Saturday, October 25, 2008
Nationwide Series in Memphis on ESPN Classic And SPEED
Here we go with the hot topic of the weekend. The Nationwide Series race from Memphis is going to be carried live on ESPN Classic beginning with the pre-race show at 3PM. This program is going to be hosted by the TV crew of Marty Reid, Randy LaJoie and Rusty Wallace.
Over on SPEED, once the Craftsman Truck Series race from Atlanta is over, the network will simply join the ESPN coverage and carry the Memphis Nationwide Series race to the conclusion. This is a great move to allow NASCAR fans who do not have ESPN Classic in their cable TV package to see the race.
There is a lot on the line for many of the teams in the Nationwide Series. Some of them have admitted that this may be their final race for the season because of the financial issues currently plaguing the nation. Bobby Hamilton Jr. is one of those drivers whose season and future may be hanging on his Memphis result.
This is a hybrid TV crew that consists of Shannon Spake, Rusty Wallace and Mike Massaro from the full-time team. Marty Reid, Randy LaJoie and pit reporter Vince Welch are freelancers brought in to help with this telecast. For Welch and Reid there are some issues on the table as ESPN has chosen not to air only a handful of IRL races next season. That leaves Reid and Welch with some dates to fill.
One of the big issues at the conclusion of last season was whether or not ESPN would create a different set of announcers for coverage of the Nationwide Series. Reid and LaJoie have been outstanding that putting a very different spin and using a unique approach to Nationwide telecasts.
As well all know, ESPN is going to be doing some major decision-making in this off-season and there is no doubt a lot of corporate eyes will be on Reid and LaJoie during this broadcast.
This race has a sprinkle of Cup drivers, some Nationwide regulars and a lot of youngsters with dreams of the big time. The racing dynamic of a mix like this should make for some interesting TV viewing. ESPN has been strong with its Nationwide Series telecasts and several of them this season have been simply outstanding.
Look for a lot less of the bells-and-whistles on this coverage. There is no Infield Pit Center and less stories to cover on pit road. The short-track style of racing has resulted in many caution flags in the past, but a lot of these drivers are looking to keep their equipment in working order with the current economic issues in the sport.
NASCAR has announced that the Nationwide Series will be racing these same cars in 2009, but is still looking to move to a new COT version for 2010. Hopefully, this move will encourage the current team owners to continue in the sport for at least one more season.
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