Friday, March 2, 2007

NASCAR Now: The Northwest Territory

NASCAR Now focused today on the message that NASCAR "needs" to build a track in the Pacific Northwest. In order to do this, they are trying to incorporate the taxpayers into footing the bill, despite the fact that International Speedway Corporation is a multi-billion dollar business. This fact was never mentioned by host Erik Kuselias, who instead decided to "call out" a local legislator who dared to say something negative about "our sport." He actually asked the elected official "what consequences would you be willing to accept?" for such anti-NASCAR behavior. Thankfully, Marty Smith stopped by to help Kuselias with the actual issues at hand and speak with authority on the subject of a Pacific Northwest expansion by ISC. In all my years, this was some of the strangest television ever offered by ESPN.

The program moved on to the Busch Series event in Mexico, but Kuselias was apparently not told the name of ESPN Reporter Claudia Trejos. She provided an international perspective on the event, and announced that the race was sold out and two hundred thousand fans would be in attendance. If two hundred thousand fans turn out for a Busch Race in Mexico, NASCAR drivers can change this race date from pencil to ink in a hurry.

Kuselias moved on to his new favorite topic, brow-beating Mark Martin into racing the full 2007 NEXTEL Cup schedule. Mark Martin is an adult who has absolutely no idea who Erik Kuselias is, and could care less. Bobby Ginn, Martin's owner, was on the show by phone and here is a recap:

Kuselias: "Give me the sales pitch...on how you are going to try and convince him (Martin) to stay in the car."

Ginn: "I don't think I will get Mark Martin to stay in the car or not"

Kuselias: "What's the scenario where he (Martin) is in the car" Bristol?

Ginn: "Its up to him (Martin) and he's got to make that decision."

Kuselias: "How important is it to Ginn Racing that Mark Martin runs a full schedule this season?"

Ginn: "Our plan was a five year the better he does the better we do."

As ESPN continues to struggle with the reality of NASCAR, Kuselias has to be offered some expert help when conducting these interviews. He does not know the sport, the people, or the language. Why should he? This is March, and it is the first year for ESPN and Kuselias in this sport. His attempt to voice-over the highlights of Busch practice in Mexico were hard to take. Let's say it again, he should not be forced to be anything but the host. If content issues are involved, he must be provided one of the many ESPN NASCAR Now analysts.