Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bill Lester Shakes-Up "NASCAR Now"

The NASCAR teams who did not make The Chase are not the only ones in the NASCAR world making changes during the final eight races of the season.

The ESPN gang has been moving some announcers around, most notably Brad Daugherty up to the Busch Series announce booth for two races. On Sunday morning, ESPN unveiled another surprise on the Bristol, CT set of NASCAR Now.

When show host Erik Kuselias introduced his co-host in the studio, it was not anyone who viewers had seen all season. It was not Stacy Compton or Boris Said. It was not Tim Cowlishaw. This face was new, and very different.

Seated next to Kuselias was the one and only Bill Lester. Veteran NASCAR fans know Lester from the Craftsman Truck Series, and his several attempts to make and then race in Cup events. One thing is for sure, Bill Lester is a racer.

In his first ESPN TV appearance, Lester stole the show. Alone on the set with Kuselias, Lester was asked to address a wide variety of issues and even to interact with NASCAR Now's mind-numbing "Eliminator" segment. Lester passed his test with flying colors.

Color may be a word used in lots of stories about this new on-air announcer. Bill Lester is a college educated black American. He is also a black NASCAR driver. Now, he is a black NASCAR Now analyst. Regarless of his race, he is exactly what NASCAR Now needed down the stretch.

Several weeks ago, The Daly Planet suggested that if ESPN wanted to extend its role of minorities on-the-air working the NASCAR beat, they should pick-up the phone and call Bill Lester. He is a fan favorite, a good driver, and an experienced NASCAR veteran who is only trying to make a living.

Hopefully, Lester will continue to play a role on NASCAR Now and get his opportunity to deal with the likes of Tim Cowlishaw and Brad Daugherty in conversations about NASCAR issues on this show.

As the NASCAR Now gang counts down to the end of the season, we can only wonder if they have any other surprises up their sleeve. If Bill Lester is typical of these "silly season" changes, then fans may be saying "bring it on."

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.


Anonymous said...

And here, folks, is who should have been given Brad "My-manager-once-bought-me-a-Busch-team-but-I-was-an-absentee-owner-and-don't-kno-the-sport" Daughtery's job.

And, yes, he is a nice, enthusiastic guy. But that doessn't qualify him to hold the job he's been given.

Bill Lester, on thee other hand, is very well qualified for it.

Anonymous said...

just asking...what experience does bill have in TV before today?

Anonymous said...

Its always great to have someone on the set who actually knows NASCAR, instead of Eric the Klueless. I dont care who it is.
Kevin in SoCal

Daly Planet Editor said...

That is a good question, other than PR interviews for his team with the networks, I don't remember him on any other TV shows. Can anyone add any info on this topic?

Anonymous said...

Bill was on the Sunday night edition of NASCAR Now with Ryan Burr.

Anonymous said...

Forced Diversity

Tripp said...

Having seen only the final portion of Lester's first NASCAR Now broadcast, it was clear that Bill was nervous and his delivery a little clunky. One would expect that to improve in subsequent broadcasts.

Bill Lester has previously shown himself to be a passionate racer. So passionate in fact that he gave up a successful career in technology to go racing. He outlined his career change in an interview on Sirius NASCAR Radio a few weeks ago and in that discussion his passion for racing literally oozed through the speakers.

ESPN is slowly making some good choices that are improving their racing coverage. Selecting Bill Lester, rough though he may yet be, is one of those. No simple "meat puppet" he. Barring a terminal bought of stage fright. Mr. Lester should be a valuable addition to ESPN.

Anonymous said...

Only caught bits and pieces of the show. I was glad to see Bill Lester in the studio. He would make a good addition to EXPN, but not full time. I'm hoping he will have a ride for next season's Truck series.

Anonymous said...

bzwnhI'm just glad to see an hear someone different. I'm so sick of the Waltrip brothers, the Wallace brothers and the clueless pinheads, I could spit. Many of the former crew chief (can't offend NASCAR) talking are also growing old on me.

Anonymous said...

hmmmmmmmm.........I posted but don't what happened to my comment. I don't think I said anything bad

But anywho, it was nice to see him on the shows Sunday :). I hope he gets to be on again. If things don't work out with BDR, maybe the ESPN booth/studio/NN :)

Anonymous said...

Now, if ESPN would replace the mouth piece Rusty Wallace with Lester maybe the races would make more sense. Rusty was good but he has worn himself thin as far as my listening to his BS!

Anonymous said...

Bill is on NASCAR Now again for the Monday edition.

Anonymous said...

I tuned in to see who was on. Erik was almost foaming at the mouth. He had controversy. Unfortunately, Bill was assigned the “place blame” position. I’m not sure why they have the hour show. They seem to talk about the same things two or three times. I like Bill; but, I think that I am through with Nascar Now. If it comes back next season, I’ll check to see if any changes have been made.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great job by Bill Lester on the Monday edition of NASCAR Now.

There has still been no press release from the network about what Lester will do in the future with ESPN or ABC.


Anonymous said...

Amazing !

Bill Lester is educated, speaks well and is clean cut, as well as good looking. He has on the job experience as a racer and is widely traveled.

He does not mispronounce words and he is not a "good ol' boy".

He is doomed to failure in the NASCAR of today that elevates the likes of Jimmy Spencer and Rusty Wallace to "rock star-race guru" status.

I wish there were ten more Bill Lesters on television and NO MORE BILL WEBERS !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where's Willi T. Ribbs ?

Anonymous said...

Brad Daughtery has limited credibility. I had never heard of him before he popped up on my flat screen a couple months ago. Yet, he affects an insider's demeanor worthy of the ghost of Buck Baker.

Anonymous said...

Lester was quick to blame Earnhardt Jr when in fact Bill seemed not to understand the math.

That higher line requires a steady foot in order for the pay-off to come down the stretch.

To suggest that Earnhardt should have lifted is ridiculous and equates to a master of the obvious call.

Lester has made a career of being the first black man to do this, and the first black man to do that -- with no actual wins in any NASCAR series.

Ribbs never played that card.

Lester doesnt hold a candle to guys like Joie Ray, but in todays world of forced diversity -- here he is folks.

Last week he couldnt spell analyst now he are one!

And let us not forget his picture on the Honey Nut Cherrios box.

Lester would go on to claim he ate Honey Nut Cheerios as a kid -- when in fact Honey Nut Cheerios were not avaiable when he was a kid.

Gotcha on that one Bill:)

Anonymous said...

Before last weekend, Lester had appeared on Around the Track on many regions of Fox Sports Net and on the video portions of

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.