Thursday, July 17, 2008
This is a big weekend for SPEED as the network has chosen to emphasize "grass roots" racing with some special programming. In terms of live events, the ARCA race from Kentucky Speedway will kick things off on Friday night at 8PM Eastern Time.
The jewel of the weekend for SPEED is the Craftsman Truck Series race from the same track on Saturday at 7PM. This series has been great for SPEED and has quietly and consistently delivered a great TV telecast for the fans.
After seeing the pre-race TV shows this season, one fact remains clear. The Set-Up show for the NCTS is the only one that still puts the emphasis on the racers. The reason why is a combination of solid TV producing and the consistency of program host Krista Voda.
No other TV program truly steps aside and lets the spotlight fall on the teams and storylines of the sport itself. There are no goofy antics, no on-air games to play and no egos to feed. Voda hosts a program that offers a topic and then lets the drivers, crew chiefs and owners actually tell the story with minimal interruption.
This week, SPEED will expand The Set-Up to one hour so that it will start at 6PM. The big news of the week is that Randy Moss has followed-up on his earlier promise and joined the ranks of the NCTS owners club. Moss will join Voda on the set for an interview and stay for an entire segment. He seems like an enthusiastic fan who wants to take part in the sport and his story about meeting Dale Earnhardt Jr. is fantastic.
Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip will also join Voda on the set to look back at the first half of the NCTS season. Parsons is the authority on this series and Waltrip is his enthusiastic cheerleader. Together, they bring a veteran perspective and a rather unique television experience to viewers.
In terms of features, the show will follow rookie Brian Scott heli-skiing in Idaho and fellow rookie Mark Mitchell sky diving. A recent outing to Flat Rock Speedway also caught Ray Dunlap driving in the school bus race and Rick Allen trying his hand at a street stock.
Voda will also have a look back at Mike Skinner's 2007 season and a recap of how things are going for Skinner's team this year. That will transition into discussing Skinner's nemesis Ron Hornaday Jr. and a talk with the current points leader.
The good news for fans is that once The Set-Up is done, Voda will stick around and become the third pit reporter for the remainder of the telecast. This has been something long requested by fans and it was nice of SPEED to finally allocate the budget to allow that to happen. Saturday from Kentucky should be fun.
There will be Friday coverage of NCTS practice at 6:30PM ET on SPEED and ESPN2 will host coverage of the Nationwide Series practice from Gateway at 7PM. NASCAR Now will be at 6PM also on ESPN2 Friday night. There will be a post up for Friday in-progress comments on practice coverage at 5PM.
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