Friday, July 2, 2010

NASCAR's Qualifying TV Doubleheader

Daytona has some interesting schedule twists and Friday fans get to watch back-to-back qualifying sessions on two very different TV networks.

ESPN2 kicks-off Friday's NASCAR TV with Nationwide Series qualifying at 1PM ET. This might be a very good weekend for ESPN. Allen Bestwick is working with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the TV booth. Bestwick has been on top of his game this season and his knowledge and enthusiasm about Daytona is infectious.

The resurgent Dr. Jerry Punch leads the pit road reporting corps. Shannon Spake recently showed her versatility by hosting a week of NASCAR Now in the ESPN studios. She returns to pit road along with NASCAR Now's fulltime host Mike Massaro. The final team member is Dave Burns, who always seem to fly a bit under the radar.

There are lots of stories in the NNS this weekend, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the vintage #3 Wrangler car. The "NNS new car" debut has gotten tremendous positive reaction as it appears NASCAR has hit on a winner with its design. Plenty of drivers would like to notch the first pole in the new model.

ESPN has a very distinctive style for qualifying. It includes original graphics and an extensive timing and scoring layout. Fans have seen the network hit or miss with the qualifying shows. This is going to be one it needs to get right.

Up next at 4PM with the Sprint Cup Series qualifying is SPEED. Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds have already logged a long day on Thursday in the TV booth covering practice sessions. Friday they will call qualifying while Jeff Hammond and Phil Parsons will be handling the interviews.

SPEED's style is very different from ESPN. They both work well and relay information, but SPEED has almost perfected qualifying through trial and error over the years. Byrnes sets the right tone of fun and informality on the air.

Just as with the NNS telecast, there are plenty of stories unfolding on the Sprint Cup Series side. One of the biggest was the major wreck late in practice that took out several cars including Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson and Tony Stewart. The culprit was a bump to Hamlin from his own teammate, Kyle Busch.

Earlier in the day, Busch relayed that the Daytona track was rougher than ever with several bumps that upset the cars and left the teams searching for solutions. Busch pointed to the area of "the patch" left over from the February race. All of this should make qualifying a bit more interesting.

Once ESPN2 and SPEED are done, the coverage shifts to ESPN for the NASCAR Countdown show at 7:30PM. We will live blog this show and the race in a new post. Please use this page for your comments on the qualifying coverage from the two networks.

To add your comment, 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 The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard anything about the condition of the track? On NASCAR Now they made a few bondo jokes that made it seem like they weren't very confident the track was going to hold up by the time the Cup race was underway. Can NASCAR afford another pothole incident on the same track? Has anyone read anywhere that the officials are confident there will be no problems at this event, or is everyone just keeping quiet and crossing their fingers? I know the track is scheduled to be paved before the Daytona 500, but I haven't heard a peep about whether or not it will be ready for the 400!

Anonymous said...

Phil Parsons doing pit road interviews during qualifying seems like a potential problem.

The #55, which is really a PRISM car this week and not a Michael Waltrip restrictor plate special, is due out 44th of 45 cars.

Anonymous said...

I think that both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series qualifying sessions will be rained out on Friday. As a result, Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 and Brian Keselowski will start on the pole for the Nationwide race on Friday. And not only that, there is a good chance we may see the Coke Zero 400 be raced on Sunday afternoon. What do you think?

Vicky D said...

Jenna Fryer tweeted that an area on the track was repaired last night although it wasn't in the same place as February's repair. Lots of rain here in Houston all week, we are really being drenched so I wonder if the tropical areas are giving Florida more moisture and then rain. Anon, I know you meant to type Brad Kez starting on the pole for the NW race. Wonder how long our David Starr will last in the race too - we'll really have a local boy to root for.

Anonymous said...

Look out for potholes! What eyewitnesses are telling Fox Sports and what NASCAR is saying are two different things, as usual. "NASCAR representatives were unaware of any issues". I know we are close to the beach, but how deep can NASCAR bury its head in the sand before it hits solid earth?

