Monday, September 10, 2007

SPEED's "Inside NEXTEL Cup" Mess


Smiles were few and far between Monday night as SPEED continued to air the long-running series Inside NEXTEL Cup. Hosted by Dave Despain, this one hour program has become a tired caricature of what it once was in its heyday.

The grizzled veterans of this show are Kenny Schrader and Michael Waltrip. Originally part of a fun and comfortable team, these two are now completely on their own wavelength. Schrader is no longer racing regularly in NEXTEL Cup, and Waltrip continues to put a brave face on an absolutely disastrous year.

Joining the panel this week was semi-regular Greg Biffle. A good idea early on, Biffle has found himself caught-up in a show where Waltrip is really the de facto host and Schrader has become an angry and cynical man. In this program, many of the sniping comments were directed at Biffle, the only person to actually drive in the Richmond NEXTEL Cup race.

As The Daly Planet has mentioned before, Dave Despain looks like a deer in the headlights. Waltrip is completely dismissive of Despain, and makes sure to stick-it to Despain about his SPEED program WindTunnel several times a show. Despain's nervous and forced laughter has become a staple of every program.

Waltrip himself is fascinating. In a way, this show created the Michael Waltrip image that he has used as the basis for much of his success. It was not his driving, but his personality as shown on Inside NEXTEL Cup that attracted sponsors. For several years, this program was a cult hit, and Waltrip was the leader of that cult.

To see him now nitpicking at the host, sniping at the guest panelist, and generally talking over-top of anyone at anytime is a shame. His attraction on this program is long gone, and it would have been wise of SPEED to move him off the regular panel and welcome a new guest.

As usual in this show, two conversations were in progress. Despain continued to battle his way through the highlights, Schrader and Waltrip made inside jokes, and Biffle's head was on a swivel trying to talk with both groups. Waltrip often changes the topic completely, and Despain is just forced to stop until Michael ends his latest petulant rant.

Greg Biffle is a breath of fresh air, and he continues to add all he can in terms of actual race experience. Sometimes, it seems as though he does not like Waltrip's put-downs of his comments, and in this program that happened several times. As usual, with his normal deep sigh, Despain says "let's get back to the highlights." Biffle is left the odd man out.

This series continues to languish alone on Monday nights surrounded by nothing NASCAR-related. On this night, PINKS, Payback, and the American Muscle Car sandwiched the show. There was no re-air of Victory Lane, Tradin' Paint, NASCAR Performance, or Survival of the Fastest. Inside NEXTEL Cup has been left to die a slow death that is probably only ten weeks away.

Veteran fans of the original SpeedVision Network remember this quirky show when host Allen Bestwick was the ringmaster, and Johnny Benson, Michael Waltrip, and Kenny Schrader were the circus. The early years of this series may someday be remembered as classic NASCAR TV. Whenever fans talk about those days, they always start the conversation with "remember when..." and then their favorite moments spill out.

Now, the magic is over. The fun is gone. The smiles are forced, and the end is near. Someone at SPEED decided that this show was not worth saving, and the resources and manpower were better spent on the NASCAR shows originating from the tracks. There are so many simple things that could have helped this low-rated program this season.

If SPEED does decide to re-establish this Monday Night NASCAR programming block, they could certainly keep a refurbished Inside NEXTEL Cup as the anchor. With Randy Pemberton, Wendy Venturini, and Steve Byrnes in their stable, the network could certainly establish a credible new host. As for drivers, there are plenty of veterans who could provide a new fresh mix of faces.

Whatever the network decides, it has been a memorable run for this series, created by SpeedVision's original Executive Producer Bob Scanlon. His simple idea of having one driver from each manufacturer mixed with an experienced TV host and some highlights has lasted a decade. Thanks for the memories guys.

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. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.

70 comments:

RPL said...

INC should bring back Alan Bestwick and put Jeff Burton on the panel full-time. Burton is the best current driver/commentator out there. Burton hands down brings a comfort into your living room. He is very well versed in means of public speaking, looking at the camera at appropriate times and also having insight into the shows daily topics. Jeff Burton NEEDS to be a regular. Along side Jeff would be Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin. Most importantly keep Brian Vickers off the show. I mute the television EVERY time this guy talks because it annoys me so much. He is very wishy washy on his opinions and doesn't want to hurt anyones feelings, which is fine, but when he speaks first of the panelist's on a topic you can tell he is hesitant and gives the PC comment. He does not handle himself in front of the camera well at all.

Tripp said...

This show can no longer find magnetic north.

Personality conflicts aside, this show no longer offers any meaningful postmortem race information that cannot be gleaned from other sources.

There's no way to recapture the magic the show had in the beginning. The personalities have changed and in some cases are no longer particularly relevant to the Cup series. Kenny and Michael watch more races than they drive in. Greg is a very good driver, but hardly the live wire that TV requires.

Perhaps if there is an "Inside Sprint Cup" there should be a NASCAR-specific host pulled from the Speed talent pool. If one wants go go back to the original format with each manufacturer being represented perhaps Carl Edwards for Ford, Elliot Sadler for Dodge, Clint Bowyer for Chevrolet and JJ Yeley for Toyota. Two of these drivers already get regular paychecks from Speed.

Perhaps, like the big block V-8 in the Cup series, the time for "Inside NEXTEL Cup" has come and gone.

Anonymous said...

