Sunday, June 10, 2007
Randy Pemberton and Kyle Petty Make "Tradin' Paint" A Blast
A while back, NASCAR TV veteran Randy Pemberton joined Kyle Petty and host John Roberts on Tradin' Paint. This thirty minute show is taped live on location at the NASCAR NEXTEL venues and features Kyle and one rotating media member offering opinion and commentary on NASCAR issues. It is currently the only NASCAR program on TV anywhere that focuses on opinion and debate.
This week, it was fitting that SPEED chose to invite Pemberton back for another appearance with Kyle. NASCAR executive Bill France Jr. has passed away, and it was going to take some real veterans to discuss what his passing means for the future of the sport. Host Roberts introduced this topic right off the top of the show, and both panelists responded accordingly.
Seeming to hit his stride since his finishing third at Charlotte, Petty is convincing and upfront in his comments on NASCAR, and the issues of the day. His words about Bill France used family history and events in the past to wrap-up a fantastic perspective about the tremendous contributions of France Jr. to the sport. It is going to be interesting to watch Petty continue to transition from a driver and owner to a journalist and media member. One only has to think about the disaster that Michael Waltrip had when he tried to keep everything on his plate.
Pemberton has returned from his personal challenges to be a star for DirecTV and their Hot Pass package. Randy is versatile, and if he shows himself to be totally committed to continuing down the right path in his personal life, his professional success is going to follow. Certainly, ESPN has to be keeping an eye on him as they continue to struggle with the host role on both NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. ESPN is about to step into the very big time when their NEXTEL Cup coverage begins, and the fans and media are far less forgiving when the top series in the sport is concerned. Randy is a great "designated hitter" just waiting for a team in need to call.
When DEI and Martin Truex Jr. is the issue, the fans pay attention. Petty and Pemberton put the Truex victory in the COT in perspective, spoke directly about Junior's issues with DEI, and then addressed the COT and Hendrick issue. Changing over to Kurt Busch, both panelists made their strongest statements about NASCAR and the state of the sport. Petty firmly believes that Busch should have been suspended for the Pocono race, and he was happy to say it on national TV. This is the type of program content that needs to be put out to fans each and every week. Honest and refreshing, it invites the discussion to be continued on Internet sites across the nation.
This week, Tony Stewart gathered his friends for a charity race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Twenty-six of the the biggest stars in NASCAR slung it sideways on a half mile dirt track and put on a great show. Roberts floated the idea of a NEXTEL Cup race on dirt, and both Petty and Pemberton slowly brought the idea back to reality. Not going to happen unless a dirt track is built in downtown Manhattan they say. On the big stage, its all about the market, not the surface.
"Pediatric and Geriatric" is how Kyle described the discrepancies in the Cup Series between the fifty plus racers like Dale Jarrett and the twenty somethings like Denny Hamlin. He reminded everyone that the Busch Series and the Truck Series were both developed to funnel up-and-coming drivers into the NEXTEL Cup Series. Now, things sometimes just don't work out that way. Disagreeing with journalist David Poole, both panelists squashed the notion of creating another series to head off a possible shortage of drivers.
Pemberton has been vocal in his thoughts that having only a few engine builders who deliver motors to the NEXTEL Cup teams is a big problem. In this show, he added that four car teams are also contributing to changes in the sport that are not necessarily for the better. Petty called the engine issue a "problem on the horizon" and agreed that it must be addressed. Pemberton's point is that when the championship is on the line, and it is between an engine builder's own team and another team he "services," who is going to get the best engine? Its a no-brainer.
John Roberts has been working hard to develop this series, and in his host role he has done a great job of putting out the issues, and then stepping aside. Its tough to find someone in the TV business who can live without adding their two cents. When Roberts is surrounded by Petty and Pemberton, this show comes alive. Maybe SPEED will add some more on-air promotion for this show, and offer selected segments on the SPEED website. Tradin' Paint is a show fans should add to their DVR, and promises to only get better as the season heats-up.
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