Grading Ricky Craven’s Booth Debut

Ricky Craven went into Nashville a rookie all over again.

Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race marked the ESPN analyst’s debut in the announcers’ booth, as he joined veteran play-by-play broadcaster Marty Reid and former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett.

So how did Craven do? I’d give him an A.

Craven didn’t dazzle, but he didn’t annoy either. The only downfall for the former driver was his lack of enthusiasm in the closing laps, as Reed Sorenson and Kevin Harvick duked it out for the win in an exciting, though not historic, finish.

But otherwise, Craven was amazing.

His presence wasn’t overwhelming, which made him bearable to listen to. That alone gave him a leg up on Jarrett, and the man he replaced this weekend, Andy Petree.

Craven also contributed some very valuable insight, and did so in a fashion that made him sound quite intelligent. It was almost like he knew what he was talking about, which I believe he did.

He also didn’t seem to be a big player in the “bias” department.

In my opinion, for all it’s worth, Craven is by far the best driver/analyst ESPN has seen since the network returned to NASCAR in 2007, and perhaps the best driver/analyst in all of NASCAR broadcasting. At least, this week.

With Craven’s bearable presence, valuable insight, and lack of bias, I hope the ex-driver returns to announce more races in the future.

Tags: Ricky Craven

  • Ken Marion, Va

    Craven was all of what the Waltrips and Wallaces are not. He was objective, knowledgeable, calm, professional and a pleasure to listen to. He is better than most and reminds me of Ned Jarrett in his prime broadcasting career.

    We need more Craven and less Waltrips and Wallaces.

  • Jim R.

    I agree 100%. Ricky Craven did an outstanding job in the booth!! It was a pleasure listening to his commentary. In my opinion, he provided excellent insight in a very professional manner. As for any “downfalls”, I saw none. When you’re in the booth with Marty Reid, there is more than enough enthusiasm to go around. Hope he gets more chances to impress us.

  • Wayne M, SC

    Craven was a refreshing change of pace. ESPN needs to use him more often.

    Ditto Ken M, Waltrip is nothing more than a MWR and Toyota cheerleader, while Wallace is just a plain idiot.

  • Gina

    Craven did an excellent job in the booth yesterday. I really enjoyed the interaction between Marty, DJ and him. Unlike anyone named Waltrip, since Mikey does it as much as DW, there was no bias, no cheerleading, no shilling product, just professional comments.

    The ESPN broadcast of the race yesterday was one of their best. I enjoyed watching the race on TV and I haven’t been able to say that in a while. Great job, Ricky.

  • judie gail

    Ricky Craven did an excellent job in the booth yesterday. He should take the place of some of the others. He has proven that he is very knowledgeable on Nascar Now. Bring on more Ricky!!!!!

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  • Chuck Allen

    I was impressed with Craven’s work. So much so, I forgot he was even doing the announcing for the first time. He is calm, well spoken, and has knowledge of the sport. He should be a regular, in my opinion.

  • Lucy

    Mr. Craven did a nice job…not outstanding … but good. The biggest problem I had was he was so “low key” he got lost in the shuffle of the other announcers a few times. I would like to hear some more emotion in this voice..a little more urgency and conviction…at times I felt like they were calling a race between “the turtle and the hare” and Craven was in charge of calling the progress of “the turtle”.

  • patsox4life

    i did not watch the race i’ve seen him as analyst on espn and think he has a good posture but cant say much beyond that i still believe mikey and DW give a great color to their broadcast but is a personal oipnion and as in any sports we like or dislike them………….

    now that rusted rusty has no talent and is annoying as heck