Monday, September 1, 2008
Bestwick Tries Hard To Polish A Brick
There seems to be no quit in Allen Bestwick when it comes to working some excitement into a race. Even on a Monday while hosting NASCAR Now, Bestwick was constantly pushing different agendas to his panelists and hoping for some good conversation.
It was Boris Said, Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham who provided the analysis and the sarcasm about the Fontana racing weekend. Said was plain-spoken about the polite and politically correct comments from Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. It was Knaus who indicated that they had to work to have the car "come to them" in order to win.
Said quickly predicted that the car had "come to" Knaus sometime on Thursday, long before any team even took to the track. The #48 was fast off the trailer, on the pole and won the race. Point well taken.
It is sometimes tough to have two drivers on the panel, but Craven and Said have totally different personalities. This combination of panelists worked well and Craven's insights about the forgotten drivers still in Chase contention was well-received.
"Showing you why nothing can be considered final until the checkered flag waves," said Bestwick as the show went to commercial. The footage on the screen showed Kyle Busch making contact with Dale Junior in an earlier Richmond race. By emphasizing the word "nothing," Bestwick was backing-up his on-air scolding of the ESPN broadcast team who essentially gave the race to Johnson slightly after halfway.
Bestwick had broken into a Rusty Wallace comment and asked Jerry Punch if he remembered who won last week? Referring to Busch being dominant and Carl Edwards winning the race, Bestwick was trying to get the broadcast crew back into the game. His comment caused a moment of silence, but then the same-old monotone commentary started again.
Evernham and Said are enjoying the opportunity to work together. These two fit well and have a good time remembering each other's comments during the show. Having a team owner and a go-or-go-homer on the show is certainly an interesting contrast.
After the highlights, Bestwick ran down The Chase profile and led to comments on several of the contenders. "Bowyer is expected to make The Chase." mentioned Said. "Ragan has nothing to lose."
On the potential of Kasey Kahne sneaking into the final twelve, Said said no. "Unless Ray has that voodoo doll with the pins that go into the tires," stated Said. Craven made sure to give Evernham a quick frisking just to make sure.
This week, even the nicely-edited weekend highlight reel from the NASCAR Now staff could not lend a lot of excitement to the program. While Brad Daugherty may have predicted on-track action, the real race occurred in the pits and Johnson was able to make up any deficit a short time later.
Hosting an unstructured segment covering various topics, Bestwick let his panel talk about everything from the Top 35 rule to the problems with the Team Red Bull pitstops under pressure on Sunday. Said surprised the entire panel when he said that he agreed with the Top 35 rule, but simply would like to see all the cars qualify even on a rain-delayed race weekend.
Bestwick let the panel move on to the Saturday Nationwide Series race. He never mentioned that this race started on ESPN Classic Network because of college football. After voicing the highlights, Evernham reminded Bestwick that the Nationwide Series continues to use the old points system that rewards consistency and does not require wins. Evernham also confirmed that the Hendrick rotor in Brad Keselowski's car was from an outside manufacturer.
Bestwick again hammered home the point that no one can know what is going to happen until the checkered flag falls. Comments from a sad Denny Hamlin who had dominated at Richmond early-on backed up Bestwick's contention. Evernham reminded viewers how hard it is to get a lap back at Richmond. He recounted his own experiences with one of his drivers making The Chase and one falling-out at that track.
Said predicted Bowyer making The Chase, while Evernham and Craven focused on the final bonus points being available on Saturday night to wrap-up the Richmond profile. This was an outstanding preview of the important points for fans to remember as this night race approaches.
Bestwick floated the new testing policy being considered by NASCAR to the panel next. All three veterans kept their good humor while explaining that non-NASCAR tracks have suddenly become valuable because the COT is such an unknown quantity. Changing the testing over to the early days at the Sprint Cup Series tracks got favorable reviews.
There was a lot of very diverse NASCAR information presented to fans in this hour. The panel proved to be a good combination of personalities and even Boris Said fit-in well with this group. After letting go of Fontana, Bestwick offered a good preview of both the upcoming Richmond weekend and The Chase For The Championship.
Next week, Monday's NASCAR Now will expand to 90 minutes and feature a big preview of the upcoming Chase on ABC. At the usual time of 5PM ET, Bestwick will have Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Tim Brewer, Ray Evernham and Andy Petree on the program. Team ESPN will be in full-force and it should be a fun show.
(photo courtesy of Robert Leberge/Getty Images)
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