Thanks to a new deal that the IRL IndyCar Series inked with the cable television network Versus in 2008, ESPN ended up with just five of the series' 17 2009 events after being the permanent home of the open wheelers for many years.
And, as a result, the Worldwide Leader ended up with a glut of talent for its broadcasting efforts -- forcing a few benefits into the hand of NASCAR television watchers.
Those benefits, as the broadcaster announced today with a press release, include expanded NASCAR roles for standard IndyCar lap-by-lap point man Marty Reid and longtime IndyCar pit reporter Vince Welch.
Reid, who I think is a much more exciting lap-by-lap guy than ESPN's Sprint Cup guy Jerry Punch (he reminds of the nearly always monotonous Joe Buck on FOX), will be taking on a more pronounced lap-by-lap role in the second half of the Nationwide Series season. In the past, Punch has been responsible for the majority of Nationwide and Sprint Cup broadcasts in the second half of the season.
And, as many of you know, 2009 won't be Reid's first Nationwide Series rodeo as the broadcaster has done a handful of races in the past two years in an effort to give Punch a break here and there.