Waltrip attempts to educate fans who in fact know more than he does about the race event. In this edition Waltrip made a comment about Johnny Sauter, suggesting the only reason Sauter was up front was because of pit strategy. Johnny Sauter ran a good clean race, and brought it from the back to the front several times. This type of guessing from Waltrip is nothing more than a guy out of touch with an event -- he is describing. In general the show isnt for the fans, because at least twice within a thirty minute period Waltrip is going to insult the fans by saying "you just dont know". I have been around the sport since 1968, driven for thrity three years, on several continents -- but I dont know anything about a damn automobile. One of the topics this week was about brakes, and how a rotor can become warped. Biffle had the only correct answer, while Schrader and Waltrip guessed -- and then followed Gregs lead. If you dont know the answer in NASCAR all you have to do is mention a speed between 180-200MPH within the given sentence, because it is believed by most drivers that the average fan cant comprehend this speed factor. I tell you what, I have a 600HP Corvette which will make Waltrip crap his diaper. The show needs to be pulled, its a complete waste of time and resources.

Anonymous said...

The show was destroyed by FOX and their disengaged e
, Los Angeles based executives who put a former FEATURE PRODUCER in charge of NASCAR at SPEED. Brilliant move. The 'boy genius' immediately fired Johnny Benson ( who understands things like why brake rotors warp-and oh, he running for the Truck championship!) then fired Allen Bestwick. Oh, then he gave the drivers(including ball-of-fire Vickers) video replay slo-mo controllers and clip boards with the show rundown ! And they were surprised when the spontanaity and real insight faded from the show?
Well, the boy genius has reportedly moved on to DirecTV. I'll bet they're thrilled over there! The show could be saved, but it would take smart producers to do it.
BTW, Schrader is still racing NASCAR-the 18 truck

Anonymous said...

'Inside the Nextel Cup' is another example of inferior offerings by an anachronistic, culturally challenged SPEED Channel.
I seldom watch any SPEED programs because I prefer to listen to Sirius Radio.
SPEED just "doesn't get it !"

This is 2007 and NASCAR has come a long way. While the sport of racing continues to make progress in many areas, SPEED lags behind in its unprofessional, unpolished, uncultured aura, as it continues to take fans for granted and assumes they are all country bumpkins who will accept anything put forth.
The next thing 'Inside the Nextel Cup" will try will probably be the sexy? woman in the skimpy clothing.
That effort will fail also.

SallyB said...

To say Michael Waltrip has outlived his usefulness on IWC is an understatement. As the resident tout for the Nascar party line and Toyota, he is an embarssment to the show and the viewers. Dave Despain is out of his element here, Nascar being his least favorite form of racing. Schrader seems to spend more time trying to shut Mikey down rather than commenting on the race. Greg Biffle is simply outnumbered. I used to look forward to this show every week, but it's now too painful to watch.

pogeyboat said...

it's time for mikey to get off tv totally and act like the car owner he is before he loses that too. he's simply gotten annoying. ken just doesn't play well with mikey any more. for information biffle does well. i don't think dave is to blame and don't especially think he should go. mikey simply has no respect for him ,the other guys on the panel, and doesn't bother to hide it. i'd still like to buy him for what i think he's worth and then sell him for what he thinks he's worth.

jfs-va said...

It's funny how long time viewers perceive this show versus someone like me who just started viewing NASCAR and the show this year. While there are some elements I don't care for (Waltrip constantly cutting people off), I don't feel as negatively towards it as some other folks and JD. But again, that's because I didn't see it in it's glory days.

In any case, I'll still watch it until it dies, revamps, or I become smart enough to realize it's a horrible show. I still learn some things by watching it that I don't learn watching ESPN, Victory Lane, etc. Then again, I'm probably not really learning anything because it's evidently a really horrible show.

Anonymous said...

John, I came here purposely because I saw the show last night and wondered about your take. In the past, I thought you exaggerated the negatives, but this time it was plain as day. Waltrip was excessively rude to Biffle, including trying to tell him about brakes when Biffle knew better (as he usually does.) I'm not a fan of Biffle's delivery, but his knowledge is far superior. Get Bestwick or another host (I actually have found myself feeling sorry for the out of place Despain), get rid of Waltrip, as 'rpl' suggested, if Burton wants to be on the show, get him. Edwards would be excellent too, and have Biffle for his car knowledge--he really is pretty smart. Just about ANY group, though, would be better than this one. I miss the Ken Schrader of old, though we still see it at times. With a different panel he could be his old self (who knows things Waltrip doesn't, as evidenced last night with the gear discussion.) They could even get a Busch or Truck driver for a different perspective and change the name...if the goal was the panel is in the race, that hasn't been regularly true in quite some time. And guys like Benson or Hornaday or Skinner might have a fun take on it. I'd hate to see the show die, but the way it is now...it's on its way....

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that Michael is pissed that some FOX idiot has come in and destroyed something that has meant a lot to him? Everyone here has said that the show was about Mike, and then Fox comes in and fires Alan (why do bad things happen to good people?) and replace him with Dave Despain, who clearly doesn't want to be here (why do good things happen to bad people?). The problem with Michael's attitude is that FOX has tried to make this show flashy and slick with some of the most UNflasjy and UNslick guys in the business.

Want to see an example? Watch Wayne's World and it's the same thing. (Which is what the show should be like.. Wayne's World.

Joe from Philly said...

This show has lost it's way for sure. I think they try to serve too many masters with their format. This show was all about charm in the "old days". You really didn't watch it to get a race recap as much as just wanting to get the driver's take on things and get a few laughs.

If this show comes back next year, I'd have to assume it will be without Mikey, Kenny and Dave.

If they revamp it, I hope they go back to a format that allows for the highlights more as a topic starter than a show agenda.

Anonymous said...

Have to chime in here because I saw the last 30 minutes of this show yesterday by accident after not having seen any part of it in weeks. My thoughts were the same as yours, so I am relieved to see you write a column about it. I was a regular viewer in 2005, but by late 2006, had stopped watching every week with all the changes. They brought back the old set this year, but the chemistry is still gone.

