Monday, June 18, 2007

The Slow Quiet Death Of "Inside NEXTEL Cup" on SPEED


A while back the classic Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd penned a song called "That Smell." It is about a man who must change his ways or die. The most gripping part of the song is the lyric "the angel of darkness is upon you...can't you smell that smell? The smell of death surrounds you."

On Monday night when I saw the dark and cold SPEED TV studio filled with four unhappy and uncomfortable grown men, that song began to play in my head over-and-over again. There was only one reason. I simply cannot wait for Inside NEXTEL Cup Racing to finally die.

Earlier this season, The Daly Planet called for someone to rush in and try to revive this program by switching the host, changing the format, or even changing the dreadful music. Change the shirts, paint the set, get new chairs...anything to help this mess. Unfortunately, the time for effective treatment of this "patient" has passed. We must now plan for the future, remember the good times, and understand one thing very clearly.

This classic NASCAR TV program is dead as a doornail. All the participants are just going through the paces, or "phoning it in" as they say in TV land. The network that brings fans such quality NASCAR programming as RaceDay, Tradin' Paint, Trackside, and Survival of the Fastest has allowed Inside NEXTEL Cup to deteriorate to its lowest level. It is now on life-support and sinking fast.

Dave Despain has been upset since the first day he tried to fill Allen Bestwick's shoes, and failed miserably. Still the host, Despain has absolutely separated himself from the panelists, and follows his own plan throughout the show. His anger is very clear anytime someone "deviates" from his script. His baby is WindTunnel, and he makes it very clear that this "NASCAR stuff" is beneath him. Its just in his contract.

This Monday, SPEED turned the knife on viewers by returning Brian Vickers to the program, and placing him directly next to the man he hates with a passion. Michael Waltrip was rocking the Converse All-Stars and big hair and had every bit of his ego pumped to the max. Vickers spent the first forty-five minutes of this show staring directly at Despain as if when he looked at Waltrip he would explode. Considering the hard time Waltrip and Schrader gave Vickers when he was a regular panelist last year, Vickers might have good reason to go boom.

Greg Biffle is a good guy, a great driver, and has super technical knowledge. Unfortunately, without Kenny Schrader on the set to act as the "den mother" for Biffle and Waltrip, there is no show. When Despain made a crack about Rick Hendrick, Waltrip said very clearly "I don't care what you do on Sunday night, but don't do that here." In other words, you might be responsible for that WindTunnel crap, but this is my show. Let me tell you folks, the love was just flowing. Schrader would have been howling.

A while back, SPEED decided to cancel the weekly guest interview on this series. Called "The Hot Seat," it was sometimes the best feature of the show. In fact, the guest was often asked to stay for the remainder of the program right on the set and act as a fourth panelist. From Mike Helton to Jeff Gordon, everyone in NASCAR has been on "The Hot Seat" and loved it. Every year Schrader used to ask Mike Helton how much money he made...just for information purposes.

At the same time the guest was dropped, SPEED decided to take the remote control away from the panel that allowed them to stop and start the video highlights. Fans remember this machine in the hands of Michael Waltrip making Allen Bestwick so crazy you had to laugh. Bestwick would be having a coronary while Waltrip would be saying "let's see what this button does." One never knew if the panel would take a look at a big wreck, a good pass, or Carl Edwards "hot mom."

The show used to also sneak in a low-budget feature where Michael Waltrip interviewed somebody "of interest" during the week. These features ranged from track security guards to an Iowa pumpkin farmer. As usual with Waltrip, you just never knew. His take on the world was always just a little bit "off camber."

Originally cast aside as being boring and not a "Cup driver," the absence of Johnny Benson has been felt since the moment he left. The chemistry of this show needed a personality like Benson to counteract Waltrip and Schrader. Johnny was often the voice of reason while the other two continued to howl with laughter or question Michael's personal grooming issues. Benson was the blue-collar working man who showed up, had fun, gave it his all, and went home. While we all wanted to meet Schrader and Waltrip in a bar, most of us identified with Benson all too well.

