Saturday, May 12, 2007
"Tradin' Paint" on SPEED: Gordon and Petty talk Junior
Since Kyle Petty joined Tradin' Paint on SPEED, things have changed. As noted in an earlier column on The Daly Planet, Kyle brings a level of intensity to this weekly program that did not exist with Michael Waltrip, the previous panelist. This week in Darlington, Petty was joined on set by Jeff Gordon and Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer. With veteran TV pro John Roberts hosting, things took off right from the start.
The panel jumped into Junior, and put out more info in the first segment of the show than ESPN's NASCAR Now did in an hour. Petty called Theresa Earnhardt out on the decision to "let Junior go" and the potential harm to DEI. He was straight-up about the reality to the business and Gordon proved to be a strong compliment to Petty's opinions. Jenna Fryer was a great addition to this show, and it was nice to see her on TV. Hopefully, SPEED executives were watching. It would be nice to see more of her on SPEED.
It was just great to have Jeff Gordon on this show, and to have him address the COT issues. Gordon has matured into a tremendous spokesman for the sport, and he nudged NASCAR toward considering some additional changes to the COT before 2008. Petty followed-up with a condemnation of the process NASCAR followed after the departure of Gary Nelson from the COT project. Gordon then produced a Hendrick Motorsports "bumpstop" and detailed the problems with suspension issues on the car.
Gordon took over the discussion, and began to show his knowledge of the entire COT history and process. This was a Jeff Gordon that is rarely seen on TV, and it was a fantastic moment on SPEED. Petty and Gordon talked openly and made great conversation about the topics in the show. John Roberts did his usual great job of tossing up the topic, and then getting out of the way.
Gordon then let some secrets out of the bag with testing information on the COT, and the confirmation that Hendrick had an entire "crew" assigned to the COT since it was first announced. He then addressed the testing rumors, and denied the reports that Hendrick had spent millions to do secret testing with the COT up to one hundred times. Jenna Fryer took the blame for the story, but she only wrote about what the buzz was in the garage, and in this program, she managed to keep her wits and credibility about her.
Unfortunately, as SPEED found out in this episode of Tradin" Paint, a thirty minute program works best with only three people on the panel. There was just too much content for the time limit. Perhaps, if someone like Jeff Gordon makes himself available, the show might just keep Kyle Petty and leave the "reporter" chair open for one show. It certainly would have allowed Gordon a lot more time, and considering that the last twelve minutes of the show consisted mostly of commercials, might have resulted in a better ending.
With ESPN expanding NASCAR Now to one hour to cover the "Junior leaving DEI" story, perhaps the folks at SPEED might have considered expanding Tradin' Paint in the same way. With Jeff Gordon on the panel and speaking his mind, it might have been a really good idea. If he can keep an hour of Regis and Kelly going strong, he would have no problem with this episode of the Jeff and Kyle show. Tradin' Paint keeps getting better, and SPEED has a winner.
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