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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16 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Bill H said...

Your title is great, replace Bestwick with ESPN, or NASCAR and it still works.

My apathy towards the current Nascar product grows greater with every race.

Instead of watching any practice on Friday, I worked (one of the nice things about working at home, I can watch them).

Instead of watching the Cup qualifying I went to Walmart.

Saturday? I watched the wife play video games and listened to music, no Happy Hour, no wide qualifying, no wide race.

Yesterday? I watched the hurricane coverage up till the race, turned on Hotpass and watched the race with 1/2 an eye, and news online with the other eye and a 1/2.

Victory lane? Haven't watched it all year.

Nascar Now? Watched all of 5 minutes back in April I believe.

Next week? I am secretly rooting for Hurricane Hanna.

Like most of you, I was excited when ESPN came on board, but now I feel like the baby in the eTrade commercial who got a clown, "I kinda underestimated the whole creepiness of it".

Bill H

diane said...
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tom in dayton said...

Mr. D: I hate to be slightly "grassy knoll"ish, but your paragraph concerning NN on September 8th. mentioned the normal ESPN broadcast crew with the exception of Dr. Punch (& Brad D.).
Is there anything to it?
Thanks and try to stay dry...

Daly Planet Editor said...

tom,

This is Allen Bestwick's Monday show, so the PXP guy and the infield commentator are not on the panel.

It is basically a theme show of former NASCAR guys who are now on the ESPN team.

I use "former" for Evernham because he mostly speaks from a crew chief perseptive and it should be interesting to see if he cashes in and goes to TV fulltime next season.

No conspiracy, just no Punch or Daugherty on this studio show.

JD

Dot said...

JD,

Not many comments on this topic. Does this mean we're not watching?

NN came on just because roommate was channel surfing. Watched a little bit, but I had to leave. If it would have been TWIN, I would've taped it to watch later. I'm still boycotting it.

Anonymous said...

Great show, I especially though Boris had a great idea, if it rains, at least let the go or go home cars qualify, even if it is race mourning. It's not fair to have them travel,sometimes to the west coast, and not even get a chance to qualify. I look forward to this show and am never disappointed as the panel is very good.Like Joe Gibbs always says , you win with people, well that is true in all things, and ESPN has amassed a great group of people.

Anonymous said...

Not many comments because this is basically a FOX/SPEED blog. Those who like ESPN, most stop participating, except for me. It's a fine line when you criticize fox whether your comment will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

When no racing happens it is very hard to put a best of nothing highlite show to explain it. More and more people are not going or not watching "PUNK FRANCE RACIN". A bad short track race dirt or asphalt would be better any time. One more thing, most all of those tv puppets just plain "SUCK". No racing and terrible tv people make for no watching. Thanks

Anonymous said...

If you like ESPN is that considered an "agenda"?

hmmmmm

red said...

since it's been raised . . . i can't comment on NN because i've decided i'm giving up on all things espn: tv, online, print. i will only turn on their channel for the actual race broadcast b/c i still love the sport and they have the rights to the broadcast of the race. it's a personal choice i've made based on how strongly i feel about the poor quality of the race broadcasts.

i will miss NN, no doubt, b/c it is THE one part of the espn empire that i appreciated. but, even tho' it's invisible to the espn powers, i am boycotting their product. as a fan, i feel they have been exceedingly disrespectful of me and have taken advantage of my love of the sport to continue to produce an inferior race show.

so, with great sadness, i will no longer be watching NN or reading marty smith. i simply have drawn a line over which i will not step. others will make other choices which will be valid for them and i cannot criticize them for that. but for me? i finished with espn, across the board.

(and if they care to find out why, they can read my comments in the post-fontana race blog.)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Aon 7:58AM,

That is beyond hilarious...NN is going great, DJ and Andy are having the best season ever and AB is making the Infield Pit Studio something that finally works.

Once again, instead of being able to offer your own personal opinion you must hide behind an agenda and go on the attack. Yet, you still come here over-and-over again to advance your own agenda.

How about joining the tens of thousands who have offered their opinions with absolutely no problem on this blog over the last 20 months?

We would welcome your comments on the topic being discussed.

JD

Anonymous said...

I rarely ever watch Nascar Now because it's on so early in the afternoon. I know they do repeats at late hours, but again, it's hard to fit them into the schedule.

Newracefan said...

I made the mistake of watching TWIN first and this was somewhat of a let down. TWIN acknowledged the fact that the racing was not the greatest (apparently there was some there but it was never shown on TV), NN totally ignored that fact. I still think Boris talks too much but enjoyed Ricky and Ray's insight. AB is the glue for this show and I'm thankful it's there.

Red I understanding your reasoning for not watching ESPN and even staying off their web site, too bad your missing Marty. I will say that while the Speed shows will be DVRed while I am on vacation the ESPN shows will not be except the cup race that's my concession for now it could become more if they continue to ignore 3/4 of the teams during a race.

Lou said...

I realize this maybe of topic as this is not a chat room. But I do agree w/red. I just could not word it as well as he did. I did not watch the race or pre race shows. Although I did see the finish at work.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to do what some of the readers of TDP did. And that was to skip the mega hours of prerace and enjoy the day. And we did. I admit that I did watch the 20 minutes before the green flag and took a nap and watched the finish at work.

And guess what. JJ won. Did not miss much I guess. Except for the 44 and 84 who seemed to have good runs.

Paso Gordon Fan said...
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