Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gutsy Ryan Burr Finally Asks The Question

The ESPN tap dance had been going-on so long it was getting annoying to all the parties concerned. Someone was going to have to step-in and end this pointless dance marathon. Leave it to an ESPNEWS anchor who lives outside the NASCAR bubble.

Saturday Morning's NASCAR Now hit the air at 10AM and it featured one of the most effective pairings of studio anchor and field reporter. Standing in Bristol, TN was Marty Smith. Perhaps, Smith is the face of ESPN's NASCAR efforts where news and feature reporting is concerned.

This season has seen Smith write a cover story for ESPN the Magazine, stand front-and-center on the big news stories of the season and handle the interviews that NASCAR fans want to see. A big part of Smith's on-air success is the new studio anchor team of Nicole Manske and Ryan Burr.

It was Burr handling the Saturday duties. Fans know Burr from his time on the ESPNEWS Network and his ability to talk to almost anyone. Sometimes, Burr can work to draw emotion and opinion from a guest who participates in the sports world. In this case, he asked the tough questions of ESPN's Lead Reporter and helped to clear-up the lingering bad feelings about earlier comments from some ESPN announcers.

"Right after this happened Marty, there's going to be speculation...that's the job of the people who were hired at ESPN," said Burr. What Burr was carefully doing was addressing the earlier statements by Tim Brewer that Tony Stewart was involved in this scheme.

On Friday night, Allen Bestwick and the ESPN Infield Pit Studio team had actually hosted JD Gibbs in the studio. Bestwick was polite and political, but could not bring himself to ask the question America wanted to hear. Apparently, it took someone who came from the TV news side of the business to get the issue out on the table. Finally, Burr got it done.

"We have now had a week to kind of let all this settle in," continued Burr. "What role, if any, did the drivers have in this?"

Marty Smith's expression never changed. He never blinked. His answer was straightforward. "None whatsoever at all," he said.

Smith reminded viewers that JGR accepted all the penalties with the exception of the points and probation given to both Tony Stewart and Joey Logano. After the JGR employees involved identified themselves, it was the contention of both Joe and JD Gibbs that between the lengthy NASCAR suspensions and the internal fines and suspensions that no action should be directed at the drivers.

This simple and effective question-and-answer session cleared the air as well as possible before ESPN stepped into the big spotlight of the Sprint Cup Series and put a live microphone in front of Tony Stewart. While Logano may be trained in the long line of NASCAR's corporate spokesman/drivers, Stewart had already mentioned Brewer's comments on his Sirius radio show and was a good bet to back that up on live TV.

Both the early and late editions of NASCAR Now have proven to be good companion pieces to the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series. Hosts Manske and Burr are straight-shooters who do not mince words and go directly to the heart of the matter on a topic. It has proven to be effective, with this JGR driver issue being a very good example.

We would welcome your comments as to whether or not ESPN has offered enough of an explanation to put this issue to bed and move on to the racing action. To add your TV-related comments, 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 and thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Newracefan said...

Didn't watch because I was still so mad about last night, looks like I'll have to go see what I DVRed. Thanks JD

Rick said...

Uh...It's Saturday JD. ;)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Rick, got it! Force of habit where the one hour is concerned. Did you watch the show?

Rick said...

No, I missed it this morning, I'm in the Mountain Time zone, so it was fairly early here.

majorshouse said...

I hate that I missed the show too. I guess I am so sick of the garbage on ESPN that I avoided it and wished now that I had watched the show. The thing that I like about Ryan Burr is that he is not afraid to ask the questions with a no nonsense style and i greatly appreciate that and he also showed to all of us that what was implied by Tim Brewer was a crock and should have never been mentioned and now I am sure that it will defuse Tony Stewart tonight.
I am really interested to see if the coverage tonight will be any better than the crock we saw last night or maybe I will avoid the tv coverage all together and listen to a real broadcast on the radio.

Anonymous said...

I watched the show, yes Burr asked & Marty answered.
"Right after this happened Marty, there's going to be speculation...that's the job of the people who were hired at ESPN," said Burr. What Burr was carefully doing was addressing the earlier statements by Tim Brewer that Tony Stewart was involved in this scheme.
Speculation - no thats not what timmy did, I just re watched the original. He flat out stated (accused) Tony & Joey.

timmy should be the one to retract his statement - we know he is not man enough to admit he was wrong & apologize. Instead he hides behind others who try to clean up his mess.

