Thursday, March 6, 2008

SPEED Answers ESPN With A Huge Day Of NASCAR Action

Readers of The Daly Planet know that this week has been all about the NASCAR on ESPN gang.

Kicking-off the week with the one hour roundtable version of NASCAR Now, the network that formerly floundered in the sport is suddenly on top of its game.

The NASCAR Now crew chased down stories all week, and the opinionated Rusty Wallace planted himself firmly in the news with his interesting opinions of several big stories. Oil cooler lids were a hot topic.

Now, it is SPEED's turn to step back into the spotlight with a huge day of live NASCAR coverage from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is what the network does best, and NASCAR fans know it.

At 11AM Eastern Time, SPEED goes live with Craftsman Truck Series Practice for ninety minutes.

At 12:30PM, the Nationwide Series takes to the track for their final practice. This session should be between ninety minutes and two hours long.

At 3PM, the Sprint Cup guys take to the track for their ninety minute session that will be followed by a NASCAR Live show that will flex and take the network to 5PM.

Trackside is next, and is early this week because of the live racing to follow. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip will be live for one hour from the SPEED Stage outside the Speedway starting at 5PM. Updated: Guests will be Mark Martin and Reed Sorenson.

To set-up Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED will do its quirky thirty minute Go or Go Home show at 6PM. This program tries to give a good overview of the teams outside the top 35 in points that must make the race on time. As fans know, these teams now qualify together so they basically get the same track conditions. That has changed the dynamic of coverage for the TV crew, so it should be interesting to see how SPEED handles it this week.

Up next at 6:30PM will be the big Cup Series qualifying show, with the NASCAR on Fox broadcast team in place led by Mike Joy. This track has some interesting features for qualifying with high speed and different levels of grip. It should make for some exciting attempts from the teams that have to make the show on time.

A flexible version of NASCAR Live will bring the network to 8:30PM and set-up the big primetime feature of the evening on SPEED.

The Craftsman Truck Series takes center stage next as Krista Voda hosts The Set-Up pre-race show. Voda will be joined by Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap on pit road.

At 9PM, the veteran crew of Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip will take-over to call the action in the Truck Series race that is scheduled for two and a half hours on SPEED. (Don't forget AMA Supercross from Daytona follows the Truck race.)

This big day of twelve and a half hours of live NASCAR coverage on SPEED continues the solid at-track programming that SPEED has been providing for several years. From John Roberts and Steve Byrnes to Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini, SPEED has worked hard to make the on-air "talent" household names for NASCAR fans.

Just think, eight months from now in November, the same SPEED TV personnel will still be working hard to bring fans every moment possible on the track, and every story in-progress from the garage. These folks do work hard.

Friday should be a great day to set the DVR or try to catch the action live as it happens all day on SPEED. Not to be forgotten, ESPN2 slips-in their Friday version of NASCAR Now at 6PM from the Bristol, CT studios.

This page will serve to host your comments about the practice and qualifying coverage on SPEED. There will be a new post up in the early evening on Friday to host the comments on the Craftsman Truck Series race.

To add your comment, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. This blog is about the TV coverage of the sport, and TV-related comments are welcome.

Thanks again for stopping by, and have a great day of NASCAR from Atlanta on SPEED.