Saturday, June 13, 2009
Jerry Punch is winding-down his Nationwide Series activities for this season. The Saturday night race in Kentucky signals the point where only a handful of events remain on his schedule.
This is a big change from the previous years where Punch did double-duty once ESPN took over the Sprint Cup telecasts in late July. It will be Marty Reid stepping-in on July 25th to handle the rest of the Nationwide Series telecasts. Punch will concentrate solely on the Cup races.
On this day, the Nationwide Series has another opportunity to put on a good show without big brother overshadowing it. Although several Cup drivers flew from Michigan to Kentucky to race, there are some hungry Nationwide drivers looking for exposure on national TV and possibly a win.
Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty are working on the pre-race show with Rusty Wallace this week, who will then head upstairs to call the race. Wallace will join Punch and Andy Petree in the booth.
This race is going to be a very good test of just how ready Punch is to lead ESPN into the Sprint Cup Series. It is a stand-alone event in primetime without any other distractions. Punch, Wallace and Petree are "the show."
Shannon Spake is also off, so Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch will handle pit road. This may be a busy place for several reasons. After the race begins, the start and park cars will be leaving the track and the real action and strategy will begin. It should be interesting to see if and how ESPN acknowledges the "valet parkers."
ESPN still has the best triple-split in the business for caution flag pit stops. Pictures and sound are normally outstanding and this event should be no exception. The cars under the lights at this facility really put on a show.
The criticism of ESPN is that sometimes there is a script. Tonight should be a bit of a clash as the network promoted a possible Nationwide regular as a winner, but now faces the possibility of another dominant performance by Kyle Busch.
Either way, here we go. This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Nationwide Series race from Kentucky. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Saturday will be a fun day of NASCAR on TV. It is another doubleheader with SPEED presenting the Camping World Truck Series in the afternoon and then ESPN2 offering the Nationwide Series in the evening.
Rick Allen is doing his best to keep a good face on the truck series that SPEED had developed into a bonafide TV success story. Allen's play-by-play is always exciting and he works well with partners Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Add-in Krista Voda hosting the 1:30PM ET pre-race show and all that is left to mention is the veteran duo of Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander covering pit road.
MIS looks to be a fun race for the truck series which hit a speedbump last week. A stand-alone race in Texas with the IRL Series was just not a good idea. There was a small field made even smaller by the start-and-park set. Luckily, the action at the front of the field remained strong.
This Saturday, Voda will be reporting some tough economic news as even more manufacturer money is being withdrawn from the series. Perhaps, most deeply affected will be the powerhouse KHI team of Kevin and DeLana Harvick. Certainly, Voda will have the news and the interviews.
Waltrip is back with the truck series TV crew this week and has to be on his game in these tough times. When he is focused, his humor and experience comes shining through and adds a critical element to the telecast. When he is off-balance, he becomes just another compromised driver/owner full of sponsor mentions and quirky comments.
Hopefully, the fast and furious truck series practice session at MIS was a preview of the good racing to come on Saturday. Right now, this series needs a good showing on TV to remind fans of why they began to make this a habit years ago.
While several drivers including Kyle Busch are flying to the Nationwide Series night race in Kentucky, the ESPN TV team can relax. With Dale Jarrett off this weekend, it will be Rusty Wallace front-and-center on both the pre-race show and during the event.
Friday, NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske got Wallace on-camera and led him through a very thorough discussion of the suspension of Bryan Berry. Wallace spoke his mind, addressed the issues completely and assured NASCAR fans that his company would never tolerate racial slurs in the sport.
All of this was then backed-up by once again repeating almost the same content later in the Friday practice coverage. What a smart move by ESPN. Putting the issue out and allowing it to be discussed fully made lots of room on the Saturday telecast for something else. That would be coverage of qualifying and the race.
Allen Bestwick will get things sorted-out on Saturday as he handles the 8PM ET pre-race show along with Wallace and Brad Daugherty. This stand-alone race has been previewed by ESPN as very possibly having a Nationwide "regular" as the winner. That has been the theme of the network's coverage to this point.
Once the scene shifts to the broadcast booth, it will be Jerry Punch handling the call of the race. Wallace moves upstairs to join Andy Petree alongside Punch. This trio knows each other quite well, having started as the original ESPN announcers on the NASCAR coverage back in 2007.
Shannon Spake is off this weekend, so Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch will handle the pit reporting duties. As with the trucks, there is no possibility that we will see an interview with a start-and-park driver. Just a sign of the times I am told. Ironically, SPEED's Parsons is the co-owner of two Nationwide S&P teams.
Two racing reminders for Saturday. First, the spectacle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins on SPEED at 8:30AM. For those of you who have not seen this before, it certainly is worth watching or recording the first hour of coverage. Secondly, Steve Byrnes and company will sneak-in Sprint Cup final practice coverage on SPEED at 12PM. The Le Mans coverage will move online to SPEEDtv.com during that time.
TDP will be live-blogging both the CWTS and Nationwide races, please feel free to add your comments on this post to any of the topics mentioned above. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks once again for taking time out of your day to stop by The Daly Planet.
Krista Voda and the SPEED TV team will be working hard to get the Camping World Truck Series race underway from MIS in short order. The threat of rain has once again been lingering in the area.
Voda will use Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander to set the stage for this event that will once again feature Kyle Busch crossing-over to try and dominate the field.
Rick Allen will have his full-time broadcast partner Phil Parsons alongside for the race. Michael Waltrip will return after missing the Texas event. These three all have well-defined roles and when they stay within them, it works very well.
The Set-Up starts at 1:30PM and the race begins shortly after 2PM. This post will serve to host your comments about the live CWTS coverage on SPEED. 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 for taking time out of your Saturday to stop by The Daly Planet.