Saturday, February 13, 2010
Live Blogging The Nationwide Series in Daytona (ESPN2 - 12PM ET)
The first Nationwide Series race from Daytona is going to be run under very cool conditions. There are fourteen Sprint Cup regulars joining the Nationwide ranks on this Saturday and in the past they would steal all the TV exposure. ESPN had become famous for featuring the big names on the coverage. This race is going to be different.
Danica Patrick has been a media magnet from her arrival in Daytona last week to run in the ARCA event. Now, she is racing in the Nationwide Series. The TV ratings for the ARCA race went through the roof and ESPN is hoping for the same. That means a good dose of Danica throughout the coverage today.
Allen Bestwick has the task of setting the tone for the coverage as he hosts the one hour pre-race show from the Infield Pit Studio. Brad Daugherty, Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham will join him. Fans watching coverage during the week saw both Daugherty and Wallace in the garage talking with Patrick during practice.
During this show, Bestwick will be using the ESPN pit road reporters for interviews. It will be during that time that viewers will discover which reporter has been assigned to the Patrick team for the race. Hopefully, ESPN will make a wise move and welcome Jerry Punch back to pit road by giving him that task.
Once live race coverage gets underway, it will be Marty Reid beginning a very long year of calling both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns and Vince Welch will all have an opportunity to call a Nationwide race this season. There are several stand-alone race weekends and Reid will also be calling the IRL races for ESPN and ABC.
Joining Reid in the booth today will be Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. These two appeared several times this week and seemed to be having a lot of fun with Reid's excitement and energy level. The race today should be a good test of how Jarrett and Petree will work with Reid this season in a very different booth environment.
Jamie Little, Punch, Burns and Welch make up the pit road reporting crew. Shannon Spake is still on maternity leave. With Punch joining the pit road gang, ESPN has already announced that Spake will be hosting some NASCAR Now shows and reporting during the week for the network as well as returning to pit road later in the season.
While ESPN has made many changes in the on-air personalities, perhaps the biggest question remains the decisions being made inside the TV truck by the producer and director. Staying with a script written before the live race has been a sticking point for three seasons of coverage. If Danica is the theme, than ESPN may remind us of the insane coverage of Jimmie Johnson offered down the stretch last season.
On the good side, once again the pictures and sound have looked great all season. No tech problems are on the horizon and the weather picture is clear of rain. Daytona is an incredible venue for TV where equipment is concerned. The in-car cameras in HD are looking wonderful again and should add excitement as the Nationwide cars move around much more than the COT machines.
We invite you to join us and talk TV today. To add your opinion on the coverage of today's race, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for starting the fourth season of NASCAR TV coverage here on TDP with us.