‘Cars 3’ Is A Fitting Final Lap For Disney/Pixar’s ‘Cars’ Franchise

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Cars 3, the latest entry in Disney/Pixar’s high-octane Cars franchise, was one of the most hotly anticipated movies of this year ahead of its nationwide theatrical debut this past June. That is because of just how disappointing the franchise’s second installment — released in 2011 — proved to be. That movie, which was essentially just an acting vehicle for Larry The Cable Guy, was little more than a cash grab for Disney and Pixar. While Cars 3 did make up for the wreck that was Cars 2, it didn’t do so without some issues. That is not to say that Cars 3 is unwatchable. As a matter of fact, one of the elements that makes it worth at least one watch is its story. At the same time, the story is also the movie’s primary negative. It will be discussed shortly. While the movie’s story makes up two of its most important elements, divided into two sides, it is only one of the movie’s most important elements. The work of the movie’s cast rounds out its most important elements. Both elements are critical to the movie’s overall presentation in their own fashion. All things considered, Cars 3 still manages to make it to the checkered flag, albeit on seven cylinders. Yes, that awful pun was intended. That aside, Cars 3 does go the mile and in turn proves itself worth at least one watch.

Cars 3 is a fitting finale for Disney/Pixar’s Cars franchise. It is not a perfect period to the franchise, but is still an enjoyable presentation that is worth at least one watch. That is due in part to the movie’s central story, which brings the franchise full circle. Eleven years after Lightning McQueen first debuted, he has become a beloved veteran of the Piston Cup Series in this movie — beloved both by fans and by his fellow race cars. However, he also finds that his heyday has passed and must come to terms with moving on and moving forward. If this sounds familiar, it should. A very similar story was presented approximately seven years ago in Toy Story 3, another Disney/Pixar flick. The movies’ writing teams are not the same, but the story is quite similar, just presented in a different scenario. It is also a story that, much like that of the franchise’s freshman entry, reminds audiences of racing’s roots. While Thomasville Speedway does not exist in the real world, it instantly conjures thoughts of North Wilkesboro and so many of the tracks that formed NASCAR’s foundation. It was nice to see the movie’s writing staff bring back this focus on the sport’s past (including its moonshining connection) once again, especially considering the direction that NASCAR has gone since the early 2000s under its current leadership regime.

Paying tribute once more to NASCAR’s roots while also presenting a message of letting go and moving forward are both key to making the story Cars 3‘s central story entertaining. They are only a portion of what makes it watchable. Not to give away too much for those who perhaps haven’t yet seen this movie, but there is also a surprise twist in the movie’s final scene that is just as certain to entertain audiences while still tying directly into that theme of progress. It makes the story that much stronger. Keeping all of this in mind, the movie’s central story forms a strong foundation for its presentation. While that foundation is strong though, it is not entirely solid. There are some noticeable cracks in that foundation thanks to the writing team’s apparent struggle to decide if they wanted to throw back to Cars or make this movie more a tribute to the voice of Doc Hudson, the late great Paul Newman.

Throughout the course of Cars 3‘s one-hour, 42-minute run time, the story references Doc Hudson so many times that it becomes easy to lose count of said references, even going so far as to use what must have been some material that never made it to Cars’ final cut in this case to try to advance the story. The problem here is that rather than advance the story, it leads the story to get sidetracked, ultimately slowing the story’s pacing. That pacing problem is in the end, the second of the movie’s most important elements to discuss. It almost makes one want to fast forward the movie at times as Lightning McQueen progresses on his journey of re-discovery just to make it through the movie’s traffic. Yes, that bad pun was intentional, too. Getting back on the subject at hand, the diversions created through the references to Hudson include extra scenes, such as Lightning’s discussion with Smokey about Doc and his recollections of his own conversations with Doc among others. Those extra scenes probably should have hit the cutting room floor as they do not do much to advance the movie’s central story. Considering all of this, it becomes clear why Cars 3‘s central story is both a positive and a negative. That duality is so important that it in itself gives audiences plenty of reason to watch this sequel at least once. Also making Cars 3 worth at least one watch is the work of its voice cast.