Had he started with - "in my experience in breaking the NASCAR rules..." it would have been speculation.

bevo said...

Caught it right after F1 qualifying. Brewer was on Sirius Speedway yesterday - seems ESPN has bought time on the show for a regular feature about NASCAR Now- and he was very flip about the situation. He still will not apologize for the character attack. Just goes to show his character in my opinion.

The most interesting and telling segment though was the highlight package right after the Jeff Burton interview dealing with the top 35 and the Michigan race. They used crew radio for a few incidents and the rest were MRN calls except for two with DJ and AP and one with AB. Not one single sound bite of Punch calling the action.

Yep, I'd say ESPN knows they have a problem.

Anonymous said...

OK now that I'm off my soapbox - the rest of the show was really quite interesting.

When did Jr say the JGR team didn't get enough punishment? Hadn't heard that before - altho' I will admit to kind of tuning out alot of JR stories.I feel bad every time he turns around every aspect of his life is in the media its sometimes hard to watch.

The Jeff Burton comments about the new surface at Bristol were really good to hear. He drove the old track for years & now on the new one so we got a good comparison.
Not a retiree remembering back when, who shall remain nameless.

Denny made a great point to Nicole about having a mic stuffed in his face 30 sec after his engine blew. He said it nicely, in a calm quiet way. Think anyone took the hint?
All in all a good show.

Anonymous said...

Was there really anyone on the planet that did not know what the answer to that question was?? Is your joy from learning the answer or seeing them fall on the sword?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:16PM,

Could you help us out a little bit?

What are you talking about and who are you talking to?


Anonymous said...

I think NASCAR and JGR let it be know on Wed. that the drivers had nothing to do with placing the magnets. I don't see why a "Gutsy Ryan Burr" on Saturday does anything, ESPN was proven wrong with their theory on Wed. story over..we saw how many people wanted to hear about it last night.

ttc said...

Bestwick was polite and political, but could not bring himself to ask the question America wanted to hear

JD: I hope that was written "tongue in cheek!"

Daly Planet Editor said...


Some folks get it, others...

Anon 1:37PM,

NASCAR has never addressed the situation with the individuals involved. JGR has never said anything except the drivers were not involved.

ESPN, until Burr asked the question, had only Dale Jarrett say it was his opinion the drivers were not involved.

Should be interesting to see what Tony says tonight.


majorshouse said...

I wish that I had seen the show this morning and I think that it is about time that someone tell us really went on and I am glad that Ryan Burr has the guts to ask something like that because I saw the pre-race last night and as much as I like Allen Bestwick, he was dancing all around it and definitely think that Tim Brewer owes Tony Stewart and Joey Logano a public apology.

Newracefan said...

I think what happened today is the closest we will get to a retraction, forget an apology it ain't gonna happen.

Did anyone catch Boris comment about NW regualr never winning the championship. I guess he forgot about Truex, Vickers, Biffle, Green and thats just off the top of my head. It wasn't that long ago.

Kenn Fong said...

J. D.,

The only people I trust on ESPN racing programming are Marty Smith, Dale Jarrett, and D.J. Copp.

Are there any other individuals I should add to my list?

Kenny -- Pacific Time Zone, Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

@nrf--yes I heard that...don't forget Jr. and Happy :)

I also agree that this will be the closest we'll get to an apology (short of Smoke calling them out on their network LIVE)

Lisa Hogan said...

Just ESPN doing a CYA.

I did laugh at the “gutsy”.

Unless Burr is now writing his own scripts, the person in the back room asked the question. Burr is not a very good script reader and if he is reading his own words, poor boy.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Burr handled the questions for the interview. I think they did a good job of bringing it up and hopefully putting it to bed since this was the only NASCAR program on ESPN before Countdown.


Daly Planet Editor said...


I don't think its quite over yet...


Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lou said...

Just disapointed that ESPN did not follow this a little further. R.Burr did ok.

He and Ms. Manske do somehow get us thru the week from Tuesday to Thursday.

Yea, I know there are times it may be a slow week. But all we have to do is look at last season, and am glad to see things change for the better for the fans of the sport