Friday, July 31, 2009

NASCAR's B Sample Ready For Random Testing In Iowa

The Nationwide Series flies under the radar for a wide variety of reasons. This Saturday, all those reasons are suddenly gone. The trucks are in Nashville and the Sprint Cup Series is in Pocono. Instead of a small crowd at a second tier track, the beautiful Iowa Speedway beckons. Most importantly, the college football season is still weeks away.

This weekend, NASCAR's best TV will be the Saturday Nationwide Series qualifying coverage and live race on the ESPN family of networks. Finally, the B-team gets a moment to shine.

ESPN's crew of Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Randy LaJoie produced a fantastic Nationwide Series telecast from O'Reilly Raceway Park last weekend. Along with Jack Arute, Rick DeBruhl and Mike Massaro, this entire TV B-team is back again and this time viewers are in for a little surprise.

Iowa Speedway has brought in extra seating for the NASCAR fans. Out in the middle of nowhere, there has been an awakening. Officials are bracing for 55 thousand fans to fill the stands on Saturday. These people are making a statement. At 4PM ET when the ESPN cameras show the first pictures of the sold-out racetrack, NASCAR's waterlogged Sprint Cup Series officials in Pocono are certainly going to take notice.

Click here and scroll down for Jayski's Nationwide Series entry list for Iowa. You may have to keep scrolling for a bit. There are 51 cars in total. Let me repeat that. There are 51 cars trying to make the Nationwide Series field in Iowa.

ESPN2 is handling the qualifying coverage at 1PM ET on Saturday. Unlike some of the ridiculous happenings of last week, there will be a lot on the line for many teams who must make the race on time or go home. Iowa to North Carolina is a very long drive. Qualifying should be something to see.

Current storylines from this series involve Brad Keselowski's continuing emergence, Steven Wallace perhaps finally coming of age and the fact that Des Moines, Iowa's Michael Annett, pictured above, is trying to make the race. Also, only three Cup drivers will be in the Iowa event. Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch will make the trip from Pocono.

Motorsports TV veteran Reid has accomplished the same two things Allen Bestwick did for ESPN when he took over the Infield Pit Studio hosting duties. Reid immediately changed the TV tone and brought instant credibility to the position. The effect has been tremendously positive.

Balancing two very different personalities like Wallace and LaJoie on the air is no easy task. Perhaps some folks remember Reid standing between Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever on the IRL telecasts for ESPN. Reid also helped a new motorsports TV announcer learn broadcasting skills on the IRL series a while back. I believe his name was also Wallace.

This speedway is built for good TV and good racing. The design has proven to be popular for both the fans and the teams. With a sold-out crowd, live national TV and a full field of Nationwide cars, the facility designer should be proud. I believe his name is also Wallace.

A high-profile race like this can change the careers of drivers who will be watched on TV by the NASCAR media and owners from Pocono. Not much else to do after the ARCA race in that neck of the woods. The results should be some additional news coverage online and perhaps some additional driver opportunities down the road.

This may well be the second weekend where the Nationwide race upstages the Sprint Cup Series event. TDP will live blog the race on Saturday afternoon.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Jack from PA said...

I think another aspect to keep in mind is going to be the quality of racing between the Cup Series at Pocono (typically a boring race) and the Nationwide Series at Iowa (a track many say is similar to Richmond--great racing). I think the Nationwide race has more storylines in terms of it being an inaugural race for the series and such, whereas at Pocono it's the usual storylines (Chase bubble drivers, fuel mileage, etc.). Should be some good racing Saturday between the Nationwide and Truck Series at Nashville as well.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jack, it's looking real "start and parky" in Nashville.

West Coast Diane said...

Just finished watching NW practice...forgot I DVR'd it :-).

Rusty didn't bug me!! Actually thought he did pretty good. I think it is the Marty/Randy combo. That was the first time in a while I watched a practice on ESPN that I wasn't screaming at the TV, then just turning it off.

It just felt really natural. So, crossing my fingers and looking forward to the race!

Side note. We stayed at an RV Park that is directly across I-80 from the race track. So, we had the opportunity to check out the track. Very nice. Say what you will about Rusty and his announcing/analyst abilities. He built a really nice race track.

Ken said...

It will be nice to have a race a good track where there can be good racing with an enthusiastic crowd. It will remind me of what Cup racing was several years ago.

Spaw said...

I'll wholeheartedly agree with you in every way regarding Iowa and the NW race......providing Rusty stays reasonably in check.

