Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nationwide Series Gets Center Stage

The Nationwide Series takes center stage on Saturday from Watkins Glen. It is a same-day qualifying and race show. The weather is said to be clearing, but the cars did not get much practice on Friday due to rain.

It is a pretty fascinating field of 48 entries trying to make the race. Click here to read Jayski's entry list. There are all kinds of agendas coming together in this one. Fresh races, a handful of well-funded regulars and even some road course ringers round out this field.

Including the newly promoted Sam Hornish Jr., there are seven Sprint Cup Series drivers trying to make the race as well. Nationwide regulars include Danica Patrick, Austin Dillon, and Elliott Sadler. It should be both an interesting qualifying session and race.

ESPN brings the network's regulars as well in Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree to call the race. Nicole Briscoe hosts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the infield pit studio for the pre-race show. Since Jamie Little had her baby on Thursday (it was a boy - Carter Wayne Selman), designated hitter Mike Massaro will join Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Dr. Jerry Punch on pit road. Once again just a reminder, Tim Brewer and the Tech Garage were discontinued by ESPN months ago.

Reid is having a tough time coming back to NASCAR in this limited role. He fumbled with words and had trouble selecting phrases during the last race telecast. This week's road course race should be particularly challenging depending on how many of the unfamiliar faces make the field. Reid may need a scorecard.

The nature of the racing will force ESPN to follow the field on restarts and the leaders once things settle down. The real storylines of the race have not emerged, but perhaps qualifying will start that ball rolling. Patrick did not particularly please anyone with her Indy performance and subsequent crash. As one of the most high-profile teams in the race, expect to be updated on her position on a very regular basis.

This is the time of the year right before college football comes along and once again swallows the Nationwide Series whole. Saturday is a good opportunity to put on a solid show for race fans and sponsors since the telecast will be carried on ABC. Qualifying will be on ESPN2.

We invite your opinion on the race telecast and broadcasters. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.