Now, this season's cast has staggered to June on Monday nights where they are the only NASCAR program in sight. Surrounded by car auctions and celebrity "paybacks," three guys try to talk NASCAR to absolutely no one. Gone is NBS 24/7, gone is Beyond The Wheel, and gone is any hint that SPEED values Mondays as a NASCAR night. No doubt, when this show goes away in November, Mondays will become another night of Pinks, Unique Whips, and Paybacks.

Inside NEXTEL Cup is the only original remaining show that was created when the SpeedVision Network started, and is still on the air today. Once expanded to ninety minutes, and once cancelled, this series has somehow managed to stay afloat. Don't forget, the first episode of the show called Inside Winston Cup Racing aired after the Daytona 500...in 1996.

All TV series eventually come to an end, and often with a whimper and not a bang. This show is quietly edging its way toward conclusion on a lonely night with no audience and bored panelists. There is no fun, no laughter, and nothing spontaneous will ever happen while Despain is in charge. There are no guests, nothing to fool around with, and even the viewer mail is "sanitized." What a shame.

Those of us lucky enough to be fans of this series for the last ten years will remember the fun, the sincerity, and the camaraderie of the original crew. We will also remember the harsh changes, the bruised egos, and the ruined chemistry. All this done by one executive who is no longer even employed by SPEED. Inside NEXTEL Cup will finish its run this season, and I have a feeling it will slip quietly into the night never to return. Maybe, that is the best thing that could happen.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you wish not to be published. All email is confidential. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to record the show and watch it as soon as I got home. Sometimes I still watch, like tonight, but it is a shadow of its former self.

I'm not clear on the source of the asserted tension between Vickers and Waltrip. What's the history there other than Vickers getting picked on as a Rookie on the show?

Anonymous said...

you cant forget to mention the garbage truck that Allen seemed to HATE yet the panel acted like Robin Williams himself was standing there telling jokes and just cracking up

Anonymous said...

We're seeing less and less of Kenny Schrader now that he's been kicked to the curb by the Wood Brothers. That's a shame--he knows racing, even if he has to watch Cup races on TV right now.

Anonymous said...

At least they were there when I tuned in at 8:00 p.m. and I enjoyed the show.

NASCAR Now (NOT) wasn't on because of a BASEBALL game. Then I later tripped over what I thought was Around The Horn.......NOPE some stick and ball guy talking fantasy NASCAR. HAH, Yah RIGHT?

So I am assuming that you have declared NASCAR Now (NOT) DEAD?

SallyB said...

It's sand to see a show that was once so much fun slowly strangled into oblivion. Losing Allen was the beginning of the end. When Dave despain laughs, it's AT Nascar, not with the fans/panelists. I remember when they had a 'special edition' wneh they had been canceled in 2001, mainly so they could talk about losing dale Senior. Now, with Michael's ego and despain's distain, it's just sad.

Anonymous said...

I hate to see it die but you're right. It is boring. Michael isn't funny anymore and Schrader isn't there much (which I am sure he is racing somewhere and I don't blame him for that) but I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say about Jr going to Hendricks but just picking up what Dave had to say that's why he wasn't there because he is a fan of hendrick and excited for Jr.
I used to enjoy Monday nights the only thing good on now is Dale Jr's show back in the day. They need to bring back some of those shows you mentioned

Anonymous said...

When allan B was on the show it was a pretty good show even fun to watch.

But when they replaced him with dave dustpan it started to suck then when you add brian vickers it sucked twice an bad all he ever said was the #25 GMAC chevy was AWESOM my cerw was Awesome but We just cant seem to close the deal ( because he is a punk).

The show would be better with out Michael W always thinking his opinion is the only one that matters. Mabe if he quit this show he would have some more time to run his crappy toyota team in to the ground some more.