Tell ya' what though......For my money, I'd be willing to bet on the team doing the ARCA race as well. ARCA at Pocono can be pretty "iffy." Even if the racing is bad, Byrnes, Petty, and Venturini, will do well and make it a good afternoon.

Just an opinion......Your mileage may vary.


Anonymous said...

In the middle of a cornfield in Iowa
a racetrack was built.
"Build it they will come"

Thanks Rusty Tks,JD. Ron Il.

David said...

The B team?

I would argue this group is the A squad for ESPN if they can back up ORP. Sure Cup has Andy and DJ but if Randy and Rusty are solid then that is a wash of a trade.

Should be interesting, I havent seen Iowa in action but have heard good things regarding non-open wheel cars lol.

The truck race will be a #33/#30/#5 run away I think.
Love the track, love the series, but lets face facts; Hornaday is on it.

Vicky D said...

David don't forget David Starr & Brian Scott mixing it up for the win at Nashville.

glenc1 said...

JD, I think we need a new column on annoying ads....did anyone just see the A spray? Do they really think that all NASCAR fans are stinky men?

Patrick said...

While this comment probably should go into the Extenze column, this was shown during Happy Hour: Doc Bottom's Aspray!!!!
I think I'd rather have innuendo and nudge-nudge-wink-wink than this disgusting product. Seriously? Do you stank, order NOW.

David said...

glen, that ad has been running on ESPN all week long through all their programming.

Vicky, Scott could upset. Those are guys who could steal it but neither will go out and dominate like Hornaday or Bodine can.

Truck Series just isn't what it was 3 years ago unfortunately. I really wish Crafton would get up there and make this interesting but that team seems to be slipping, but maybe tonight will be a rebound for them.

batchief said...

"Is this Heaven, no it's Iowa."

Marsha said...

Our local paper which is a couple of hours from Newton just announced they are adding even more seating - now it's up to 57,000 seats. At least in our area, none of the predicted rain and it is sunny and in the 60s. Coolest July in history in Iowa. Should be great weather for the race.

Newracefan said...

Thoughts on practice coverage anyone? I feel like I'm seeing way too much cutaway car and video clips and not enough discussion on how each car is actually looking. It's like they are backround noise. "Here's the ## car", now let's talk about Silly Season, last week, crew chief this morning, standing in the points. I'm starting to get a little annoyed :(

West Coast Diane said...

@Newracefan....totally agree. Snoozer. Especially as compared to practice coverage at Iowa yesterday.

A little behind...DVRing...JP just got excited going to commercial.

Are they just talking about the same people over and over? Looking at the ticker I see different people up near the front.

Cousin race reporter for race. Please somebody help me. Actually that may be good news...not JR...LOL!

Oh...more Tim Brewer...full screen. I'm gone.

glenc1 said... be honest, watching them go around in circles NOT racing isn't that exciting to me. I like the cutaway car & the coordination with what the crew chiefs are up to, but the taped stuff, now that I agree on. Most of the coverage has seemed pretty good to me today; too much rehash of the Brickyard, maybe.

I guess I haven't seen that ad cause I'm not into baseball or X games. This week I've only seen PTI, pretty much.

glenc1 said...

btw, the really annoying thing? Calling it the tricky triangle all day....

David said...

ah, glen i get home from work at 7 am so i flip on sportscenter or first take and get up to speed on whats going on in the sports world and have seen that commercial a bunch.

Vicky D said...

And I think DJ's voice will be gone by tomorrow. Plus I noticed Larry Mac had a cold yesterday it must be going around the garage area. Next is NW qualifying and ARCA race. Why would they have it on the same time.

David said...

Vicky, ARCA and NASCAR are competitors. So no incentive to make sure each session had an undivided audience.

I always wondered what would happen if Bruton bought ARCA and tried to compete head to head with NASCAR...

Should be an interesting day nonetheless

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey all, added a live blog post for the ARCA race on SPEED.

Head back to the main TDP page.


Anonymous said...

BRAVO ESPN. That was the best practice session coverage of the year on any network. Great job balancing the action on the track and commentary from the garage.

Martin Vincent said...

Here in Canada, no practice sessions or qualifying on TSN or TSN2. Gotta wait for the race coverage to start at 4:00pm to see our first images of Nationwide Series at Iowa Speedway.

There were 50 cars trying to qualify, for the second time in three weeks, we had a tie for the pole position. At Gateway, it went to Brad Keselowski over Reed Sorenson. This week, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got the pole and Justin Allgaier got second with an identical time.

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