Ken Schader always seems like a great guy, but I was amazed at how unenthusiastic he was last night, and I thought he was also dismissive to Greg Biffle. I remember seeing Greg Biffle a few times on the show last year, and he has really improved, as shown by last night. I think if Biffle had some guys he felt comfortable with and respected his knowledge he would let loose a little more. He's never going to be the crazy guy, but he could be the Johnny Benson of the show if they had some new blood to build around him.

Sadler, Burton, Edwards would all be good replacements, but the top level drivers like Burton and Edwards have so many time committments that using their day off for this show every week may be asking too much. Burton seemed to have less time to guest last year as the season got better for him. JJ Yeley has a great sense of humor and he might be willing to do it part-time.

Speed should go to a new host and a rotating crew of 6-8 drivers and leave Despain, Schrader, and Waltrip behind.

Anonymous said...

One problem with the show is that Mikey has s vendetta against certain drivers, especially Sauter. Sauter drove his butt off 35th to 9th, 30th to 5th. You don't get all that by pit stops, Mikey.

The show needs to go. Schrader doesn't care any more since he's not in Nascar.

Biffle & Vickers don't work. Jeff Burton & Kyle Petty do work.

Make Trading Paint an hour show on Monday night with Burton and/or Petty & a couple of knowledgeable guests & debate the race week/weekend happenings.

Keep the original Trading Paint where it is now with Petty.

Paul A. Echols said...

I am glad to see others have recognized the farce that is INC. I have tuned the show out since June, 2006 when I realized I wasn't getting anything out of the show but the feeling I had wasted my time. I did write an article about this same subject 6/8/2006 for my NASCAR Hardball series. The show was great when we used to get some insight and all the guys were hungry and humble. Michael Waltrip's limited sucess has gone to his head and made him a sad caricature. The show still has potential, but it needs to get back to it's roots and provide some entertainment beyond "The Michael Waltrip Soundstage".

Paul A Echols

Anonymous said...

I happen to love Inside Nextel Cup, although for me it is more entertainment than hard news. I find myself laughing out loud at the banter between Mikey and Schrader multiple times a week.

I guess there's some truth to some tension between Despain/Biffle and Waltrip/Schrader, but I think the highs still outweigh the lows.

Even though Mikey does tend to waste some air time occasionally, it's still worth fighting through to get some insight from him like the nugget about FedEx and UPS both being with Toyota next year.

Maybe they do just need to focus a bit and get a more heavy-handed director who can control Mikey a bit but I still look forward to this show every week and make sure I never miss it.

Anonymous said...

I am a LONG TIME lover of the show... If you don't enjoy it... don't watch it! Why rip it apart every week? I love Mikey, I love Shrader... I'm even getting used to Dave...the show has always been more about comic entertainment then cutting NASCAR news. We can get the news reading Jayski.... When they got rid of Alan and Johnny and totally redid the format the show lost its personality...They used to "try to" review all of the races during the weekend and fit in a "hotseat" guest...part of the entertainment was in their trying to fit it in. Vickers was the worst thing that ever happened to the show... he was brought in to try to make it a serious racing show... serious its not, nor should it be... Lighten up enjoy the banter!

Don said...

I agree, I also like INC, it's a program I can look forward to watching with my wife, I watch it because of it's humor, I'm a long time NASCAR fan, but my wife is new to the sport, so she does learn from it. I did like it better with Alan Bestwick, and sometimes they should gag Mikey, but I love the way Ken puts him in his place, and I've grown to like Biffle

Anonymous said...

As LONG Time fan of INC, It is for me ,Great Entertainment. I will always miss AB and Johnny, but even so, they are funny, irrevelent and entertaining as anything else on TV. I have to admire Mikey for the chin up attitude he has displayed throughout a horrible season. If you hate it, change channels, I do when Nascar Now airs. Now that's boring. I wish the show would never end but if it does, it was one hell of a run!!!!!!!!!

toomuchcountry said...

Lots of good feedback but PLEASE no more Steve Byrnes.

SophiaZ123 said...

SOPHIAZ SAID
Ok..I need to be like cwebs and start taking notes so I can type out specificities. :-)

My brother sent me tapes of this show before I got speed and I LOVED the OLD INC..when Herman or somebody would fill in...they would get a guest in the hot seat and chaos always ensued. MANY HATED THAT Show?! I realize some just hate MW as he is a bit of a shill.

I also dreaded the tweaking of the show as it's not about RACIN'DETAILS as it is, the FUN...it used to be like eavesdropping on old friends in my living room.

I do NOT hate Despain and might have the IQ of my coffee cup but I think he enjoys being there and I find him genuinely tickled at some of the comments made.

I feel like I must be watching a different show or something. Granted, last night Biffle seemed a beat off and Mikey was mouthier than he had been in a while.

Michael used to be TOO much of a camera hog but if the camera guys hadn't gone there, it would not have gotten out of hand.

Old timers tell me it kind of was Waltrip's show when it started out...if that's true, perhaps he detests the changes as well.

I thought his comments about WT being all Jr all the time were funny. Ever heard the drunken Jr fans call in? The one with Robin Miller on WT was classic (Put down the Jack daniels !)

When they had the guys in the small seats last year where EVERYBODY looked ridiculousy and uncomfortable, I felt bad for the guys.

This year, they got the comfy seats back. Step one.

Ken still drives the trucks and is going to be in the car at Dega and this weekend, Hopefully.

I know MW is a shill but I do not hate him as many seem to and I also thoroughly enjoy Dave's show. He knew how to interview Dario for the 27th time that day and make the boy at ease.

