Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ESPN finally restores Bestwick to play-by-play role

ESPN made its best decision since returning to NASCAR in 2007 when it announced Wednesday that Allen Bestwick will replace Marty Reid as the play-by-play announcer for the network’s 17 Sprint Cup Series races.

Bestwick finally returns to the booth full-time since NBC made an ill-advised decision to send Bestwick to cover the pits and bring Bill Weber up to the booth.

Well, that didn’t work out too well as Weber is off somewhere trying to be a magician (seriously) after being fired from TNT in the middle of the network’s six-race summer series in 2009.

Now Bestwick is back where he should be. He will be the man to call home the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

ESPN has struggled to find the right combination in the booth ever since it got back into NASCAR. The network’s first play-by-play man in the new era was Dr. Jerry Punch, who is a great NASCAR mind and one of the best pit reporters ever, but he fit in much better down with the people in the pits than upstairs with two other analysts. Punch is great at explaining a situation, but not being the main soundtrack throughout a race.

Next, ESPN tried Marty Reid. While Reid was decent, he never reached that point where he really connected with fans. They knew the others in the booth, but not Reid, other than from his IndyCar and NHRA work.

All this time, ESPN had the right guy on payroll, but he wasn’t in the right position. Sure, Bestwick did a fine job as the pre-race host, but he needs to be the main guy, somebody fans respect and trust to guide them through the race.

Bestwick now steps into a situation that could fit perfectly. Along with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree, this group could finally be a NASCAR TV team that doesn’t have fan complaints trailing them from the start. Each of the three men are not over-the-top in their calls and analysis, and they each bring a knowledge to the broadcast that fans can respect.

So, enjoy the final stretch of the season. It will be a pleasure to have Bestwick back on board to guide the television viewers from the Brickyard on through to the championship at Homestead.



  2. I too am happy that AB is back where he belongs. I still wonder to this day who he pi**ed off to get booted out of there in the first place.

  3. Anonymous - Agreed. He is one announcer that does a great job without any gimmicks.

    Dot - I don't know. He broke his leg while playing ice hockey, and NBC immediately stuck him in the pits.