Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Doug Banks Ups ESPN's NASCAR Sleaze Factor


NASCAR Now host Doug Banks is a sharp dressed man. He is great on-camera, and he reads a mean teleprompter. Normally, he reads his way cleanly through a thirty minute edition of NASCAR Now, and is done. On Tuesday, things changed. He was sucked into the dirty rumor and innuendo machine that this program has become.

Doug Banks looked squarely at the "NASCAR nation" and said "a surprise in the racing world today, as NASCAR discovered that the...HANS device...in Kyle Busch's car actually broke during his crash Saturday at Talladega."

ESPN then ran a video montage of Kyle Busch crashing all over the place in all kinds of cars for all kinds of reasons. They pulled-out all the stops to suggest that Kyle has a "problem," that he is "reckless," or that "something" must be wrong. Banks threw fuel on this phony fire by trying to suggest that Hendrick Motorsports was concerned about this "situation."

Unfortunately, the "ESPN hype kings" continue to be brought down to earth by the very reporters employed by NASCAR Now. Banks actually asked reporter David Newton "what are they saying about the high number of crashes by Kyle Busch?" Newton answered "there is really no concern at all. Kyle is an aggressive driver...that's what got him to this level. Kyle just as easily could have won those races" So, in reality what Newton is saying is...NASCAR Now made it up. You guys made this up.

Banks asked Newton, with great concern in his voice, about the "broken" HANS device that led the show. Newton replied "there is a small crack at the back...this is not something that is unusual. It did its job and they are comfortable with the way things are going. Jeff Gordon had the same thing happen." So, in reality what Newton is saying is...NASCAR Now made it up. You guys made this up.

As if NASCAR Now could not dig its own hole any deeper, Dr. Bob Hubbard, who created the HANS device, was then interviewed by phone. This was incredible. Hubbard said the device was compressed by impact, and the crack that developed was very minor. But, Doug Banks could not leave well enough alone. In NASCAR Now's best confrontational style, he asked Dr. Hubbard "Are you satisfied with how the device worked?" Hubbard quietly said "Well...Kyle is."

Apparently, Dr. Hubbard was all the reality that Banks and the NASCAR Now crew could take. It was fantasy time, and ESPN's "fantasy racing" guy Chris Harris was live to talk about removing the entire overlay of actual racing, and picking one driver against another on stats alone to "win" in fantasy world. NASCAR Now has no time for the Busch Series, no time for Craftsman Trucks, and no time for the NASCAR Modifieds, but there is plenty of time for fantasy. Amazingly, you must go to ESPN.com and sign-up to play in this fantasy league. What a coincidence.

In a strange twist, Banks then led to a "tribute" to Earnhardt Sr. by both Jeff Gordon and his car owner Rick Hendrick. But what appeared on-air was both men addressing once again the trash throwing incident at the close of the race. If this was a mistake, it should have been fixed prior to airing. If it was intentional, it just cemented the reputation of this show for dipping over-and-over again into the tabloid journalism bucket to throw more dirt and negativity into the sport.

As usual, with this "bi-polar" program, Banks then asked old crew chief Tim Brewer about the folks throwing things at Gordon. Brewer smiled, and said "We used to come out of Nashville, TN after winning with Darrell Waltrip. They threw full beer cans at us, chicken bones, and called us everything but good people." In other words, its not like this hasn't happened before. NASCAR will fix it.

Unfortunately, NASCAR appears to be unable to fix ESPN2's NASCAR Now. If ESPN treated the NFL the way they are treating NASCAR, Commissioner Roger Goodell would be standing in ESPN President George Bodenheimer's office the next day. The fact that no one from NASCAR has taken the time to have a "chat" with the "hype kings" of NASCAR Now is amazing.

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11 comments:

MamaKnowsRacing said...

I agree with you. I can only watch about the first five minutes of this show before turning it off. I'm not impressed with ESPN's coverage of the Busch races either. It's just not doing it for me. Makes me really nervous for when ESPN takes over after TNT's little stint is over. Ironically enough, I cut my NASCAR teeth on ESPN and the Deuce. And what's up with that guy not being able to open his eyes? Creeps me out.

Anonymous said...

I actually saw this last night for the first time, and I noticed the guy's inability to open his eyes. What is that about? I thought something was wrong with him. It is creepy. And I also found myself wondering, now that I've seen this show (with my open eyes) WHO is this moron? This is an awful show. Good job on the blog.

Vroom! said...

Maybe one day we'll turn on NN and new hosts Marty Smith and Shannon Spake will be chatting about racing!!

Anonymous said...

I like your comment about what would happen if they did this with the NFL. NASCAR wants to be as popular as the NFL, so maybe it's time they stepped up in the same way and started cracking some knuckles.

John Potts
London, KY

TeamDEI said...

Doug Banks is useless on this show. I tune in, and as soon as I see Banks I tune OUT.....my granddaughters know more about NASCAR than he ever will. This could be a good show if the got rid of him, and reported more NEWS and less "sleaze". I can't stand to watch Banks his eyes make him look like he's asleep, then again maybe he is.....

Jonny said...

This is what happens when you take a former hip hop radio DJ from Chicago and throw him into a sports scene. Banks has no clue about racing, nor passion for the sport. Between him and that Erik Kusilias, who also exhibits no sense of background or passion for the sport, the Deuce has wound up with a couple of losers hosting this program. Why not get Bob Jenkins, John Kernan, or a real racing broadcast pro to host this program to add some credibility to it. It's certainly a far cry from how great rpm2night used to be.!

Anonymous said...

Wednesday's NASCAR Now was rediculous. First, I think the director of that show has ADD or something because for some reason he just couldn't bring himself to have the ENTIRE 1st quarter review in one segment or even consecutive segments! They had one part review, then news, the more review, then more news, and so on. My head was spinning it went so fast. And what was with Brad picking Jeff Gordon TWICE IN ONE SEGMENT?? And then picking Kasey Kahne and Evernham Motorsports in another "TOP 3" segment? Is Brad just too lazy to come up with 3 different choices or too uninformed with NASCAR? This show is getting more rediculous by the day.

John Park said...

Sadly, what ESPN is putting forth regarding Nascar for viewers today is truly a disgrace to the entire sport and especially the fans. I too can recall the mid and late 80's when they did such an outstanding job of Nascar coverage. Maybe, just maybe, someone with some power in the organization will review some of their archives and decide to wipe the slate clean and start over. It can only get better. Firing Banks would be a helluva good place to start!

Real NC race fan said...

As with SPEED now, the problem with ESPN is the legendary loyalty of NASCAR fans. SPEED now and ESPN count on NASCAR fans watching the races regardless of the crap they put on the rest of the time. They are more interested in attracting new, uninformed fans and count on real fans watching regardless. Complaints to SPEED, ESPN, and NASCAR MIGHT help - but they all have so many all-knowing people that they might ignor criticism from fans. I SURE do appreciate The Daly Planet!

Anonymous said...

I agree about Banks not being able to open his eyes. What a joke. If ESPN is trying to attract a different fan base, so be it, at the expense of new and long-time fans. Banks is horrible. Hopefully, NASCAR will correct the situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I think Doug Banks isn't a bad host. I could careless about the eyes, hell, it makes him an intruiging host.

In all seriousness, I think while NASCAR Now is nowhere near RPM2Night, it's also a bit of an unfair comparison. The least they could do now is try to put Kenny Mayne or even Rece Davis on as a host. Rece and Kenny both know and love racing a ton.