Nicole Briscoe has Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Ray Evernham with her in the Infield Pit Studio today. Allen Bestwick will call the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree alongside. Mike Massaro, Dave Burns, Vince Welch and Dr. Jerry Punch will handle pit road. Tim Brewer will watch from home.
ESPN has a big challenge. Once the field stretches out, the coverage has to find a direction and a theme. It can't be in-car cameras and tight shots. ESPN is going to have to work to tell the stories, recap the standings and tell lots of stories to fill these four hours.
The good news is that the announcing team is up to the challenge. The bad news is that the production truck continues to make one bad decision after another. No aerial shots or wide angles, few updates on drivers not in the top ten and no follow-up on drivers working their way back through the field.
Goodyear says there are no tire problems, so the only issues we should see may be engine related. There are eight start and park teams in the race today, so the actual competition for the win should come down to the usual suspects. The weather is good and even though Ryan Newman is reported to be under the weather, he has confirmed he will start the race and intends to see it all the way through.
We are going to be on Twitter with our live stream of TV/media comments on today's telecast. Please take a moment to join Twitter and see what all the fuss is about. We have drivers, teams, media and NASCAR officials all contributing to this live stream. Just type #TDP1 in the search box to see our conversation live and continually updated. Add #TDP1 to the end of your tweets to automatically be included.
There will be a post on this page when the event is over for your comments. Thanks to all of you for your patience while I was on vacation this week, looking forward to seeing how ESPN will handle this challenge today. Thanks to Roush PR for the picture at the top of the post.