Q and A with ESPN’s Allen Bestwick
By Dominic Aragon
June 27, 2014
Dominic Aragon: Talk about what a typical week is like for you during the NASCAR season.
Allen Bestwick: “A typical week starts with getting home very late Sunday night or Monday morning, depending where we’re traveling from. Not to get into the too mundane details, but unpacking and getting the files turned over from one race to the next, I keep pretty extensive notes on race to race to race, and digging right in Monday night to get started on the next week.
“The graphics people, the editors, producers, and so on need to get started on producing the next week’s race, so we have a conference call first thing Tuesday morning.
usually get all our materials from our researchers, and start digging into that
on Wednesday, and pack a bag Wednesday night.
Allen Bestwick has been covering NASCAR since 1986.
“Thursday, you’re on an airplane and off again. Friday, Saturday, Sunday at the racetrack, and somewhere in there, squeeze in a few minutes to have date night, say hello, and keep in touch.”
Exactly. You’re a world traveler.
“Yeah, we spend a lot of time in the air, but that goes with the job when you want to follow this traveling circus around, it’s going to involve a lot of time in airports and hotels.”
DA: Even though you’ve had experience behind the mic for years, do you still experience jitters and nervousness before going on-air?
AB: “No. that went away a long time ago.
“Here’s the thing. Nothing in this job beats preparation. If you’re prepared, then you can handle anything, and there’s no reason to be nervous. The only reason you should ever be nervous to go on the air is if you don’t feel prepared.
“Yeah, there are certain circumstances. Getting up in front of a live room, like stepping up on-stage at one of the banquets, and seeing a thousand faces staring up at you directly into your eyes. That’s a lot more nerve-racking than going on television.
“What it really all amounts to, is if you’re prepared, you can handle anything.”
“When I set the headset down next Friday in Daytona for the last time, I will be very sad, and cherish those memories that I was able to make there.”
DA: Did you ever try your hand at racing?
AB: “Not much. I’ve done a little bit—I’ve done some of the driving schools, some competitive go-kart racing, some leagues and facilities up outside of Boston. But for the most part, this is what I’ve done my whole adult life—my broadcasting career.”
DA: As we know, members of the media usually don’t share their race or championship predictions, but what are some of the things that have surprised you most this season, whether those be in Cup, Nationwide, or Trucks?
AB: “On the Sprint Cup side, the difficulties Roush Fenway Racing has had has surprised me a little bit. I know Carl Edwards has won a couple times, but really, they’ve not had the muscle on the bigger, faster tracks they have normally had in the past. Other than that, nothing has really surprised me.
“I expected this year to be really competitive, to see a lot of different winners. The difference between first and tenth place now is so small, that it’s all going to come down to the narrowest of margins, the narrowest of technical gains driver and pit crew mistakes, strategy errors or advantages are going to make big differences this year because the field is so deep and so tough.”
DA: You’ve been covering this sport since 1986, so how hard is it going to be for you to step away at season’s end?
AB: “It’s a combination of good and bad. I’m not stepping away from auto racing because I’m still going to be broadcasting the Indianapolis 500—it doesn’t get any better than that.
“There will be a lot of sadness. I’m going to be broadcasting my last race at Daytona a week from Friday. Daytona has been a huge part of my life. I lived in Daytona for ten years. When I worked for MRN Radio, I had an office in the infield of the speedway. I had the keys to gate. I went to work there every day. My kids grew up in Daytona.
“I’ve seen so many great racers and have had so many good times at that speedway, that when I set the headset down next Friday in Daytona for the last time, I will be very sad, and cherish those memories that I was able to make there.”
DA: What can fans expect to see Allen Bestwick covering when ESPN’s NASCAR contract is over?
AB: “I’ve got a whole roster of various events lined up. I’d be misleading you if I told you I know the exact dates and places.
“But I’ll be involved in ESPN’s college football, college basketball, golf, tennis, and IndyCar races, and whatever all else they call me up and say we want you to go do.
“It’s a whole new environment. ESPN is the worldwide leader, it’s a great company. They’ve treated me so well, and I’m really honored to be staying and continuing to be a part of their team.”
DA: When you’re out of the broadcast booth and have some free time, what are some of your hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?
AB: “First and foremost, spend time with my wife, hanging around together. When you spend so much time apart, you really cherish the time you get to be together.
“I still play hockey every week, I’m on a hockey team. I enjoy trying to play golf, I’m not that good at it, but I enjoy trying to play.”
DA: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
AB: “I’m having fun, I’ve lived my dream, and I’m still living it. It’s great to know, that in this country, a little hard work and a break here or there, you can still live your dream and see it come true.”