Friday, April 22, 2011
The TV coverage from Nashville starts at 5PM and continues through the live Camping World Truck Series race at 8PM ET.
SPEED starts the day with Rick Allen, Darrell Waltrip and Phil Parsons calling the truck series qualifying at 5PM ET. Ray Dunlap and Hermie Sadler will handle the reporting.
Waltrip has been hit or miss in the truck series TV booth. He has been informative and supportive of the trucks at times, but has launched into his over-the-top NASCAR on FOX personality at others. It should be interesting to see how this day progresses.
Mike Massaro is hosting NASCAR Now on ESPN2 at 6PM. Massaro has been hosting gangbuster shows this week with outstanding content. ESPN has really stepped-up the quality of NASCAR studio programming and it is a welcome change.
Brad Daugherty has been turned loose from the Infield Pit Studio and is working in the ESPN TV booth at Nashville with Ricky Craven and Marty Reid. This trio is on the air at 6:30PM on ESPN2 with Nationwide Series practice. It will be nice to see exactly what Daugherty can bring to the table in this role.
No one does a better pre-race show than Krista Voda and the truck series. Not too many voices, no phony props and no acting. Voda dishes the news, sets-up the interviews and introduces the features. There is more racing content in a thirty minute truck series pre-race show than in the hour shows on FOX and ESPN combined. Voda is on the air at 7:30PM ET with The Setup on SPEED.
The trucks 8PM and the live race coverage should be the solid product we are used to seeing from this veteran crew. Straightforward coverage with the focus on the racing, updates on the teams and excitement from Allen in the booth.
Let's hope the truck series puts on a good show in the middle of struggling with quality teams and limited budgets. This is a viable series that only needs a couple more personalities driving the full season to make it come to life.
On the TV side, the struggle for air time between Allen and Waltrip will be the key. Simply letting Allen set the tone and maintain his regular rhythm will result in a nice payoff for Waltrip in the long run with fans and the SPEED TV team.
There are no NASCAR on FOX guys in Nashville. Waltrip is simply a loaner for his younger brother to a group that has been producing very successful truck series telecasts for a long time. Let's hope the thoughtful, veteran former driver shows-up instead of the carnival barker.
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