Friday, March 20, 2009

Eight Hours Of NASCAR TV On Friday

There is only one Bristol. That sentence has been said by many race fans and TV commentators over the years. At this tiny and hypersensitive track, the practice sessions are sometimes filled with more drama than the race. The qualifying, especially for those trying to make the field on time, can be nail-biting.

Friday, SPEED and ESPN combine for eight hours of NASCAR TV beginning at noon ET. The NASCAR on Fox gang gets the day underway with live coverage of Sprint Cup practice. Mike Joy will then be joined in the booth by Jeff Hammond and Hermie Sadler for the Nationwide Series practice at 1:30PM.

It will be Steve Byrnes hosting NASCAR Live at 3PM as the track gets ready for the Sprint Cup Series qualifying. This show catches viewers up on the news and notes from the day. No doubt Tommy Baldwin's recent merger announcement might be a story for this program.

Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds join Joy at 3:30PM as the big boys get set to qualify live on SPEED. According to Jayski, there are 45 cars trying to make the field including nine that are not in the Top 35 and must qualify on speed. It will be Krista Voda and Dick Berggren handling the interviews from pit road.

After the drama of Cup qualifying, the always interesting Nationwide teams take to the track for "happy hour." This is the last time to make adjustments before Saturday qualifying and this 5PM session has proven to be both interesting and dangerous in the past. Joy will remain to call the action with Sadler and Hammond.

ESPN2 slips in the with now consistently solid NASCAR Now program at 6PM hosted by Nicole Manske. Mike Massaro will be reporting from the track along with Marty Smith. No doubt they will be hyping the live ESPN2 coverage of the Saturday legends charity race at 6PM. Ned and Dale Jarrett will be teaming up for the commentary.

It is still a shame that this program refuses to offer a promo with the correct time and TV channel for the Sprint Cup Series races. This is a glaring error and the only missing element in the newly revamped TV series. Someone on the NASCAR Now production staff simply needs to grow-up and it needs to happen soon.

There are a lot of potential topics to cover in the fast-paced Trackside show at 7PM on SPEED. From Darrell Waltrip's absence in the charity race to Mark Martin's awful season, this hour should fly by for viewers. Both Martin and Carl Edwards will appear on the show. No clue if Digger is along for the ride.

Steve Byrnes is the host and he tries his best to control Jeff Hammond, Larry McReynolds, Waltrip and the annoying Rutledge Wood. There are some big news topics this week and no doubt more stories will be breaking during the day on Friday. Trackside has done a good job of keeping viewers up to date as an end of the day wrap-up show.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Friday TV coverage on both SPEED and ESPN2. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button.

TDP is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind while posting. Thank you for taking the time to read The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

It is still a shame that this program refuses to offer a promo with the correct time and TV channel for the Sprint Cup Series races.

It is childish.

What do they hope to accomplish?

"Hey, maybe they'll just watch our show about NASCAR, and if we don't tell when where and when they can see it, they won't watch the NASCAR race!"

Come on, ESPN, grow up.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldt Nascar use this (Digger wanna be) Rutlege wood for speedy dry on the first two rounds of cautions..Note to Nascar!!We dont get It!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ESPN has to get that woman off of NASCAR Now. She wouldn't even know her own name if someone didn't write it on paper and put it in front of her. When it comes to racing, she doesn't know a crankshaft from a corn cob. She gives an entire new meaning to the word 'PATHETIC'.

Anonymous said...

I predict that anonymous 5:53am's post will be deleted. For some strange reason, TDP has been shilling for that woman for years. Go figure....

Anonymous said...

The 3 of us may not survive if we comment on Nicole other than to say she's great. I can see ESPN trying out talent, but after her performance last year, I just don't get that she's still there.

This whole week of NN has been terrible.

Anonymous said...

No matter what all of ESPN's coverage of NASCAR has been terrible since they've come back in 2007. It all has to start with the race broadcasts. If they cannot realize that Dr. Punch is not getting it done in the booth (I think he'd be an awesome host for the pit studio) then why will they get rid of Nicole? I think she's doing a pretty good job. Not an Allen Bestwick by any means, but decent.

