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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