I also think once you took Johnny out of the picture it was horrible. JB is doing well and is rooted for by many. Why not just bring him back next year?

Vickers may be a smart guy (heard he was valedictorian of his school) and DID improve his time on the show. But in general, had the personality of a water cooler, no offense.

This show STILL tells me more than ESPN does and has a sense of fun.

Sometimes we see what we want to see. I am reading Kenny's book and bitter old guy he is not. So I like somebody else here said, still like the show. It is not the show I fell in love with a couple years ago.

But then again, NEITHER IS NASCAR.

Peace

:-)

P.S. there was something I learned last week that I hope to remember as an example...but I don't feel THAT compelled to post again on this good, or bad.

Go Kenny!

Oh, I do think he does drive too much in other series and is trying to make up for lost money at this point...AND feed his obvious racing addiction. :)uuwiw

SOPHIAZ

Anonymous said...

Michael Waltrip is hanging on for dear life. He has no firm driver lineup nor sponsor package for next year, yet he wants to act like Mr. Big Time car owner on INC. (Hey hot-shot, have you heard about the deal between JGR and Toyota? You're history.) Dave Despain is one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic race reporters I have ever seen, and to force him to put up with Mikey is a huge disservice to him. Mr. Mikey is worse than a standup comedian who is no longer relavant or funny.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Guys,

Let's stay on track here. No one is ripping this show, just posting one end of season column as the show ends its ten year run.

Please tell us what you like and dislike about the show, and why.

Everyone will have a different perspective, and that is why we call it an opinion.

If you disagree with me, or another comment, it does not make us wrong or right. Just make your point, state your case, and then let others comment on your views.

Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and comment.

silverdsl said...

The problem is that the change in format around when they replaced Alan Bestwick doesn't work. No matter who the drivers are on the panel the show is going to be stiffer and less fun - and to me less interesting - than it was in the past. The show was more fun when the drivers, whether it was the regular panel or their guests had the freedom to talk about whatever they wanted, whether it was the race or something else.

Michael may annoy a lot of people but for me he's the only reason I keep tuning in. He and Kenny are about the only things I still like about this show.

KoHoSo said...

INC is an example of a show that did not turn sour through a natural course of events. The second "anonymous" post covers that part of it extremely well, so I won't re-hash it along with the many other good points already made here.

But, I feel that there is one other factor not mentioned yet that really hurts INC, and that it is something that can never return. I recall several times where the panel was pretty critical of NASCAR about certain specific circumstances. Then, in subsequent shows, they would make it plain that Mr. Helton or some other big-wig in Daytona had chastised them for making NASCAR look bad.

The great thing about INC (mainly when it was IWC) was that it showed there was some fun, personality, and true self-deprecating humor about the whole NASCAR scene from people who were actually participating on the track. In these modern days where it seems that there is only a choice between bland salesmen or constantly ticked-off crybabies as potential panelists, I don't see how INC could ever again have a panel of drivers that would replicate the humor and, more importantly, the true honesty to make the show the "must see TV" for NASCAR viewers that it once was.

I mainly still tune in every week out of habit. And, to be honest, I normally record it on my DVR so I can whiz through the parts that are too painful to watch. There are still those flashes of fun between Mikey and Schrader, but they are few and far between.

It's sad to see what INC has become because it was such a unique show. And, there is no reason for it to have fallen the way that it has. But, what else should we expect? After all, this is the modern NA$CAR where, if it ain't broke, fix it anyway, and to heck with anyone's opinion who isn't an 18 to 35 year old male. >:(

And, as a final point, isn't it ironic that the most universally complimented NASCAR programming either here or on any related forum or blog features the two former INC "backup" panelists, Mr. Excitement and the Hermanator?

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see or hear Michael Waltrip, I want to change channels. It makes me sick to think that any part of the money I spend at NAPA stores might go to him. If he was gone, it might change the attitude of the remaining people on the show and improve their performance.

Veggie Girl said...

@anonymous 6:15--that was Chris Long. He messed up SO much stuff! When Jim was in charge he LISTENED to us and was making changes. He READ the posts on the forums and communicated with us. When Chris came in, we were basically told F You and we don't care what the fans think. So complain all you want, it's not going to anyone.

Anywho, I miss the "old school" IWC. I loved the variety of fill in hosts, the hot seat, and just the FUN the guys had. Schrader and Mikey ALWAYS poke fun at each other, but some have always misinterpreted it as "cruel" when it's all in fun. They still get jabs in (not just at each other, but others) and it often goes over people's heads.

I know Allen and Johnny B. were hurt when they were removed from the show. I wish I had kept that one, because there were a lot of jabs given to TPTB on that episode, but in viewing various forums most "missed" it. They didn't even have any time of "farewell" and it was sad.

I'll still watch it until the final nail goes in the coffin, but it's definitely missing a lot of the fun :(

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I haven't watched this show very often since Alan Bestwick was fired. To be honest, I always thought Dave was always too stiff and formal for a show like this. His mannerisms work well for him on Wind Tunnel, but not on INC. A huge part of the magic of the show was that Alan allowed the informality, and the discussions to progress and only reeled them back on topic when they were clearly not talking about anything racing related.

The drivers could use some new additions. I think Mikey could remain as Toyotas mouthpiece, Biffle for Ford, Kyle Petty for Dodge, and see if Mark Martin was available for Chevy. Petty and Martin are each as talkative as Mikey, so you'd at least know that the guys wouldn't run out of things to talk about.

Tom said...

I tune into INC each week to get a run down of the race and to see everything that ESPN missed. This week, the entire panel seemed to have their minds on something other than the race. The awkwardness gave me a feeling some of the panelists had just gotten done arguing and were doing their best to convey that they had not been arguing. There just seemed to be some tension on the set this week.

