Sunday, October 4, 2009
Sunday TV Marathon: 13 Hours Of Live Comments
ESPN2's NASCAR Now is the sandwich for Sunday's NASCAR TV programs. Mike Massaro and Boris Said start the day at 10AM with a one-hour preview show and end the day at 10PM with a review show of the same length.
On this Sunday, TDP is going to keep open a live blog for every single NASCAR TV show during this thirteen hour run. That will let you hop over and comment whenever the spirit or the TV program moves you.
While Massaro has Said in the studio, he also has Terry Blount and Nicole Manske in Kansas reporting. The big wheel of ESPN NASCAR personalities seems to never stop spinning. Perhaps, Marty Smith on-site would have been nice during the Chase.
RaceDay comes along at 11AM on SPEED. Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer each do a lot of talking on this program, but recently it does not seem to be to each other. Kenny has fallen into a habit of getting his time on camera and talking directly to the viewers. "Let me tell you something, race fans" gets a bit tiring in a two-hour show.
Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini have become a potent one-two punch for this TV series. The ability of both of these reporters to speak with anyone involved in the sport is never more on display than during this time of the year. While the ESPN pit reporters get short answers and tight smiles, this duo never fails to get the information while having some fun along the way.
John Roberts looks tired and there is certainly a good reason why. This is October and he has been sitting in that daggone SPEED Stage chair for eight months directing traffic on TV shows from RaceDay to NASCAR Smarts. His NASCAR Live shows on Fridays and Saturday are also key to the network's scheduling. Make no mistake, Roberts is the quarterback on this team.
Rutledge Wood is a role player on this show, but his role is still undefined. He acts the fool, shills for the sponsors and generally accomplishes nothing. That is a shame. SPEED had allowed him to report and contribute in a more serious fashion last season, but this year he is once again doing the things it appears no one else wants to do.
RaceDay is a formula show that suffered from being pushed back an hour and not going head-to-head with NASCAR Countdown on ESPN. That is also a shame. When put to the test, ESPN had to step up in order to compete. Now, the pre-race show is a scripted dance of talking heads, shallow driver interviews and little real content.
TDP will break off from this post to offer a stand-alone live blog on the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show at 1PM and the Kansas race coverage at 2PM. Once again, NASCAR goes against NFL Football in exactly the same timeslot.
After the race, it will be Ralph Sheheen and Leigh Diffey co-hosting The SPEED Report at 7PM. This is hands-down the most improved motorsports TV show of the season. The producing, highlights and reporting are outstanding. Bob Dillner will offer a NASCAR race recap with interviews from Kansas.
The new wrinkle at 8PM in NASCAR Victory Lane on SPEED is that Jimmy Spencer is out and Larry McReynolds is in for the rest of the season. As silly season continues on TV, Spencer has been added to the This Week in NASCAR panel and has to be back in Charlotte to tape the show on Monday.
McReynolds immediately changed the tone of Victory Lane from emotional to informative. His questions are those of a NASCAR TV veteran and show why he is featured on Fox, TNT and SPEED throughout the entire season. Kenny Wallace is working hard to figure out how to deal with this new show dynamic.
Dave Despain missed Danica Patrick and now is going to miss AJ Foyt. Once again on vacation from Wind Tunnel, SPEED has Robin Miller sitting-in for Despain at 9PM while Foyt will be back in his shop on a liveshot. Miller claims this is his first time on TV without adult supervision, so it should be interesting to see if Super-Tex makes it through the entire interview.
While Foyt is known for his open-wheel history, he has some remarkable NASCAR stories and experiences. His ability to transition between all types of racing cars may be one of the reasons his number is displayed on the side of Tony Stewart's Sprint Cup Series ride. Stewart was the 1997 IRL champ and won the USAC Silvercrown, Sprint and Midget titles in the same season two years earlier.
Retired motorcycle veteran Gene Romero of On Any Sunday movie fame is Miller's second guest. This colorful personality will be a very different interview and is active with motorcycle racing to this day. The movie is mandatory viewing for any race fan.
Massaro and Said cap the day off with one of the best NASCAR review shows on TV. The Sunday night version of NASCAR Now only runs during the ESPN/ABC races. That is another shame. There are lots of highlights, interviews and information in this hour. Since ESPNEWS does not cover the media center press conferences during the NFL season, this is the only place on ESPN to get NASCAR info after the race.
We invite you to stop by and post any comment during these shows. TDP is just looking for your reactions, both positive and negative, to what the two remaining NASCAR TV partners are providing to you. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below.
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