Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reporters Take Center Stage Again On "NASCAR Now" (5PM ET)

The TV executives in-charge of NASCAR Now seem to take great pride this season in changing the ingredients that host Allen Bestwick must use to create a brand new one-hour show each Monday.

Even after an off-week for the Sprint Cup Series, the Producers have been smart enough on this next Monday to invite a variety of NASCAR writers and reporters to the show. They are going to offer a season-to-date perspective and talk about some top issues in the sport. It certainly is an all-star line-up.

The outspoken Jenna Fryer from the Associated Press will be there. Fryer is a frequent guest on the Tradin' Paint program on SPEED and her discussions of various NASCAR topics with panelist Kyle Petty have been memorable. Fryer is also heard on Sirius Satellite radio and offers a weekly opinion column along with her AP news stories that are circulated worldwide.

As an African-American, Gary Graves from USA Today should offer some interesting views on many current NASCAR news topics. Graves has a long history in motorsports and many racing fans may know him from his recent NHRA coverage of the Kalitta accident. This will be his first appearance on NASCAR Now and hopefully not his last. Graves has a lengthy sports journalism background and his perspective will be interesting to hear.

Finally, ESPN's own Lead Reporter Marty Smith will round-out the panel. An original member of NASCAR Now, Smith suffered through a painful first season with this TV series. This year, revitalized by new hosts and a new format, NASCAR Now has been storming through the TV landscape and Smith has been an integral part. His ability to relate on-camera to the viewer and his laid-back style have worked well for him at ESPN.

This panel has the potential to produce one of NASCAR Now's best shows. The key to the hour is going to be Bestwick. This season, he has sometimes chosen to actively participate as a panelist and sometimes chosen to simply be the host. This is a tough call, as he is a NASCAR veteran with a tremendous amount of experience in the sport. On this particular Monday, he may be better served to toss out a topic and then direct traffic.

In 2008, it has only been ESPN that has confronted the sometimes difficult issues associated with the sport. NASCAR Now has not shied away from controversy, and all three on-air hosts of this series have done quite well with these types of issues.

On this Monday, Bestwick has a menu available to him that swings wildly from the COT to Mauricia Grant. Tony Stewart has just shocked the sport and several other historic teams are currently on the verge of collapse. With the news this week that GM is pulling-back on NASCAR sponsorships, it will be Bestwick's challenge to weave his way through these topics with this unique panel.

On the Monday before ESPN begins Sprint Cup coverage for the season, Bestwick has the opportunity to send the network down the road with what might be the highest-profile "roundtable" of the season.

There will be a full column up on this program shortly after it concludes. Your comments about the panelists and the season-to-date are welcome on this post. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Newracefan said...

Sounds like an interesting show. Glad Marty is going to be there he is my favorite of the ESPN reporters. He even answered my question last week on NN when they took some of the questions from and put them on TV instead of his Door to door column. Boy was I surprised

Adam T. Martin said...

I enjoy Marty Smith.

Also, this round table looks interesting. Nothing but press.

Anonymous said...

Since it's all reporters, maybe AB should sit in the second chair from the right, the position occupied by John Saunders on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," on which Saunders can usually keep better tabs on the distinguished guests and move traffic more smoothly than I think he could if he were speaking to Mike Lupica at the opposite end of the screen.

G. Amon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Reminder for people like me who set VCRs manually: this is the week NASCAR Now moves to 5 p.m. Eastern as its regular timeslot most days of the week. Looks like there will be two days in the next two weeks it's on at 5:30 or 6, but the rest of the time NASCAR Now is supposed to begin at 5 p.m.

Anonymous said...

I'll reserve judgement about tonight's show ,but I'm not optimistic. Before the Daytona 500, USA Today published a chart listing 30 Nascar reporters from across the country together with their picks to win the 500 as well as the Championship. None picked Newman to win the 500 and none picked Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards to win the Championship. Most seemed to have a herd mentality and picked Johnson and Gordon. Who knows, maybe they'll be right. We'll see. I'd rather hear the thoughts of drivers,crew chiefs and car owners then some reporter who's never turned a wheel on the track.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid all these type show will become the equivalent of the tedious hard news programs on Sunday morning too many, too often, talking about the same things. The ESPN Sports Reporters are especially grating to me as it represents the large scale equivalent of the high school newspaper reporters that weren't good enough to play any sports but could type and liked to gripe about what went wrong on the field. I think the phrase is living vicariously through others.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Thanks anon 847pm 20Jul.

Thought I was still the only one still using a VCR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anons 6:14 and 6:36AM,

Do you understand that regularly the show consists of a former or current driver, crew chief and one reporter or ESPN commentator?

The "reporter only" shows happen after an off-week for the Sprint Cup Series. There have been two.

I wonder if you have watched this program before?


Daly Planet Editor said...

There is now a new post up about the Monday edition of NASCAR Now for your comments.