Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marty Smith Gets A Chance To Shine


This season's turn-a-round of NASCAR Now has been nothing short of spectacular. The presence of Nicole Manske as both a viable studio host and a reporter from the tracks has been a key to this success. Add-in the one hour Monday shows hosted by Allen Bestwick and the hard work of the news-oriented Ryan Burr and things are hitting on all eight cylinders.

One voice that persevered through the chaos of 2007 after moving-over to the TV world was reporter Marty Smith. This season, Smith has been expanding his experiences to include front-page stories for ESPN the Magazine and featured interviews on ESPNEWS and SportsCenter. Wednesday, it was Smith's opportunity to host a NASCAR Now mid-week special from Joe Gibbs Racing.

This was a new experience for Smith who has not really been in the anchor chair, so to speak. For some reason, ESPN2 insisted on making a clearly under-the-weather Nicole Manske officially host the show from the Connecticut studio. She should have been given the day off.

Smith introduced a dynamic feature documenting the history of Gibbs Racing. His chat with JD Gibbs explaining the coach's absence due to a kidney stone and talking about the philosophy of the racing organization was interesting. Smith's interviewing skills worked well in this on-location situation.

Smith continued with Denny Hamlin, who graced ESPN with flip-flops and jeans. Tony Stewart was up next in an interview done slightly earlier. Smith did a remarkable job with Stewart and got some great personal information about the relationships he formed at Gibbs and what role they played in his life on a day-to-day basis.

It was a nice touch to feature Marc Davis on the program. This driver is going to make an impact on the sport when he arrives. That should probably be 2010. Next-up was Joey Logano and his answers were just as polite as Davis. The both showed-off one of the strengths of the Gibbs system, good public relations.

The tour of Gibbs Racing was hosted by Greg Zipadelli and finally gave fans a perspective of just how huge modern day NASCAR team facilities really are. Manske was inserted into the program again, and rather than let Smith continue with the program, it was Manske who spoke to Kyle Busch and his crew chief.

Event though Busch was in St. Louis testing, ESPN would have been better-off to let Smith continue to host this part of the show. Manske's questions were fine, but she was clearly not feeling well and Smith was available to continue the Gibbs Racing theme.

Smith was allowed to follow-up with JD Gibbs on the subject of Kyle Busch and this was a fitting way to close the show. NASCAR Now has the potential to continue to offer fans more glimpses at the inner-workings of NASCAR that we do not see at the track.

Now, having done three of these specials, ESPN may be understanding that there is an entire world of NASCAR shops and personalities located in a small area of North Carolina. Perhaps, NASCAR Now may set-up a shop of their own in Mooresville or Concord for 2009.

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22 comments:

cvt said...

Smith is a fine reporter but there's a reason Bestwick, Burr & Manske were hired as hosts. Two very different skills.

haus20 said...

i agree with cvt...Marty looked very uncomfortable as the host...it looked as if the empty suits decided to bench Nicole at the very last second.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You guys really think Marty looked uncomfortable?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you guys think Marty looked uncomfortable. To me he looked very relaxed, like he was having fun. And it was apparent to me that the interview subjects were also relaxed. The answers he got from everyone were great. I didn't think he was the least bit uncomfortable, and compared to what we normally see from those types of shows he was way better than the others.

Anonymous said...

Uncomfortable? You're crazy haus20. How many people will ask Joey Logano why the fans should believe he's ready? How many other people even KNOW that Denny Hamlin's family went through so much to get him to Cup? Come on Haus, you're way off base.

Sophia said...

I thought Marty looked uncomfortable when he first appeared on the screen or Nicole threw to him or whatever it's called. I thought it was lag time or too many people yakking in Marty's ear.

HOWEVER, once the interviews were going he was fine. I missed parts of the show like the logano interview and Kyle b...I missed what was wrong with Nicole but Marty commented she sounded fine...a cold or something I guess.


I enjoyed the show the parts I saw...especially the interview with Tony and with ZIppy...man, I am going to miss those two working together...they even favor each other with their coloring to be real brothers. :)

cvt said...

JD said...
You guys really think Marty looked uncomfortable?

Never said he looked uncomfortable, but he looked like someone new to hosting a show.Being a presenter requires a certain polish, it was missing, but I doubt Smith has experience at this role.

Anonymous said...

