Sunday, September 4, 2011

Roush Says Edwards Headed To ESPN

Update: In the post-race comments after the MIS Sprint Cup Series race, Rusty Wallace said "Our Carl Edwards" when speaking as an ESPN analyst. This further reinforces the comments below that Jack Roush offered after the Iowa Nationwide Series race that Edwards is headed for ESPN full-time next year to work on the Nationwide Series telecasts.

We don't normally get to see the post-race press conferences for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. only provides that service for the Sprint Cup Series races.

Luckily, Iowa Speedway put together a feed so that the post-race from the Saturday night Nationwide Series race would be available to fans via the Internet.

It was an exciting finish, so many fans wanted to hear more from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Carl Edwards than ESPN had provided in a brief post-race show.

Alongside of race winner Stenhouse was owner Jack Roush. The few media members there wanted to know more about the building tension between young hot shoe Stenhouse and the veteran Edwards. Roush said this year he would handle it, but then came to the topic of 2012.

"I think he's (Carl) made his decision," said Roush. "I think he is going to become a sportscaster for ESPN for the Nationwide Series races. I'm not sure if he is going to just do the companion races or all the races."

The small amount of reporters at the Iowa Speedway did not even follow that comment up with a question. Roush was simply trying to tell the media why Stenhouse would not have the same type of problems with Edwards in the future.

In answering that question, Roush may have accidentally revealed part of ESPN's plans to have new and fresh faces in the TV booth when the Nationwide Series welcomes Danica Patrick and Travis Pastrana in 2012.

Click here for the video link of the post-race comments. Roush talks about Edwards ten minutes into this clip. After the commercial, you can skip ahead using the slider control on the bottom of the page.

Edwards has been all over ESPN this season and many of us wondered why. Saturday, he was present on the air in the Infield Pit Studio as his fellow Sprint Cup Series drivers qualified on TV. While Edwards is glib and likable on television, his presence while also an active driver is awkward.

In the rapidly changing world of media, we have seen ESPN gravitate toward embracing more active athletes this season and actually putting them on TV to comment on their own sport. NASCAR Now has been regularly bringing in drivers, including Paul Menard after the Brickyard, to the one-hour Monday show.

Edwards in many ways is just like all the other top Sprint Cup Series drivers. He has both a strong fan base and a pretty significant group of folks who are not on his bandwagon. Along with Junior, Jimmie, Kyle and Jeff there are always strong opinions when Edwards is the topic.

The most interesting part of the Roush comments is the fact that ESPN does not currently have different on-air talent for the Nationwide Series races. Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree work the TV booth while Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty handle the infield pit studio.

The Sprint Cup Series race coverage does not begin until late July for ESPN and the same team of announcers handles the companion events. It is only the few standalone Nationwide Series races after July that have different on-air talent.

Jarrett is the face of NASCAR on ESPN. Wallace just had his contract extended to 2014 by the network. Those are the only two former drivers on the TV team. Daugherty is an owner and Petree a former owner and crew chief. There is no slot for Edwards without a major revamping of the entire team.

If Daugherty were to leave, that would put Edwards side-by-side with Wallace in the infield. They would be exchanging observations on a series in which Edwards routinely roughed-up Steven Wallace and left him in the dust. The elder Wallace is not the biggest Edwards fan.

Roush was clear that Edwards would be working in the field, not the studio and that he would not be a reporter, but a sportscaster. To most of us, that means in the TV booth. We will be asking ESPN for reaction to the Roush comments and will update this post Sunday.

In the meantime, we welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a Carl fav, but can you say Carl overload? Clearly ESPN is just focusing on Edwards. To be hinest I'm kind of sick of seeing him alllllll the time.

Anonymous said...

