Monday, August 4, 2008
Pit Reporters Talk Pocono On "NASCAR Now"
This week Allen Bestwick hosted an "all ESPN" edition of the Monday version of NASCAR Now. This one hour roundtable is a group discussion that has a different cast every week. Sometimes, the show has a theme. On this Monday, Bestwick welcomed all four of the NASCAR on ESPN pit reporters to the show.
Bestwick took the lead in the highlights and directed the conversation to the pit reporters that covered specific drivers. This put a very different perspective on the program and allowed first-hand information to flow freely.
While ESPN viewers are used to Mike Massaro on this program, Jamie Little was the surprise of the panel. Moving over to NASCAR from the IRL, Little was able to express herself in a much more dynamic manner in this studio setting. Viewers were finally able to get a good feeling for her personality and sense of humor over the course of this hour.
Dave Burns began his pit reporting life as the class clown and has now migrated into a potential studio host himself. His TV resume is substantial, but he has always operated under-the-radar where his NASCAR appearances have been concerned. ESPN has given Burns several opportunities to expand his pit reporting and serve as host for the pre-race show on the Nationwide Series.
Shannon Spake is the newest member of the group and she held her own in this free-for-all format. Spake has struggled in some aspects of her ESPN TV life, but has been coming along now that she has been made a permanent member of the pit reporting crew.
Bestwick led his panelists through the race recap team-by-team. It was this point in the show that viewers began to understand how much information flows to the pit reporters when they are covering multiple teams. All four gave outstanding answers to Bestwick's questions and painted a great picture of what happened at Pocono.
Massaro was best when he spoke about the Montreal experience. Using his normally good humor, Massaro reminded viewers that the Canadian crowd stayed during the rain until the end. He took the high road and left out the negative issues that affected the event.
Bestwick took the time to review some questions about how TV pit reporters operate. The answers included the fact that pit reporters are assigned by driver, that the winning driver takes his pit reporter along to Victory Lane and that all the reporters make their own notes.
Winding-up the show was the Watkins Glen preview where the panelists did a solid job of recapping the race last season and picking their favorites for next weekend. Massaro suggested that perhaps Marcos Ambrose has something to prove after losing in Montreal. Hopefully, the TV crew will follow-up on that issue on Sunday.
This was another successful theme show for this Monday franchise. Next week, after a road course race, the panel will consist of Boris Said, Ray Evernham and Randy LaJoie.
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