Nicole Briscoe had some Little League World Series issues, but the NASCAR Countdown show featured Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham. As in years past, the problem with this race is that once the pre-race is over there is literally no time for this group to get on the air again. 15 second laps and critical pit stops combined with a heavy commercial load make on-camera time almost impossible.
Allen Bestwick was the other bright spot of the night. He called a race with enthusiasm from start to finish and coaxed the best out of Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett. While the pit road group was adequate, Bestwick was the person who really shouldered the load and made it work.
The racing on the track was constant, but ESPN's philosophy of showing two cars at a time continued. It's almost embarrassing to have to replay an incident at a tiny track like Bristol, but that certainly was the case on Saturday night. Zooming-in to make pretty pictures results in missing the moments that make up the race.
For once, the stars of the show were the drivers. Pushed into a new situation at a critical time in the season, they responded with hard racing instead of some of the points racing we had been seeing earlier this year. The results were the elements fans want to see. Intense action and good storylines with some caution flags along the way are the elements that built the sport.
Missing from this telecast were the beautiful wideshots of the track after restarts with the cars running almost all the way around the race track. Instead, the hyper-tight shots of single cars were mixed with in-car cameras and replays of the incidents that were missed. It's a formula.
Sunday night SPEED will return with three hours of motorsports. It should be interesting to see the driver, owner and media comments that SpeedCenter, Victory Lane (replay) and Wind Tunnel will relay to fans. This race is going to cause a buzz that will last for days. That is just what the sport needed.
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