Saturday, September 5, 2009
Saturday evening from Atlanta, ESPN offered its second edition of "Backseat Drivers."
The Nationwide Series race was called by four ESPN analysts in the broadcast booth. Allen Bestwick remained in the Infield Pit Studio during the race to offer information and updates out of the commercial breaks. Tim Brewer was in the Tech Center during the race.
Featured on this telecast was Dale Jarrett, who is clearly the senior analyst for ESPN. He was the unofficial leader in the broadcast booth. Joining Jarrett was Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Andy Petree.
This format featured the four analysts talking among themselves without the play-by-play announcer. That person usually offers the specific lap-by-lap information and also called the exciting action on the track for the viewers.
The four analysts all contributed to the telecast. They were aided by a very different video approach by ESPN. There were very limited in-car camera views, few close-ups and many uses of TV technology that NASCAR on ESPN fans have not normally seen from the network. The shift in the TV directing of the race was significant.
The pre-race show was offered on ESPN Classic as live college football covered almost all of the thirty minutes allocated for that show. Both of ESPN's regional games ended in time for viewers to catch the entire race on the assigned ESPN2 channel.
This post is your turn to offer a review of the ESPN2 coverage of the Nationwide Series race from Atlanta 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. Thanks.
The very familiar SPEED TV team has a new addition this week. Johnny Benson joins the group as the third man in the booth as Michael Waltrip is attending to Sprint Cup duties in Atlanta.
Krista Voda starts things off with The Setup. Then, Rick Allen comes along with Phil Parsons and Benson.
Iowa is a good location for a featured night time race. It should be interesting to see how the crowd is at the speedway on a college football Saturday.
SPEED has a comfortable and easy presentation of this series. We are asking for your comments as the telecast unfolds. To add your TV-related comments, 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.
This is a time of the year that Nationwide Series fans know all too well. This is the first weekend of the college football season.
There is a live college game now in-progress before the scheduled start of NASCAR Countdown at 6:30PM. Please go to our comments section for updates as the start time of the NASCAR TV coverage approaches.
Race coverage is scheduled for 7PM. This is ESPN's second attempt at the "Backseat Drivers" concept. Four of the network analysts, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Andy Petree will be in the broadcast booth making conversation among themselves.
There will be no Marty Reid or Jerry Punch joining the group as the play-by-play announcer. Instead, Allen Bestwick will remain in the Infield Pit Studio after he hosts the pre-race show and help the analysts with information and updates after the commercial breaks.
The idea is that these ESPN analysts will be able to relate stories about their own driving careers and experiences at Atlanta to the viewers during the race. The reality is that ESPN did not carry any of the practice or qualifying sessions for this race and that makes it a perfect target for experimentation.
This is the time of the season when all of the ESPN energy goes into the Sprint Cup Series coverage and the infamous "Race for the Chase." In the blink of an eye, the only NASCAR series that ESPN carries from start-to-finish becomes second rate.
Join us as we watch the live race and see how this experiment unfolds. We will also be discussing the transition between the live college football games and the ESPN2 NASCAR coverage.
To join the party, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when posting. All opinions are welcome, we just ask for no profanity, hateful speech or off-topic comments.
As always, you can email me directly with any suggestions, complaints or questions as firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. Thanks for dropping by on this holiday weekend.
Saturday starts with a very long day on-air for the SPEED team. 11AM ET starts the day with both sessions of Sprint Cup Series practice.
Steve Byrnes anchors SPEED's Atlanta coverage. His versatility and ability to talk about any team or issue within the sport is well known. Byrnes has been working the NASCAR trail in one form or another for well over a decade.
Larry McReynolds has quietly specialized in providing specific information and strategy advice to NASCAR TV programs and networks for years. McReynolds networks with seemingly everyone in the garage and puts pre-production notes together that really help to make practice and qualifying sessions interesting.
Jeff Hammond has carved a unique place in the sport with his Hollywood Hotel role on Fox and his partnership with McReynolds on SPEED. Hammond has a knack for asking the right questions and raising the right topics as things happen on the track.
Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner hopefully brought their walking shoes to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. They are going to be the two pit and garage reporters for the entire blog of SPEED's programming that runs from 11Am to 6:30PM.
Dillner is well connected behind the scenes with his activities in other forms of short track racing while Venturini is the backbone of SPEED where reporting news about the sport is concerned. It is a shame that Venturini was not given a chance to co-host The SPEED Report on one of NASCAR's off-weekends.
John Roberts will be standing by to originate NASCAR Live from the SPEED Stage between sessions and any possible rain delays. Roberts continues to be one of SPEED's on-air talent who fly slightly under the radar. This weekend, Roberts will host NASCAR Smarts, NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane in addition to his Saturday duties.
This post will give you an opportunity to offer comments throughout the morning and afternoon on the SPEED coverage. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly site, please keep that in mind when posting.
TDP will live blog both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races later today. Thanks.