Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday Truck Race Huge For SPEED
It sometimes seems that no matter how fast and how good the racing in the Craftsman Truck Series really is, it continues to get overshadowed by the on-going drama in the Sprint Cup side of the NASCAR world.
While hyperactive Kyle Busch and extremely fit Carl Edwards battle for supremacy, the current leader of the Truck Series points could easily be mistaken for an accountant. Sunday at MIS, the Sprint Cup race featured names like Brad Coleman, Tony Raines and Patrick Carpentier.
The last Truck Series race featured Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague. This trio and many of the other Truck Series racers are throwbacks to the one day shows and the exciting racing that was NASCAR in the 1980's. The series goes to tracks where the "Cup guys" will never run. They race whenever the schedule tells them to, and this week that means Wednesday night in Bristol, TN.
Over at NASCAR.com, the Truck Series rarely makes the front page. The TV listings are never posted and the race results are quickly removed. Programs like NASCAR Now and This Week in NASCAR spent the vast majority of time fawning over the Sprint Cup Series. But, there has been one strong group of individuals who are only focused on the Trucks.
The SPEED TV presentation of the Craftsman Truck Series has been the most consistent TV package in the sport for the last several years. Viewers have come to know the drivers and teams through the efforts of the SPEED team led by Krista Voda and Rick Allen. The key is that this one team is there all-season long.
Lead Analyst Phil Parsons has come to embody the Truck Series with his in-depth knowledge of the teams and personalities involved in the 25 race season. Each year Parsons returns with a consistent on-air style that adds the information viewers need without any over-the-top antics and high volume. That is left to someone else.
Since Michael Waltrip was added to the Truck Series TV package, viewers have been drawn to the telecasts either to enjoy his off-beat brand of humor and enthusiasm or to cringe at his sponsor-driven agenda and NASCAR flag-waving. Love him or hate him, Waltrip always makes things interesting.
Bristol this Wednesday will be different not only for the day of the week, but also for the lack of practice and qualifying coverage on SPEED. The only things being televised will be the pre-race show and the race itself. Perhaps, that may change for next season.
Krista Voda will lead The Set-Up at 7:30PM for thirty minutes. This pre-race show is hosted from the starting grid and Voda has made it a simple and effective program. The information about the series is delivered by pit road reporters Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap. The overall perspective is added by Parsons and Allen.
Voda is a NASCAR TV veteran who is familiar to TV viewers for her friendly style and laid-back manner on-the-air. She also hosts The SPEED Report on selected Sundays for SPEED and is a pit road reporter for the NASCAR on Fox Sprint Cup telecasts.
One story we are bound to see is Jimmie Johnson stepping into the Craftsman Truck owned by NFL player Randy Moss. Regardless of the reason, having Johnson in the race is going to be a big draw for fans on a Wednesday night. It should be interesting to see how SPEED treats this story and how Johnson does in the 8PM race.
There will be other interesting names like Kenny Schrader, David Stremme and even Mr. Carpentier joining the series regulars as 37 trucks are on the preliminary entry list. The telecast is scheduled to end at 10:30PM, but SPEED has no live programming after this event in case it runs long.
There will be a post up on Wednesday afternoon to begin a comments thread for this mid-week event. To add your pre-race opinion to this post, just 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. Thanks for dropping by.