Did anyone notice that Mikey was sending text messages on his phone during the discussion of the race?

Anonymous said...

I noticed Michael on his cell phone too.

I like it when Casey Mears & Brian Vickers are on there. I also like Biffle on there too.

Kerry said...

I agree that INC has come to an unhappy end, it used to be my favorite racing show. But look at the alternatives, the current cast is still 100% better than any combination that ESPN could bring from it's gene pool.

Anonymous said...

I would likee to see Wendy V., or Tim Brewer as the host of Inside Nextel Cup, with three different drivers each week. This way the viewers get a fresh perspective of the series and what is going on.

Nascar Performance, Inside Nextel Cup, Victory Lane as a bunle on Mondays.

You get:

Larry Mac, Bootie & Chad; Wendy V. or Tim Brewer with three drivers; John Roberts, Kenny & Spence. This would be one hell of a line up.

Jeff said...

The problem is Dave Dispain, when you have a host who hates NASCAR and pretty much says so on that other piece of crap television show "Wind Bag" when he has guests such as Ed Hinton and Robin Miller who by the way also hate NASCAR it make the show unwatchable.

I remember the Alan, JB, Mikey and Schrader days when we laughed all thru the show. It was about racing oh and having fun too.

Michael Walrtip is so full of himself for being less then an also ran is pathetic at best, or worst. I agree if someone whould ask him who was resposable for the aviation fuel in his car at Daytona, His drunken sock walk home and his awful race team just one it make it almost interesting.

Schrader used to be funny and is now comes across like an old man who is mad at the world and we are all going to oay for it. Ken, you used to be fun to listen to..what happened?

Sure JB was boring but he knew what he was talking about and speaking of Johnny I thought he got Lasik on his eyes? what gives with the specs?

Alan Beswtick is a true professional in every way an knows the suobject at hand. ESPN is under utilizing him and SPEED F'ed him.

I would say bring Alan and Johnny back but it would never be the same so maybe we should just let the show go away and maybe Michael will shut up.

Hey, remember Mikey and Schrader's chair bit? or the Alan ahir jokes? Ah the classics.

Anonymous said...

I like many others liked it better when Alan was the host. It was like getting together the day after the race with a bunch of freinds and talking about the race. Once Desdain came on it became just another highlight show. And there are enough of those that it can't compete. Take Mikey off and put Kyle Petty on and change hosts and let the boys be boys.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Beswick very much and to my suprise Despain toned down the "windbag factor" does a credible job. Waltrip is salvagable but his self serving antics are way-past getting old and do nothing but disrupt the program. Biffle is good. He provides timely insight and the ability to analysis a incident without injecting prejudice Schrader is great. He'll assign blame if it is due. He displays a rare gift for under the radar humor. He respects his competitors (most all call him friend. Btw Johnny Benson is a class act and his presence on the program is sorely missed.
Don't burn down the house just cuz you don't like the paint job!
will/okc

Anonymous said...

Remember ,
sponsors run the deal , Mikeys sponsors spend big money !!!!!
I also think the show is done but for different reasons

Anonymous said...

Just to say--I like Dave Despain--on Wind Tunnel, not on this show. I think it suits his personality and shows off his well-rounded knowledge about *racing*, not just the limited scope of NASCAR. On INC he just doesn't fit. But he (and WT) doesn't deserve Michael's snide remarks, which were in full force last night. WT is a good show.

I was not a Biffle fan but his knowledge impresses me...a few weeks ago he was the only one who knew why they don't run in the rain (it's not about the tires, it was the lack of a defroster). And Michael's bit a few weeks ago about the 'Seven dirty words' was completely wrong--ESPN is a cable network, not a broadcast network and they don't have the same rules--any punishment doled out by NASCAR is for their own reasons. Just like last night about the brakes heating up, Michael acts like the be all and end all expert when he isn't. I am not a Mikey hater, I used to think he was entertaining and funny. But lately he's just been completely overbearing on any show he's on. I have to agree with those who complained about Vickers--I like him personally, but he speaks in a monotone, sometimes states the profoundly obvious and isn't assertive enough to get heard over Mike.

The first time I saw this show I was amazed at how poor the production value was--the set looked like it cost a buck ninety eight and they sounded like they were in a tin can. But oh, how I miss those days now.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I also miss Alan ///////bestwick on this show. I do think Kenny is a little peeved over his being removed from his ride. But I do like the show better then the crap that ESPN is putting out there at least these people know about Nascar, that Susie girl that is doing the races really sucks. My husband was watching football yesterday and I was in the other room and heard her voice on the tv, she needs to stick with something other then racing. But that is the way most of ESpn is , I like anything more on speed then there. Hate to see the show go away. It's the only Nascar thing to watch on MOndays now.

Anonymous said...

Schrader hasn't changed his humor... Or his ability to be relevant. What has changed is Despain for Bestwick. Mikey has always been a mess. On occasion Ken gets a little pizzed that he can't finish a thought before MW is taking off into Never Neverland with his own thoughts.
There isn't time to start over so we lose out on the funny side of what Ken had as a closer. Put Kenny with Biffle and someone else and his funny side would shine again. Biffle has the dry humor too. And bring back JS and Herman. When you get to the party you want to be around some people having fun.

Joe from Philly said...

I've said it before but I think it's unfair to lay this on Despain. I've never been a big fan of Bestwick's so I realize I can't "feel your pain" but I grow tired of the "Despain hates Nascar" crap.

Robin Miller? Absolutely!

Ed Hinton? Nah. He isn't a 'hater'. He's just easily aggravated ;-)

I think Despain does a good job of both playing devil's advocate at times and impartial host at other times. He doesn't tote the company line so he's labeled a 'hater'. I can't understand that line of thinking.

