Sunday, November 6, 2011

Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series From Texas (ESPN - 2PM ET)

Everybody is groggy from the time change, Kyle Busch is sitting this one out and the Chase is coming down to the wire. Happy Sunday, folks!

Nicole Briscoe gets Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty to re-voice the opinions they gave Saturday on Kyle Busch. Since the ESPN2 Nationwide Series race, there has been an apology from KB on his website and a Facebook posting from #18 sponsor M&M's USA.

It should be interesting to see what interviews and guests ESPN is able to land for the pre-race show. No word on Twitter this AM about the location of Kyle Busch. Joe Gibbs has been on the other NASCAR TV shows doing full-out damage control.

Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call the race. These three appeared earlier on Sunday's NASCAR Now show. Jarrett said he expected additional penalties from either JRG or NASCAR where Busch is concerned.

Jamie Little, Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Dr. Jerry Punch are the pit reporters. Tim Brewer will be in the Tech Garage. This is a dynamic track and it might be a long day for those working pit road if the action is similar to last week in Martinsville. There was not a lot of giving and taking going on.

ESPN has quite a task on its hands today. Three storylines must be followed from start to finish. First, the Chase and the saga of Carl vs. Tony. Secondly, how Michael McDowell is doing in the #18. Finally, coverage of the actual race.

In the past, this has been a tough issue for a network that likes to script things in advance and keep working back toward those stories in the telecast. One big incident today might scramble all three of those main storylines. It should be interesting to see how they respond.

We invite your comments on the ESPN coverager of the Sprint Cup Series race from the Texas Motor Speedway. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below.

Updated: High Noon For "RaceDay" On SPEED

Updated Sunday 11AM: Facebook statement from M&M USA - "The recent actions by Kyle Busch are not consistent with the values of M&M'S and we're very disappointed. Like you, we hold those who represent our brand to a higher standard and we have expressed our concerns directly to Joe Gibbs Racing."

Saturday evening a letter was released via the Kyle Busch website. It referenced the incident in Friday night's race and other issues associated with his being parked for the entire weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Here is the text:

To all,

I've had a lot of time today to sit and reflect, and try to put my thoughts into words as best I can. I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Friday night's Truck Series race at Texas.

I apologize to my fans, all my sponsors, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. After talking with my team, it's great to have their support and encouragement to assure me that there are better days ahead. Even though this took place while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, I am sorry for how difficult this has been for everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams.

I'd also like to apologize to Ron Hornaday Jr. and everyone associated with the No. 33 team in the Truck Series. I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions.

As a race car driver, the hardest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this, I have no one to blame but myself.

Through a lot of support from the people around me, I feel like I've made a lot of strides this year, but this was certainly a step backward. Moving forward, I will do everything I possibly can to represent everyone involved in a positive manner. However, I know my long-term actions will have more of a bearing than anything I say right now.


Kyle Busch

All of that serves to set-up Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace to offer comments on this situation on SPEED's RaceDay show. Sunday at noon the network gets two hours before ESPN hits the air with the pre-race to discuss this topic.

ESPN2's NASCAR Now show is buried at 9AM on Sunday morning. Mike Massaro has Ricky Craven in the studio with Shannon Spake and Marty Smith at the Texas Motor Speedway. Craven's comments will be interesting, but the timeslot is not.

Instead, it will be Petty and Wallace front and center for two hours. Saturday, Wallace tweeted that he will be telling his opinion of the situation with Busch, but that was before the public letter or apology was released. Wallace finished 13th in Saturday's Nationwide Series race.

Few of NASCAR's media personalities have a higher profile right now than Kyle Petty. Unlike Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarrett, Petty is on the air every week on multiple platforms. RaceDay on SPEED, Inside NASCAR on Showtime and even 30 Minutes You Won't Get Back on are all in addition to his highest-profile TV position as the Lead Analyst for the six TNT Sprint Cup Series races.

Petty has a very unique perspective on these types of issues and has been speaking his mind this season without reservation on key NASCAR issues. One aspect of Petty's interaction with NASCAR fans has been his ongoing Twitter conversations. Petty is blunt and to the point with fans who ask questions on more topics than any TV show could handle. He tweets constantly during the RaceDay show.

Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler are the reporters for RaceDay. While both have deep personal ties to the sport, they have shown the ability to chase down stories and often use those same connections for access. Sunday's show should be a good indicator of those abilities.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Sunday TV coverage of the Kyle Busch incident, subsequent parking and public apology. To add your comments on this topic, just click the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.