Sunday, July 25, 2010
Here we go with the start of ESPN's fourth season of covering the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races. Today's telecast will be one hour of pre-race, the race itself and then extended post-race on SportsCenter.
Allen Bestwick will host the coverage from the Infield Pit Studio. He will be joined by Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty. Bestwick will host the post-race report as well from this location.
Marty Reid begins his first season as the play-by-play announcer for one of the most high-profile motorsports packages in the world. Reid will have veterans Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. This duo has been working together for several seasons and is quite comfortable on the air.
Reid is a utility player. He has been used by ESPN on IndyCars, NHRA and off-road coverage. Many fans were surprised that ESPN did not simply promote Bestwick back to the PXP role and use a studio host like Nicole Briscoe to host the infield coverage.
Reid is facing a tough task. He must follow the direction of the ESPN producer and the pictures provided by the ESPN director. For the past couple of years, ESPN has selected a script that was offered in the pre-race show and then attempted to follow it during the race. It rarely made sense.
Jimmie Johnson and his team were the focus of the ESPN telecasts last season. That did not really allow a balanced look at the rest of the teams and fans got upset rather quickly. The season ended with a lot of fan anger, low ratings and tempers short.
This is an opportunity for ESPN to open a new chapter in its NASCAR TV history. Simply by following the action, letting the stories play out and showing fans the best racing on the track things will change in a hurry. Let's see if that happens.
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There are three solid hours of TV coverage leading up to the debut of the new NASCAR on ESPN team at noon ET on Sunday. The schedule is listed on the left side of our main page.
NASCAR Now at 9AM is a big preview show for ESPN. Nicole Briscoe will be hosting from Indy. Expect a lot of familiar faces to show-up in this program. Briscoe has been having a very solid season as a fulltime host for this series.
Once ESPN is done, SPEED steps-in with RaceDay. The network recently announced that Darrell Waltrip will be added to the panel this weekend. That puts Waltrip, Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace as the group for host John Roberts to control.
This show has been a bizarre mix of top-notch news and interviews from the infield with a rah-rah pro-NASCAR panel since Petty has been gone. Kenny Wallace has been having a rough time fitting-in since the departure of Jimmy Spencer. Bringing Spencer back for a couple of shows certainly did not help.
In the new dynamic on the SPEED Stage, Petty speaks to issues while Wallace yells at fans and tells them what is right. Inserting Waltrip into the line-up certainly raises some eyebrows for a show that is really made for two panelists.
It should be interesting to watch these shows and see the ramp-up for the big race. We welcome your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.