It's not as if he's coming out and saying "nascar blows" (Miller would though). Questioning Nascar doesn't make him a 'hater'. And by the way, he doesn't do that on INC. Which makes these comments more unfair. He tends to play referee on INC and THAT, in my opinion, might be the biggest problem with the show. The fact that the producers feel they need a referee.

Richard in N.C. said...

INSIDE NEXTEL CUP is nowhere near what it was before the "new" SPEED crew messed with it - BUT it is still far superior to NASCAR NOW with Erik K. When Alan B. was the host I used to tape the show in case I was not able to watch - now if I miss it, I feel no big loss. I do feel Dave D. & Mikey are being too harshly criticized by many. Dave does a credible job, but he is not as good as Alan was- in part because he was not at the race like Alan was. Also I feel it is clear that Mikey's team problems affect his mood. Some of the program reflects toned down locker-room type humor that seems to be misinterpreted. I still find the show moderately entertaining when Ken S. is there. INC is still the best show on TV about racing Monday thru Thursday - except when Alan B or Ryan Burr host N-NOW.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Bestwick and Waltrip would be back to his reasonable form as well.

And Schrader was self-deprecatingly funny until he was dumped from his Cup ride. Now h'es bitter.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stricklinfan82 said...

I still enjoy the show. Michael Waltrip does talk a lot and constantly interrupts everyone else on the panel but other than that I don't have any problems with the show. Hopefully Greg Biffle will get comfortable enough to jump into the converstation more often and not let Michael constantly talk over him. Brian Vickers was virtually silent the first half of last year and then towards the end jumped in more and wasn't afraid to speak up.

I think Dave Despain does a good job as the host. As much as I love Allen Bestwick as a play-by-play announcer, he was never able to keep control of Michael Waltrip and keep the show moving. At least with Despain the show does move along at a reasonable pace.

Anonymous said...

The show worked a lot better when Alan Bestwick had a hold of the reins. Michael is so angry and always feels the need to bash other drivers. I do not feel that it is right for him to be able to do this on his soapbox when the drivers in question do not have a chance to comment back on his distasteful and rude comments. Ken S. is getting to be just like him too. I personally like Greg and think that he does a great job. I think that it would be a better show if they had someone like Bootie Barker,who could accurately give the tech side of things. My main complaint is with Waltrip and his strange humor. He is not entertaining, just plain odd.

cwebs said...

I actually thought the show had leveled out and was reasonably good over the last few weeks. This week, however, things took a major turn for the worse. The most uncomfortable moment came when MW was teasing GB about his hair, and DD just got fed up and cut MW off by bellowing "not tonight"!

I do agree that the show needs a new host (one that's more excited about stock car racing), and some different drivers as well. I think some of the more knowledgeable drivers could do a good job on the show. Some people have mentioned Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, JJ Yeley, and Elliot Sadler. I think any of those guys would be great. It’s always interesting to hear an inside perspective from people who were actually in the race and know what they are talking about. Greg Biffle explaining the brake disc warping issue last night was a perfect example. We need more of that, and less of MW saying things that reveal his lack of knowledge. I’m far from an expert on NASCAR, but I sometimes think that even I might know more about the sport than MW! It’s not so much the antics of MW that bother me, but the fact that he often doesn’t seem to know what the heck he’s talking about!

I think the format itself is still relevant. Even though we’ve already seen the race highlights repeatedly over the weekend, it’s still informative to hear drivers commenting on them (as opposed to inane, snarky highlight show hosts). I think a show like this can still succeed. It just needs to have the right people involved, both on- and off-camera…

cwebs

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Everybody,

Thanks for your outstanding comments about INC this season.

Your opinions have been read by the staff that produces the show as well as the senior execs in charge at SPEED.

In response to their emails to me, I have asked them to tell me what will happen to this program next season when the decision is made.

When I get a response, I will update you all in a column on the site. If most of you knew who was in here today, and left me a nice email about your comments, you would just flat flip-out.

Trust me, the big boys are listening. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I've watched the show how ever many years it has been on. My husband and I still enjoy it, but it is not the show it used to be. I missed Alan Bestwick forever, but I have finally accepted Dave. Mikey appears to be more manic than he was at one time, but he is fun when turned down a notch. I still miss Johnny who was not only very knowledgeable but also had a wonderful dry sense of humor.
Driver's lives have changed a bunch since the show came into being, and I doubt that drivers are easy to come by now. My husband does not like Vickers, but both of us like Biffle.
Something was wrong with the show Monday night - I can't quite figure out what.
Regarding Johnny and the specs, he says that the eye fix "deteriorated." My opinion is that he did not drive as well after the surgery, particularly at night. Also, he suddenly started winning again when he put the specs back on.

SophiaZ123 said...

Thanks for the update John.

I just want to add my further two pennies. Frankly, rotating hosts would NOT work as it was the ORIGINAL CHEMISTRY that made this show FUN to watch.

I STILL say bring back Johnny B and make Kenny Schrader show up more often. When KS is not there, it's hard for me to sit thru.

I LIKE and ENJOY Mikey but the boy does need a muzzle at times and a rolled up newspaper. Otherwise, I think the kibbitzing between he and Kenny made the show...I hate the crosstalk though as things are lost.

I still like DD I don't care what anybody says...he has a dry wit and I like him just fine. However, AB would be welcome back, too.

Sometimes, you can go home again, when the home was ship wrecked by some twit who totally messed up the station and then went elsewhere.

Go Johnny Be, Go Kenny and Go Mikey.

If they can make me laugh, it's ALL good therapy and just lighten up folks.

