...

Didn't see the show, but your mention of how Boris's accident wasn't talked about is one of the reasons that I really like TWIN. If something happens to Mikey, or Biffle or whoever is on the show, you bet they bring it up and go over it.

I do like hearing Benson, Boris not so much since the Ambrose episode, and I never willing watch anything with Evernham.

Anonymous said...

"Bestwick led the panel into a discussion about Toyota having an advantage in the Nationwide Series."

It was my impression during the NNS broadcast that the Toyota folks use the same engine they use in the NSCS races as the NNS races and Chevy wants to be able to use their Cup engines also, the R07 instead of the SB2.

"Toyota's horsepower edge may lead to a penalty
NASCAR may be ready to slap Toyota with an engine-horsepower penalty on the Nationwide tour after yet another win by the Joe Gibbs team Friday night. It was Dave Rogers' ninth tour win as crew chief, this time for Denny Hamlin, in a one-two finish with teammate Kyle Busch. It was Gibbs' 12th Nationwide win in the 18 races so far. Ford's Jack Roush said the Toyotas have so much more horsepower than Ford and Chevy that Toyota crews can put more downforce in their cars -- with a wider front end -- for better handling in the corners because the Toyotas have the horsepower to push that extra drag. "A monkey could drive that car," Roush said, referring to the Toyota edge." -- Winston-Salem Journal
Foxsports.com Rumors 07/07/08

Newracefan said...

Toyota was told that they could NOT use the same engine that they were using in the truck series and they MUST develop a new one for NW and cup. They did, now other manufactures are complaining? Sounds like a be careful what you wish for to me.

Now on to NN, I missed Marty while I was happy to see JB I would have preferred to see Marty and not Boris. He does not have enough Nascar experience, or is just not involved enough or something but his views are always a little off for me. I also found it interesting that there was no discussion of his wreck in detail but everyone elses was fair game.
Was an ok show thanks AB, JB and Ray.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I have not seen the show yet so I don't know what sort of explanation there might have been for Marty's absence - but, might the timing of Marty's not being available have thrown off Allen's planning for the direction of the show.

Karen said...

Doesn't JB have to travel a ways to get to Bristol? Couldn't have been too last minute.

Tracy said...

Boris Said was the flat spot on this wheel. Did it seem to anyone else that AB was speaking very, very quickly? We had to keep backing up to re-listen.

Kyle said...

Karen, not 100% positive but think he still lives in Grand Rapids, MI. That would be a haul to bristol, CT.

I'm kinda surprised to see Boris on the show again. After his childish response 2 days after the mexico race he lost alot of fans (me included) Maybe ESPN didn't realize what an impact his refusal to accept an apology on live TV a few months ago.

As soon as he opened his mouth i switched channels.

Daly Planet Editor said...


JB lives in North Carolina with most of the other NASCAR folks and he was already in CT for an appearance at Stafford Speedway.

More info shortly...


dwight said...

I heard comments earlier in the week about complaints about the Toyota engine, but are they really serious about punishing Toyota mid-season, or is this just ESPN grasping for another controversy? They did change the champions provisional when Dale Jarrett was going to be in a Toyota, and they changed the rules on who was qualified to run in the all-star race when Mikey was going to be qualified to run his Toyota, but not in the middle of a season.

Ritchie said...

I agree that the absence of an ESPN reporter left the show lacking the same intensity as other shows.

I really do like Mr. Benson. He is a great communicator, and with a little more intensity, would be a fine addition to any broadcast.

Is it just me or does he look and sound like he should be a college professor somewhere?

Anonymous said...

I liked it. Really, all the show needed was to lose boris, and then the show would of been fine.

Brian said...

A definite A+, much like this show has done for pretty much the whole year. Johnny B. & Allen on a Monday Night show definitely bring back memories, and I like it!

Boris was pretty good, and each and every broadcast I'm liking Ray Evernham more and more.

Keep up the good work guys!

Anonymous said...

I have been a fan of AB for a long time. He seems to be able to handle any assignment that he is given. I would prefer to see him doing play by play rather than Jerry Punch.

I am also a long time fan of Johnny Benson, both as a driver and a broadcaster. He reminds me somewhat of Jeff Burton. They are not flamboyant; but if they have something to say, it is worth listening to.

I have admired Ray Evernham's racing credentials since his days as Jeff Gordon's crew chief. His experience as a team owner getting Dodge back in NASCAR adds another dimension. I like his work as a broadcaster. His personal life does not bother me unless he starts offering opinions on personal conduct.

Boris Said doesn't seem to add much for me. His NASCAR experience is overshadowed by others, and I lost a lot of respect for him after the Marcos Ambrose business. Brad D doesn't do much for me either. He has enthusiasm, but I don't see much else. I refer to him as Mr. Obvious. I watch shows like NN to learn more about the sport, and I'm not getting it from Brad D.

I would like to see ESPN identify the panelists on NN who are working well and reduce the number who appear in rotation.

