Monday, November 3, 2008

Bestwick Reminds TV Viewers The Chase Is Not Over

All season long on both the ESPN Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series TV coverage viewers have heard the same message from the Infield Pit Studio. The source of the message was host Allen Bestwick. His favorite expression is borrowed directly from Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.

Bestwick says to anyone who will listen that "it's not over until it's over."

In this case, it is not the Mets rallying to beat the Cubs back in 1973. What Bestwick has been trying to remind both NASCAR fans and the media is that the 2008 Chase for the Championship is not over. This week, on the Monday edition of NASCAR Now, Bestwick was beating the drum once again. This time, fans were listening.

Bestwick was joined by Ray Evernham, Boris Said and Mike Massaro on the one hour "roundtable" edition of NASCAR Now. This show is the runaway hit of the season and Bestwick is the reason why. Now, the ESPN brass have finally given Bestwick a semi-regular cast as the season winds down.

Carl Edwards gas mileage gamble and Jimmie Johnson's dismal performance combined to make for a program packed full of good comments and outstanding features. Bestwick led the panel through the highlights and the dominance of Edwards was again startling to see.

Bob Osborne's gamble was reviewed in both the words of the ESPN team who called the race and the comments of the NASCAR Now panel. To hear the doubts in the minds of Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree as Edwards continued to stay out put a good perspective on just how big the gamble really was. The weekly scanner feature was nicely edited.

"To win races you have to know your car," said Ray Evernham. He was talking about Tony Eury Jr. running Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of gas in the late laps. While teammate Jeff Gordon saved fuel and made it to the finish, the same luck did not hold for Junior.

"I think it was a good swing for the fences call," stated Bestwick. He was backing-up a comment from Boris Said. It was Said's contention that once Osborne realized Edwards could get caught by cars on fresh tires, he immediately switched to the fuel saving strategy that won the race.

TV viewers may remember Bestwick breaking into the live telecast with only five laps to go and emphatically making the point to Dr. Jerry Punch that Edwards and Osborne had to do this to have any hope of winning The Chase. They absolutely had nothing to lose.

It was the Gilliland and Montoya incident that stirred-up the panel. Evernham contends that Gilliland should be parked for the rest of the season. Said wanted to go back and see what happened before the TV cameras got to the situation. "Road rage" is what Said called Gilliland's actions. Massaro called it bad judgement and pointed-out that the poor season and lack of sponsorship may have contributed to Gilliland's incredibly poor decision.

Junior's recent comments on the state of NASCAR were up next. "The COT will stop costs from rising in the sport," said Evernham. Boris Said admitted he was not smart enough to figure out the big cost issues. His point was that so many employers overlap between the tracks and the teams that the financial equation is complicated.

"What if?" said Massaro when talking about Edwards and his championship quest. Massaro's point was that if Edwards came up a bit short then there are going to be some memories like the big crash at Talladega and other dark moments that may haunt the team during the off-season.

Thankfully, the panel reviewed both the Nationwide and Truck Series race highlights. Unfortunately, once again NASCAR Now offered an incomplete NASCAR TV calendar and excluded the Truck race because it was on SPEED. This type of juvenile behavior began several months ago and really put a blemish on this program.

These three veteran panelists meshed together quite well and the result was an enjoyable and informative show. At this time of the season, the issues under discussion are mostly very serious. Having several decades of NASCAR experience at the roundtable is proving to be a good way to close the first season of this new TV series.

Note: For the full-size picture, just click on it. Right click to save to your computer. Thanks to ESPN for all the NASCAR Now pictures.

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cvt said...

Kudos to the 99 team for working to make the Chase interesting. The ESPN crew would be well advised to follow the one-on-one between the 99 and 48 these last two races, while keeping an eye on any wildcards.

As far as the Montoya vs Gilliland issue, I'm so mad at Said and Massaro I can't spit. To try, in any way, rationalize this thuggish behavior calls into question their judgement.