Owen Wilson returns once more as the voice of Lightning McQueen for this ride as do the original voice actors who brought life to Radiator Springs’ residents and even Dinoco owner Tex’s voice (Humpy Wheeler), that of Chick Hicks — Bob Peterson (Cars, Up, Finding Nemo) — and Lightning’s hauler Mack — John Ratzenberger (Cars, Cars 2, Toy Story 1 – 3). Both the seasoned cast and the new additions — Armie Hammer as the voice of Jackson Storm, Chris Cooper as the voice of Smokey, Cristela Alonzo as the voice of Cruz Ramirez and Kerry Washington as the voice of Natalie Certain — do their utmost to make the movie enjoyable for audiences of all ages. While Jackson Storm is the movie’s main villain, he is not really on camera very much. Keeping that in mind, Hammer (The Lone Ranger, The Social Network, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) easily could have hammed it up as the self-centered, high-performance race car. He didn’t allow that to happen, though. Instead he showed his understanding and respect for his part in the story’s bigger picture each time, making Storm a villain that audiences will love to hate. To that end, Hammer is deserving of his share of applause for his work. Alonzo (Mind of Mencia, Cristela) is just as entertaining as Cruz. This includes both Cruz’s funnier moments — such as when she accidentally digs herself into the sand and when she is acting as the racers’ trainer — and her more emotional moments –such as her confrontation with McQueen following the demolition derby and the equally moving climax in the story’s final act (not to give away too much). Considering the situations into which the movie’s writers put Cruz, it would have been easy for Alonzo to go over the top, too. But She shows time and again so much talent, ensuring even more audiences entertainment and engagement. When her work and that of Wilson couples with work of the movie’s supporting cast (the Radiator Springs cast, announcers, etc.) the whole of their work strengthens the foundation formed by the movie’s story, and makes the movie that much more worth the watch. That is even considering the issues raised in the story’s balance. When this is considered along with the movie’s standout CGI, which has clearly been stepped up since the franchise first debuted 11 years ago, the whole of Cars 3 proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable watch. It doesn’t live up to the legacy left by Cars, but definitely does make up for Cars 2 while potentially even leaving the door open for a whole new series of Cars movies, leaving it a fitting finale for the Cars franchise.

The third and likely last entry in Disney/Pixar’s Cars franchise is a fitting final lap for the series. It proves in the long run that it really should have been Cars 2 instead of the movie that turned out to be Cars 2. That movie never should have even existed. Even with that movie having been made, Cars 3 will likely be considered the real rightful Cars 2 by most viewers. That is due in part to a story that despite struggling to balance its tribute to Paul Newman with an actual continuation of Cars, still proves to have some heart — enough heart to make it worth at least the occasional watch. The work of the movie’s voice cast — both main and support — strengthens the movie’s presentation even more. Add in some impressive CGI work that that clearly is another step up from the franchise’s freshman film, and audiences get a movie that definitely makes it to the checkered flag. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Cars 3 and other Disney/Pixar movies is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pixar.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyPixar

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DisneyPixar

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‘Sports Detectives: Season One’ Is A Winning Debut For Smithsonian Channel Series

Courtesy: Smithsonian Channel/Public Media Distribution

Early this month, Public Media Distribution and Smithsonian Channel partnered to release the first season of the network’s new sports history-based series Sports Detectives on DVD.  One part History Detectives, one part 30 for 30 and one part Expedition Unknown, this introductory season will appeal to any sports and sports history buff. That is due in no small part to the sports that it covers over the course of its episodes.  The stories that are presented within each episode are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered.  The transitions that are used in the two-part episodes round out the season’s most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the season’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Sports Detectives: Season One is, overall, a winner for any sports aficionado.

