Monday, July 30, 2007
Jimmy Spencer Brings The Thunder On "RaceDay"
It was supposed to be just another edition of SPEED's popular RaceDay program. The fans were standing across the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway alongside of the SPEED stage. John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, and Kenny Wallace were happy and smiling in the Midwestern sunshine.
Roberts led a normal show that featured the storylines of the week, and used reporter Wendy Venturini to try and explain the DEI/Ginn merger like a grade school math teacher. Then, SPEED landed a live interview with Bobby Ginn and things took an interesting turn.
Fans accuse Jimmy Spencer of many things, and often times he is guilty as charged. Spencer can go from supportive cheerleader to sexist bully in about two seconds. As RaceDay has matured as a show, Spencer has matured as a TV announcer. He still has fun, but since the incident with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s sister, he has learned where to draw the line.
Beleaguered owner Bobby Ginn has had a rough time with the NASCAR experience. Hyped by many as a future "super team," Ginn now finds himself basically selling off his assets and fleeing the sport at a high rate of speed. Why he stuck around in Indy to answer questions from the media is anyone's guess. Perhaps, his own PR reps thought that doing damage control in person would be the best approach. Boy, were they ever wrong.
After some questions from John Roberts and Kenny Wallace, Mr. Ginn heard the voice of Jimmy Spencer. Live on national television, Spencer once again "stuck up" for the little guy, and let Ginn have it. Mr. Ginn might think about new PR guys after this.
Spencer laid into Ginn for coming into the sport and tooting his own horn. Spencer reviewed the fact that Ginn had hired crew members and drivers away from other teams with the promise of big money and success. Now, those same employees are out of jobs. "What'cha going to do for those fellas?" asked Spencer point blank.
Ginn stammered through a political answer and tried to put forward the idea that this deal was a merger, and not a buyout. Spencer was having none of it. "Did you buy part of DEI or did they buy you?" Spencer questioned. When Ginn persisted that this was a merger, Spencer asked Ginn if he would "be involved with that organization" next year? Ginn shrugged his shoulders and said "I am not going anywhere." The look on his face told a very different story.
Then, Ginn finally caved-in and said that DEI had a NEXTEL Cup car that was not in the top thirty-five, and he had one that was. He said he had no engine deal, and now his former cars would have DEI power. He said the money he was spending on his unsponsored cars could now be allocated to "other areas." What remains of Ginn at the end of the season is yet to be seen, but on RaceDay the truth finally came out.
Roberts thanked Ginn for coming by, but for NASCAR fans there had finally been an in-person explanation of the reality of the Ginn/DEI merger. This might not have happened had Jimmy Spencer not stepped-up and decided that someone had to get to the bottom of this, and it might as well be him.
SPEED's production team has been using Spencer in very different ways recently, and aside from his humorous "food tasting" on Sunday with Robin Miller, Spencer has finally been gaining some ground in the TV credibility world. With Victory Lane as another successful show of his, perhaps Spencer might take better "TV" control of himself and begin the process of presenting himself in a more professional manner.
As SPEED continues to grow its NASCAR programming, Spencer could play a role as a veteran who has a good perspective on "the old days" and also a solid foot in the day-to-day current activities in the sport. Maybe Inside NEXTEL Cup, the SPEED Report, and NASCAR Live could occasionally use a little Jimmy Spencer to spice up the mix.
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