Allen Bestwick (born September 24, 1961) is an American sportscaster who lasted worked for ESPN as an IndyCar announcer. He had been with the ESPN family of networks since 2007 and was most recently the lap-by-lap broadcaster of ABC's coverage of the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500 until 2018.
Early life and career
Bestwick was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His 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, being 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.
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 began to perform play-by-play duties for non-racing events, including college football.
On April 28, 2017, Bestwick confirmed that he was being released by ESPN after the 2017 IndyCar double-header Detroit Grand Prix and would call his last Indy 500. However, in early 2018, Allen Bestwick was confirmed to return to ESPN for the 2018 IndyCar season.
July 7, 2001 – Bestwick called the 2001 Pepsi 400, the first race at Daytona since Dale Earnhardt's death, where Earnhardt's son Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race with teammate Michael Waltrip behind him. Bestwick on the call:
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!
February 15, 2004 – Bestwick was the lap-by-lap announcer for the 2004 Daytona 500, where exactly six years after Dale Earnhardt won his only Daytona 500, his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race. Bestwick, who was with NBC at the time:
The legacy continues. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the 46th Daytona 500!
July 2, 2010 – Running a special paint scheme in the No. 3 car with a tribute to his father, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2010 Subway Firecracker 250 in his only race in the No. 3 car that year. Bestwick, who was now a lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN:
An Earnhardt is going to drive a No. 3 car to victory lane at Daytona again! Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins!
October 31, 2015 – Bestwick called the Miami-Duke college football game, when Miami was down 27–24 with 6 seconds in the game and scored on a kickoff return after lateraling the ball eight times. Bestwick on the call:
Taken short... lateral... they practiced that on Wednesday. Time's going to expire on the game, so this either goes or this doesn't. Ball's still alive! It's got to be a backwards lateral! Get behind it... still alive. They've got blockers, they've got blockers! They've got a lane! 40 yard line! No black shirts between the goal line! CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU JUST SAW?!?!
- Hall, Andy. "Bestwick, Briscoe to Expand Roles in ESPN's NASCAR Coverage". ESPN.com. ESPN. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. 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. Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "Farewell: ESPN departure marks end of an era for NASCAR". Sporting News. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "Fans' conditions upgraded after scary crash at Daytona". Retrieved 2016-09-16.
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