Part of the trouble with all NASCAR coverage. Talk about the same 3 or 4 drivers week after week after week. Carl needs to either race or be on tv, not both. Overexposer will lose him fans and sponsors just wait and see.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was sick of seeing him last yr. I've been raising "H" since he went after his 1st teammate, Matt. Still say, if he had took a couple more steps Matt would have shoved his nose up his brain. My name for him.... Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde--Smiling Jacka$s.
I have a brother-in-law like him, so "D" friendly, people at first think__ he is the greatest, then they figure out the ~real~ "A" lovingnascar

KoHoSo said...

I am not a fan of Edwards so I have tried to look at this from a more neutral perspective. I imagined if somebody I like better was going to do the same thing. I came to the same conclusion...that I could never trust that person to give an honest evaluation of action on the track because he has too much emotion and money invested in it.

I can already see a comparison to the glory days of IWC when then-current drivers assessed a race and even assigned blame. I think this is different as Edwards is a top-tier driver and, as much as we loved them, those appearing on IWC were not. They were also not handling the actual presentation of the sport but an after-the-fact review that people knew ahead of time would come with humor and bias.

I don't worry about overexposure of Edwards. I worry about the integrity of the broadcast and the sport. Maybe I'm wrong, but my gut tells me right now that the risk is not worth the very few extra viewers this might bring in.

Anonymous said...

At this point in time, going to TDP produces five separate columns available for comment. Of the five columns, three of them begin with a picture of Carl Edwards at the top.

Arguably only this column "Roush Says Edwards Headed To ESPN" is actually about Edwards. The choice of his picture to lead the other two stories is debatable.

Might I suggest that TDP is contributing to Carl Edwards overload?

I am interested in and amused by the strong negative feelings Edwards stirs in some fans. Reports are that although Edwards signed a multi-year deal at Roush, sponsorship deals have not been firmed up yet. Morgan Shepherd has carried paint schemes which celebrate and promote the religious causes of good. Maybe the forces of evil could use some promotion as well. Edwards may have sold his soul to the devil for success in racing. I think major sponsorship by the antichrist would bring this out in the open and confirm the worst fears of Edwards' detractors.

I was sort of hoping Edwards would move to Joe Gibbs racing just so I could watch a morality tale play out. It would have been an epic struggle between the forces of good (Joe Gibbs) and the forces of evil (Carl Edwards).

For the record, I would rather not see Edwards or any other current driver working regularly as a broadcaster for any of the NASCAR series. There is no evidence that ESPN cares what we think, and I believe JD stated as much in a recent comment. We are left with the choice to tune out completely or use the mute button. It's a bad set of options.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anyone with an active stake in the race should be commenting on it. Yep, Rusty is a prime example in the Nationwide series. I don't want to know Carl's opinion during the race and I don't think he has the maturity to be neutral about drivers he doesn't like.

Anonymous said...

Another typical example of espn sacrificing the product for their own agenda. To espn (and disney) high standards are just a joke. MC

larry said...

Carl is the typical schoolyard bully. Always beating up on the younger kids. Now that he is in "high school" (Cup), he gas to go back and beat up on the grammar school kids in the busch league. This is so very wrong.

He wanted to take out a kid who is running for a championship so he could show how important he is.

I really hope some non-chasers take him out a few times during the chase this year. He will complain then.

OSBORNK said...

Carl is the latest media darling that they will force on us until we are sick of him. They choose or make a celebrity, whether it is an athlete, movie star, criminal or singer and force feed them to the public until they use them up and go on to the next new "star".

Anonymous said...

Best reason i can think of to not watch a NNS race. Who wants to see more of a ego maniac appearing to suffer from roid rage at times.

w17scott said...

Active drivers have no place in the broadcast booth ...their priority should be to perform their best behind the wheel of a race car ...too many negatives if this scenario comes to fruition

glenc1 said...

I am not a big fan of 'the Carl'. But it's funny to me how many people hate him when arguably, Tony Stewart did some equally stupid things before his 'anger management' work. And no one accused Tony of 'roid rage' (I assume it's only because Carl is 'fit'.) Bit of a stretch. I don't think extra bulk would help him driving.

