September 24, 1961 |
Newport, Rhode Island
Allen Bestwick (born September 24, 1961 in Newport, Rhode Island) is an American sportscaster who is currently working for ESPN and ABC. Since 2014, he has been the network's lead commentator for the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
From 2007-2014, he worked as part of NASCAR on ESPN, serving as pit reporter from 2007-2010, and as lead commentator from 2011-2014. Prior to this, he worked at MRN, TBS, and was the lead announcer and a pit reporter for NASCAR on NBC and TNT.
Early life and career
Bestwick's broadcasting career began at the age of 15, when he did on-air work for the high school radio station (Coventry High school) located in Coventry, Rhode Island. Bestwick began announcing auto racing at age 16, when he called the action at Seekonk Speedway, where his father raced.
He then was hired by Charlie Roberts, founder of MotorNet (www.motorsportsreport.com) in New Jersey, to be the radio network's Director of Affiliates and Associate Producer.
In 1986 Bestwick joined Motor Racing Network (MRN) as a race reporter and eventually became co-lead announcer with Joe Moore and Barney Hall. While still employed at MRN, Bestwick took over for Ken Squier as TBS' lead NASCAR commentator for its abbreviated schedule.
NBC Sports and Turner Sports
Bestwick joined NBC in 1999 as its lap-by-lap commentator for its lone race, the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. When NBC acquired rights to the second half of the NASCAR season, Bestwick was joined by Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. as the network's full-time broadcast team. Bestwick also continued to work for Turner Sports, as TNT served as NBC's broadcast partner on cable.
In 2005, Bestwick and Bill Weber switched positions on the broadcast. Bestwick took Weber's position as lead pit reporter while Weber, who had substituted for Bestwick for two races in 2004 as he recuperated from a broken leg, moved to the booth. 
In 2005, Bestwick made a cameo appearance as himself playing as the lead announcer in the movie Herbie: Fully Loaded. During his tenure at NBC, Bestwick also called Arena football games, as well as other minor duties.
Bestwick is perhaps best remembered for calling the 2001 Pepsi 400, the first race at Daytona since Dale Earnhardt's death, by saying, "Here they come! Turn 4! Final lap of the Pepsi 400! Michael Waltrip in second, but it's going to be Dale Earnhardt, Jr., using lessons learned from his father to go from 6th to 1st and score the victory in the Pepsi 400!" Bestwick also called Earnhardt, Jr.'s win at the 2004 Daytona 500, saying, "The legacy continues. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins the 46th Daytona 500."
After NBC lost rights to NASCAR following the 2006 season, Bestwick elected to not stay with TNT as part of its six-race summer broadcast package and moved to ESPN.
For 2007, Bestwick joined the NASCAR on ESPN package as lead pit reporter, as well as occasionally being race coverage host on Nationwide Series races, and occasional NASCAR Now hosting duties. In 2008, he was moved up to full-time race coverage host and hosts a weekly Monday roundtable edition of NASCAR Now. As lead pit reporter, from 2008-2010, he also hosted NASCAR Countdown.
On July 20, 2011, it was announced that Bestwick would replace Marty Reid for the 17 Sprint Cup races hosted by ESPN alongside Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Nicole Briscoe would replace him as host of NASCAR Countdown alongside Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Bestwick replaced Marty Reid as play-by-play announcer for the Sprint Cup Series races starting at the Brickyard 400, returning him to the position for the first time since 2004. Bestwick also called the Nationwide Series for the remainder of the 2013 season after Reid was fired from ESPN.
With the end of ESPN's NASCAR coverage after the 2014 season, Bestwick became the lead announcer for ESPN's broadcasts of IndyCar races for ABC beginning in 2014, also replacing Reid. Bestwick also branched out into other sports for ESPN, including college football.
- Hall, Andy. "Bestwick, Briscoe to Expand Roles in ESPN’s NASCAR Coverage". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- "Marty Reid Fired: ESPN Replaces NASCAR, IndyCar Announcer After Nationwide Gaffe (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. September 29, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
- "NASCAR broadcaster Allen Bestwick to move to IndyCar Series broadcasts". Charlotte Observer. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "Farewell: ESPN departure marks end of an era for NASCAR". Sporting News. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
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