Bring back Allan B invite some guest that people give a crap about like Dale jr jeff Gordon Jimmy Jhonson Tony stewart any one except waltrip or vickers Hell gey dw on the show you could even get some homeless guy to do a better job than Michael or vickers

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed yesterday's Inside Nextel Cup. I think Despain adds alot to the show, and I still miss the daily Wind Tunnel. As far as Michael's ego, I think he has been very subdued even after his top ten finish. If Vickers was that uncomfortable he would agree to be on the show, he knows the format.

Anonymous said...

This show used to be fun to watch. I also taped it if I was going to miss it. When I started watching it the show had Allen, Johnny, Kenny and Michael. That was when it was the best. The people in charge don't have a clue. They should listen to the fans if they want to keep the show going. The funniest thing I ever saw was the show after Michael won the Daytona 500 the second time and they were doing a live interview from Daytona. Michael prentended the audio was out. I loved the reaction of the guys in the studio. It was FUN!!! That's what people some folks are looking for.

Ritchie said...

I'm not sure that I totally agree with the cause of the problem being Dave. To me, Waltrip has changed since his racing problems started (after leaving DEI). I have watched this show almost every Monday nigt since it started, and Waltrip began acting moody and stand-offish last season. This has carried over into this season, maybe becoming worse this season.

I still believe that a show like this has a place, but maybe the "let's watch what Waltrip does this week" shtick has out lived its usefulness. It may be time to have a panel of younger guests to give us a driver's viewpoint.

Don said...

Thanks for the update because I haven't watched since Bestwick left. I am a card carrying member of the "Despise Despain" club. Mikey was even tolerable in the company of Schrader, Benson and Spencer. That was a must see program until Bestwick left.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the show, there is no hate between Vickers and MW, he just got picked on last year all in fun, so don't create something that is not there. Schrader needs to be there, Biff is getting alot better, I liked it better when there are jokes, when they had hot seat and I am not sure Vickers can laugh, nothing against him personaly but he really brings show down, good driver though. Keep it lighthearted with information and the show will be fine, gotta have another funny guy though for MW to play off from for it to work.

GinaV24 said...

I knew when Despain took over as host that the show was going to take a turn and not for the better. Allen Bestwick is one of the best at "herding cats" and Despain's disdain for NASCAR is so apparent that even if you hadn't heard him say it on Wind Tunnel, you'd know it by the way he acts. Waltrip's head is so big I figure that's why NASCAR developed the car of tomorrow, so he could get his head inside and he's not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. I used to always watch this show -- Schrader made me laugh and I remember the guests in the hot seat with a lot of fondness. It was a riot. Since last year, I've taped it and now I usually fast forward through it. I don't like angry hosts -- Despain & Kuselias are a good match -- maybe they could have an opportunity to work together. We could see which one of them could be angrier -- oh, yeah, add Weber into that too.

Anonymous said...

My ten year old son and I watch this show. We've just become Nascar fans this year. He doesn't pickup on the tension or any of the other points mentioned, but I certainly notice it. I don't know the history of the show, but I would agree that it appears to be on it's last legs. It's too bad because I like seeing the drivers discuss the race in a bit more detail.

Anonymous said...

That show, like many others is just to "plain vanilla"! NASCAR has chats with these people if they even HINT at a NASCAR problem!

Why watch any show that censors itself out of fear of reprisal from NASCAR?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely and pray that SOMEONE, anyone at Speed TV will return NASCAR to their lineup. I have been considering cancelling, but don't because I would be watching qualifying, etc. alone on my computer instead of with my family on tv. PLEASE can't we convince them to restore their original line up. As you stated we dearly miss Alan (doesn't anyone recognize this man's worth to their line up?), Johnny B and Schrader with Mikey. We want the guests and "hot seat" returned. The fun!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Despain should stay on his side of the fence when it comes to NASCAR. He lets it known on his "Wind Bag" show that he detests NASCAR. And what's up with those stupid headphones? Has anyone told him he's not on radio but on TV where people can actually see him. And don't give me it's because of the people calling in, other shows have folks call in and they don't wear them.
INC used to be a good show but I've heard Mikey tell the viewers too many times to "get over it". He used to be a fun person, now he's an ass.

