Saturday, September 12, 2009
Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series From Richmond (ABC - 7PM ET)
From the first race in Daytona we have now arrived at the final Sprint Cup Series race before the playoffs begin. This is a huge night for the NASCAR on ESPN production team. The tension in the TV compound, pictured above, is big.
Allen Bestwick will set the tone with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show. There is a live college football game on ABC prior to the NASCAR telecast. Hopefully, things will happen as scheduled, but Bestwick is the best at dealing with live sports TV in a NASCAR setting.
This week it will be only Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty joining Bestwick in the Infield Pit Studio. Wallace continues to be outspoken and opinionated, while Daugherty has been put into the role of cheerleader and nothing more. The infield team is always good for a quick shot of enthusiasm during the event, but the three announcers upstairs are the ones really feeling the pressure.
There are going to be a lot of eyes on Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Friday night, Jarrett appeared to be tired during the Nationwide Series race after a long day on the air. It was Petree who stepped up and took the lead during the telecast.
On this night, the atmosphere is going to be electric. Translating that level of excitement to the millions of TV viewers is the challenge for ESPN. Jerry Punch is the person who has been chosen to do just that and it is his third season in the play-by-play position. This telecast needs to work, it's that simple.
Jarrett has been the anchor in the booth for two "Backseat Driver" telecasts of Nationwide Series races that had no play-by-play announcer. While this concept was interesting, it has also resulted in Jarrett becoming unclear on his role. Sometimes, he jumps in and supplies the excitement when Punch has faded. On other races, he waits until he is asked a question to respond. Hopefully, both Petree and Jarrett will step-up and lead the way during this telecast.
On pit road will be Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch. This group is going to be dealing with some emotional drivers and crew chiefs during the race. It should be interesting to watch this dynamic unfold.
On TV, Richmond is a challenge. Cutting cameras to stay ahead of the cars and let them race toward the camera makes all the difference. Getting behind leaves viewers watching cars racing away from them all night long. This is easy to do as the laps grind by. Richmond features great aerial shots, a super low camera on the backstretch and great pictures of glowing brake rotors.
The graphics tonight are either going to be informative or simply drive viewers crazy. Everyone knows the Chase is going to be set by this race, so the ESPN team has the challenge of deciding how many times that is going to be mentioned in the race.
Throw in a little rain delay and some extended caution flags and it could be a very long night.
This post is going to serve to host your comments about the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond on ABC. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks again for dropping by tonight.