Saturday, May 23, 2009

ESPN May Have The Best Race Of The Weekend

The network did not televise practice. It did not show qualifying. The production team has not been on the air for two weeks. Now, ESPN gets a big Memorial Day present dumped in its lap with perhaps the best auto race of the weekend.

The struggles of the COT in the Sprint Cup Series have been well documented. On mile and a half tracks like the Lowe's Motor Speedway, passing is at a premium. On Sunday, the F-1 bunch races in Monaco where passing is almost impossible except on pit road. Later, the IRL tries to recapture the glory of the Indy 500 with a mediocre field and a series struggling with sponsorship woes.

The race with the most potential for competition and actual passing on the track is tonight's Nationwide Series race from LMS. Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty start the coverage with the pre-race show at 7PM.

Jarrett is on the pre-race because Rusty Wallace is on vacation. Also not on the broadcast are Jamie Little and Vince Welch. Both are away getting ready to work the Indy 500 for ABC on Sunday. NASCAR Now host Mike Massaro will jump back into his firesuit and work with Shannon Spake and Dave Burns on pit road.

It will be up to Dr. Jerry Punch to keep the excitement level high on this primetime Saturday night live TV telecast. This is the third season for Punch in the broadcast booth and he continues to have a tough time defining his role. Luckily, his booth mates Jarrett and Andy Petree have become proficient at filling-in the gaps.

ESPN continues to use the best triple-splits on the pit stops with outstanding graphics. The pictures should be great under the lights and the crowd looks to be strong. All the elements are in place and the biggest unknown factor is the weather.

Rain is in the area and ESPN2 viewers may be seeing a lot of Bestwick, Jarrett and Daugherty if the rain begins to fall. This telecast is scheduled to end at 10:30PM, but the next program is a re-air of the original "3" movie produced by the now defunct ESPN Original Entertainment.

This post will serve to host your comments about the live coverage of the Nationwide Series race from LMS on ESPN2. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking time out of your Memorial Day weekend to stop by The Daly Planet.