Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sparks Fly On SPEED With "Tradin' Paint"

Every racing weekend on the NEXTEL Cup Series, SPEED gathers John Roberts, Kyle Petty, and a member of the NASCAR media for a thirty minute conversation about the hot topics of the week. Normally, things are interesting and opinions are varied. The Watkins Glen edition of the show, however, brought out some strong statements and had the fans at the SPEED Stage making lots of noise.

Bob Pockrass from NASCAR Scene was the media guest, and things got off to a strong start with the topic of Robby Gordon. Finally, some issues were addressed that the fans could understand about this confusing situation.

Pockrass compared Gordon's actions to a MLB batter getting called out on strikes, and then standing in the batter's box until the pitcher threw another ball. Petty disagreed with NASCAR carrying a Busch Series penalty over into the NEXTEL Cup Series by sitting Gordon out of Pocono.

The fun began when Kyle maintained that NASCAR doles out harsher penalties to Cup regulars when they drive in the Busch Series. Pockrass argued that they should receive stiffer punishment because they have nothing to lose, and basically get in the way of the actual Busch Series regulars running for the championship. That did not sit well with Kyle, who bases his argument on the larger premise that all drivers are equal at the drop of the green. This was a good one.

The potential demise of the Busch Series next season has been a hot topic all year long. After the COT was made the fulltime NEXTEL Cup car for 2008, it no longer made sense for Cup owners to run Busch teams. The cars are not similar, so now there was no information that could be transferred over to Cup. Many Cup owners were now said to be eyeing the Truck Series because they are similar to the COT in many ways. If they leave, the Busch Series is in big trouble.

Petty is true in spirit, but sometimes lacking in reality. Pockrass contends that the Cup teams train their drivers, pit crews, and mechanics on the Busch Series and then get called up to the Cup level. Petty disagrees, but does not have a leg to really stand on. Petty says the money is important, but Pockrass disagreed completely. Petty was getting steamed, and his point was again that it was not the responsibility of the Cup owners to support the Busch Series. Pockrass carries some weight in the journalism world, and was having none of the Petty party line.

Kyle got so steamed he basically said Pockrass was full of BS, had a smoke machine to blow smoke you know where, and then blamed the media. He does that a lot. While it is great to see debate on SPEED, Petty seemed to be tired and cranky and a looked a lot more like a middle-aged guy who had a long day than a NASCAR driver and owner.

The show closed with Robby Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya as the topics. While both parties agreed that Robby Gordon could win, the vote was split on Montoya. As the show closed, Petty continued to insist that Montoya could win, and Pockrass finally gave him the ultimate shot when he could you. That was a cheap one.

When SPEED replaced Michael Waltrip with Kyle Petty on this show things improved and the show developed a strong character. While Kyle is pleasant and easy-going with most members of the TV and radio media, he simply does not like the print reporters.

The "Media Center gang" have proven over the years to be a surly lot who, much like the drivers, do not forget who did them wrong. While the group has become more diverse over time, there is small core of real insiders who continue to dominate both newspapers and the Internet. Everyone else, like me, is just watching the action from the outside.

Let's hope that SPEED continues to bring-on TV the reporters that feature prominently in our racing world. This type of debate is exactly what is missing on TV, and SPEED is the only network dipping their toe in the water. When NASCAR gets brought up on ESPN's Around The Horn, the stick-and-ball gang yells "no NASCAR or hockey." Over on PTI, Kornheiser and Wilbon have absolutely no clue to this billion dollar national obsession. Just like the New York Times, NASCAR does not exist for them.

If SPEED can continue to develop this show, and get more topics covered and more reporters heard, it will be better for the sport as a whole. On the Internet, anyone with a keyboard and a mouse can play God for a while, but eventually those who know and those who don't are exposed. On TV, however, it is a different world.

Conversation and typing are two very different functions for human beings, and doing a show live in front of an audience is a great test of one's ability to make a point, and then back it up. Kudos to Kyle Petty for continuing to spread his wings in the TV world, and to SPEED for continuing to offer this important show.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for stopping-by and leaving your opinion.


cwebs said...

Is it just me, or did this post just show up today (Monday, 8/13)???

I agree with pretty much everything you said about Petty's performance on the show this weekend. He was clearly aggravated by the presence of the reporter, and he wasn't willing to engage in any back and forth discussion with him. I think Petty came off quite badly here, and I'm guessing he's now lost some of the credibility that he'd previously built up with the fans.

One thing that really bugged me was Petty's admission that he didn't see the Montreal NBS race. I don't think it was appropriate for him to make comments and pronouncements about the situation if he hadn't at least seen a replay of the last few laps of the race. He sure sounded out of touch when he tried to contest NASCAR's reasons for sending Robby Gordon back into the field before the final restart at Montreal. While that decision by the NASCAR officials was certainly debatable, and remains so to this day, Petty seemed to be perpetuating a widespread misunderstanding that had prevailed for a couple of days after the race concerning NASCAR’s statement about maintaining a “cautious” pace under the yellow flag.

I thought this misunderstanding had been cleared up on Inside Nextel Cup last Monday. Basically, what NASCAR was trying to say all along was that Robby didn’t deserve to restart the race in first or second place because they felt he had continued racing Ambrose for position after the caution had come out, so if he was going to act like the race was still under green, then they would treat his getting spunout by Ambrose as if it had occurred under green flag conditions as well. Unfortunately, this wasn’t clear from NASCAR’s original statement, and most everyone thought for a couple of days that Robby lost positions simply because he couldn’t maintain “caution speed” after getting spun under caution (which would obviously be quite unfair). I think Mike Helton could have clarified this when he appeared on Raceday, but he didn’t. Some tough questions from the Raceday crew might have gotten to the bottom of it, but that didn’t happen either.

