Friday, September 4, 2009
Are You Ready For Some Football?
It's that time of the year again. Time for NASCAR fans to locate the ESPN Classic network on their cable dial. College football season is here.
Saturday returns the Nationwide Series television coverage to a familiar pattern. A live college football game begins at 3:30PM and the NASCAR pre-race show begins three hours later. Last season, that was a rough combination.
This week Allen Bestwick stands ready to kick things off at 6:30PM from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bestwick will have Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham in the Infield Pit Studio to start the day.
This is the time of the season when the Nationwide Series pre-race show suddenly becomes optional, despite the fact NASCAR fans have been watching it since February and this is the heart of the season.
Should the college football game run longer than 7PM, ESPN Classic has taped programming up until 8PM so it could serve as a back-up. Not all NASCAR fans get Classic, but other than ESPNEWS that is the only option to get the race started on TV.
This weekend is the transition when NASCAR is suddenly surrounded on Saturdays by college football and on Sunday by the NFL. Things on the air have changed drastically for NASCAR every season this has happened since ESPN returned to the coverage in 2007.
The Atlanta Nationwide Series race signals a return of the "Backseat Drivers" concept that was first used in Michigan. ESPN will have Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, Wallace and Evernham watching the race and talking to viewers in an informal fashion.
Bestwick will remain downstairs in the infield and will probably handle the vast majority of the traffic directing should the college football game run long.
The top three excuses heard about this situation last season were that the pre-race show does not really matter, that the Nationwide Series is the minor leagues and that college football gets better ratings. All those excuses got old very fast.
TV viewers expect to see complete coverage of the only NASCAR series that ESPN shows from start to finish. That includes the pre-race show and the green flag. While Atlanta is a fast and exciting track, it may be the NASCAR fan that is taken for an exciting ride this Saturday afternoon. Put some fresh batteries in the remote.
TDP will be live blogging the ESPN2 telecast of the race, please join us. In order to leave comments on this topic, just click 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.