Gilliland was caught lying twice: first trying to deny what was patently obvious to anyone with a pulse, then claiming it was justified because he had been "jacked" with his rear wheels off the track.

Please Mr Gilliland, tell us how the COT is so jacked when the bumpers line-up?

Montoya was the driver Earnhardt chose to run with at Talladega. What does this imprimatur say?

PammH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"That Lucky Dog really played in our favor because we able to roll around there quite a few laps and come in later and top off, I conserved a little bit under yellow. When they said we were one lap short, I really wasn't that worried. I was still letting off real early. We didn't know the No. 99 was going to go for it, obviously a great call by Steve Letarte on the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. Great team work all day. It was a heck of a fight for us. Started on the pole, the car was good. But we got off, kind of a typical Texas for us but fought our way back on the lead lap. Great, great strategy by Steve Letarte. Second is like a win for me here at Texas."
IN ALL HONESTLY HOW MUCH OF A GAMBLE WAS THAT CALL AT THE END TO GO FOR IT ON FUEL? "The Lucky Dog actually worked in our favor because when we got the Lucky Dog they closed the pits so the leaders had already come in and we had to ride around for quite a while and that gave us the few extra laps. Then when we pitted we just took our time with it. We were the only car that had to be at the tale end anyway and plus I saved on the caution laps. I was turning the engine off so I felt pretty confident that we could make it if we were only one lap short." 11/02/08
It seems that Jr. had 5 more laps off his gas tank when they went back to green than Jeff did.

Tonight on Nascar Now Mike Massaro said LeTarte got off him pit box to go talk to Tony Jr. Would like to know what was said.

Anonymous said...

Tony Jr. told Dale Jr. way, way too late to start saving fuel. If he'd said something earlier, Junrion might have made it.

strtswpr11 said...

I beleive you meant the Cubs and Mets in 69. The chase might be getting closer ,but I disagree if its getting any more interesting. its not the drivers, or the action, I think its just constantly pounded over the head about "the Chase" that after awhile it no longer becomes relevant. Trying to create fake excitement, lets face it , unlike stick and ball sports.the other sports that have gone to a "playoff" NHRA,PGA havent shown their systems have made it any more interesting either. To get into changing things right now is pointless, for as long as the cash register rings...nothing will occur.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Wiki says '73...sorry, not a baseball guy.

majorshouse said...

I am just not a Sedd fan. I get the feeling at times that he thinks he knows more than he really does, but the rest of the crew seems to fit well together. I am with Evernhma about Gilleyland and that was just plain stupid.
I personally think that the Cup and Nationwide series need to run a similar type of schedule to the trucks and not even have a chase, especially if you look at what is going on with the truck series right now and how close their points are and look where it is going to come down to.

kang said...

In Sundays Texas race blog, Stricklinfan82 speculated that ESPN might play the "Jimmy might not start the car today and lose his points lead card".Well Bestwick must have had the deck in his hand tonight.He said to still be in the running after Phoenix you must be less then 196 back.I do not know if anyone pointed out that assumes the leader skips the last race or not.If someone did I did not see it.

Newracefan said...

It was an OK show, I would have preferred Rickey or JB over Boris. I am not sure how much I'm buying the Chase isn't over talk but then I'm a 48 fan and I really would prefer that it was and I could just enjoy the last 2 races.

Dot said...

I only caught the last 30 minutes of NN. I have to laugh when they say that the top 6 are mathematically (sp?) still in it. Are they kidding? Only if the 1-5 drivers get taken out at once (early) at Phx does Bowyer have a chance. I honestly think this is not what the Emperor wanted to happen, 2 guys running for it. And especially with JJ going for 3 in a row. You've got to give ESPN credit for toeing the company line, as wrong as it is. Someone said yesterday about the Chase being like political commls. We're all sick of them.

