Monday, August 11, 2008

Watkins Glen Race Review Finally Tells The Tale


NASCAR fans are certainly happy that the Monday one hour edition of NASCAR Now took time to review the events of Watkins Glen.

There were lots of stories left untold after the ESPN telecast left the air and fans had turned-off the TV. Host Allen Bestwick led the panel of Boris Said, Ray Evernham and Randy LaJoie through a very thorough review of the entire event.

Bestwick is detail-oriented and in this program all his skills were needed. The stories of Watkins Glen were all over the map and throughout the field. Luckily, Said and Evernham were directly involved in the event and LaJoie was a good counterpart with his racing comments.

Evernham was fascinating in talking about using software to predict caution flags by downloading the information from past events. Some teams were making pit calls by using this technology and some were strictly flying by the seat of their pants.

The guest on this show was Marcos Ambrose and it was a great interview. Ambrose is certainly a very different type of driver than NASCAR fans are used to seeing, but he has been embraced for his ability and character. Unfortunately, only Bestwick asked the questions. This denied Said and Ambrose the chance to talk on the same TV series where they had a celebrated blow-up.

Great Watkins Glen pictures and sound mixed in one of the best race recap segments of the year. Outstanding editing of this feature has been a strength of the series since it was created. Hopefully, viewers can see this footage again in a season review program in November.

Bestwick kept the show on-track by continuing to tell the detailed story of the teams in the Cup race. He went through the stories that needed to be told, including the teams battling for the Top 35 in owner points. Smart focus by this TV veteran.

The show took time to mention the Nationwide Series championship race and to remind viewers that Brad Keselowski was still in the mix. It has been a while since a Nationwide regular was in the season championship hunt. Evernham led the panel in their support for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s young driver.

Next week in Michigan will once again bring the fuel mileage issue to the forefront. Said hates fuel mileage races and Evernham said pit strategy may ultimately play a role. It sounded very much like the panel was not happy that it may come down to the racing gasoline in the tank at MIS.

Said and Evernham had a lot to say on this program, but LaJoie is now several seasons removed from the sport as a competitor and was not able to contribute a lot where the COT struggles were concerned. His sense of humor kept him in the program and he might be the one person that can get Bestwick laughing on the set.

In the closing comments, Said went out of this way to congratulate Marcos Ambrose and hopefully put any hard feelings behind them. Boris had a tough weekend himself at The Glen and his comment was a classy touch.

NASCAR Now returns next Monday with the popular Ricky Craven on the panel. He will be joined Mike Massaro and Ray Evernham. They will review the MIS action and look ahead with Bestwick leading the discussion at 5PM ET.

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21 comments:

Karen said...

JD said ...

It sounded very much like the panel was not happy that it may come down to gasoline in the tank at MIS.

I'm sure you meant to say Sunoco fuel, didn't you? LOL

Vicky D said...

What a great show considering it's a Monday. Those 4 guys are so respectful of the others so I enjoyed it immensely.

Lisa Hogan said...

I turn on the Monday night version because of Bestwick. Tonight, I stayed because Randy was on and with two people I enjoy, I can handle the other two.

I continue to disagree with you, JD, about the panelist asking questions. Bestwick is trusted by the "garage" and I know he will ask good questions. Some of the panelists have to make a speech before they can ask a simple question. The guests get more airtime when Bestwick handles the questions.

I don't know why you would want Said to have another go at Ambrose by questioning him. I also disagree that Said showed class. He did a standard CYA. I imagine that he had been told by ESPN to clean up his act if he wanted to stay employed.

I thought that the race was covered very well. The show sped by. :)

TexasRaceLady said...

Was that an hour? I was ready for more.

Lisa H said Some of the panelists have to make a speech before they can ask a simple question. The guests get more airtime when Bestwick handles the questions. I second that, Lisa. AB asks questions without attached strings.