Anonymous said...

I can understand when Jack from PA asks "why get rid of Nicole/" Well, if you just had her, maybe you could overlook some of her goofs, but when you compare her to others, it's hard to understand why she's still there, other than she has a contract til the end of the season.

I have learned that in this site you cannot point out anything wrong with Nicole or AB.

PammH said...

I was disappointed that Nicole hosted all wk myself. I missed a few shows,simple because it was her. She is missing the mark somehow, imo. She doesn't come off as improving from last yr, when I was willing to give her a chance. That time has passed...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dot said...

I'm watching practice right now. I see that Disco is alive and well in the booth. Shiny shirts? Really?

Lou said...

Enjoying the first of eight hours of racing. Nice to see cars on the track. Too bad for the 55 wrecking. Good to hear Larry Mac, liked his explaination of pit selection. lol

Unknown said...

Noticing during the cup practice they are using tires with grooves in them?

When did this start?

Bill H

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:53PM,

You seem to have a short memory. NASCAR Now started with two radio guys, Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks as co-hosts.

The format was horrible, the production decisions were even worse.

Manske seems to have settled into a nice groove with Massaro. It seems that ESPN likes her work since they bumped her up to the Monday show twice this season.

As I noted in my column about the most recent show, Manske seemed off-kilter when the journalists began to talk about topics they has not scripted.

Not quite sure what your real agenda with Manske is, but perhaps you could help us by talking about what you would like to see changed.

ESPN has been rather good about listening to the readers and making changes.

Nice to see cars on the track in Bristol again. Thanks for the comments.


Anonymous said...

JD, I'm not anon 5.53, however, in the past when I have made an observation (not flatering)about Nicloe, my comment as have the comments of others, been deleted.

When you write a review of a NN broadcast, if I respond, I give specific details. I don't just say,"I don't like her." For me, that would not be fair.

Some of the comments I have made and been deleted include: she can't read the teleprompter, trips over her words, makes a pause on the wrong place, uses the same word in one interview. For example: expectation. She'll ask "what were your expectations this year, then she'll ask next, what are your expecations for this race, then what are your expectations for the Chase, etc. She can be quite rude and abrupt.

I could list more, but I'm not trying to just diss her. The point is that she is not very good. We sure don't know if she'll be back next season. I hope she improves, but so far, she's the same as last year.

red said...

hey! watching n'wide practice just now -- anyone besides me just see that sheet metal hammer being pounded there? maybe they're getting ready for this weekend . . . i'm just sayin'!

Anonymous said...

watching NN right now and ive never really paid close attention to manske, but i must agree she shouldnt host the show. ive noticed she seems like she stutters too many times and on every segment theres 1 or 2 misread stats. i know everyone makes mistakes but theres just too many. and she sort of makes the guests a little uncomfortable

Daly Planet Editor said...

I smell a little something cooking with your comments where Manske is concerned.

She held her own after moving over from SPEED, jumped into the deep end this season and continues to be a better presence than Ryan Burr, who admittedly did not know the sport very well.

Comments are deleted on this blog when they are hateful, contain bad language or are judged to be in bad taste.

You can (and many people do) voice an opinion about any TV personality being discussed. Guys like Jimmy Spencer, Darrell Waltrip and Dr. Jerry Punch are frequently the topics of diverse opinions from readers.

I have never met Manske, do not care to advance her career and continue to be glad that Erik Kuselias was banished to the bowels of ESPN for life.

Again, just a reminder that it always helps to talk about what you would like to see someone do BETTER on the air instead of what you are upset they are doing now.

Thanks for the comments,


stricklinfan82 said...

Enjoyable Friday coverage by the Speed gang. After witnessing the heartbreak of the sponsored cars of Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs missing the show, I sure hope those unsponsored go-or-go-homers that knocked them out did so because they are in Bristol to race and not just to collect starting money.