Anonymous said...

Monday nights and Inside (winston) Nextel Cup was mandatory at my garage. We learned the "inside of Sunday's race. It was off-the-wall and informative...a red-faced Allen was hysterical as he tried to keep things under control. The most memorable interview though was Jeff Gordon. Ken Shrader brought up stories from his rookie season at Hendricks...Jeff crashing him out etc....and it was the funniest interview they ever had...I miss those days...

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe that SPEED has let this show go down the tubes. They generally have good programming and good people. Dave Despain may be a great guy but he's no NASCAR fan and he should not be hosting a NASCAR show. Alan, on the other hand, loves NASCAR and has a passion for it. So this is a move I questioned from the onset. Letting Johnny go was another big mistake. He was the straight man that every comedic team needs. Johnny knew much more about racing than people realized. No, haven't watched this show in a year and won't anymore. What are the powers at SPEED thinking? I cannot believe they have no idea that NASCAR fans generally hate this show and want it back the way it was (with the dumpster rumble and all). Hello, SPEED, anybody hear us?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this story is very common in TV: the new boss rips up a show that's already working, and then ends up leaving the company, having done the damage. The show is rarely restored to its "working" state after that, unfortunately.

Too bad, because it wouldn't take much to bring INC back to its former glory.

Anonymous said...

I noticed a couple of years back that MW was trying to rebel against the "shirts" trying to run the show, telling them how to dress, act and talk.

Truly, I still love the show, but I could do with less of the control behind the scenes and the schedule. I really got a kick out of the inside jokes and humor of the drivers joking amongst each other. I would have paid money to listen what was said during the commercials. It seemed on many occasions, when the cam back from break that they were still red in the face from laughing.

I think what that show needs, more than anything, is to show the personality of the drivers, and get as far away from the politically correct police as possible.

Anonymous said...

The common denominator for most failure associated with NASCAR is Michael Waltrip. He is a clown,like his brother. The show needs new life. Keep Kenny,dump the clown,have new guests weekly to keep people coming back for something new,not the same ol' thing. Let Robin Miller have a shot at it. Let Schrader run it. Do SOMETHING

Anonymous said...

Why Fox decided that Inside Nextel Cup had to be yet another "hard-hitting, fast-paced recap of the weekend's racing" when they already had Nascar Victory Lane and The Speed Report escapes me completely.

What they had was terrific chemistry between all four parties on the show. It was a good-natured insight into the lives and perspectives of actual participants in the sport, placed it the context of the recent weekend's races. One was made to feel like you were sitting in on a casual bench-racing session between racers who liked and respected one another while Alan Bestwick tried gamely to follow the agenda.

Fools.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with those who say Dave Despain hates NASCAR or doesn't understand or respect it. Despain has been around NASCAR for decades as a radio broadcaster and racing journalist. Despain also brings what Alan Bestwick, Bill Weber and others like them do not - a broader perspective of professional motorsports. Despain is a passionate fan of motorcycle racing, has been long associated with various types of dirt track racing and pays close attention to other forms of motorsports from around the world.

Most NASCAR fans and media personnel are shockingly ignorant when it comes to disciplines like Formula One, ALMS, World of Outlaws, World Rally, MotoGP, etc. These people have no perspective of how NASCAR fits into the world of racing and are unable to develop opinions of how well NASCAR is doing compared to other forms of motorsport.

Let's face it, NASCAR is not perfect. Far from it. It could stand to learn a few lessons from other racing organizations. But if you're whole life is NASCAR (Bestwick, Weber, all the ex drivers and crewchiefs that are on TV) you bring no broader knowledge to the table. It's hard to criticize something when your whole world and paycheck revolves around it.

