Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rusty Wallace Takes The Weekend Off

The Nationwide Series TV team from ESPN will be using Dale Jarrett for double-duty this weekend. Rusty Wallace has a scheduled weekend off, so Jarrett will be calling the race and also appearing as a panelist on the pre-race show.

It will be Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty alongside of Jarrett at 4PM ET as the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show takes to the air. After thirty minutes, Jarrett will scoot upstairs to join Dr. Jerry Punch and Andy Petree for the live race.

Once again this week, the Nationwide Series coverage on ESPN2 follows a live basketball game. Last week, NASCAR Countdown was forced to start on the ESPN Classic Network as basketball ran long. This week, race fans can only hope that either Illinois State or Creighton pulls away in the second half.

SPEED will start the day with Nationwide Series qualifying at Noon ET. At 1:30PM the NASCAR on Fox team will call two sessions of Sprint Cup practice on SPEED leading right up to the Nationwide Series race. Steve Byrnes will anchor the Nationwide qualifying coverage and Mike Joy will lead the Fox team.

SPEED's Hermie Sadler is doing a fine job in his role as analyst on the Nationwide Series practice sessions. Teamed with Jeff Hammond and Steve Byrnes, Sadler continues to expand his presence on SPEED this season. Saturday will find him alongside John Roberts on the SPEED Stage providing commentary during breaks in the on-track action.

Fox has expanded the Digger presence far beyond the races. On Friday night's Trackside show, Darrell Waltrip was nowhere to be found at the start of the program. Eventually, he appeared in a golf cart with the Digger costume character along for the ride. Waltrip explained he and Digger had been over on the QVC shopping network selling Digger merchandise. And the beat goes on.

One final ESPN note. It will be Nicole Manske stepping into the host role for the Monday version of the NASCAR Now roundtable on March 2. Allen Bestwick takes a break as Manske plays host to the now familiar faces of Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie at 5PM for the program.

There are seven and a half hours of live NASCAR TV on Saturday. It should be interesting to see how Nationwide Series qualifying shakes out, how carefully the Sprint Cup teams choose to practice and then what kind of racing the Las Vegas track will offer as the real action finally begins.

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Karen said...

JD, you stole my thunder so I'm reposting from the previous column.

After hearing on Trackside that DW was on QVC tonight, I just checked the website and the first item on that show was a Digger 2009 #09 Autographed by DW 1:24 scale car for 59.75. On the hood was a logo with Digger & Friends on it. I saw a NASCAR on Fox logo on the left rear panel. Item # is C10507 if anyone wants to check it out.

Good grief is all I can say.

Lesley said...

I hope Rustys weekend off has something to do with support for his son Steven..I dont like what I am seeing in any of this for Steven Wallace..He seems like a great kid..But like Kerry Earnhart,I dont think he has what his dad had, and thats Ok..Let It go steven and rusty, before you get hurt!!

Anonymous said...

Please,Please Alan don't go skiing
Tks.J.D. Ron Il.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rusty. If you would just take DW with you. My weekend would be complete.
I was sort of watching the show after qualifying yesterday. When Steve said "next up will be DW, with a large fuzzy animal." Thanks for the heads up. It gave me plenty of time to change the channel.


glenc1 said...

I didn't see 'For Race Fans Only', but in case anyone was wondering, according to the QVC site, Darrell was selling one Digger item--a 'Digger' paint scheme diecast, autographed by DW, for $60. Now, I have to say it--they are pretty smart over at QVC, and I have to think they figured they'd sell some if they gave it air time. It's advance orders only, but you'd have to make a certain amount to make it worthwhile, I would think. Of course, serious DW fans would buy anything with an autograph (nothing wrong with that.)

And I don't even care, really--it's just the FOX on air time wasted with the cartoons and all, plus it's not a particularly important camera angle to start with. It was just an excuse to make a cute mascot like sports teams. I don't watch baseball much, but I doubt the TV guys spend a lot of time showing the mascots during game action. College you get a little of it, but that's part of the whole college athletic experience--the students aren't being paid and it fosters school loyalty/rivalry. I just still don't get what David Hill thinks the benefit is.

majorshouse said...

I am really getting tired of all of the gimmicks by both the Fox network and ESPN. Let's get back to talking about racing and leave this Digger crap behind us. I am also happy to see DJ instead of Rusty Wallace in the pit stuido and maybe we can get some intelligent conversation instead of Rusty's biased opinions that many times in opinion, he knows nothing about. In case you have not figured it out, I have never been a Rusty Wallace fan and don't intend on starting anytime soon.
I also think it will be interesting to see how Nicloe Manski handles the round table discussion as well. She has definitely grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years too.

RonF. said...

I consider a weekend off for Rusty Wallace to be a gift to the fans. Any chance he can take that chattering magpie of a brother with him?

Anonymous said...

Please Rusty take DW and Digger with you. I enjoy racing not motor mouth's saying
Let's just keep racing racing. I I I all the time. If I wish to watch cartoons I can change the channel

stricklinfan82 said...

Other than the brief moments when Rutledge and Digger made brief appearances for no apparent reason on Trackside, Friday's coverage was exactly the way it should be every weekend for the rest of the year.

When vehicles were on the track there was LIVE television coverage (no tape-delay or "blackout" ... ESPN), and that coverage kept the focus on the race track the entire time. The practice coverage was very enjoyable and we got to see every qualifier run in their entirety (minus the small slip of the production truck not noticing Matt Kenseth was running a second lap).