Anyways...I pretty much am leaning toward what KoSoHo said. At first I was thinking, 'as long as he's not running in the series', but then I started to think about ownership--he's a Roush driver, racing against many of the same owners in the Cup series. And while, so far, Carl appears intelligent & fair-minded in his comments, it puts him in that same position as Rusty. If Ricky or Trevor causes a wreck, how does he assess blame? While I believe he could probably be reasonably objective, I do think it's (having him there) a wrong thing to do. Every critique could to be jumped on by the fans and made an issue, whether he means it that way or not. To be honest, it would be good to have someone in the booth who speaks as well as Carl, like him or not--he's good at it. But not in this scenario. There has to be better guys to do this.

James said...

Well I guess our discussion here last night about a radio guy makes more sense if CE goes to the booth! We wanted the NNW to have its own idenity, It looks like we got our wish.

Vicky D said...

Anon at 7:43 is soooo true I couldn't have said it better.

Buschseries61 said...

If it gets Edwards out of the Nationwide races, then I'll just have to suck it up.

There are a lot of questions for ESPN right now. When the Nationwide series returns in 2012, who will we be listening to for over 2 hours? They have Bestwick & Reid for play-by-play. Edwards, Jarrett, Wallace, Craven, Schrader as driver analysts. Petree & Brewer as technical analysts. Punch, Little, Burns, Welch, Massaro, Spake as reporters. Plus Nicole Briscoe & Brad Daugherty in the infield. That's 17 people up for a role covering a race. Crazy, considering SPEED does the same job using 5-6 people each race.

West Coast Diane said...

I do not want to see any current drivers/cc's/owners, etc as a regular in the booth. An occasional visit I am ok with. And that includes my driver, too.

I really don't want to see Carl. I was a fan when he started in Trucks, then started making move to NNS & Cup. But he lost me with all the incidents. For some reason I can't buy back in with his Mr. Nice Guy routine.

Would love to know what drove the comment from Ricky Stenhouse's crew chief to say "He thinks you hate him". anyone leaving the booth to make room for Carl????

Anonymous said...

I think one major problem with Nascar and actually most racing is the nepotism of using drivers and owners in the reporting and race coverage. I actually don't have a problem with their inclusion in the NN Monday RoundTables because it isn't the same driver each week so you are seeing different opinions.

This is only the latest example and continues to make me unhappy. I'm tired of Carl running up to the booth to commentate/discuss...he is quickly becoming over-exposed. He may provide the occasional insight but over the long run there are too many conflicts for him to be effective. It sure is a nice bonus for his sponsors though as he wears his race suit or shirts with their logos.

I actually wonder if this is one of the issues that contributed to Carl re-signing with RFR rather than JGR. I can't imagine JGR would have been supportive of his potential TV work.

West Coast Diane said...

Watching Countdown..using DVR...just saw Carl in using FF.

allisong said...

I didn't see the video, but just reading Jack's comments, doesn't it seem like he's just trying to make a joke? It might be hard to tell with Jack's dry delivery, but since none of the media there seemed to think anything of it, it seems likely he was just joking about all the time Carl has spent recently in the booth.

West Coast Diane said...

Allisong...hmmm...that's an interesting may be on to something. Although lots of media folks read this blog, so why wouldn't they have shot it down if not true.

We shall see......

SandyJake said...

I think Jack Roush was joking, saying that because of how much Carl has been on ESPN this season. Carl is not racing full-time in NNS in 2012 to concentrate on his Cup championship hopes. If Carl's giving up racing to shoot for a Cup championship, why on Earth would he become a broadcaster while still Cup racing?!

Carl did a show on SPEED a few years back during the Chase, and he hasn't become a broadcaster on SPEED. Why would he become one on ESPN after numerous pit studio appearances in 2011?