Anon @ 11:38PM: I agree, Go-or-go home qualifying will be difficult for Phil. JD, why couldn't TNT borrow Wendy Venturini from Speed? I know she is expecting, but I heard her last week at Loudon as a reporter for PRN. She is a much better reporter than Phil.

Anonymous said...

A Pothole 400 = FAIL for TNT

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:19 PM

According to Lee Spencer who interviewed some fans at the track camping near the pothole, things could be better. (

From a fans perspective watching the practice sessions last night they showed the patch a few times. Alot of guys still bottom out there, and Kyle Busch ever mentioned it. Also when they showed the patch on camera it looked a little dark similar to the Daytona 500, like people were bottoming out there ALOT.

But im not going to worry about it. Nothing us fans can do. Im sure everything will be fine but its a concern I guess.

Anonymous said...

Also another update, just logged on twitter and saw this tweet form Jenna Fryer. Not good news "DIS says it repaired 1-ft-by-4.5-ft area of Turn 2 (not on the patch) overnight. Used high-strength epoxy. Precautionary, they say. "

David said...

Well the news this morning said they found some issues in the same spot and epoxied it.

This issue is being completely caused because of the driveunder tunnel in turn 1. the track settled and they are launching out of a bump landing where the pothole originated. Thus why the track has issues holding together. I really think even if the asphalt wasn't 30 years old it would have a problem. It's brand new pavement being torn up now.

Should hold for the weekend but yeah, thats the issue from what I can gather. 3400 lb stock car vs track, stock car wins.

Anonymous said...

ESPN didn't put Allen Bestwick in the booth full-time...why?



Anonymous said...

Jerry Punch is absolutely fantastic on pit road. Hate that he had to take a demotion of sorts but this is where he shines.

Anonymous said...

And I agree with the previous anon, Bestwick certainly is better than Reid.

GinaV24 said...

well, guess I'll skip Speed's qualifying -- still not willing to listen to the DW & Larry pairing, plus RP qualifying is as exciting as watching paint dry.

If the pothole repair already caused a wreck in practice, that doesn't bode well for the actual race when everyone will be crazy especially if NASCAR sets up the field for multiple green white wreckers at the end of the race. of course, if Jr is leading when there's a wreck, I fully expect there to be NO caution.

Is that too cynical a point of view? Betch a $1!

David said...

Jerry Punch has been nothing short of awesome back on pit road. That truly is home for him and where he does his best work.

I give NASCAR alot of credit with this car, the amount of work that has gone into this NW project has been amazing from what Robin Pemberton said this morning. Shame the economic situation for many teams isn't better but for the ones who are here and will run all night this could be either a lot of fun or at least interesting to watch.

Richard in N.C. said...

My understanding is that Cup COT's, especially last year's, can be relatively easily adapted to the new generation N-wide car - thus, making it easier for N-wide teams and giving Cup teams some market for out-of-date COT's.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think Allen still meant NBC to them where NASCAR was concerned. Especially back in 2007 when the current TV contract began.

Bestwick started as a NNS pit reporter and has not worked his way up to be the senior member of the staff and the real face of NASCAR on ESPN.


Lisa Hogan said...

JD-maybe you can help me out with this question.

Is DW an owner in MWR now? I noticed that DW has said several times lately "our shop" when talking about MWR. On today's qualifying interview with David, David seemed concerned that DW wouldn't be happy with the new facial hair growth. Then DW said that he didn't like it and David would have to clean up. DW sounded almost pouty! :)

Charlie said...

I see that qualifying was rained out for the Sprint drivers. Why are they filling Speeds time slot with practice from yesterday.

I thought there were all kinds of stories to be told. Could they not discuss these stories live right now.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Punch was good on pit road. Its all good as long as we don't have to hear from that talentless hack, Michael POS Waltrip.