The childish antics of ESPN not mentioning the truck race probably goes back to when they were banished from the sport. Talk about the Jimmie Spencer syndrome.

Has Boris found a ride yet? Anywhere? I had to laugh last week when Nicole asked him why Gordon hadn't won at Texas. She could've just asked a guy on the street the same thing. He really is out of place on NN.

@ nrf, I'm not a JJ fan, but I really want him to win the championship. It will take someone a long time to break the record if he does. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed NN last night. It's always interesting and informative. The Montoya incident was interesting. Montoya has always been very agressive with his front bumper punting everyone including Junior and Johson while the media largely remaining quiet. They did joke about it on Trackside late last year after Montoya ran over someone. What goes around comes around. The #2 car took out Montoya a few weeks ago and I think there have been other instances of the other drivers having had enough. What Gilliland did was ridiculous just like the mess he caused at the Glen. I'm surprised at Nascar's weak response. Nascar often says it will let the drivers work things out,but Gilliland stepped over the line. Montoya has improved a lot and probably is going to learn that drivers never forget who wronged them.Bestwick made it clear at the end of the show that he didn't sanction what David did.

Anonymous said...

I liked the show last night. I still think they don't offer enough on each subject, but then they wish to discuss many more than is possible. But thta's okay, because then we can discuss on blogs or at work. TV always has limitations.

As far as the Gilliland-Montoya matter, I'm glad that Massaro seemed to backtrack at the end of the show and not support Gilliland.

Those who support Gilliland like to say he's a young guy and after all, Montoya is an agressive driver. Well, to start out, Gilliland is older than Montoya (not by much), and to this date, Montoya has not taken out 3 Chase drivers (like Carl has). Montoya also has not torpedoed a driver head-on, going 200 miles an hour, towards a wall. Jr has also said he likes racing with Montoya. In the end, I agree with Ray.

I thought AB missed an opportunity to highlight what Kyle did moments after winning and tying Sam Ard. They had shown a clip of Jr saying about the long season was part of the going after money, and yet they did not give kudos to a driver showing great generosity. ($100,00 to Sam) I'm not a Kyle fan, but the kid has a big heart. I don't know what Kyle's cut of the winning is, but the winning amout was just under $72K. He gave $100K. This is not the first example of Kyle"s generosity. He has driven for nothing to help out a struggleing truck owner.

What Kyle did was more than just generous. And Kyle is not the only one that has helped the Ards. But in a busy world, it helps remind those who can, to help the Ard family once in a while.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a huge fan of AB, wasn't impressed when DD replaced him on Speed, I'm very glad to see him on ESPN. There are very few non-racers I like to watch/hear from during a race, AB is one of them, I put him right up there with Mike Joy when it comes to class, knowledge and respect to the sport and team (though Joy does have racing experience).
I'm not a Johnson fan, just too much white bread for me but I give him and his team credit if they do the 3peat, I'll be impressed if Cousin Carl can pull off the upset...can't accuse the 99 team of not trying, that is for sure.
I wasn't thrilled when Montoya came to NASCAR, I had the incorrect impression that F1 guys were whiny premadonnas like Michael Andretti. Wow, was I wrong. This guy is a RACER and not just a talking head that bought his way into the sport. I really wondered how he was going to transition to cars that don't break when you get too close to them. No issues there. I also respect him for speaking his mind, I always pay attention when Juan Pablo is on camera, just like I do when Tony Stewart or Jeff Burton open their mouths. Gilliland needs to be parked for at least a race, just like Robbie Gordon was, I love aggressive drivers but I can do without dangerous.
Kyle Busch? Can't stand the cocky, mouthy, blameless punk....right up until Saturday. That was an amazing thing he did. In the big picture, $100k isn't going to put a dent in his yearly budget, but it isn't about the amount, it is about respect and generosity. Will I still cheer when someone passes him on the track? Sure, but I'll add and #18 diecast to my collection this week, he deserves my support after what he did.