Sunday, August 30, 2009
Live Blogging The Nationwide Series From Montreal (2PM ET - ESPN2)
There should be an opportunity for a very interesting pre-race show from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal today.
The field for this event normally contains some Canadian drivers, but this year the list is even more international. Familiar names like Max Papis, Patrick Carpentier and Jaques Villeneuve are in the field. Also racing Sunday are Jean Francois Dumoulin, Alex Tagliani and Antonio Perez.
On the American side, Jeffrey Earnhardt is back as is Brad's brother Brian Keselowski. Familiar road course ringers include Boris Said, Ron Fellows and Andy Lally. It should be a challenge for ESPN to get the fans up to speed on the line-up.
Marty Reid will call the play-by-play with Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree alongside. No real indication of why Randy LaJoie is not on the telecast and that is a shame. LaJoie is closely identified with this series and works very well with Wallace and Reid. LaJoie provides the fun with his comments and that will no doubt be missed on this telecast.
Dave Burns is on pit road with Jamie Little and Shannon Spake. Burns will probably be hosting the pre-race show as he has in the past for these stand-alone races. In many ways, having the host roaming pit road is more effective than three men in suits sitting in an infield studio.
This road course has seen its share of TV adventures. From the rain tire debacle to the Robby Gordon vs. Marcos Ambrose slam-fest, the track seems to make for tight tempers whatever the weather.
The challenge for ESPN's crew is to keep the leaders updated while searching for the best racing on the track. Unlike an oval where the director can keep one designated camera on the leaders at all times, a road course requires keeping track of multiple cars while continuing to cut cameras constantly.
The use of in-car cameras has been a huge issue since ESPN took over the Sprint Cup Series. It's almost as if the network has discovered this technology for the first time. In a recent race, the director actually cut to an in-car camera angle in the middle of a high speed crash on a superspeedway. Viewers saw nothing but smoke and blurred images.
In Montreal, the TV team will have a new challenge. The director must first show the cars and establish their position in the race and on the track before cutting in-car or the TV viewers will have no point of reference. This is not Watkins Glen, where familiar turns are easy to identify even from the in-car angle.
The weather is a 30% chance of showers with a high of 70 degrees. Looks like this may be a solid road course race for TV after all. The diversity of the field may lead to some outstanding racing and that is exactly what the Nationwide Series needs right now.
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