Saturday, June 13, 2009

Exciting Day-Night NASCAR TV Doubleheader


Saturday will be a fun day of NASCAR on TV. It is another doubleheader with SPEED presenting the Camping World Truck Series in the afternoon and then ESPN2 offering the Nationwide Series in the evening.

Rick Allen is doing his best to keep a good face on the truck series that SPEED had developed into a bonafide TV success story. Allen's play-by-play is always exciting and he works well with partners Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Add-in Krista Voda hosting the 1:30PM ET pre-race show and all that is left to mention is the veteran duo of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander covering pit road.

MIS looks to be a fun race for the truck series which hit a speedbump last week. A stand-alone race in Texas with the IRL Series was just not a good idea. There was a small field made even smaller by the start-and-park set. Luckily, the action at the front of the field remained strong.

This Saturday, Voda will be reporting some tough economic news as even more manufacturer money is being withdrawn from the series. Perhaps, most deeply affected will be the powerhouse KHI team of Kevin and DeLana Harvick. Certainly, Voda will have the news and the interviews.

Waltrip is back with the truck series TV crew this week and has to be on his game in these tough times. When he is focused, his humor and experience comes shining through and adds a critical element to the telecast. When he is off-balance, he becomes just another compromised driver/owner full of sponsor mentions and quirky comments.

Hopefully, the fast and furious truck series practice session at MIS was a preview of the good racing to come on Saturday. Right now, this series needs a good showing on TV to remind fans of why they began to make this a habit years ago.

While several drivers including Kyle Busch are flying to the Nationwide Series night race in Kentucky, the ESPN TV team can relax. With Dale Jarrett off this weekend, it will be Rusty Wallace front-and-center on both the pre-race show and during the event.

Friday, NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske got Wallace on-camera and led him through a very thorough discussion of the suspension of Bryan Berry. Wallace spoke his mind, addressed the issues completely and assured NASCAR fans that his company would never tolerate racial slurs in the sport.

All of this was then backed-up by once again repeating almost the same content later in the Friday practice coverage. What a smart move by ESPN. Putting the issue out and allowing it to be discussed fully made lots of room on the Saturday telecast for something else. That would be coverage of qualifying and the race.

Allen Bestwick will get things sorted-out on Saturday as he handles the 8PM ET pre-race show along with Wallace and Brad Daugherty. This stand-alone race has been previewed by ESPN as very possibly having a Nationwide "regular" as the winner. That has been the theme of the network's coverage to this point.

Once the scene shifts to the broadcast booth, it will be Jerry Punch handling the call of the race. Wallace moves upstairs to join Andy Petree alongside Punch. This trio knows each other quite well, having started as the original ESPN announcers on the NASCAR coverage back in 2007.

Shannon Spake is off this weekend, so Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch will handle the pit reporting duties. As with the trucks, there is no possibility that we will see an interview with a start-and-park driver. Just a sign of the times I am told. Ironically, SPEED's Parsons is the co-owner of two Nationwide S&P teams.

Two racing reminders for Saturday. First, the spectacle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins on SPEED at 8:30AM. For those of you who have not seen this before, it certainly is worth watching or recording the first hour of coverage. Secondly, Steve Byrnes and company will sneak-in Sprint Cup final practice coverage on SPEED at 12PM. The Le Mans coverage will move online to SPEEDtv.com during that time.

TDP will be live-blogging both the CWTS and Nationwide races, please feel free to add your comments on this post to any of the topics mentioned above. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks once again for taking time out of your day to stop by The Daly Planet.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jerry punch has declared war on excitement. He will not rest until it is extinguished. It is the mission that fuels his existence: bore NASCAR fans until they drift into slumber. His singular focus is matched only by the enjoyment he seems to get from sucking every ounce of life from the on-air broadcast. Not even the most caffeinated fan can resist his sleepy siren call: "And that's the 20 car."

Oh, yes, the Doctor is in - and he is wielding his scalpel on your enjoyment of NASCAR. Beware!

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with Dale being off all the time? I find that a bit odd.

Anonymous said...

Mikey's back, oh well. I guess I'll watch it anyway.

dawg

Vicky D said...

Anons this morning are very clever and I enjoyed your humorous comments! Especially about Doc. I enjoy Rick Allen and find him a competent PXP guy plus at the end of the races, he can get the excitement up as anyone in the booth.

jbfc said...