Michigan fan

Anonymous said...

I have to say that while the show was low key, the discussions involved people who really know what they were talking about. I thought their analysis of the on track incidents from Saturday night was outstanding. It was much better than TNT,which isn't saying much and better than TWIN last night.

Anonymous said...

Great show as usual. I cannot say enough about this show's quality.

Renata said...

I agree with most of the posts here. It was a good show, it just lacked a bit of energy.

Boris shouldn't be a panelist when there's another driver present. Like Michigan fan said, he gets trumped very easily by the other driver's experience level.

On the Toyota engine discussion, I believe Johnny had a good point. Not all the Toyotas are winning. In fact, JGR is the only Toyota that's won so far on the Nationwide and Cup circuits. So it's probably the team more than the manufacturer.

Anonymous said...

Since TWIN spends the first half hour of their show talking about the upcoming race, I watched the first thirty minutes of NN last night.(This was the repeat of both shows-not the initial airing.)

The discussion was really good and I liked that part a lot. The one thing that got old really fast was seeing the same wreck over and over and over. Granted, a different driver was discussed each time but it got on my nerves nonetheless.

Once the thirty minutes had lapsed, I switched to TWIN a few times and got the same thing. The same wrecks being replayed over and over-ugh. Enough already. I just turned the t.v. off with fifteen minutes to go and went to bed.

Anonymous said...

This is one show I wished that we could get in Canada. TSN shows some of the NN's on a hit and miss basis but for some reason not the Monday show. I guess four year old poker tournaments are more important. Loved AB in the old twin know that I would love him reading the Seattle telephone book.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7:27 PM - I'm not sure where you found the "monkey driving the car" comment was from Clint Bowyer after Friday's Nationwide race in reference to the 20 car's dominance ... But, if it was the Winston-Salem Journal, Mulhern's an idiot ...

Renata - JGR is not the only Toyota team that's won in Nationwide ... Granted, the JGR drivers account for 13 of 19 wins in the Nationwide series ... Kyle won in a Braun car at Charlotte ...

I liked this week's "NASCAR Now" ... I like Boris & Ray on the show ... JohnnyB is better when there's been a truck race ... But, the Toyota bias was quite obvious when JB was asked about the Toyota engines/hp ... I don't care about the whole "Mexico City / Marcos / Boris" incident as it's a racin' deal and people always say & do stuff in the heat of passion ... Boris was good on the show because he was actually IN the race on Saturday night and provided footage for the show when he got dumped by Nemechek ...

TWIN needs to be expanded to 90 minutes ... IF they're gonna review the previous weekend's races & the upcoming weekend's races ... as well as throwing in those extra segments ... 44 minutes is NOT long enough and they proved it when they basically skipped the Nationwide race ... RP races have a lot of footage to cover & should've been given that time consideration ...

Though, what would've been good was someone finding better video showing exactly what happened with that last wreck ... The angles are bad & you can't see specifics ...

dannyboy said...

I watched about 30-40% of the show during TWIN breaks and irrelevancies like the overlong discussion of the upcoming race and the Junior history lesson (and I'm a JR fan).

I'm fine with Boris any time he's available. What many who apparently follow only NASCAR fail to realize about Boris is that though he has not been in many Cup races, he's a racer's racer , and 2002 Trans-Am series champion racing against the likes of multi-year champ Tommy Kendall and Paul Gentilozzi. Beatin' and bangin's a constant activity in that series, and they know about when to go and when to slow.

Living in San Diego as I do, I had the opportunity to watch a local program on the Padres cable channel featuring a half-hour sit-down interview with Boris, who is also from here.

He spoke in humble terms of his relationship with Dale Earnhardt Sr., for whom he worked as a road racing consultant. Dale once asked Boris, "My car is junk, will you drive it for me and tell us what we should do to it?"

Boris did, after which he said something like, "If you drove my car you'd never get back in yours!"

They worked on it together in the motorhome. When done, Dale asked over his shoulder as he exited down the steps, "Want anything to eat?"

Boris, still intimidated by the presence of the Intimidator, and thinking he'd wisecrack to show Dale he's "cool", spontaneously quipped, "Sure; I'll take a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and a glass of milk. And cut off the crust!"

Boris then told the interviewer, "After I said it, I thought to myself, 'What was I thinking??? That's DALE EARNHARDT!' Can you imagine what I felt when he came back a few minutes later with a PBJ and milk with the crust cut off?!"

That man taught me more about how to be a racer and a man than anybody else I ever met."

This is the kind of stuff we used to get on IWC, because I saw Boris several times on that show, and he told stories like that.

Not expecting to see much of that on NN, or TWIN for that matter.

dannyboy said...

Just for the record:

I never saw the NASCAR NOW show with Boris and Marcos.

From JD's explanation of the events, Boris should have just shut up.

Like with Carl Edwards after his unfortunate fake punch at Matt Kenseth, this revealed a not-so-nice aspect of his personality, but I am still a fan. Nobody's perfect.