The debut season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives is a presentation that will appeal to sports buffs of all ages.  That is due in no small part to the sports that are covered over the course of its 300-minutes.  From the first disc to the second, the series covers all of America’s major sports.  There are two stories from Major League Baseball, two from the National Football League, one from the National Hockey League and one from the National Basketball Association.  They are not the only sports that are covered in this collection.  NASCAR fans get a nod with a story focusing on the legend of Dale Earnhardt’s pink K-2 Ford driven early in his career, one for the horse racing fans out there and even one focusing on the boxing world.  Simply put, those behind the series made sure to reach out to fans of as many sports as possible with these stories  The only downside here is that there is no listing of the stories inside or outside the box.  Even with that in mind, the inclusion of stories from most of the sports world’s major arenas (yes, that bad pun was intended) is in itself plays a big part in the program’s overall presentation.  The fact that the series has yet to touch on soccer (yes, that bad pun was intended, too) gives fodder for more stories.  There are certain to be stories from the worlds of golf and tennis, too.  That is not even mentioning the college sports realm, too.  Keeping that in mind, this gives plenty of material for at least a second season.  Keeping all of this in mind, the sports that are covered and the sports that could be covered in a second season of Sports Detectives show why they are pivotal to the series’ first season.  They are, collectively speaking, just part of what makes this season so enjoyable for sports lovers.  The stories presented within the episodes are just as important to discuss in examining this season as the sports presented within the episodes.

The stories that are presented within each episode are so important to discuss because of the history that each story presents.  The stories also don’t always result in a clear answer either.  The story of Muhammad Ali’s Olympic Gold Medal supports both of those statements.  Audiences learn through this story about how he represented his country at the 1960 Olympics, only to allegedly throw it in the Ohio River upon his return to the U.S.  The alleged incident happened, according to the story, after he was denied service in his still segregated home city of Louisville.  Not to give away too much here, but the story is never fully solved despite the lengths to which the investigative team of Kevin Barrows and Lauren Gardner go to try to solve the mystery.  That the story isn’t solved actually adds to its interest, leaving one wonder if there is any validity to Ali’s story or not.

The story of Ali’s missing 1960 Olympic Gold medal is just one example of the importance of this season’s stories.  The story of Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat is another prime example of the importance of the season’s episodes.  This is one of the stories that is solved.  The investigation here finds a bat that was in fact once in the hands of the baseball legend.  The revelation that someone out there has a bat that was in fact once held (and used in a game) by the legendary figure is in itself incredible.  The history behind the bat is just as interesting.  It is just one more of the stories that shows the importance of the stories featured in this season.  There is also a story centered on famed horse Secretariat’s saddle cloth that is just as interesting.

The story of Secretariat’s supposedly missing saddle cloth is another one that results in the mystery being solved.  What is so interesting in this story is the revelation of how easily it could have and did go missing in the commotion following Secretariat’s win in one of horse racing’s biggest events.  The story keeps audiences engaged because of the twists and turns that it presents as it eventually leads to the discovery of the saddle cloth.  Those twists and turns keep viewers wondering right up to the eventual discovery if it will turn up.  Again, it is just one more example of why the episodes’ stories are so important to the season’s overall presentation.  The story of a flag brought to the ice after the famed “miracle on ice” Olympic matchup between the U.S. and Russia, the location of an NFL Champion’s ring and that of a famed basketball are a few more examples of why this season’s stories are just as important to discuss as the sports that are covered in examining the season’s overall presentation.  As important as the stories presented in these episodes are to the season’s overall presentation, they are not the last of its important elements.  The transitions used in the two-part episodes are important to note, too.

