Saturday, March 21, 2009
The images of this season have been tough to take. Perhaps, the frontstretch grandstands in Atlanta were the toughest to see on the TV screen.
In a tough economic climate, a sport almost totally based on marketing and sponsorship dollars coming from many of the companies in crisis is trying to hang-on for dear life.
Sunday may be an opportunity to put that aside for just a couple of hours. The Bristol Motor Speedway is trying everything possible to put a full house in the stands for the Sprint Cup Series race.
Happy faces in the stands is exactly what the NASCAR on Fox gang needs to get things back on track where the TV coverage is concerned. This season has become about Digger and DW in much the same way that last season became all about Kyle Busch during the Fox Sports portion of the Cup coverage.
Fox will have three hours of pre-race programming from other networks leading up to the race telecast. ESPN2 will have Nicole Manske hosting NASCAR Now at 10AM ET. Reporters Mike Massaro and Marty Smith will be live from the track.
SPEED will follow with the two-hour RaceDay program at 11:30AM. Jimmy Spencer drove in the charity race and Kenny Wallace raced in the Nationwide Series event, so both of the SPEED commentators have been on the track this weekend. Host John Roberts will use Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini as reporters on this show.
Once things move over to Fox, it should be interesting to see what DW has to say about the charity race and the bigger question is will Fox show highlights? Chris Myers will be at the helm of the Hollywood Hotel with Waltrip and Jeff Hammond alongside.
By the time the broadcast moves up to the announce booth and over to veteran Mike Joy, the weather should be nice and the crowd should be big. Just what the series needs as Waltrip and Larry McReynolds begin to call the action with the green flag at 2:16PM ET.
All of the ingredients are there for a memorable broadcast. Great weather, big crowd, full field and a veteran TV crew. This might be the race to get the momentum of this season going in the right direction.
TDP will be live blogging the TV aspects of the race beginning at 1PM ET. Join us and talk TV while the race is in-progress. We also welcome your comments on this post, just click the comments button below.
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The Nationwide Series gets some additional exposure on Saturday afternoon at 2PM on ABC Sports. Bristol racing is a great product to put on the larger broadcast network.
Allen Bestwick will kick-off the coverage with NASCAR Countdown for thirty minutes. He will be joined in the Infield Pit Center by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.
Once the on-track action gets underway, Dr. Jerry Punch will call the action with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. Jamie Little has the weekend off, so it will be Dave Burns, Shannon Spake, Vince Welch and Mike Massaro patrolling pit road.
Tim Brewer will be along in the Tech Center and coverage of the race will re-air on ESPN Classic at 8AM Sunday morning.
On this particular Saturday, the NASCAR on ESPN gang will shift over to ESPN2 at 6PM for coverage of the first charity race from Bristol. This should be a fun event with heats, celebrities and also some NASCAR legends.
This post will serve to host your comments about the Nationwide Series event and the charity race. TDP is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
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