Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sprint Cup Series From Atlanta on ABC (1PM ET)
This is a very big week for the entire NASCAR on ESPN TV team. Only Texas, Phoenix and Homestead remain when this Sunday's telecast is over. The weather is perfect, the track is fast and the stories are plentiful.
As usual, it falls to Allen Bestwick to set the table for the fans. Along with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, Bestwick is going to work his way through a wide variety of stories from The Chase to the continual speculation about team mergers.
It should be interesting to see if ESPN talks to Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and the new seven-year sponsor of the Truck Series. As usual, the challenge for this telecast is to try and strike a balance between The Chasers and the racers.
Bestwick will hand-off to Dr. Jerry Punch at 2PM to get the fans ready for a 2:14PM green flag. Punch will be joined by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree to call the race from the broadcast booth. Down on pit road will be Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro. Tim Brewer will be in the Infield Tech Center.
Punch faces a track that was brutal to tires in the previous race and caused all kinds of trouble for the drivers and teams. Goodyear and their performance will be a major issue once the green flag falls. Mike Massaro has the experience to handle the Goodyear issues and any interviews that may need to be done.
The Truck Series race on Saturday featured high and low groves and the type of run to the finish that this track has become famous for having. With the newly improved Goodyear tires and the COT offering another new combination, this may wind-up being a big story.
Punch will have to call the high-speed action after the restarts until the field gets strung-out and then work hard to keep the fans understanding where the drivers are and how they got there. Hopefully, full field recaps will be standard this week so the problems of the earlier Chase telecasts will fade away.
Tim Brewer may have his hands full this Sunday as this track has proven to break, bend or mutilate many car parts over the years. Brewer has been kind of isolated this season as he is only seen when something needs to be explained. He is really the odd-man out stuck in his own little world of auto supplies.
Fans should look for the triple split on the pit stops and the effective use of the double video boxes throughout the race. The ESPN Director has been very good at keeping the video of the race on the screen under green flag conditions even while doing replays and interviews.
The final lap at this track is always big and how the finish line is handled can add or subtract from the overall telecast. Watching the cars come off the last turn and run down to the line is key and has often resulted in big stories throughout the top ten and beyond.
Keep an eye on the cars that drop out of the race. ESPN has struggled to interview the non-Chasers and this has detracted from the telecasts. Accidents on this track are high-speed and the fans deserve to see and hear from the drivers involved.
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