I, too, had the impression that Boris offered the olive branch toward Marcos because he'd been "asked" to. LOL

All in all, a very good show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You guys are pretty tough on old Boris. I thought he contributed in this show without mentioning his own agenda at all and picked the right time to bury the hatchet with Ambrose.

glenc1 said...

They did a better job covering the race than Sunday, apparently. It really sounds like Jerry wasn't cut out for play by play. Watching Allen on this show is just so enjoyable; why can't they give him a shot??? I like Lajoie; thought he was funny the first race I ever heard him do (I think it was a Busch race some years back.) Evernham made me wonder who made a buck at developing that software, lol?

I was AT the race and haven't watched my recording, I did scan the blog and it sounds like it was dismal. I got the MRN version, funny comments while the mikes are off & all (which is the best part!)

Just cause I need a place to tell you all this, I saw Dale Jarrett on his way somewheres Friday morning--I took a photo and told him he was doing a great job (he was very nice & thanked me.) Jerry Punch was with him too. Ironically enough, many of the people I saw were driver/broadcast people we discuss here, including Michael W and Greg Biffle.

just a comment on Marcos (great interview, btw)...but I have now gotten the distinct impression from other drivers that on track, Marcos IS very aggressive at times, so let's not make him a saint yet, lol. Nothing wrong with that, but it's sometimes going to create ill will (as we've also seen with Brad K). And yes, Boris needs to get over it, but he's never had such a reaction to any other driver I know of, and he's generally well liked by most everyone. I don't think it's fair to 'assume' ESPN forced Boris' comments.

tom in dayton said...

I thought about these observations for the "Blues" column, but after watching "NN" I'll put them here.
The Sunday & Monday postrace programs offered by ESPN and SPEED give me an in-depth analysis of the previous weekend's events and some overview for the upcoming races.While sometimes I question the content of the shows (especially the remarks on VL at Indy), overall I cannot fault what these programs attempt to do in informing the fans and recapping the race activity.
Certainly those in charge at SPEED and ESPN know that for material not covered in the programs the fans, through the internet, can seek out what information they desire. This internet technology was not available back in the "golden age" of early NASCAR TV broadcasting, so the talent then were more folksy and more anecdotal, more like the older radio PBP announcers before TV came along.(I don't mean to excuse some problems with the current on-air talent, because I still expect certain information during the race and expect that info to be correct!)
I don't believe a set post-race program immediately following the race is doable due to the unpredictable end times of each race.
A good recap on Sunday night, followed by an analysis Monday night is fine by me.
Just my opinion...

Nan S said...

Thanks for the recap, I don't usually watch this show because of Evernham, but I did record it hoping Ambrose might be on. After reading your recap, I knew that I could fast forward straight to the Ambrose interview with Bestwick and not have to suffer being exposed to Ray.

Advertisers on this show don't get my eyeballs because of the makeup of the panel.

As for Boris (who I used to really like) I read a quote of his given just before the race and it was saying that Ambrose was probably going to smash and crash his way through the field. So, I agree with others, that Boris is now trying to do some damage control so he can keep his job.

majors house said...

As usual, NASCAR Now is a breath of fresh air over the weekend telecasts. I have to agree that what I saw out of Boris was just a window dressing and did hear him say what he said about Amrose before the race in Watkins Glen. I personally have no use for the man and the other three were really entertaining and just wish that AB could replace Jerry Punch.

Richard in N.C. said...

This past weekend I saw Boris quoted as saying he reacted in the heat of the moment at Mexico and wished he had not made some of the statements he made then. In considering Boris' comments I do feel it is important to take into account that Boris has some of his own money at risk and Ambrose is playing with that of others. And, yes, I am biased - a Said fan.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Away from the track, I think you have to start to clear things up to remain a viable TV commentator.

Interesting to watch Said go through these issues as a driver trying to work for ESPN even as Rusty, Ray and Brad have to deal with the owner angle.

BTW - There is a new post up for the Monday edition of TWIN. Thanks.

JD

Nan S said...

Richard in N.C.

I don't have any issue with the comments Boris made after the race in Mexico, it was indeed the heat of the moment.