It will truly be a shame if any of those cars run only a couple laps of practice on Saturday, conveniently fall to the back of the starting grid on Sunday because of some kind of made-up "problem", run a few laps, and then park when their spots could have been occupied by owners and drivers that actually want to race and compete.

Here's hoping for a 500-lap race with 43 actual racecars on Sunday.

Daly Planet Editor said...


That is certainly going to be an issue that we will watch closely.

The big questions is, will Fox also watch and then comment on the situation.

Feel bad for Tommy after announcing his merger and plans to try and run the full season.


Newracefan said...

Amen SLF I was at worked, checked quick and was so saddened to see who missed the show.

As far as Nicole goes, I too am grateful not to be seeing Doug and Eric, Nicole is not perfect- see Harry Gant interview but expecting her to be a good as AB is asking a lot from most people. I prefer Mike because I think he has more Nascar knowledge but Nicole is so much better than some of what we have had to put up with.

I am watching what I taped earlier I think Pemberton ( I always get the brothers mixed up, Randy?)is having some issues, last week he was talking to Juan about the new Dodge nose oops he's in a Chevy this year and now Reut about the NW race which he's not in this week. I don't remember him having these problems last year, hope all is well with him.

Anonymous said...

stricklinfan, Super comment. I'm not a Scott Riggs or Jeremy M fan, but I really do hate those 2 have missed the race again after all the effort their teams have apparently put in. Almost seems like Tommy B's team's luck has all gone down hill since they got some sponsorship.

Maybe I am somewhat biased because of her disappointing tenure on SPEED, but I have been impressed by the job Nicole M has done on N-Now. She's obviously not a threat to Allen B, but she does a better job on N-Now than several other EESPN studio hosts.

JD- Super picture. Thank you. Not quite as good as DW in his PJ's, but super.

Anonymous said...

Until we get the furry rodent off the Cup Car broadcasts, I will keep the personal attacks on the hosts to a minimum. Priorities and all.

Anonymous said...

JD, sorry, I cannot agree with you that Nicole is better than Ryan Burr. He is a true professional and she is not, IMHO. He is doing beautifully in his new job, in basketball.

As I look at some of her round tables, it looks like the participants talk around/past her. I just don't see a respect that goes to a person that "knows" what they are doing.

I look at Ryan as he is doing basketball, and the panels he leads, the participants are looking at him and answering HIM!!Great chemistry.

I guess I wonder why you seem to defend Nicole and yet when people tear DW apart, you let them go at it--which is just fine. After all, it seems to me that your goal is to have people comment, whatever they think, as long as it is done is a way without using profanity/abusive language.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 7:46...

I think Nicole seems to have a little more knowledge on the sport than Ryan. I agree with you that Ryan is more of a professional, but I'd rather someone more informal but with more knowledge of the sport than someone more professional who does not show much interest in the sport. Especially with ESPN, who always brush NASCAR to the side no matter what show or channel.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:46PM,

As you may remember, Ryan was a regular reader of TDP and often emailed with me about NASCAR.

He is a great guy and as I have said many times a great TV news professional.

No one is comparing the two, I was saying Manske has worked in motorsports for the past few years and ESPN has done a good job of "packaging" her in this new role.

I agree, as I mentioned, that the roundtable experience was more scripted then with Bestwick, but what do you expect?

She is surrounded by two of the top NASCAR TV pro's and only time will tell if she steps-up and fits in or decides to move on again.

The comparison to DW is really off-base in my opinion. The things he has done commercially and the sponsor shills and this season's Digger stuff are just killing his credibility.

Manske is not on commercials, does not endorse products and is not even close to DW's level of visibility as a spokesman, former NASCAR champ and TV announcer.


Anonymous said...