The sports and stories presented throughout the first season of Smithsonian Channel’s Sports Detectives are both key elements to discuss in examining the season’s overall presentation.  They are not its only key elements to examine either.  The transitions that are used in the season’s two-part episodes are important in their own right to the season’s presentation.  The transitions used in said episodes are so important because they are so smooth. The case of the missing NFL Championship ring and the missing “Immaculate Reception” is a prime example of that statement.  Those behind the lens picked all of the right moments to connect one story to the other, thus keeping the story moving.  It is clear in watching the episode that the choices were made not only through the discussions but also through the shots.  This same approach was used in the episode focusing on Dale Earnhardt’s K-2 Ford and Secretariat’s saddle cloth and in the episode focusing on Lou Gehrig’s baseball bat and Kirk Gibson’s home run ball.  Those smart transitions will certainly keep audiences just as engaged as the stories themselves.  That is because they enhance the stories, thus making them all the more engaging.  When this element is set alongside the show’s actual stories and the sports that are featured, the whole of the elements makes this season of Sports Detectives a win for sports buffs of all ages and tastes.

Sports Detectives: Season One is a winning start for Smithsonian Channel’s new sports-based series.  That is due, as already discussed, to the diversity of sports featured in the season’s two discs and 300 minutes.  The stories at the center of each episode are just as important to discuss as the featured sports.  The transitions that are used in each episode (or more specifically, the editing in general) is the finishing touch to the season’s presentation.  Of course one could also argue the interviews, footage and pictures used in each story are important in their own right, too.  Those who point out those elements would be right, too.  All things considered, the debut season of Sports Detectives leaves no mystery why it is a winning presentation.  It is available now and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store.  More information on Sports Detectives and other Smithsonian Channel series is available online now at:




Website: http://www.smithsonianchannel.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SmithsonianChannel

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SmithsonianChan




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Ben Rudnick And Friends’ New Record Is A Fun Ride Through The Musical Universe

Courtesy:  Bartlett Ave Records

Courtesy: Bartlett Ave Records

Kindie rock artist Ben Rudnick is no stranger to the world of children’s music. Over the course of his roughly fifteen years making music for the whole family, he has released no fewer than ten total recordings. The latest of those recordings, the thirteen-track album Love Is A Superpower, was released in 2012. Now three years removed from that recording, Rudnick and company (Ben Rudnick and Friends as they are more properly called) have re-issued the group’s ’09 album A Frog Named Sam in a manner of speaking. The difference here is that this “re-issue” isn’t necessarily a re-issue in the traditional sense of the term. That is because it doesn’t just re-hash that album. Rather it lifts from each of Rudnick’s previous LPs to form what is in essence a ten track album that also includes five reprisals for a total of fifteen tracks. The end result is a collection of songs that Rudnick and company have playfully dubbed A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children. It can be safely assumed that such a title was playful in nature since there doesn’t seem to be any actual “movie” or presentation to which this collection of previously released songs is connected from Rudnick and company. That aside, the compilation in whole is a recording that listeners of all ages will enjoy and appreciate. The central reason for that is the lyrical makeup of the record’s featured songs. The topics presented in each of the featured songs vary from one to the next and each is equally positive and important. This will be discussed at more length shortly. Just as important to note of Rudnick’s new record is the equally varied musical makeup of each song. There is just as much variance in the songs’ musical content as there is in their lyrical content. Last but hardly least of note here is the record’s sequencing. As previously noted, the ten tracks that make up the body of this record are separated out by a series of short vignettes that reprise the introductory line from the album’s title track. If Rudnick and company should actually make a whole movie of sorts to connect to this album then those segments will work pretty well in their own right. In this setting, though they serve a different yet equally useful purpose. Together with the songs’ musical and lyrical content, those short segments round out the record and make it one that will in fact leave listeners hoping Rudnick and friends actually do make a “movie” to connect to this record.