Besides, why would ESPN pay him salary to sportscast when he does it for free anytime he DNFs or when he has spare time during qualifying or post-race?

Daly Planet Editor said...


I included a link to the actual video so readers would know that Jack was not joking.

Carl is not driving in the NNS next season and will be on the ESPN broadcast team.

When asked about it Sunday morning, ESPN said no comment. They did not deny it, just that the network would not say anything right now.

Carl seems to have worked his contract to focus on Cup and give himself the time to begin his TV career with the NNS telecasts.

The current ESPN contract runs through 2014, so Carl would have three seasons under his belt by the time the new TV hires were done.

Remember that several broadcasters left driving early on to move to TV, Ned Jarrett among them.

Carl did a great job of not saying what was really going on and keeping the focus on his Cup deal.

What details I get on this topic I will pass along ASAP.


SandyJake said...


Very well. I stand corrected.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Trust me, we had NO CLUE on this one. If Roush had not spilled the beans, ESPN and Edwards would have held this until the time was right and then made a big deal about it.

Just shows how much TV avoids sometimes from sharing with the viewers.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of Carl and will record so I can fw a lot. He is setting up for his future I understand, but a lot of us has overload of him and it may or may not affect viewing but I think it will at my house.

GinaV24 said...

I will echo an earlier comment. My opinion of Edwards in the booth for ESPN is "blech".

NorCalFan said...

I heard Dave Moody on Sirius today say that after Jack had spilled the beans about Carl's deal with ESPN, the reporters went to the ESPN folks to get the details and were told "there is no announcement". Seems obvious ESPN was not ready to reveal their broadcast crew for 2012. Should be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

DaveJ said...

Carl is great, even though his little Kenseth incident back a while ago might have revealed too much about him. I'd rather see him in the Nationwide booth than racing there... anything to keep the Cup guys out is good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Ifor one,will be using my dvr, to tape and mute the races. if i even watch them.I,cannot stand carl,after,what he did to matt,an brad,and i hope brad will take him out, right, when he needs the points. big mistake in espn ,having him in the booth!!!

Anonymous said...

I think Edwards would make a great ESPN associate.

Mary said...

Well I think it's wonderful Carl is my driver and the more we get to see him the better. Just like DJ was my driver before Carl. So I guess I'm the only happy one here - both my boys on at the same time!

Anonymous said...

100% prefer him in the booth than behind a wheel!!

Anonymous said...

I just thank God for whoever invented the "mute" button. It's already in use a lot, and will be more so in the future.

LReagan207 said...

I'll join you as a Carl fan and as a fan of the sport. I will remain an Edwards fan regardless of whether or not he's broadcasting, just as I stayed a fan throughout the "incidents". I really don't know many people that can measure up to the standards we seem to impose on our drivers. It would also seem to me that the personalities of people that become NASCAR drivers are inherently different than those of other less risky and adrenaline-filled careers. I for one think that all of the positive and negative traits make these individuals as successful as they are. Has Carl had some very public and blatant negative episodes- yes. Have we seen some public episodes that are caring and kind-yes. Do I really know what kind of human being he is- probably not. How do any of us know what a TV or sports personality is really like (let alone people we claim to know very well). All of us have within us the good and the bad and most of us are fortunate enough to not live on camera and risk so much of what we say and do being taken out of context for the whole world to pass judgement on. I enjoy how Carl races, his commitment, his sense of humor and his fire...but I don't for a moment think that means that I would automatically like him as a friend. He's entertaining and talented and I enjoy watching him. I am saddened that he won't be racing in the NNS in 2012 but I will enjoy any opportunity to see him work. If, in fact, he ends up broadcasting then I will wait and see how he does before jumping to a conclusion.

Jonathan said...

Good for Carl id rather see him in the booth than on the race track on Saturdays, give the Nationwide guys a shot. I always welcome a fresh face to the booth and Carl is well spoken person who is going to be just fine!