Saturday, October 31, 2009
NASCAR vs. College Football On Saturday (Updated)
Update: Sprint Cup Series qualifying has been cancelled due to rain. Trucks still set for 3:30PM but weather continues to be a problem. Will update as needed.
With the Nationwide Series taking the weekend off, ESPN2 is adding yet another college football game to the line-up. In the world of NASCAR TV partners, Saturday is going to be a match-up of the ESPN networks vs. SPEED.
The Sprint Cup Series qualifying coverage goes head-to-head with college football on ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN2 at 12PM ET. Steve Byrnes gets the task of leading the NASCAR brigade with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond alongside. Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini are the reporters.
SPEED does the best coverage of qualifying hands down. Every car is seen, the emphasis is on the action on the track and interviews are not intrusive. Qualifying at Talladega does eventually tell a story, but in many ways it is meaningless to most teams. Flat on the floor, no drafting partner and only two cars going home.
It will be the Camping World Trucks that take to the Talladega track next. Krista Voda and her pre-race show, The Setup, will hit the air at 3:30PM. This is exactly the moment when the next set of college football games begin on the ESPN networks.
It will be teams like Boston College, Wake Forest and Michigan up against the dynamic duo of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander. These veterans have covered the entire pit road with just two voices for a very long time. There is simplicity and focus in SPEED's truck series TV production so using only two pit reporters actually works quite well.
Calling perhaps one of the most exciting CWTS races of the season will be Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. When Waltrip shows up with his analyst face on instead of his huckster personality, he is a valuable asset to the telecast.
There is a wide gap in experience between the top trucks in the field and those just hanging on or trying to simply start and park. It looks like there will be a smaller number of trucks pulling off early in the event. The CWTS needs a good showing at this track and with the Nationwide Series off, this Saturday afternoon may mean a whole lot to the fate of this series beyond 2010.
SPEED's stripped-down old school approach to the CWTS TV package is well known. No infield studio, cutaway car or kiddie cartoons. No Tech Garage and no animated colors from Draft Tracker. The focus is on the teams and drivers, not who is calling the race for the TV network.
TDP will live blog the truck race, so feel free to add your comments during qualifying to this post. We also hope to hear your opinions on the other topics and personalities mentioned above. To add your comment, just click on he comments button below.
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