While the clarification presented on INC made NASCAR’s Montreal decisions seem more logical, there is still plenty of room for debate over what happened. Unfortunately, a great opportunity for some good discussion on the subject was missed when Kyle Petty showed up unprepared. Kyle did pretty well in the broadcast booth, but I’m beginning to think he may not be suited for a show like Tradin’ Paint…

Khalifa said...

I agree you could tell the media guy was someone Kyle didn't seem to get along with. Maybe in the past he really put down Kyle in an article somewhere. Who knows. Maybe KP was just having a bad day.

Remember KP is pretty new to all of this. It's not his full time job. I think his future is certainly in front of the camera and he'll have to grow into this new role.

Plus the show is called "Tradin' Paint" they traded some paint. Heck they could bring back Michael Waltrip.

Anonymous said...

I like having Petty on the show. Right or wrong, he says his bit and doesn't cave. Michael on the otherhand is the kiss a** to Nascar. He agrees with Nascar and everything they do. So the charcter of the show is better. To me in the beginning I thought Petty did an excellent job and I thought Bob Pockrass sounded like a bumbling idiot. I know he knows his stuff. But maybe in front of the camera he isnt as strong. I like the show so much better now no matter the issue. SPEED needs to keep this show intact.

KE said...

I really enjoy "Tradin' Paint." Most of your observations were right on. The animosity KP (whom I think has a great future in broadcasting) showed toward Bob P was quite obvious. I do appreciated Kyle's straitforwardness, but strongly disagreed with his 'philosophy' concerning BUSCH. " Petty was getting steamed, and his point was again that it was not the responsibility of the Cup owners to support the Busch Series." It was the influx of the CUP teams that has basically destroyed many BUSCH only teams, so why should CUP teams have no responsibility to the carnage they have wrought? They came. They raced. They won. They left with the majority of the $$$. ???? Responsibilty as to the current state of the series. Yea.

Anonymous said...

This was really bad for Kyle. His bit about not training guys in the Busch Series and just grabbing someone from NTI was not good. I think this provides a lot of insight into why Petty Enterprises has been so terrible. I hate to be so hard on PE because I have a tremendous amount of respect for their history and the high class people that they are. Their charitable contributions are beyond amazing. But it is the attitude that Kyle showed which causes them so many problems on the race track. There is no substitute for in action training. Trying to compete in NNC while also providing on the job training is a recipe for disaster, and PE has been one disaster after another.

It was obvious he was having a bad day, and as it turns out a bad weekend. After blowing up, he broke his hand punching his hauler. I'd bet on the hauler every time. He is probably frustrated by the terrible performance which stems from his attitude towards building a race team. If only he had a Busch team to train his crew members....

Anonymous said...

I must have watched a different show than some of you. This episode was the best i've seen.
Isn't the panel suppossed to "trade paint"? Kyle Petty didn't seem like he didn't like that media guy at all...he just didn't agree. And, furthermore... you shouldn't pick on someone for being middle-aged...AND if they bring Michael Waltrip back to this show I'll turn off speed for good.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just for the record. I like Kyle and have written several columns about Tradin' Paint this season. And, of course, I have to admit I am...middle aged. Ouch, that's still a tough one.

JessieLC said...

John, you have lots of company in the Middle Aged Category!! I agree ouch!
Remember Kyle was the original Petty/NASCAR Black Sheep! Kyle has always said and did what Kyle thinks is that bad no! But Kyle over the years has learned when to say things and when to zip his lip! And he has had his share of hoof n mouth disease as well.........some of the younger Cup drivers that are free spirits should look to Kyle as a good role model.......he still says what he thinks, but now he looks at when is the TIME to say it! Sometimes its just better NOT to give an opinion if it would open up a can of bees!

Anonymous said...

I watched about 80% of Tradin Paint and it was clear to me that Kyle was irritated because most of the time Pockrass had no real idea of what he was talking about and presumed to argue with Kyle about how race teams are run. I came away from the show with a much lower opinion of Pockrass since he clearly demonstrated that he knows much less about the inner workings of NASCAR racing than he thinks - especially as regards the financial reasons why a Cup team would run a car in a Busch race.

Anonymous said...

With so much respect for Kyle and so very little respect for the "media" who are all about controversy and not at all about facts or about information, I must say Kyle held his tongue rather well, considering he and his family have been in racing longer than this so called journalist can remember. The truth is, facts can be twisted if and when you like. Thankfully, Kyle and others don't mind calling someone on it when it happens.

Anonymous said...

I love SPEED's programming and Tradin' Paint in particular.

I agree with Kyle, because he was discussing the "reasons they-cup owners-run the BUSCH and Truck series", to which Kyle argued "that's not why they do it" in response to the media-dudes answer "to train team members".

It is my humble opinion that they "do it" to make money and the "team training" thing is a BENEFIT. It is a business/tax thing. The point being the "reason" any team runs BUSCH or trucks: in reality, the reason could be different for each team! So they could both be right.

I love reading your articles and comments, keep up the good work!

FYI: NO, I don't care for Eric K, although he seems to have reined it in a bit lately on NASCAR Now. I just don't care for ESPN in general. Maybe because I don't do stick-n-ball sports, so I don't get their in-your-face-argue-about- everything attitude.