It's rare for me to disagree with JD,but we must have been watching different shows last night. I think both Smith and Manske are way over rated. I don't know what Manske's problem was last night, but she was just terrible,just going through the motions. If you listen to all the Nascar stuff on TV and read the internet, there was very little covered last night that hasn't been covered before. There were a number of interviews last year on TV with Hamlin's parents discussing the sacrifices they made. The program teases featured Kyle Busch. What we got was a short, interview of Kyle and Steve at the end that reminded me of a couple of guys awaiting root canals. Perhaps I misunderstood the teases when they implied we'd see the inner workings of JGR. I was hoping to see how they built the cars, used 7-Posts,an in-depth tour of the facilities,etc. What I saw were replays of old material.Granted, Joe Gibbs had a health issue and I was really interested in hearing what he had to say. Most Nascar TV reporters, through their positions have access to the drivers, owners and Nascar officials just by picking up the phone. Asking a couple of straightforward questions many of us have shouldn't be confused with excellent reporting.

Anonymous said...

What's great about this site is the ability to disagree. Smith is great. Just great. No one gets Tony Stewart to say what Smith gets him to say. I'm a huge Tony fan and I remember last year Smith did an article on him on the internet where he said some stuff I never imagined he'd say. And then yesterday he was very open again. Smith has a great ability to make people feel comfortable, and it shows. I met Smith once at Chicagoland and he was the nicest guy, so maybe I'm biased. But he is the same person on TV as he is in person. I just think he has a realness about him that is cool.

Lisa Hogan said...

I agree with Sophia that Marty seemed a little “off” when he first appeared on camera. I was surprised because that is unlike him. When I realized that his main guest was absent, that explained it. I think he regrouped and handled the remainder of the program just fine.

I enjoyed this program. I wasn’t expecting “breaking news”, just a visit to the race shop.

What a difference between the Petty and Gibbs visits.

Well done, Marty. :)

Lisa Hogan said...

For you Sophia:

I just noticed, that in the column photo, Stewart, ever the maverick, is the only one wearing jeans. :)

Ind14 said...

I agree with most posts today. I would really like to see how the cars are put togeather. Maybe they could go to Stewart-Haas Racing and follow one of Tony's new cars from start to finish. This would include how they paint and letter the cars. ESPN has a chance to do what no other tv report has done. If ESPN doesn't maybe the SPEED channel can.

Anonymous said...

The best show they have ever had in my opinion was the week before last (monday) when they had the pit road reporters (Shannon, Jamie, and whoever the other two guys are...Dave and Mike)

Best insight by far. They should use that format more often.

Anonymous said...

He needs a hair-do, that duck tail looks silly.

red said...

lisa hogan said...
"For you Sophia:

I just noticed, that in the column photo, Stewart, ever the maverick, is the only one wearing jeans. :)"

agreed -- and with his shirt untucked as well! that photo makes me laugh right out loud everytime i see it b/c i can't decide if tony didn't GET the memo or if he forgot about it or if he chose to ignore it! vintage tony stewart, right there in the proverbial nutshell!

maybe he should have gone for the earnhardt jr/rick hendrick process: one appearance "not to code" has to be offset by the next appearance being right in line. and the two of them are actually keeping track b/c dale's "on probation"!

ahhh, boys will, after all, be boys!

speedangel said...

On, Marty seeming off a little in the beginning, my guess was it could've been the lag time from the studio to the field.

I agree that if it was possible Nicole should've gotten the day off. She sounded like she had a case of bronchitis or was coming down with a cold.

Anonymous said...
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Racer10 said...

He wasn't uncomfortable, it was just his quirky style that people are mis-reading. Marty's style fits well for many situations, but I don't think it worked in the setting at Gibb's.

Richard in N.C. said...

I did get the impression that Marty was not as relaxed as usual at the beginning, which I thought might have been due to his reading the intro off a teleprompter, and not being used to doing so.

Anonymous said...
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Newracefan said...

Now that I've seen most of the show (something must of ran over and just DVR the next show didn't get me the end), I thought Marty did a great job and Nicole should have been given the day off. Some of the "stiffness" was the lag time between him and Bristol some might have been the tie, suit, and dress shoes :)
I wasn't looking for any surprises either and I was really glad to see they included Marc Davis. I guess my only question is why now but since Kyle and JGR is winning everything in sight..why not.

Gymmie said...

I was happy to see Marc on there. He seems like a nice kid and most folks don't know who he was. It was about the one I wish was longer :)