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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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't like Jimmy Spencer. I think he has shown a willingness to be two-faced in the past.

However, I saw the interview with Ginn and was very impressed that he asked the questions he did and got the answers, both verbal and not, that resulted.

Anonymous said...

I believe that we WILL NOT see anything of Bobby Ginn next year. I believe that he bought a race team, put money into it, flipped it just like a real estate broker, made a nice profit, and will be gone by year's end Good for Menard, but bad for NASCAR

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Spencer is old school, short track racing, in your face bravado.
His career as a Cup driver is over. He didn't choose to retire, Cup changed and went younger and multi team. He is the last of the true independents and that is where the problem begins & ends.
The more he tells it like it is, the more he will become personna non grata on TV. The rebel image works only for so long. Money talks$$$$ and car owners will be less likely to come on & do group interviews with this broadcast team. Unlike his peers who won more money and titles (ie: Elliott, Labonte), who get called to use their champions exemption, JS is on the outside looking in. Spencer is Kyle Petty without the pony tail & pedigree. Given his choice, I'm sure he would rather be driving on Sundays, Spencer reminds me of the old bombastic John Madden who was great at being the master of the obvious. That was decades ago & the shelf life for that style of analyst is about one good season. JS isn't a journalist and shouldn't be put in that position. He should be allowed to be a observer and comment on what his opinion his. Let the journalists ask the tough questions, one on one. Just my view. Great column!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Jimmy. That's the stuff we want to hear. Jimmy did not remind us that "he" once sat on the pole at Indy as other self centered commentators would have done. He took up for the little guy and reminded us once again that our sport is made up of real people that love racing.

RH said...

I was glad to see Jimmy push the envelope and get an answer, but if you actually believed this was anything other than a flat out buy-out, I guess you also believe there is no such thing as the "phantom debris" yellow near the end of the race.


John, I must have missed the Spencer and Juniors' sister interview. Could you give us a quick review?
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love you Jimmy Spencer. Thanks for having the b...s to tell it like it is. ESPN makes such a mess of reporting that it is like a breath of fresh air to see someone from the old school tell it the right way. Speed will always win over the other stations because they have the clientele that knows their stuff. Others ask questions, read guidelines and depend on others to help them out but Speed is WONDERFUL AND VERY KNOWLEDGABLE ABOUT NASCAR!!!!!!! Thanks again, Jimmy. Keep up the great work!!!

Anonymous said...
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Don said...

So is Ginn another JD Stacey? Look it up if you're not familiar with the fiasco from a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

RH, do an internet search for "jimmy spencer earnhardt elledge." I found all the details in various online stories. Basically Jimmy Spencer called Earnhardt-Elledge an ego-maniac and selfish for keeping her maiden name when she got married.

Anonymous said...

I think Jimmy is great. Yes he sometimes puts his foot in his mouth but that is being human. He is not afraid to ask what is needed to be asked as shown with the Ginn interview. Ginn did hire people away and they are up a smelly creek with no paddle.

Anonymous said...

in your face jimmy spencer. you got to love him. and to think the guy likes to work in his garden. go jimmy go...

Jeff said...

True, Bobby Ginn IS the J.D Stacy of his time. I am happy to see that Jimmy Spencer pretty much outed Mr. Ginn for what he is, or was and never intended to be.

Anonymous said...

Good job Jimmy youare inproving

Anonymous said...

I hate Jimmy Spencer, but admire someone, "anyone" asking real questions in nascar. I can overlook his bias veiws if he starts going Micheal Moore on nascar.

Anonymous said...
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