Yes, I realize the TV show is about NASCAR. I've watched it for many years and know what it's all about. And I agree there might be a better host for INC than Despain. And, yes, I've written to Speed requesting both Despain and Mikey be terminated immediately in order to bring the show back on track. But blaming Despain for the failure of INC is wrong and unfair. Mikey has always let it be known that it is HIS show, so he needs to take 100% of the blame for its failure. The former show producer who is no longer with Speed should also be blamed but there is nothing that can be done with him now. What can be done is fire Mikey immediately, replace Despain and rebuild the show. Maybe use John Roberts or Krista Voda as the host and get guys like Carl Edwards, Chad Knaus and Dale Jarrett to be panelists. New people, new perspectives and new blood is what's needed to revive this show.

I like Despain's world view of racing and it is badly needed in the spectacularly myopic world of NASCAR. It's too bad he's not appreciated by the typical NASCAR, who themselves need to learn more about professional motorsports beyond Nextel Cup and Dale Jr.

SophiaZ123 said...

I do not understand the hate of Despain and enjoy WT. I admit, gettng rid of Allen was a huge mistake though.

Also, with out the chemistry of Johnny B, Kenny S AND Mikey, they killed the show. Like Mikey or not, when KENNY was there to make comments it was FUNNY. Brian Vickers has the personality of a water cooler and brought nothing to the show.

I saw put WT on a few nights a week, bring back AB and Johnny...I think the original trio with hotseat guest was like eaves dropping on friends. It was a HOOT.

Steve Long broke something that did NOT NEED FIXING and his immature MTV mentality ruined INC. We did not need to see SERIOUS play by play of the race. I liked the loose atmosphere of wondering what the hell would happen but admit, Mikey was getting out of hand with his camera hogging (taking off his shoe to stare at it????)

If the producers would not have let that happen, the show would've stayed fine. AND I Loved it when somebody would introduce the show instead of the generic OVERLY BUSY GRAPHICS and music that goes on FOREVER.

I guess I am the odd one that is not angry at Dave and see his humor as very dry.

Sniffles is ok but works better with KS AND Mikey there.

Herman (K Wallace) was a fun fill in as was Spencer. I only got to see the show a couple years before the change as Speed was not in my area.

I REALLY FEEL for those of you that watched this show for 10 years only to see it come down to this.

But I would not be so quick to bury the show since what they FIXED was NOT what the LONG TIME VIEWERS wanted anyway.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I miss Neil! or the stories like when they interviewed Sr. in his barn tossing hay bales, or when DW's donkey bit Dale J, it was like the drivers enjoyed being on the show and didn't have to think about being P. C. its all just not the same !!

Anonymous said...

I still watch every Monday night. The show was fun to watch during the 2004, 2005 and part of the 2006. I want AB back on the show. I have little tolerance for Dave Despain, but have always loved the panel. There are plenty of ways to jazz up a show, but I doubt that they are putting any work into finding a "fix". I can't imagine that Brian Vickers would come to the show if he didn't want to be there. He needs to jump into the conversation more often and stay there.

Anonymous said...

Love the show still, would much rather have Allen, Mikey, Kenny and Johnny. For me, it is the best racing show on TV. The rest suck.

Anonymous said...

The best year that I remember was 2000 - Alan, Johnny, Kenny, and Mikey, with all of the drivers somewhat competitive. I did a lot of traveling that year and there was a lot of weather, and I remember talking to fellow-standbys about the show and found several who had become interested in NASCAR because of the show. Losing Johnny was bad, losing Alan was worse, and, now, we will lose Kenny. I liked Mikey in the beginning, but as his competitiveness deteriorated, so did his on-air personality. Frankly, I thought last night was one of the best shows in a long time - Mikey seemed at peace, Vickers is naturally serious, and Biffle is a wonk (which must make crew and car screw-ups even more aggravating). Schrader is gone - no way will they keep him if he is gone from Cup. I still watch the show and, on the whole, I enjoy it. I will be disappointed if it folds.

Anonymous said...

Get off of Waltrip's back. How do you think you would be acting if you had had so much grief, in so short of time, and in such a public forum? Yes, the program needs something, maybe the old team back together would work really well.

