Sunday, September 6, 2009
This is a huge race for ESPN. The first night race at Atlanta for the Sprint Cup Series is going to be key determining the line-up for this season's Chase for the Championship.
ESPN made a radical change on Saturday night with coverage of the Nationwide Series race. Gone were the endless in-car cameras and extremely tight close-ups of single cars. Gone were the bumper-cam shots that made no sense and the singular focus on the leaders of the race. The ESPN Director who provided the pictures changed the entire feel of the telecast for the home viewer. It was great.
Now, the question is will that return to the focus on racing continue or end? These seventeen Sprint Cup races are the only ones on ESPN and the pressure is tremendous on the entire ESPN production team.
In the past, this week has meant an endless pounding on the TV viewers about the Chase for the Championship. "Points right now" are words that ESPN's NASCAR viewers have learned to hate. Who cares? NASCAR fans understand the racing, they know the drivers and have been watching this series for seven months. They have a clue.
Saturday's Nationwide Series telecast also confirmed Allen Bestwick as the true leader of this TV team. Bestwick again controlled the "Backseat Drivers" and showed fans again that his ability to direct traffic on the air is just what ESPN needs to right this NASCAR ship.
Atlanta has a new tire from Goodyear and the race may well be dominated by tire strategy. ESPN's pit reporters are going to have to keep up with these stories all night long.
The starting line-up for tonight is Allen Bestwick in the Infield Pit Studio as the show host. Joining Bestwick will be Brad Daugherty, Ray Evernham and Rusty Wallace as his expert panel. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage.
Up in the broadcast booth will be Jerry Punch along with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Punch will be calling on Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Dave Burns to cover the action on pit road.
This post will serve to host your comments on the TV coverage of this race on ESPN. 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 some time out of your holiday weekend to join us.
The Atlanta version of this popular TV show starts at 5PM ET and runs for two hours live. This should be a very interesting day.
Between Carl's ankle and the swirling Danica to NASCAR rumors, the RaceDay gang has a lot to talk about. Throw in the fact that things are coming down to the wire for the Chase to the Championship and there should be some drivers with their game faces on today.
John Roberts is going to navigate the team through the stories with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace alongside on the SPEED Stage. It should be interesting to hear what Spencer says about Danica. Originally not a big fan of JPM, Spencer eventually came around to recognize that Montoya is in NASCAR to win.
Wallace stands to be directly impacted by Patrick if she runs mostly Nationwide Series races next season as he is still active in that series. He should have an interesting perspective on her participation.
Hermie Sadler has been working hard as a reporter for the show, but it will be Wendy Venturini who is under the spotlight today. She is good friends with Tony Stewart and it might be interesting to see if Venturini scores the interview with Stewart about Patrick that everyone is waiting to see.
There are a ton of other NASCAR stories in progress today, so we are going to open the comments section to get your reaction to RaceDay as it is in progress. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by, all we ask is that you limit your comments to the topic being discussed. A new post for the live Sprint Cup Series race will be up at 6:30PM ET. Thanks again.