Monday, August 20, 2007

SPEED's "RaceDay" Hangs-In At Michigan


Despite the continuing bad weather, SPEED offered a one hour edition of RaceDay on Monday in Michigan. The network has worked very hard to cement their reputation as the first channel to turn-on for NASCAR information.

SPEED has been trying to make some hay while the sun was shining, no pun intended. The network has been covering qualifying and practice for both the Busch and Cup Series during this three race stretch due to some programming conflicts in the ESPN schedule. This is the SPEED version of the full-court press.

Once "The Chase" begins, ESPN returns to their exclusive coverage of everything on the track for those two series. The NEXTEL Cup races move over to ABC Sports for the higher profile of a broadcast TV network.

SPEED returns to their "support programming" role with the shows they originate from the tracks, including RaceDay. The network does continue with its Craftsman Truck Series coverage, which has been consistently solid this season.

Host John Roberts is an endless source of energy for the network, and he has worked hard to manage his cohorts Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace. On this rainy Monday, a tired Roberts hung-in there after a very long weekend of hosting live shows.

Spencer and Wallace had some time in this show to talk, minus the hype of the big RaceDay show. It proved to be very interesting, and even retrospective. They addressed the retirement of Ricky Rudd, the potential switch to Toyota of Gibbs, and the future of Kyle Busch. Spencer was strong in his criticism of what was done to David Ragan, who Spencer contends was brought-up to the Cup level much too early.

Roberts led several free-flowing conversations about topics ranging from young drivers to potential sponsorship issues and team expansion. In this type of informal setting, it was interesting to see what each panelist could offer on these topics.

Wendy Venturini continues to be the heart-and-soul of the telecast, and she kept things in perspective on this Monday. Luckily, Wendy knows the cast of characters in the garage, and moves seamlessly though the maze of personalities and egos. She did just that in Michigan, talking to everyone from Jamie McMurray to the pizza delivery man.

The production team on RaceDay has been on a roll this season, and has quietly achieved the one thing that ESPN is still struggling for with its pre-race show...credibility. Like them or not, Spencer and Wallace are always entertaining. Roberts is always professional, and Venturini is always right in the middle of everything.

When you add-in the intelligent decision-making behind the scenes, RaceDay has finally been able to put the failed NASCAR programming efforts of SPEED in the past.

The Daly Planet thanks you for taking the time to stop-by.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...
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SophiaZ123 said...
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kitty said...

John, its David Ragan, not Regan. If we're going to acknowledge Jimmy's criticism (no matter how misplaced), lets at least get the guy's name right.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Kitty, my spell check thought it was Regan Smith!

Jeff said...

Hey Jimmy, It is pronounced HENDRICK, not HENDRIX!

cwebs said...

Since the comment I posted on Monday night about SPEED's lack of clarity concerning their Tuesday MIS coverage got wiped out when the other thread disappeared, I'll repost it here:


Speaking of networks sticking it out at the track, I'm getting the impression that SPEED isn't hanging around at MIS after today (Monday). When the race was postponed on Sunday, SPEED re-scheduled Victory Lane for 6pm Monday night. After another rainout on Monday, however, there was obviously no need for VL on Monday night. When 6pm rolled around, John Roberts appeared on screen to inform everyone that the race had again been rained out, and there would be no VL program to watch. Then, instead of mentioning anything at all about SPEED programming coming from MIS on Tuesday, Roberts simply said SPEED's NASCAR coverage would continue on Wednesday night with the truck race at Bristol. He never specifically said there wouldn't be any further SPEED broadcasts from MIS, but the obvious implication was that they were hitting the road.

It probably makes perfect sense for them to do this. I imagine they need to move personnel and equipment down to Tennessee ASAP to start getting ready for the races at Bristol. Even if they did stay on in Michigan, the projected early start to the race on Tuesday morning would make it difficult to put together a meaningful pre-race show. Since the race teams will be anxious to leave Michigan as soon as the race ends, a proper post-race show would also be tough to pull off. So, I guess I understand their decision, but why do they feel the need to be coy about it? For goodness sakes, just tell us outright whether or not there’ll be any SPEED coverage from MIS on Tuesday!

I would expect this kind of behavior from a certain other network (you know who), but not from SPEED. Instead of beating around the bush, they really should have given the fans a full explanation of the situation. To do otherwise risks damaging the trust that SPEED has worked so hard to establish with NASCAR Nation…

Anonymous said...

Having the picture of Neil Bonnet on this page is a real touch of class. There were a lot of great guys in our sport and one of the best was Neil. Thanks for keeping the alive the memory of this great driver and broadcaster.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for your comment about Neil. I really enjoyed knowing him, and his great brand of humor. He was a class act.

Anonymous said...

Wendy is the best. I really enjoy her work. It is aparent that she has earned the respect of the cast of characters, based on how they respond to her during the interviews.