Its been the comments since the race, like during the previous Ambrose interview when Ambrose held out the peace pipe of the Said Head wig and Boris was pissy about it.

Also, before the Montreal race Boris said he would race Ambrose different than the other racers and Boris' comment before the last race about how he expected Ambrose to wreck other people.

To suddenly have Boris singing a different tune is what catches your attention and makes you think that other forces are at work.

Dot said...

Watching NN now. Boy this show is informative. If only someone during the broadcast would mention even a third of the info they do, NN on Mondays could be a 30 minute show.

Has anyone else noticed how hoarse Jr sounds after a race? I have the last couple of weeks. He must be a screamer during the race. Anybody know first hand via scanner?

I like the fuel mile races. I think it adds a little more excitement. Marcos might like them too, lol.

Dot said...

I'm baaack.

Three things.

I thought I had missed Boris congratulating Marcos. I just heard him. I agree with the others, it seemed forced. And, I'm not just saying that because Marcos is my driver.

AB is one of the few who pronounces it correctly with an O not an U.

JD,
I like the pink on the front page.

Sophia said...

I enjoyed this show. I first want to say it was nice to see guys wearing matching dark suits..especially the pants. I know Brad D is a very tall man but he MUST stop wearing those off white slacks in those high chairs. He looks distracting like a praying mantis.

Never noticed before Boris doesn't do ties. Said he has NEVER worn one??? Not even to a funeral?

anyway, I found Ray's explanation of software interesting.

I am not sure if Boris was trying to erase any previous comments, just thought he was congratulation a driver that won and had done well.

I have also read in different places that many feel Ambrose is very aggressive and not the sweetie, full of gratitude guy he appears on tv. But a lot of great drivers are hard drivers with their own style.

Dot, I also noticed Jr's hoarseness tonight. In the past, he just sounds EXHAUSTED...tonight raspy and hoarse...made me wonder if he breathed bad air or screamed at the bad pit call Tony Jr made....

Anonymous said...

Boris made heat of the moment comments after the race, but that does not explain his comment yesterday before the start of the race.

Also, since when has ESPN been the network that likes to avoid controversy whether there is any or not? They like to put themselves in the story whenever they get the chance.

I would think the network would not bother saying anything to him and also might even hope that he does make controversial comments about Marcos Ambrose just to make things more interesting.

It's more likely that when he thinks about it, if he doesn't restrain himself on TV, he and his sponsors could be the ones that lose out.

Anonymous said...

I thought last night's show was outstanding. What a difference it is listening to people that actually know what they're talking about. It made the show featuring "pit reporters" who really know little, seem silly in retrospect.Lets have more of what we had last night!

Anonymous said...

I still marvel at the reaction to Said's rebuff of Ambrose's proffered "apology" on-air those months ago.

I saw what made Said angry and I considered Ambrose's apology to be the typical, sincerely insincere type meted out by NASCAR drivers.

From that perspective (as well as having raced myself), I wasn't surprised at all at Boris's response.

As one might expect, he has mellowed over it, but that's not surprising. There's too much money involved to not "get along" eventually. Money can be a fairly compelling reason to behave. It's worked for the France family for years... :)

Lisa Hogan said...

I would like to clear up the fact that my being a non-fan of Mr. Said on Nascar Now has nothing to do with Mr. Ambrose.

My non-fan status of Mr. Said comes from numerous exposures at various tracks while Mr. Said was off camera.

glenc1 said...

Just for a different perspective, over the last 10 years or so I have also seen plenty of Boris at the Glen--and never saw anything negative. One of the pit reporters once described walking with Boris along pit road at the Glen as like walking into Madison Square Garden with Walt Frazier...but he is who he is, a rough and tumble guy who never had anything handed to him (and no famous name in racing.) And everyone has bad moments and he's no exception.

Anonymous said...

I saw only half of the show because stupid baseball ran over and Tivo had no way of knowing that. Lord knows I LOATHE ESPN's NASCAR coverage.

Mary