Friday, September 25, 2009
ESPN Working The Dayshift On Saturday
The sports car race is called The Petit Le Mans. It will be shown on SPEED from 11AM to 9PM ET live on Saturday. Needless to say, that means there will be no NASCAR on SPEED from Dover during the dayshift.
Instead, ESPN will offer Nationwide Series qualifying, the Nationwide Series race and finally coverage of Happy Hour for the Sprint Cup Series.
Marty Reid is back on the Nationwide Series this week, but once again he has Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree with him. Those two are pulling double duty in Dover handling all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series TV. Perhaps, not the best idea.
Reid starts the day on ESPN2 at 10:30AM with Nationwide Series qualifying. As veteran NASCAR fans know, qualifying has not been a strong point for ESPN. The production format eliminates much of the actual on-track action and over-uses graphics and interviews during what should be a singular focus on just one car at a time.
The ESPN pit reporters will join Petree and Jarrett for this program. The weak line-up of the Nationwide Series will be bolstered by the cross-over Sprint Cup drivers. There are eight of them this week. This group has been the consistent emphasis for ESPN with the Nationwide coverage where interviews are concerned. Brad Keselowski may be the lone exception to that rule.
There is a college football game that starts at 12PM on ESPN2 this Saturday. Despite the fact that these games run 3.5 hours, once again the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show is scheduled for only three hours after kickoff. Luckily, ESPN Classic has a wonderful marathon of the New American Sportsman in progress at that time. Fans may well see the Nationwide Series pre-race show on Classic.
NASCAR Countdown will be Allen Bestwick along with Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace live from the Infield Pit Studio. During the last race, these three offered more enthusiasm and entertainment than Reid, Jarrett and Petree combined.
It will be 3:30PM when the live race telecast gets underway, hopefully on ESPN2. Tim Brewer will also be along from the Tech Garage, although laps at Dover are so fast and exciting he should only be seen during caution periods or in the smaller of the two video boxes in the split-screen. It is September and fans have been watching since February. Pointing at car parts this late in the season often makes very little sense.
While the three announcers upstairs struggle to find a winning combination, the ESPN production team is going to be facing the same old Dover. Two bridges over the track need to be cut-out of the TV pictures, the accidents happen with lightning speed and in-car camera shots used live are risky.
At 6PM, there is another big college football game scheduled for ESPN2. Should this race have several long caution flags, a red flag period or some rain, it will be interesting to see whether football or NASCAR interrupts the world famous New American Sportsman marathon over on ESPN Classic once again.
The wrap-up of the day is Happy Hour for the Sprint Cup Series scheduled for 7PM over on ESPN. This NASCAR program has live college football on both sides. Needless to say, it should be interesting to see how the day has progressed by the time 7PM rolls around.
SPEED finally pokes into the NASCAR world with the Camping World Truck Series race coverage. The pre-race show begins at 9PM and TDP will live blog that telecast. The only airing of NASCAR Performance with Larry McReynolds, Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker will follow the race at 12:30AM.
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