Friday, August 15, 2008
After a very long Friday of NASCAR programming, it will be SPEED returning on Saturday to host all the on-track action right-up until the Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. NASCAR fans are already well-rehearsed at watching practice and qualifying on SPEED and then flipping the channel to catch the racing action on another TV network.
It will be the team of Steve Byrnes, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds handling the Nationwide Series qualifying at 10:30AM ET. When this trio steps into this series they convey excitement and begin to build-up the stories of the individual teams as 49 cars get ready to try to fill 43 slots.
Host John Roberts is up next at Noon with a thirty minute edition of NASCAR Live. Roberts will be joined by Randy Pemberton and Hermie Sadler as reporters from the garage.
Finally, Byrnes and company return with Wendy Venturini and Ray Dunlap along as the reporters for both sessions of Sprint Cup Practice at 12:30PM. This should be a good telecast for forecasting the Cup race on Sunday over on ESPN.
These Saturday telecasts wrap-up the two day effort of SPEED as the network returns to three weeks of handling the practice and qualifying sessions for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. It was certainly easy for fans to see the different attitude and style that SPEED brings to this coverage.
Expanding her RaceDay role, Venturini has been very effective in covering the garage area and dealing with the stories of practice and qualifying as they unfold. Her easy-going manner and familiarity with the personalities involved in the sport have really paid-off for SPEED.
After some shaky personal and professional moments, Dunlap has been solid while filling-in for Bob Dillner who is off this weekend. Normally involved in the Craftsman Truck Series coverage, Dunlap has been welcomed into this role by the drivers and his popularity in the garage is obvious.
This Saturday coverage really sets the table for ESPN2's live telecast of the Nationwide Series race at 3PM. What better way to get the fans pumped-up for the race while at the same time not tiring-out the ESPN team that has been working on the road since February on this series.
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While names like Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards will be on the track, the Nationwide Series race from MIS on Saturday may lead ESPN to focus on a relatively new name to the sport.
It was Friday morning when Tony Stewart made it all official. Ryan Newman would join Stewart to campaign a two-car team for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. This announcement helped to finally make it sink-in that there could very well be an eighteen year old kid in the Home Depot Toyota next season. His name is Joey Logano.
Saturday afternoon shortly after 3PM, Logano will be in his Toyota trying to win the Nationwide Series race. This may be exactly the storyline ESPN needs to breath some excitement into this series that has been struggling all season long.
It will be Allen Bestwick hosting the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show on ESPN2 with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty joining Bestwick in the ESPN Infield Pit Studio. This thirty minute show should catch viewers up-to-date with the happenings of the weekend including the Stewart and Logano scenarios. Wallace should be in good spirits with brothers Mike and Kenny racing alongside Rusty's son Steven.
Upstairs in the broadcast booth will be Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. These three have been following this series all season long. Down on pit road will be Dave Burns, Mike Massaro, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake. In the Tech Center will be Tim Brewer.
After the success of Marcos Ambrose at Watkins Glen, it should be interesting to follow his progress on this superspeedway as his NASCAR learning curve continues. Also in the event with something to prove will be David Stremme and Dario Franchitti. Look for ESPN to track their progress as the race goes forward.
This telecast follows live tennis from the Washington DC area as the busy TV season on the ESPN family of networks begins to pick-up pace heading into mid-August. With college football on the horizon, the Nationwide Series will once again be the odd-man-out on Saturday afternoons. The Nationwide Series race is scheduled from 3:30PM to 6PM. It is followed by NHRA qualifying.
This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series race from MIS on ESPN2. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks again for stopping by.