Ben Rudnick and friends’ “new” record A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children is an interesting new collection of songs for the veteran children’s entertainer and his fellow musicians. That is because the record is neither new nor even a traditional re-issue. Rather it presents a number of the group’s previously recorded songs in this setting for what is essentially a compilation record. Even with that being the case it is still a good introduction for those that might not be familiar with Runick’s work. That is thanks first and foremost to the lyrical content presented in each of the record’s featured songs. From a pro-literacy piece in ‘Reading a Book’ to the uplifting ‘When Something’s Got You Terribly Blue’ to the equally uplifting ‘Love Is A Superpower’ Rudnick and his fellow musicians offer plenty of reason to smile throughout this record. The latter pair of songs are both uplifting just in different ways. The first touts the benefits of having a good friend while the latter of the pair presents the power of love in every form. If those positive messages aren’t enough for fans, then the silly culinary-based song ‘Macaroni an Cheese’ and the upbeat ‘Race Car’ definitely will be. The same goes for the album’s closer ‘Coney Island Crazy.’ For those that have never had the pleasure of making the trip to one of America’s greatest theme parks, Rudnick and company paint a wonderfully vibrant picture of a trip to the park with their lyrics. The same goes for the picture painted in ‘Race Car.’ Those that have never watched a race (whether it be NASCAR, Verizon Indycar Series, F1, or other) will want to see or even attend their first race after hearing this piece. That is especially thanks to the song’s musical content. Speaking of musical content, the musical makeup of ‘Race Car’ and the record’s other songs are another reason that this new compilation is such a good introduction to Rudnick’s music.

The lyrical content presented in Ben Rudnick and Friends’ new compilation is collectively plenty of reason for audiences to check out this record. The lyrical content presented throughout the record runs the gamut, ranging from mildly serious topics such as literacy and friendship to the absolutely silly as in ‘Race Car’ and ‘Macaroni and Cheese.’ While the lyrical content proves important in its own right to the record’s enjoyment, the record’s collective musical content is just as important to its overall presentation. That is because it is just as varied as the album’s lyrical content. The album’s opener is a semi-psychadelic piece that takes listeners back to the days of Frank Zappa and others. ‘Coney Island Crazy’ will impress listeners of all ages with its Chuck Berry-influenced guitar riffs. ‘Macaroni and Cheese’ is just as intriguing with its mix of old school disco and funk sounds in its main body. There’s even a touch of a reggae influence coupled with country/bluegrass at another point in the song. Needless to say the whole of those sounds will definitely keep listeners’ ears from start to finish. Speaking of that country/bluegrass mix, there is also a healthy serving of bluegrass, country, and even folk spread across the record in the Bob Dylan-esque ‘When Something’s Got You Terribly Blue,’ ‘Reading A Book,’ ‘My Horse,’ ‘I Got A New Friend,’ and ‘Race Car.’ There’s even a throwback to the 1960s and ’70s to a point in ‘The Adventure Song.’ Considering the amount of variety in the songs’ musical content there is plenty for audiences to appreciate in this element of the recording, too. Together with the variety of lyrical topics presented throughout the record, both elements work together to make this a compilation that will take listeners of all ages on a fun musical adventure from start to finish.

The musical and lyrical content presented throughout the course of Ben Rudnick and Friends’ new compilation make it a record that will take listeners of all ages on a wonderful musical adventure from start to finish. Of course for all of the importance of those elements, there is still one more key element to note in this record. That last element is the collective vignettes that serve as occasional separators. There are only four of these vignettes throughout the course of the record’s thirty-two minute run time. But they still help to break up the record and keep listeners engaged. That is because they are placed with some seeming strategy throughout the record. If there were actually a movie of sorts which connected to this compilation, it would be interesting to see what the vignettes’ companion video would look like in each scene. Even without that visual aid though, it can be said that they help listeners collect themselves at specific points and in turn remain engaged right to the compilation’s up-tempo closer. In keeping listeners so well engaged, listeners will in turn agree that the reprisals are in fact just as important as the record’s overall musical and lyrical content even despite each one’s short length. Each gives just enough time for listeners to collect themselves before the next song (and set of songs) gets under way. It is just one more way in which this record proves itself an enjoyable ride through the musical universe for listeners of all ages. Together with the record’s overall musical and lyrical content, all three elements prove it to be not just an enjoyable ride through the musical universe but also one of 2015’s most intriguing children’s recordings.