JD,

Forgive me if I posted this question to the wrong column - but it looks like the Texas article is closed.

How does Speed handle the truck coverage when the Cup cars are half way across the country. For example - the Texas race ... It just appeared to me that the camera men could not keep up with the trucks being strung out. Or could it have been the lack of cautions. Does Speed hire local help to handle with the 3 series are at different locations?

I thought it caused confusion for the announcers too - or maybe it was because Mikey was not in the mix to spice things up.

I would like to clear some questions with the fans and I know you will provide us with some insight.

On a personal note - I would like to say thanks to all of your fans for being supportive of Johnny Benson this week in Texas article. It's appreciated.

Daly Planet Editor said...

jbfc,

SPEED cooperates with the other racing series and their TV package. In this case, the IRL.

The production trucks and the camera folks are all freelance. The experience level may vary, especially at a stand-alone weekend like this.

Tell JB to get in the Michael Waltrip Cup car and put it in the Chase!

JD

darbar said...

I wonder if anyone knows if the Truck Series will finish out the season? Their money was tight to begin with, and with GM cutting off all funding to the trucks, I would love it if the TV guys could address this issue. I also wonder if contractual issues with race tracks and race sponsors would impact any decision to halt the truck season? I'm hoping something can be done to salvage the truck races because it's some of the best racing.

BTW, my beloved Penguins are the Stanley Cup Champs. Yeah !!!

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

Since JB has no ride, and I'm sure he wants to drive, how about JB in the tv booth. I guess MW is under contract to do the races, but it would be good to get him out of the booth. All of you MW fans, if he gets out of his cup ride next year I'm sure you will get a good dose of him all over tv.

MikeC said...

There's a good-sized band of rain showers west of MIS....could get interesting for Shrub as he attempts the double today.

Vicky D said...

They could always try to get JB back on TWIN instead of Biffle too.

Anonymous said...

Been trying for a long time what
Mikie is worse at,trying to drive a race car or trying to be a announcer??
Tks.JD. Ron Il.

Daly Planet Editor said...

New post up for the trucks at MIS.

Gymmie said...

@anon 5:50--I was wondering the same. And I want to know when Mr. Petree and Dr. J will get there's. We have a long way until November.

@jbfc--Johnny B. is awesome and I hate seeing him bitten :(

@Vicky--that's why Johnny B. was "fired" to begin with he wasn't a Cup regular any more :(. Since 90% of the show was about Cup they wanted folks who *were* in the series week in and week out to be on the Expert Panel. If Mikey does go to PT or retires altogether it'll be interesting to see if it really *is* his show or not**. If they relieve him of the TWIN duties or let him stay since he's an owner.

**For those who don't know the "joke" for years is that IWC/TWIN is Mikey's show. The word as I heard it was that SPEED (well I guess it was Speedvision at the time) went to Mikey and said we want to do this weekly show and you can invite some of your buddies to be on it (and that's how Mikey, Schrader and Johnny B. became the Original Expert Panel). And I *believe* Allen was doing an old version of the show on another channel and they kept him as the host. Along the line Herman was the "official" fill in when someone couldn't make it and Frankie would often also fill in as he could. And back when we had guest stars, if they showed up early, sometimes they'd become an unofficial member of the Expert Panel.

Anonymous said...

JD,

This is slightly off topic. Regarding the LeMans coverage,is Varsha and company in France or Charlotte? They were talking about a team located HERE in Charlotte. Later they were talking about a book with the author and stated he was there in LeMans with them. Inquiring minds want to know.

Frank in Sebring,

Daly Planet Editor said...

Last year the Le Mans coverage originated in France, I am not sure how things are put togther for this season.

There are pit reporters on-camera, but I did not watch the coverage to see if the other announcers are on location.

JD

David said...

Well, curious to see if Stanton will get his car fixed before race time. Odds are against them. Also curious to see if they will allow them to submit the #31 as their backup too.

Karen said...

David, is that the car Kittleson DNQ in?

David said...

Yes. Team car I do believe. Not sure how the rules break down if they would be able to submit the car to race, or if they would use the car for parts to get the 79 ready

Karen said...

submit the car to race, or if they would use the car for parts to get the 79 ready.

Makes sense to use parts from the 31. He may have no choice, although JP said he had a lot of friends in the garage area.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for your comments on the Nationwide Series race.

JD

Anonymous said...

For Frank in Sebring: Varsha is in Charlotte. They're using the international feed from LeMans.