Rusty Wallace's face said it all. He couldn't decide what to do. Smile? Frown? Look embarrassed? The indecision was evident. Thankfully, Brad Daugherty didn't talk for very long, and Rusty was able to quickly change the subject.
What was that subject? During prerace for Saturday's Nationwide race, Allen Bestwick asked the prerace panel who they thought would be a surprise this year. Daugherty said that he felt that the pressure was on Wallace's team now that they had Toyota horsepower.
We all know that Rusty owns his own Nationwide team, and among NASCAR analysts, his situation may be more common than uncommon. NASCAR is the only sport that has television commentators financially invested in the outcome of their event, yet people seem to be OK with it, if they even care. Imagine the outrage if Troy Aikman would earn more money if the Cowboys won the game he was broadcasting.
So here's a handy guide of the personalities you see on television every week and their involvement in race teams in NASCAR's top three series:
Brad Daugherty, ESPN: Partially owns Marcos Ambrose's Sprint Cup team, JTG-Daugherty Racing. JTG-Daugherty fielded a Nationwide car last year for the entire schedule, but start and parked the last half of the year because the car was sponsorless. Nationwide team is now defunct.
Jeff Hammond, Fox: Part owner in Red Horse Racing with Tom DeLoach. Red Horse fields trucks for Timothy Peters and Justin Lofton in the Camping World Trucks Series and also ran Nelson Piquet at Daytona. Last year at California while covering truck qualifying, Hammond went on a 30-second rant about how bad it was that Johnny Benson, the defending series champion, was sponsorless. No, he didn't mention that he was an owner of that truck.
Phil Parsons, Speed: Co-owns PRISM Motorsports in the Cup Series with Randy Humphrey. Started and parked most events that they qualified for with Dave Blaney. He and Humphrey also run MSRP Motorsports, perhaps the best start-and-park team in the Nationwide Series.
Rusty Wallace, ESPN: Fields cars for both Brendan Gaughan and his son, Steve Wallace, in the Nationwide Series. Team is on its third manufacturer in four years. Wallace is perhaps the most open commentator about his ownership, as he's usually referenced when his cars are on camera.
Of course, this leaves out people like Darrell Waltrip and Wendy Venturini, who are indirectly tied to race teams. Are you OK with analysts being team owners? Is it a bigger deal than it's made out to be? Have your say below.