Sunday, November 22, 2009

Live Blogging The Sprint Cup Series From Homestead (2:30PM - ABC)

The season closes out with one big storyline and several smaller ones. Jimmie Johnson's only competition is his own teammate Mark Martin. The other story is the teams going for broke to win this last race.

One additional story is that Rick Hendrick has stayed behind in North Carolina to attend to a family member who is undergoing emergency surgery. No doubt the absence of Hendrick removes an element that the TV networks normally count on in a championship race.

Allen Bestwick brings ABC on the air for the final time this season. He is joined by Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the Infield Pit Center. The ESPN pit reporters will be handling the interviews.

Shannon Spake, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch have been working on the NASCAR trail all season long. They have struggled on the Sprint Cup Series races because of their limited exposure to the series. ESPN has not done many practice and qualifying sessions this season from their 17 Cup races.

This is a final moment in the sun for the team of Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. The Nationwide Series season was easy to watch, but when the team switched over to the Sprint Cup Series the wheels came off.

There is no need to recap the issues again, but things are just not working for the TV viewers with the current team in place. Expect changes in the off-season. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, changes for today's race.

This post will serve to host your comments on the Sprint Cup Series race from Homestead. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for hanging with us this season and giving us your NASCAR TV opinions!

Live Blogging Pre-Race Shows From Homestead (ESPN2, SPEED, ESPN)

The final day of the 2009 NASCAR season brings the Sprint Cup Series race from Homestead. Before the green flag flies, three of NASCAR's TV partners will be offering hours of pre-race programming.

Allen Bestwick is going to have a very long day. He begins the morning by hosting NASCAR Now at 10AM from the Infield Pit Studio. This one hour show on ESPN2 will feature Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty, Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett. The on-site reporters are Marty Smith, Mike Massaro and Nicole Manske.

Bestwick has been the rock for ESPN where NASCAR is concerned. He has cemented his presence as the host of the race telecasts and the Monday hour of NASCAR Now from the ESPN's Connecticut studio. Expect this program to be fast-paced and themed around the Hendrick Motorsports.

NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED offers an expanded three-hour program from Homestead at 11:30AM. The network brings all it's NASCAR announcers together and offers three different sets around the track. John Roberts will host the show from the SPEED Stage with Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will be in their traditional beach chairs beside the infield lake. Darrell Waltrip and Kyle Petty will be together in Victory Lane. Hermie Sadler, Wendy Venturini and Rutledge Wood are the reporters.

RaceDay struggles with some uneven segments in this longer format, but offers tons of features, interviews and conversation about the NASCAR topics of the day. Keep an eye on Waltrip and Petty. Putting those two outspoken individuals together should make for some interesting discussions. Both of them have strong opinions on various aspects of the sport and have not been shy in sharing them.

ESPN has added a special program at 1PM. Titled as a SportsCenter special, this allows the network to go live up against RaceDay. As viewers know, the networks have been cooperating this season and avoiding overlapping with live pre-race shows, but Homestead is different.

For this program, reporter Dave Burns has been assigned the task of shadowing the #48team from the time that the NASCAR garage opens. TV veteran Marty Smith has the task of following driver Jimmie Johnson from the moment he emerges from his motorhome in the infield. Bestwick will host the ESPN program that will feature his infield cast of Wallace, Evernham and Daugherty.

Ford has imported Mike Rowe from the Dirty Jobs series on Discovery to promote their products. Rowe will be featured on the special as he focuses on various dirty jobs in the Homestead garage area. His off-beat sense of humor may be just what this program needs to add a little spice to the morning.

These programs face a very fundamental issue. This season, the dominance of the #48 team has been well documented. For this final race, Johnson starts from the pole. Other than looking back on the season, the storyline is rather singular. Chad Knaus and Johnson are set to win another championship in the polite, low-key style that has come to define them.

This post will serve to host your comments on the pre-race programming before the 2:30PM start of the actual ABC coverage. To add your TV-related comments, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

TDP will offer a live race blog beginning at 2:30PM and another live blog for the four hours of post-race shows from 7 - 11PM. Thanks for stopping by this morning and sharing your opinions.