Thursday, March 8, 2007

ESPN Race Analysis is a Refreshing Return to, Well, Race Analysis

ESPN's NASCAR Busch Series racing coverage has been anything but Bush League. What a refreshing return to the race and the drivers being the main part of the show. Sure, FoxSports, TNT and Speed have excellent overall coverage, but after a few years of the same old, same old hype and sometimes downright silly schtick, it's nice to have racing commentators and analysts who actually talk about what is going on on the track and are not secretly rehearsing for their next NAPA commercial. Keeping it businesslike is a nice change of events.

Former Cup Crew Chief Tim Brewer has been a marvelous addition to the broadcasts as a race analyst. One of NASCAR's most successful crew chiefs in racing history, Brewer was on the comm for 53 wins, 55 poles and 2 Cup championships. What I especially admire is that he has a talent for explaining the more technical racing issues in layman's terms without being condescending to the viewers. (How many times have we heard the Fox 'experts' start every sentence with, "For you new racing fans...."?) Brewer has a quiet charisma, and his down-to-earth approach is certainly a blast of fresh air for long-time race viewers.

Rusty Wallace, in his second year with ESPN, is doing a most creditable and credible job. I have to admit I had my doubts about how he would make the transition from racer to broadcaster. And, of course, long time pro Jerry Punch is a most welcome sight for race fans as well. While I'm at it, I've been favorably impressed by Angelique Chengelis' reporting. This veteran motorsports write has made the transition to the booth smoothly, and it's such a delight to have a woman sportswriter of her knowledge covering races.

One can only hope ESPN maintains (and why wouldn't they?) their usual professional approach. And, please, Lord, let's not hear any 'Boogity, boogity, boogity' from the NASCAR Countdown commentators!! Somehow, I don't think we'll have to worry about that, though.