We can NOT CHOOSE to watch an alternative NASCAR RACE but we can choose not to watch INC.

Although, the way ESPN is going, I may just switch to "LISTENING" to MRN.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

The rules for posting comments are on the right side of the main page. Please address the issue in the column, and give your opinion of the topic we are discussing.

Anonymous said...

I finally got to watch the show tonight (Tuesday) from my TiVo, and I guess I was paying too much attention to reading these comments and not enough to the show, because I didnt see as much negativity on the show as you guys saw. It looked like the same old INC that I've always enjoyed. It is fun though to read your comments first and then watch the show so I can pick them out and understand what you are saying. My favorite moment was when they used my question on the air about who gets the 5 bonus points if more than one driver leads the most laps. That was after the Watkins Glen race.
Kevin in SoCal

Anonymous said...

People need to chill out, they take this show too seriously, Mikey teases everyone, Biffle can handle him, its supposed to be funny and also offer information, which it does. My husband and I love the show. Dave at times seems alittle stiff and gets really upset if anyone gets off track, Alan Bestwick was good, if you don't have some humor in the show it would be boring, people take life too seriously, this show is a welcome distraction from a long day at work.

Anonymous said...

We need more of that, and less of MW saying things that reveal his lack of knowledge. I’m far from an expert on NASCAR, but I sometimes think that even I might know more about the sport than MW!

He's been racing since 1981, in Cup since 1985. I don't have a problem with his level of expertise.

Anonymous said...

I think the Alen Bestwick days were much better than Deadspins shows But let's bring back the days when it was on TNN and Eli Gold was the host. Now those were real golden days.

Anonymous said...

It cracks me up that all you think you know more about NASCAR racing than a guy that has been racing for 30 years, and owns 3 teams. And how can you say the guy is egotistical? Have you ever met him? Do you know him personally? Please.

The bottom line is that the show is supposed to (as Mike says) "give you information you can't get anywhere else". If you want technical jargon, go somewhere else! If you want humorous stories about what happened during the race, then keep watching.

But for God's sake, stop acting like you know these guys. They are personalities

SlithyBill said...

I faithfully watch INC every week. Finally watched Monday's show this morning on the DVR. Something did seem to be bothering Mike and Kenny, but their interaction still got me laughing. This show is definitely not as much fun consistently as it used to be. I think the decline started when JB lost his ride.

Only thing that will restore it will be when both Mike and Kenny are racing regularly again. The third host should rotate, kind of a show-long "hot seat". With Mike recently (and repeatedly) professing his love for Jeff Gordon, maybe he'd fill in once.

This is the show that got me back to loving NASCAR again in the late 90's. I stumbled upon it one Monday night early in the season and loved the humor. After a few weeks I started watching the races again so I would know what Mikey, Kenny, JB and Alan were talking about (and hinting at between the lines). It's been too many years since they've been called to the mat by NASCAR for something they said on this show.

Here's a show I'd want to watch weekly: an hour-long round table discussion between Michael Waltrip, Terry Bradshaw and Charles Barkley. Hosted by Tom Arnold (or even Bob Costas). Heck, why not Kenny Wallace? Give them a couple of topics and then just see where they go with it. It probably wouldn't work on Speed. But it might make some people who comment here happy if it meant Waltrip could no longer do INC. But not me, Waltrip and Schrader are the reasons I watch INC.

Anonymous said...

I cant say I know more than Michael Waltrip, but I would say most of us with racing experience knew the racecars use a Ford 9" rear end. Its the strongest thing out there. Even the NHRA cars use the Ford rear end.
Kevin in SoCal

Cathy said...

I personally still enjoy the show very much. Despain has loosened up quite a bit from when he first joined the panel and seems to enjoy the antics of Michael and Kenny. As far as the show without Michael and Kenny......I couldn't even imagine it as it is the humor between those two that is the shining point of INC. It's so refreshing to see two good friends like them enjoying their sport and poking fun at each other. Kenny cynical???? I sure don't see it. Greg has been an excellent addition to the panel - informational but still with a sense of humor as well. I look forward to that show every week and most certainly would not want to see it changed or dropped! I hope to be able to watch this program for many years to come but definitely would not watch it if Michael were not on the panel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:48

Waltrip said he didn't know cars didn't have to use Ford 9" - obviously because every car uses them and have forever he just assumed it was part of the rules.

Mike Waltrip is awesome. It would be a shame if he wasn't on the show.

I know they usually tape on Monday morning but obviously this week they were all in Talledega. Has anybody considered they may have been a bit short and/or testy (and potentially quite occupied) because they were filming Sunday?

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Mikey was text messaging because he was in the process of getting 6 cars tested in Talledega the next day.

Joe from Philly said...

I'm seeing a recurring theme here. Most of us just miss the FUN! That's what this show used to be about!

Maybe the simple way to fix this show is by SPEED coming up with an additional show!

I say, rather than let this show sit out on an island on Mondays, do what John has suggested in the past and have an hour weekend recap show as a nice lead-in to this show.

Then these guys can focus more on giving opinions of some of the events rather than having to make sure they "cover" everything. These guys are at their best and funniest when talking about something that went on in the race.

If they got away from showing the finishing order and standings, they'd free up a whole segment for either a guest or just more nonsense....

just a thought

AndyPandy said...

To joe from philly's comment from yesterday - before Despain got this gig, I saw Robin Miller on Wind Tunnel with him too many times blasting NASCAR. It wasn't just Miller talking down stock cars - it was a two-way open wheel love fest, with Dave holding his own with the negative NASCAR statements.

After witnessing that and his open affection for motorcycle racing, I can't accept his inputs on INC as anything but a SPEED employee doing what it takes to host a show and make another buck. I want to see someone who hasn't openly expressed his disdain (Despain disdain?) for stock cars host a show about Nextel Cup racing.

darbar said...

