Friday, August 20, 2010
Rick Allen Gets The Call
Over the past couple of years we have often discussed how one thing rarely changes in sports TV without affecting other things. Such is the case with SPEED this weekend.
Steve Byrnes just finished his first week of hosting Race Hub on a fulltime basis. Byrnes set a very different tone with the show and it will be interesting to watch the new production team try different features, formats and ideas. One hour of NASCAR TV Monday through Thursday from a studio based in Charlotte, NC has a ton of potential.
Byrnes left quite a legacy of hard work on the road. The first task was to name new hosts for the Trackside program. SPEED recently announced that Krista Voda and John Roberts are going to share hosting duties, with Voda handling the majority of the remaining programs this season. Friday at 11PM ET will be her debut.
While bringing in a veteran like Voda may have been expected, the second move following Byrnes departure was an attention grabber. Camping World Truck Series play-by-play announcer Rick Allen is going to move up to the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series on Friday.
Allen will handle the entire day, including practice for both series and the Nationwide qualifying. The full TV schedule for Friday is on the left hand side of the TDP page.
Along with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond, Allen will be on the air Friday for over five hours. The Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series should be an interesting challenge for Allen, who has made his mark focusing on the trucks. This season, however, Allen has also done studio work as a host for both The Speed Report and Race Hub.
Before the season is done, Mike Joy will also step-in and help with the support programming of practice and qualifying, but for Allen this is a big opportunity. TV viewers who do not watch the trucks are going to be exposed to Allen on a product that Byrnes has made his own for the past several years.
One trademark of Byrnes is that his personality and good sense of humor come through on the practice and qualifying coverage. Allen is more personally reserved, focusing on allowing Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip to take the spotlight in the truck series programs.
This is going to be a good test of Allen's NASCAR TV skills as the intensity, noise and fast pace of Bristol is not only present for the actual races, but also for the practice and qualifying. Allen ends his day at 5:30PM when ESPN takes over for the Sprint Cup qualifying coverage.
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There will be a live TV blog up for the Nationwide Series race on ESPN Friday night. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.