Anonymous said...

It was a good show when Alan and the gang were on it. It was like sitting around with a bunch of buddies on Monday nite just talking about the race on Sunday. There was no form just alot of fun and laughter. Thats what I liked about the show. I miss Alan and the gang.

Anonymous said...

They didn't even update the beginning this year. Every monday the beginning montage tells us that Tony Stewart is the champ. I guess that tells us how much energy they want to put into the show.

Tom B said...

I thought this past week's INC was a lot better than recent weeks.

MW seemed nicely toned down - maybe since he could finally let his racing stand on its own a little. His commentary was much less forced.

Vickers seemed a little uncomfortable with him at first (and based on that last appearance - I would have been too), but seemed more at ease with MW as the show went on. But I don't really think he adds even half as much as not having Schrader subtracts.

I think Biffle is great. Numerous times over the course of the season, he's said something short and succint that makes a lot of sense. Could definitely stand more Biffle.

With my eyes, it looks like Despain enjoys doing the show, and I enjoy his humor.

Anonymous said...

I agree, get off Mikey's back. He and Schrader are the ones that make the show. Despain and Vickers are the ones who need to go elsewhere. They have no personality at all. At least Mikey is funny and adds some life to the show.

Anonymous said...

I think Dave is the first change necessary. He's prob. a good guy, but just doesn't work in this situation. Michael and Schrader are (were?) the best with a third panelist who could play the game with them. Biffle's pretty good, Vicker's so serious I get a headache. Bring back the Hot Seat!

Anonymous said...

Dave is not the right host, If I wanted to see his dull humour, I would watch wind tunnel. Mikey is the only constant on that show, he's the only one with the balls to waver from Dave's format and the only one with an owner/driver's perspective. Get rid of Dave and watch this show come back to it's former glory.
Wendy Venturini would be an awesome host, she grew up in racing so I doubt anything they could say would offend her. And he has personality, a brain and is a looker. Why not give it a try, a dead fish would do a better job than Dave.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%. The show was it's best when it was Allen, Johnny, Kenny, and Michael. Since Dave Despain has been added it's typically not even "fun" anymore. I miss the show that it once was. Normally when I turn it on and see that Kenny is not on it.....I flip to another channel. Just not worth watching.

Vince said...

Having grown up in farm country, this show reminds me of a chicken that has just had it's head chopped off. It will run around for 10 minutes before it knows it's dead. Then it finally falls over dead. The head in this case was Bestwick and Benson. Once they were chopped off the rest of the show was dead. It just didn't know it yet.

Anonymous said...

Another card carrying member of th "despise despain" club here. It's a wonder MW can enter the studio, his head is so big. With only 3 races run and 191 points you'd think the boy would have some humility. Keep up the excellent writing, John.

Anonymous said...

You are correct,When Johnny left the show was hurt but could recover, when Allen was replaced that was the death blow. I have watched maybe twice since then.
Despain doesn't fit, Mikies head has grown bigger and moody. It is time for an old friend to move on,
the show will die, that is sad.

Anonymous said...

I USED TO FAITHFULLY TIVO THIS SHOW. WHEN THEY DUMPED BESTWICK FOR DESPAIN,THE DEATH BELLS STARTED TO TOLL. I LOVED THE ZANY DIALOGUE BETWEEN WALTRIP AND SCHRADER. NOW IT IS TOO TIGHTLY SCRIPTED WITH NO ROOM FOR THE PANEL'S PERSONALITIES TO COME THROUGH.GET RID OF THE TASKMASTER AND BRING BESTWICK BACK.

Anonymous said...

Stopped watching at the end of 2003 because Waltrip was so out of control and Bestwick was either unable or did not want to step up to the task of putting him in his place. As long as that goon is on there are large groups that will not tune in. Let it die. RIP INC!!!

Anonymous said...

They need to bring back AB and get rid of Despain. It was a great show until he came on the scene. I don't watch Wind Tunnel either, as I can't stand Despain.