The great shame after watching such a great day of coverage is that in the back of my mind I know that the cartoon characters jumping all over the screen, the obstructed view grass-level cameras, the new overkill of in-race sponsored content (all the questions that are never answered on the air, the 'Amp Up' thing, the Home Depot / Logano stuff, maybe even the "blessing" of another 2-3 minute movie trailer, etc.), and saddest of all the ONLY director in NASCAR's Big 3 or ARCA that doesn't let the viewers see any races for position to the finish line other than the one for first will return in full force on Sunday to again make the racing on the track nothing but background noise.

Vicky D said...

JD, good - no screaming at us from Wallace this weekend. That's a good thing!

Colorado said...

I tried watching Trackside last night, and it was like being involved in a really bad train wreck. First off, Trackside is nothing but a vehicle for DW, Larry Mac, and Hammond to pat themselves on the back, talk about themselves, shill for Toyota and Red Bull, and leave the guests speechless, wondering why they were ever invited on the show in the first place. But last night, I almos threw up in disgust. Now digger has made it's way onto the Friday night show. What's next, digger during qualifying? Ooops, now I gave David Hill an idea. Sorry.At least during NFL broadcasts, that creature or robot or whatever it is only makes it's presence during commercial breaks. This digger thing has gone on too long, and DW is the patsy hired by Mr. Hill to try to sell it to the masses.Who buys this crap anyway? DW and his wife Stevie? I can't believe that someone would knowingly, and openly spend hard earned money on crap. I don't care if DW's autograph is on it or not. I have my dignity.

peggyann said...

Stop the insanity about Digger. It is a FOX sports promotion, a commercial. Digger is a refreshing change after watching numerous times on Friday and Saturday NASCAR events all the male enhancement product ads, "Think with your dipstick" and the poor lady who has to reuse catheters. If Digger is all you have to complain about, you lead a pretty pleasant life.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know ... will ESPN being streaming the Nationwide broadcasts on NASCAR.COM like they did a year ago ... or is that a thing of the past with this economy? I noticed there was no streaming of the last 2 races (unless I am just looking in the wrong sport).

Anonymous said...

spot ... not sport ... sorry

Anonymous said...

Do you really expect ESPN to clear its schedule of all other live events so a Nationwide pre-race show could air as scheduled?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:45PM,

I expect ESPN to continue treating the Nationwide Series as a second tier sport this season as they have for the past two years.

The value in this TV contract is the final seventeen Sprint Cup races.

The downturn in the economy has scuttled any plans for ESPN to convert the useless ESPN Classic Network to an ESPN3 event network.

Prior to this TV agreement, NASCAR was primarily seen on networks that did not have multi-sport conflicts. The situation with ESPN is new to the sport and has resulted in the final three months of the Nationwide Series being nothing more than a total disaster.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Great Max Papis interview on SPEED.

batchief said...

What peggyann said!!!

Anonymous said...

@Lesley--apparently Rusty is being a Pain in the Butt to young Steven

@anon 7:40--it wasn't skiing. He was playing in his hockey league when he broke his leg.

@JD--I *love* Max! He's adorable! I hope he does well this weekend :)

Karen said...

If TRD is in California, why don't they bring new engines to LV for Red Bull and MWR? This could seriously hurt these teams's standings.

BTW, JD, who is Max Papis driving for and what make of car? That was a great interview.

Dot said...

If NASCAR won't start their own channel, why doesn't BSPN start a college b-ball channel? Aren't there enough fans to support it? There must be since racing fans get screwed every Sat.

I'm glad that Rusty has the weekend off. Twice the DJ.

Lisa Hogan said...

I find it interesting when a poster feels the need to lecture the other posters on what they should or should not post an opinion, yep, I’ll go with interesting.

Mike Joy has been a little off this weekend. Yesterday, he got hung up on driver’s car numbers and couldn’t really let it go. The blog he keeps mentioning obviously isn’t this one. Gosh, should we be feeling bad about that? I’m sure we’ll struggle on without him.

Some like Digger and some don’t. I’m with the don’t group. It’s just one more silly thing being shoved in our faces.

I really enjoy the weekend coverage when SPEED has the qualifying and practice. They’ve done a good job on covering all the stories, especially the Toyota engine problems.

Anonymous said...

Dot said...

If NASCAR won't start their own channel, why doesn't BSPN start a college b-ball channel? Aren't there enough fans to support it? There must be since racing fans get screwed every Sat.

I'm glad that Rusty has the weekend off. Twice the DJ.


Dot -

There already is such a channel really. It's the one called "ESPNU" and run out of the ESPN Regional studio in Charlotte. However, ESPN has rights to sooo many college basketball games in so many different conferences, it overwhelms the schedule.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that NASCAR believes it primary product- the drivers and the on-track action has degraded to such a point that they feel the need to inject sideshows like Rutledge and Digger. As for Trackside, I usually end up turning it off after the umpteenth reference by Larry Mac about how he won Daytona with Dale, or DW and HAMmond reminding us how great they were. It's sad to see how desperate they seem to be to make sure they are in the spotlight, no their guests.

Anonymous said...

Who let Chris in the garage *giggle*

@Karen--Mad Max is driving for Germain Racing in a Toyota. With N'wide balking over the Gecko, they decided to stay in by sponsoring Mad Max in his Cup & Pick 'em Ups endeavors :)

bevo said...

I tell you what I won't miss Rusty at all. And I tell you what I won't miss hearing "I tell you what" every couple of minutes and I tell you what I'll enjoy the race this afternoon.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Las Vegas Nationwide Series race.


Vicky D said...

And during Nationwide qualifying it was so apparent that the broadcast crew was more interested in the cup guys. They were interviewing every one of them and left a lot of the full time/part time drivers in that series left on pit road.

Richard in N.C. said...

I was impressed - but probably should not have been - how knowledgeable Mike and Larry were about the N-wide drivers, etc. I took it from the way Steven was talking that Rusty was at the track.