Thursday, July 31, 2008

TV Networks Ready For Some Racing

The two remaining NASCAR TV partners are on-the-air again this weekend from Pocono and Montreal.

The good news is that SPEED has picked-up the Sprint Cup practice sessions that were not originally going to be aired. The bad news is that SPEED will not televise the Saturday ARCA race from Pocono in which Chrissie Wallace will be driving.

Friday's TV coverage kicks-off with SPEED at Noon Eastern Time. This will be the recently-added coverage of the Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono. Steve Byrnes will host the telecast with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond alongside. Wendy Venturini and Bob Dillner will report from the garage area.

After practice, SPEED continues with a thirty minute version of NASCAR Live at 1:30PM. Byrnes will host and Venturini and Dillner will continue to report on the stories after practice. It makes a lot of sense to let these reporters follow-up on the issues they detailed during the practice session.

Things switch gears at 2PM as NASCAR TV moves over to ESPN2 for Nationwide Series final practice from Montreal. It will be Marty Reid on-scene with Randy LaJoie alongside. Reporting from the garage will be Vince Welch and Jack Arute.

Now that everyone in Pocono has finished lunch, the Sprint Cup Series qualifies on ESPN2 at 3:30PM. This will be the "A team" of Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. The reporting crew consists of Jamie Little, Shannon Spake, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro.

At 6PM, things get interesting. SPEED will present a special last-minute version of the popular NASCAR Confidential program. This show will look at the Indy situation from the viewpoints of the teams and officials right in the middle of the experience. This show was added to the SPEED line-up out-of-the-blue and should be interesting to watch in terms of content and agenda. This program will also re-air at 11PM Saturday night on SPEED.

Over on ESPN2, it will be the thirty minute version of NASCAR Now at 6PM. This show will be hosted by either Ryan Burr or Nicole Manske and will review the day's activities and preview the remainder of the weekend. Please note there is no West Coast re-air of this program.

At 7PM, Byrnes returns on SPEED with Trackside. He is joined by Hammond, McReynolds and Elliott Sadler. This is a one hour talk show that has two guests who remain throughout the show and interact with the entire panel on a wide variety of subjects. Kevin Harvick and Scott Speed are the guests.

This ends the NASCAR portion of the night, but for those wanting to see the Montreal road course, the Rolex Sports Car Series race from Montreal is on SPEED at 8PM.

Having the early Sprint Cup practice televised is going to make a big difference for the fans and for ESPN as the stories from this session begin to tell the tale of the race itself. Kudos to NASCAR for making this available and to SPEED for covering the action.

This post will serve to host your comments about the Friday NASCAR TV on these two networks. There will be a fresh column up shortly after 7PM reviewing NASCAR Confidential and asking for your comments.

To add your opinion to this post, just click on the COMMENTS button below. The rules are on the right side of the main page and thanks so much for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.