I'm not anon 5:53,but I'm reacting to the comment about "Agenda"??? I, and I'm sure most TDP readers don't have an 'agenda'. All we expect is knowledgeable people covering their favorite sport on TV. Manske was a disaster on the Speed Report. I'm convinced she knows nothing about Nascar racing.On Speed Report,she once narrated a bike racing crash and commented that the rider reverted to a backup CAR! The next year on NN,she was almost as bad partly due to not having to cover as many venues. Last year she was better. No improvement this year. She has no self confidence and puts me to sleep with her monotone.That ESPN advances anyone carries absolutely no weight with me based on past choices.

Anonymous said...

JD, I'm talking about the diggs DW has gotten here for his personality, his B-B-B, his long stories, etc.

I'm not sure what you mean by loss of credibility. He sells stuff by the truck load. Does that mean he lost his knowledge of the sport? His credibility has to do with the fact that he either knows racing and can analize or not. Often times we hear him comment on an engine before it blows up, or notice a driver stuggeling loose before he crashes, or notices a flat tire before the crew, etc. I would dare say that DW is very well respected for his extensive knowledge, whether he sells Digger or not.

Like what you said about Nicole, his network thinks he's doing a good job and keeps him working.

Newracefan said...

someone want to tell me why Jimmie and Rutledge are on Trackside, I would really like to more of the guys on the stage not this mess, guess Scotts has sponsered this portion of Trackside, I feel like I'm watching a commercial

Anonymous said...

JD, i sure hope you don't think that because we don't think Nicole is doing a good job, we have an agenda. I don't comment on other's opinions, just mine. Like you, I don't know her and don't know anyone on this site. No agenda. Just think she ought to be replaced with someone who knows the sport and has good professional tv skills.

Tracy D said...

Heard Byrnes say The Chase is On has been cut. Bummer.

All of the Digger plugs from DW were just awful. Poor Carl parried them as well as he could.

Glenn said...

Bill H.- Goodyear now makes a grooved tire for the teams to use around the garage, transporting the car, inspection etc.

Just getting to watch, but it's funny I didn't even notice the shirts on the guys in the booth. I'm just seeing Dillner, and he looks pretty silly. Speed does need a fashion consultant. Yep there's Mike, Hermie, and Jeff and they do look kinda silly. At least Mike Joy filled his shirt out.

I noticed that DW was correcting Mike Joy a lot today. Most times I notice DW being a know-it-all but I guess he usually comments a little more discrete.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Right, but once again none of you commented on what you would like to see changed.

ESPN has been great in reacting to our comments. Suggesting change has been met with good responses.


Daly Planet Editor said...

I'm putting together a little column about Trackside and also DW's comments at the start of the show.

That got the email flying. Should be up before 11PM ET.


Anonymous said...

JD said:
"Right, but once again none of you commented on what you would like to see changed."

I would like to see someone who knows the sport and has tv skills. I kinda don't think Nicole will be back next year. No one (the suits)can ignore all the mistakes she makes on every show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:08PM,

Sorry to burst your baloon, but ESPN is very high on her and thinks they have the perfect person for the job.

That is why I would simply ask everyone to please talk about what you would like to see done differently or changed.

As usual, with one hundred eyes on the same TV show you have fifty different opinions.



Anonymous said...

If EESPN can continue to have the grossly biased, mean-spirited Skip Bayless and Chris Mortenson without regard to their production, anyone can stay at EESPN - especially if you can develop a cutesy phrase or sound effect to use in place of real reporting.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Skip Bayless is to First Take what Tim Cowlishaw used to be to NASCAR Now.

ESPN is undergoing a radical change in viewership right now and the dynamics of this change will playout over this year.

After putting billions of dollars out in rights fees for high-profile events and building a Los Angeles based SportsCenter studio, the company has frozen hiring for 25 thousand dollar a year employees.

It should be a very interesting 2009 for the WWLIS.


Daly Planet Editor said...

There are new posts up about the charity race, Friday's TV and the NASCAR Fan Council.


Anonymous said...

JD, I really believe you do a disservice to Tim Cowlishaw as I do not believe he comes close to the level of bias and mean-spiritedness of Skip Bayless as evidenced by SB's recent comments about Troy Aikman.