Ben Rudnick and Friends’ latest full length recording is an enjoyable ride through the musical universe. It is also one of 2015’s most intriguing children’s records, as audiences will learn on that ride. Over the course of that ride, listeners of all ages are exposed to a number of lyrical topics, all of which the whole family will enjoy. The same can be said of the record’s musical makeup. Considering this and the reprisals that break up the album the ride in whole proves even more to be one that listeners of all ages will enjoy with every listen. It is available now. More information on A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children is available online now along with all of Ben Rudnick and Friends’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.benrudnick.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/benrudnickandfriends

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces MNF Pre-Season Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Spring is one of the greatest times of the year for sports fans. The NHL and NBA are both headed into their respective playoffs. MLB is just getting started. The auto racing world is in high gear. And in the world of football, many universities are planning their annual spring football scrimmages ahead of the annual NFL draft. It also means one other thing for sports fans. It means the annual announcement by ESPN of the network’s pre-season football coverage. And make that announcement is exactly what the worldwide leader in sports did Thursday.

ESPN announced Thursday that it has two games on tap for its 2015 Monday Night Football schedule. The first of those games is a matchup of the Browns and Bills on Thursday, August 20th in Cleveland. It will be the first chance for new Bills coach and former Jets coach Rex Ryan to put his team, which now features All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy, on display. On the other side of the ball, it is believed that Johnny Manziel will be fighting for his career as the Browns host the Bills in the AFC matchup.

The second matchup on ESPN’s Monday Night Football pre-season schedule will see Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, August 24th. The Bucs struggled mightily in the 2014- 2015 season and will have the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft as a result of those struggles.

The MNF broadcast team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will have the call for both games. They will be joined once again by sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Both games are schedule for an 8pm ET start time and will be preceded by an hour-long edition of ESPN’s weekly NFL pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch both games on television on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network. ESPN Deportes will also have coverage of every regular season MNF broadcast.

Along with coverage on television via ESPN and ESPN Deportes, every MNF broadcast can also be seen online through a number of outlets including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN. WatchESPN is available in more than 93 million households across the country to fans who get ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription.

More information on ESPN’s upcoming MNF broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN To Offer Extended Coverage Of NASCAR’s Season Ender All Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The final round of NASCAR’s “Chase for the Championship” is officially upon us. Eight drivers have been cut to only four. In anticipation of the season’s final race, the Ford Ecoboost 400, ESPN will follow all four contenders—Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano—all week. ESPN will have reporters with each team—Dave Burns with Joey Logano, Marty Smith with Kevin Harvick, Ryan McGee with Denny Hamlin, and Mike Massaro with Ryan Newman –early this week. And SportsCenter will air multiple live reports from the shops of each of the contenders’ teams Monday and Tuesday. They will air between 9:30am and 2:00pm ET. ESPN will offer extended coverage on each team and their preparations during the 6pm and 11pm editions of SportsCenter.

On Wednesday, there will be a press conference live from Miami featuring all four of the championship contenders and their team owners. SportsCenter will have interviews and reports from the day’s events. On Thursday, ESPN will head back to the shops with the championship contenders. ESPN’s reporters will follow the drivers’ pre-race preparations before things pick back up on track this Friday. Sunday’s season-ending race will be broadcast live on ESPN. It will be preceded by a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown beginning at 1pm ET. The green flag is expected to fly at 3:16pm ET. All four of the championship contenders will appear on Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio.

ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven will be on SportsCenter frequently throughout the race weekend with insight into the race and the championship contenders. He will also have an interview with the newly crowned champion after the race Sunday night.

