Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ESPN Makes NASCAR Changes For 2010

Here is the information released last week from ESPN about the 2010 TV line-up:

Marty Reid, whose 28-year career with ESPN has touched all forms of motorsports the network has covered, will expand his role and join analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2010. Reid will call the action for all 17 of ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as many of the network’s NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts. He was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage and selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009.

Returning to a role he helped define for ESPN for more than 20 years, Dr. Jerry Punch will join ESPN’s team of pit reporters for 2010, working both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. Punch was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s Sprint Cup coverage the past three years.

“This group gives us the most versatile and comprehensive team in motorsports, and strengthens us in the booth,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and event production.

“We play to the strengths of our announcers, and Marty’s strength is calling the tactical aspects of the race while deferring to the analysts.

“And from the early days of our NASCAR coverage, Jerry helped evolve the significant role that reporting from the pits plays,” Williamson said. “He will bolster our already-strong stable of pit reporters.”

All other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team will return in 2010, including analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Countdown host Allen Bestwick and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. Specific assignments and schedules will be announced later.

In addition to his expanded role with NASCAR, Reid will continue as the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s five-race IndyCar Series schedule, including the Indianapolis 500.

ESPN’s 2010 NASCAR season begins with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race on ESPN’s schedule is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 25.

Not really a surprise, as the chemistry of Punch in the booth just did not click. On pit road, he can again use his reporter skills to update stories and uncover interesting tidbits from his relationships with those in the sport.

The one name not mentioned is Randy LaJoie. He had a knack for working quite well with Reid on the Nationwide Series races and offered a good perspective and lots more fun than Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.

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