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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