Anonymous said...

This format is nothing new. When there is a good show on with people who know what they are doing and Nascar has anything to do with it watch out!!! That is called "Control"? They have stated so many times that they can do whatever they want to. I really like Speed channel's coverage of Nascar but some of the changes made are ludicris. They have given Allen Bestwick the shaft so many times it isn't funny. Dave thepain is so arrogant and stuck on himself he cannot host any show. Get rid of him and bring back Allen, Kenny (who is exceptional)and Johnny Benson who is also great, if you want to keep INC going!!

Anonymous said...

Wow and I LIKE Dave Despain and the show. Sorry to disagree with you, Daly.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't Michael Waltrip at all, or even Dave Depain anymore. I used to not like Dave but he's loosening up.
The problem is the morons in charge at Speed listened to the Waltrip haters instead of the REAL fans of the show and tried to reign Michael in, instead of letting the fun of the show keep going. INC/IWC used to be like a few guys sitting around, having beers, chatting about the race. Now it's gotten more boring because Michael is trying NOT to overstep the bounds, while trying to test them at the same time. Dave is trying to keep the show "running along" like the producers want. THE FANS want the old INC back with Allan, Schrader, Benson or Kenny Wallace, and Michael. Bring back the laid back INC and the show will be better again.

Kathy said...

I love Mikey, Schrader, and Biff...but I feel like I'm back in Study Hall and the teacher is trying to get the guys in back to stop kidding around with each other and get serious. I say there are plenty of "serious" forums for NASCAR fans...I like this show for its insider zaniness. Let the boys be boys and the fun will return.

Anonymous said...

There was an EXTREMELY uncomfortable moment when Biffle and Waltrip were in an exchange and Despain dismissed the moment. I miss the old days immensely. It's a shame, really...I too made it a point to watch this show...not so much now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should bring on someone who loves the camera and who the camera loves, too - Carl Edwards! Talk about charisma!!

Anonymous said...

I think that alot of fans would get a better insight on racing and more of a relaxed atmosphere if they would allow the real racers to give their point of view. The problem is that Michael Waltrip is so insecure that hardly anyone can get a word in. He acts like an idiot and is probably embarrasing the other panelist as well as ticking them off to the point of not wanting to participate.

Anonymous said...

Yet another INC Fan!

I don't watch anymore, because Bestwick and Benson are gone. Plus, I liked the format at 7:00 PM better than the current time slot.

INC was an easy way to enjoy a beer, listen to friends rib each other and talk about the last race. I felt like I was sitting at the same counter with the panel, and my living room an extension of the studio. My neighbors would stop by to catch the show.

Despain is clearly an expert at what he does, but he brings none of the charm of Alan Bestwick.

I will not watch that show again.

A Fan in Jacksonville

Anonymous said...

I agree commpletely. It makes me almost sad to watch that show, knowing how great it always used to be. That Chris Long jerk ruined a lot of shows on SPEED. At least he went to Fox, where he should fit right in.

All they have to do is give Bestwick his own show on ESPN. I know I'd watch!

Bruce said...

I watch it every week and I like it. At first I wasn't going to watch it when they kicked AB off, but I still watched it. I like Dave Despain and I'm still watching. I'm not 100% happy with it, but I wouldn't want it changed much either.

I have no problem with the current lineup of drivers on board although I wish Kenny was always there. I would like more guests to appear on the show. I wish they would discuss more about the key things that happened over the weekend rather than try to do a complete recap of the race. Moving the recap along always seems to get in the way of the discussions.

Bruce

Jason said...

Despain is a motorcycle guy. He feigns interest for stock cars and it shows. I'd rather watch a half hour of Bestwick trying to fix Waltrips hair.

Anonymous said...

I like watching the show but for all the wrong reasons. I like to watch it for the highlights. I can not stand Despain, and his Wind Tunnel show. Michael Waltrip has made what three races so how can you put stock into what he ways? My favorite NASCAR racing show now is Trackside.