Michael thinks that because he's a car owner and a go or go home driver, he knows all the answers. There are times when I get a big chuckle out of their "mine is bigger" discussions, but their treatment of Biffle is way out of line. For my money, I love Tradin' Paint. It's one show that doesn't seem to have a problem taking on the controversial issues. And even though I don't always agree with Kyle, I can respect his opinions because they are presented with backup as to why he feels the way he does. My only problem with Kyle is that as the weeks have gone on, he does tend to bloviate a little too much and he cuts off the weekly guest's comments more and more.

What I would like to see on that show, or any Nascar show, is some kind of fan guest--and not the kind of fan that ABC seems enamored with at the start of their Nascar in Primetime show---there has to be at least a few Nascar fans who can put together a coherent sentence without sounding like a third grade dropout. I would love to see at least ONE show that gives the fan perspective of Nascar. Now that would be interesting for ESPN to do. Maybe call it "A View From The Cheap Seats". At least if it were fans talking, they wouldn't have the sword of the Nascar powers-that-be hanging over their heads, and the fan could say what's truly on the minds of all fans, without worrying they're going to upset sponsors/owners/Helton.

cwebs said...

Speaking of Tradin' Paint and Kyle Petty, he really ran roughshod over that female reporter that was the guest on the show this past weekend.

The way he was treating her, I thought maybe she was Bob Pockrass' mom or something!

darbar said...

cwebs, I so glad you posted that. I thought I was the only one who had that same feeling. But, he also ran roughshod over Bob Dillner. He never let Bob finish a thought or sentence. Like I said, Kyle is getting a little too "big headed" with his starring role on this show, but I still like it

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but this show "as is" is irrelevant. Mikey does not race most weekends. Ken has not raced in weeks. Biffle is shouted down by the clown boy Mikey. Despain is ignored.

Get rid of Mikey. He is useless in his current role. All he can currently do is spout venom at the drivers he is jealous of, you know the guys who race every week, and try to shill his sponsors.

I hate to say this, but Schrader needs to go too. Unless he is picked up by an owner where he has a regular ride in Cup he should not be on the show.

When Biffle can get a word in, he adds to the discourse. Carl Edwards would be a good addition. Kyle Petty brings experience and knowledge, he would be good. Rotating the last seat would give us a show worth watching.

The best part of Monday's show was the part where Biffle revealed he is on a bank's board of directors, Mikey responded that he is not smart enough to be on a board of directors, and Kenny responded that Mikey's name came up a lot before the banks board of directors.

Other than that, Mikey tried to run over all of the relevant info that Biffle tried to give us, and Dave let him.

And I can't stand Biffle.

Mike

Anonymous said...

INC without Michael and/or Kenny?...No way!!!They are the reason I watch every Monday night...to see the interaction between these 2 old friends...who know each other so well they can step on each other's comments.
Something off with the guys during the last show??...Ever think maybe they got wind of the "rumor" that they and/or the show might be gone real soon?That would upset anyone who cared about what they do...let alone the guys,themselves.
I didn't care for Dave Despain in the beginning, but I am getting kind of used to his manner of hosting INC...and I like the addition of Greg Biffle...he is coming out of his shell more and more and can hold his own with 2 rather dominant personalities(MW and KS).
If people can put up with Jimmy Spencer's mouth and "opinions" on "RaceDay", then they shouldn't have much problem with Michael. MW doesn't take his TV personna as seriously as JS does his.
I don't like the show's present format...too many statistics and too much attention to the top 10 point getters. I preferred the old show's format, during the Bestwick days.
Get rid of INC?..or Michael?..or Kenny?..or Greg?.....NO way...get rid of the present producers and go back to the old format...and the show will be fine...as long as Michael and Kenny are still there...Remove those 2...and I quit watching Speed on Mondays.

Anonymous said...

Amy said...

I think that INC is a great show. Sure, the fun does seem to be toned down since Dave Despain came in but it must be working or else Aaron's would not have used DD, KS, and MW for one it's commercials. I think that if the show is cancelled then shame on SPEED for doing so. Yes, we can get hightlights on other shows, but can we get a show where you get the feeling that the drivers are able to discuss it in their own way and feelings.?. In my opinion, No.

I also think that if anyone had to go through what Mikey has had to go through that most people would crush under the pressure. I also think that the TV show(s) that Mikey does are a moments respite for him. Mikey is truly an asset to the show. Mikey has also said that after the way his season and year has gone that he has found out who his true friends in the garage are. Maybe some of the drivers that are on the show have behind the scenes cut him down and he is having a problem with them.

Kenny is also an asset to the show. He has a pure love of racing of any kind and that shows. The chemistry between he and Mikey is priceless.

The other driver could be a rotating one to give the show a fresh perspective. Biffle is okay.

Keep Mikey and Kenny and keep the show.

Maybe the show could be done in front of a live audience and that would change it some. I love the banter that happens often. I definitely try to watch it every Monday. I do miss the Nascar themed shows that used to surround it also. I don't watch Speed unless it is airing something Nascar related. The other shows that are promoting sexy women and scantily clad women like NOPI Tunervision and that other show that is being advertised by the scantily clad woman is revolting to me. I am a woman and think that that degrades women to the point of being a piece of property to be used and then tossed aside with no thought to their personhood.

PLEASE KEEP MIKEY AND KENNY AND INC. I only watch if I know that Mikey is on.

The above is my humble opinion.

Thank you for giving me a place to air my thoughts and opinions.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys, There are not enough NASCAR shows on the air as it is (ESPN's daily trash not included). Careful what you wish for....