Saturday, August 6, 2011
ESPN continues to mix the talent in the TV booth for the Nationwide Series. This week, Ricky Craven and Kenny Schrader join Marty Reid for the race. Shannon Spake, Jim Noble and Rick DeBruhl are the pit reporters.
This is a strong track for the Nationwide Series cars and should provide good racing. The bad news is that Carl Edwards is flying in from Pocono with the idea in mind of dominating the race from start to finish. Series regulars are going to have their hands full with Edwards.
Schrader moving to the booth is a big step for ESPN. The network had been working the existing pool of talent for the past several years without solid results. Now, Craven and Schrader can combine with Reid knowing none of them are working the Cup races and this is their single focus.
It will be interesting when the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series come together again to see if ESPN backs up and works Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree again on both series or sticks with Reid, Craven and a partner to be named later in the booth. The recent appearances by Rusty Wallace have been pretty tough to take, especially with the ongoing struggles of his NNS team.
Some fans are upset because ESPN did not show either practice of qualifying for this event, despite seemingly having the time on the schedule and the TV equipment in the field. This is nothing new. The Nationwide Series moves to the back burner on ESPN when the Sprint Cup Series telecasts begin.
There is hope on the horizon. ESPN has put some new faces in new places and this series gets Danica Patrick and Travis Pastrana for 2012. In the meantime, it's a one and done show from Iowa Speedway tonight.
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