Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sunday Afternoon On SPEED From Fonatana
Getting ready for the Sprint Cup Race on ESPN at 7PM, SPEED serves-up a couple of hours of pre-race programming.
Larry McReynolds is a consistent presence on SPEED and he starts things off with NASCAR Performance at 4:00PM. McReynolds is joined by Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker. Originally, this show was fascinating for what the smart minds of the crew chiefs could do to the cars in the Sprint Cup Series.
Now, it is a constant exercise in frustration for both Knaus and Barker. NASCAR has put the crew chiefs in a box and there is nothing left to talk about except parts and pieces. At many racetracks, there is little for the crew chief to do except adjust tire pressure and add or subtract wedge during the race.
The mounting frustration of Knaus has been especially noticeable in light of his team's frustrations despite being firmly in The Chase. Knaus is used to a very different level of performance. It should be interesting to hear his views on the box NASCAR has assembled for the teams in Fontana.
Randy Pemberton and Adam Alexander have been taking turns hosting NASCAR in a Hurry which comes along next at 4:30PM. This show uses all the SPEED and NASCAR Media Group footage since the teams arrived in Fontana to review everything that has happened from the Nationwide race to the news from the garage.
The franchise strolls in next, as John Roberts leads the NASCAR RaceDay crew of Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace on-the-air at 5PM for two hours of pre-race programming. Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini are the field reporters. Venturini has David Ragan as her guest on The Real Deal this week. Live guests on the show will include Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
RaceDay has undergone a huge transformation since being moved back one hour to protect the ESPN pre-race show called NASCAR Countdown. Last season, the RaceDay crew was fired-up to go head-to-head with the NASCAR on ESPN gang. Now, drivers can come to the RaceDay stage because they are still in their street clothes.
Instead of Venturini and ESPN's pit reporters competing for interviews on the starting grid, Venturini is often alone in the bus lot with drivers who look like they just woke up from a nap. The precious hour before race time now belongs to ESPN alone.
The RaceDay crew continues to develop a new show format even as they are surrounded by NASCAR Now on ESPN2 before the show and NASCAR Countdown immediately after. What topics are selected to pursue, the quality of the interviews and the exclusive features are the elements keeping RaceDay popular.
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