None of the four final drivers in this year’s championship hunt have won a championship at NASCAR’s top level before. All four come from multi-car race teams. And they each represent one of NASCAR’s car makers—Ford, Chevy, Toyota.

More information on ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 NASCAR Championship week and weekend is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Daugherty, Others Staying With ESPN After 2014 NASCAR Season Ends

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN and NASCAR are parting ways at the end of the 2014 season. Despite this change, there’s good news for audiences and ESPN’s NASCAR broadcast team. ESPN announced this week that analyst and team owner Brad Daugherty will remain with the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN announced this week that Daugherty will join ESPN’s basketball broadcast team beginning Monday, December 1st. Daugherty is a former five-time NBA All-Star and college basketball standout. He will serve as an analyst on ESPN’s NBA Tonight, NBA Coast to Coast, and SportsCenter regularly. He will also make appearances on ESPNU’s ACC Sunday Night package along with other other programming across the ESPN family of networks.

Before joining ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasts, Daugherty served as a reporter for ESPN and ABC’s college basketball from 1999 – 2001. Prior to joining ESPN’s ranks, he also served as a game analyst for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs local broadcasts. His playing career included eight seasons as a member of the Cavaliers after being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 1986. He averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his career. His love for NASCAR showed throughout his career as he wore the number 43 in honor of “The King” Richard Petty. The Cavs retired his number in 1997.

Daugherty is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill at the age of 16 and graduated from the university in 1986. He was named an All-ACC player twice during his college career and a first-team All-American in his senior year at the university. He averaged 20.2 points and 9 rebounds per game during his senior year at UNC.

Daugherty’s is not the only move that ESPN has announced in regards to the network’s NASCAR broadcast team. Veteran racer and long-time ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven recently signed a new deal with ESPN that will see him remain with the network as a NASCAR analyst for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms. Nicole Briscoe, it was announced last month, will serve as an anchor on SportsCenter and will also take on additional assignments. And reporter Marty Smith will stay on board with ESPN, too. He will remain with ESPN as a Bureau Reporter for ESPN. Allen Bestwick, who has led ESPN’s NASCAR coverage each week, will remain with the network, too. He will stay on to call ESPN’s IndyCar races and to cover tennis and golf coverage. He will also anchor some programming on ESPN’s new SEC Network.

More information on ESPN’s on-air staff and all of the latest sports headlines from ESPN is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Watkins Glen Hosting The NNS And NSCS This Weekend On ESPN, ABC

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Watkins Glen International plays host to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be on track at Watkins Glen this weekend for the Zippo 200 At The Glen. JR Motorsports drivers Chase Elliot and Regan Smith currently sit 1-2 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings coming into this weekend’s race. The race will air live this Saturday, August 9th on ABC with the green flag expected to fly at 2:33pm ET. Fans can catch qualifying live at 9:30am ET the same day with qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series following at 11:30am ET.

The countdown to the Sprint Cup Series’ Chase for the Cup inches closer as the Sprint Cup Series hits the track Sunday afternoon for the Cheez-It 355 AT The Glen. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. currently leads the standings in the “Race for the Chase” thanks to his win last weekend at Pocono. Earnhardt’s win coupled with Jimmy Johnson’s troubles and Brad Kesilowski’s 23rd place finish following the race’s fourteen-car pileup helped catapult “Little E” into the top spot in the standings as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series inches closer to its “second season.” Sunday’s race will be preceded by its weekly NASCAR Countdown broadcast hosted by Nicole Briscoe. NASCAR Countdown will air live at noon eastern time. She will be joined by NASCAR legend and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace and team owner/ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty.

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Allen Bestwick will have the call for this weekend’s races. He will be joined in the booth by fellow NASCAR legends and ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns will be in the pits this weekend along with Dr. Jerry Punch, Mike Massaro, and Vince Welch. More information on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.