Air Date: Saturday, October 16, 2004
Time Slot: 7:00 PM-11:00 PM EST on NBC
Episode Title: "NASCAR NEXTEL CUP"
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


Bestwick Returns: "I Couldn't Stand Leaving the Microphone Open to an Unrebuked Yankees Fan."

NEW YORK -- October 13, 2004 -- The stars of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will be racing under the lights Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte in the fifth race of NASCAR's "Chase for the Nextel Cup" over the final 10 races of the season. NBC begins its primetime coverage of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing from Lowe's Motor Speedway with an abbreviated "Discover Card Countdown to Green" pre-race show at 7 p.m. ET, followed by green flag racing at 7:20 p.m. ET.

NASCAR on NBC & TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick, who missed the past two race weekends after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left leg suffered in a hockey game near his home in Coventry, R.I., will return to call the race this weekend.

"All year long, we've been looking forward to the last 10 races," said Bestwick. "With all the excitement around the 'Chase' and when you love doing this as much as I do, it's really tough to be forced to the sidelines."

Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber, who has filled-in for Bestwick calling the race alongside analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach, will return to his regular assignments of hosting and leading the reporting on pit road with Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum.

Bestwick, a lifelong Red Sox fan, had his own reasons for keeping Weber, a New Jersey native and lifetime Yankees supporter, away from the microphone this week.

"I had to get back this week because I couldn't stand leaving the microphone open to an unrebuked Yankees fan," Bestwick said.

Weber countered: "I think it's nice that Allen used hockey to cover his injury but the real story is that he found out just how tough Don Zimmer really is."

With six races remaining, fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in second-place, trailing current leader Kurt Busch by 29 points and four-time champion Jeff Gordon is in third-place, 79 points out of the lead. Busch and Earnhardt Jr. are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in each of the first four races of the "Chase." The 257-point differential between all 10 drivers in the "Chase" is nearly identical to the 259-point differential between the first and second-place drivers at this time last year.

TNT drops the green flag on NASCAR Busch Series racing with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 from Lowe's Motor Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.

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