Monday, October 8, 2007

"Inside NEXTEL Cup" Has A Heartbeat After All


The boys were back in town for SPEED as Inside NEXTEL Cup took to the air on Monday night. Host Dave Despain looked across the panel and found his original 2007 line-up of Kenny Schrader, Michael Waltrip, and Greg Biffle.

Last week, after one of the INC panelists finally won a race, he did not appear on the show. Greg Biffle had a family function to attend, and he flew to the west coast. In the same vein, Schrader was involved in a controversial wreck, and was not on the show due to previous obligations. So, this week the panel was back at full strength.

The obvious theme of this show was that all three panelists had raced, and crashed, at Talladega. Both Schrader and Waltrip were victims of tire failure, and Biffle was involved in a crash. Dave Despain was happy to let the guys talk, and this is the magic of this show.

Biffle was clearly going to be in for some good-natured ribbing about his conflicting statements on the final lap at Kansas. Needless to say, this came up very quickly with Waltrip asking "are you still sticking to that story?" Biffle was tongue-tied, but managed to point the finger at NASCAR, who Biffle said inspected the car and found fuel. Waltrip and Schrader were absolutely not buying it.

Once the race highlights began, the panel had a tough time explaining the Talladega happenings because everything was brand new. The first COT event, the first time for drafting in that car, and the first time for creating a new dynamic for staying safe. It seems that a lot of different race philosophies were being used with varied degrees of success. Waltrip's point was that he had to run up front or the fans would think he had another bad car.

Rarely has SPEED ventured out and taken a poke at the ESPN on ABC gang, but in this show the poking was aimed at Rusty Wallace and his brand new "Draft Lock." Completely tongue-in-cheek, Despain said he had not heard that term before. Unfortunately, it appeared that none of the panelists had watched the ABC telecast, and Despain's attempt at humor fell flat.

The DEI/RCR engine woes were up next, but the panel never discussed the issue. Despain alluded to the fact that Rick Hendrick had referenced another RCR multiple engine failure on the Victory Lane show, but the panel never helped viewers to understand what had actually happened. Light oil, bad parts, and high RPM's had all been suggested in the media. Despain needed to pin this down, but he chose to move along to keep things on time.

Ryan Newman running over Dale Earnhardt Junior's jack in the pits as a result of an inattentive crew member got the panel going. After all the tension of the weekend, once again the laughter was loud and the one-liners were flying on the show. Brian Vickers was once again used as a source of humor for his earlier comments on the program.

The panel's review of "the big one" was brief, and that was due in-part to the fact that no one really understood what happened to Bobby Labonte's car to start the wreck. Schrader's tire failure was next, and it was clear that he was upset to drop out of the top thirty-five in points.

Petty's accident triggered a good discussion about safety and the COT. Schrader was up-front about his belief that we had not seen the COT really put to a bad high-speed accident yet. Biffle made the good point that the trunk lid of the COT was actually opened and torn-off by the force of sliding backward.

Michael Waltrip's accident review resulted in a good explanation of the strength of the COT cars, and continued the issue of why so many tires were going flat on a track that is usually cleaned very well after a caution period. No one had an answer, which was one theme of this show about the COT on a superspeedway.

The last lap move of Gordon was celebrated, but the overall boring racing with no passing was avoided like the plague. The review of the final results was interesting, and always yields facts and opinions not heard on other racing TV programs. Its clear that this panel has a lot of information that Despain just does not have the "NASCAR chops" to bring out.

The embarrassing qualifying session at Talladega was disputed by Waltrip. He stuck by his contention that he had "changed nothing" on his car. The panel was split about the qualifying vs. race trim issue, and the impound procedure. Waltrip did back-up his statement by spending a lot of time at the front of the pack, further adding to the new COT legacy.

Finally, Greg Biffle had been trying to keep something under-the-radar, but Despain and Schrader would not allow it. Pushed as to why he would be absent from the show next week, Biffle shyly admitted that he would be getting married. Asked Schrader "were you not going to bring it up?"

Longtime fans of the show were all too happy to watch the final segment collapse into chaos as it so often had before. Schrader was harassing Biffle, Mikey was trying for sponsor plugs, and Despain was trying to wrap things up. Now, this was a lot more like the INC we know and love. Maybe this series has a heartbeat for a 2008 season after all.

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.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked this show, it was both funny and informative. I'm like schrader and and Mikey, I don't believe biffel about the feul.

What about the news on rockingham I didn't know it had been sold. You think they'll fix it up and we'll have two NC races in a nascar series preety soon, I hope so.
Your're right the end of the show was classic INC.

SophiaZ123 said...

LOVED tonights show!! I loved the opening tease and the show just seemed good from the get go. I ain't buying Sniffles story either...that boy is a terrible liar! Ha.

The story about crew guys standing around or sweeping in pit road. . .

Mikey almost spoiling the "surprise" party for Biffel's brother in Washington state last week. . .

I wonder if Despain would've brought up Rusty's name even if he DID know? When somebody brought up ESPN in an email read on Wind Tunnel, Dave just said something about the racing partners or something like that, in RESPONSE and did not use those 4 letters again. Have we ever heard ESPN on any other SPEED show?

Anyway, tonight was fun. I hope they bring Vickers next week and replay the guy in Jr's pit box..."now that guy deserves to get run over" LMAO. Mikey had fun with that quote from V. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great line about qualifying looking the B-Main line up;) Schrader deadpans "not funny." Everyone is back in fine form...

mant2003 said...

I thought the show was good but not their best. I love the fact that Biffel is really sticking to his guns about the fuel. Yea let nascar take the heat. What was the whole Elliot Saddler thing about with Michael? Did I miss something? Does Saddler really think Michael wrecked him on purpose?

Anonymous said...

Dave said "Draft Lock".... and someone here said Dave does not watch the broadcast.

BA said...

Very good show. Dave was surprised he had to go to a commercial shows he was having a good time.
Mikey saying Biff's car was ugly and Biff's expression. Classic.

SophiaZ123 said...

I forgot about Mikey saying Bif's car was ugly, LMAO!

Greg's expression was PRICELESS.

:-)

Anonymous said...

The Draft Lock bit was mentioned a lot in the race thread over on the Speedtv.com boards ...

Elliott Sadler said during his post-wreck interview with Glen Jarrett ... "I don't want to talk bad about your brother's (DJ) employer, but he (Mikey) was driving like an idiot ..." ... Elliott did not know at the time that Mikey had gotten a flat tire ... But if you watched Mikey closely enough, you would've seen him taking things 3-4 wide at times as well as cutting in & out and chopping people off ... All of which could've caused a lot of problems ... Right before Jr blew up, Mikey was taking it 4-wide ...

Depsain did say that Vickers would be in next week for Biffle who's finally gonna make a honest woman out of Nicole ...

Biffle & the fuel/being on the apron -- The pick-up in the fuel tank is on the right side of the car ... When the cars are running at race speed on a track with banking, the centrifugal force pushes the gas up to the right side to the fuel pick-up ... Driving on the apron gets the fuel to the pick-up when you're low on fuel ...

Another case of MRN filling in the blanks that the boys on INC miss ...

Bill H said...

There were a number of one-liners on INC that made me laugh, Despain's "First Draft Lock, now Frogger" in response to Mikey saying the racing was like the video game Frogger and then explaining the moving around with his hands and making video game sounds. The panel discussing Jeff's win and when Despain was wraping it up Mikey said "That kids gonna be great someday" talking about Jeff Gordon. Overall an interesting show. Also Mikey calling Biffles car ugly, and Greg agreed with him.

I didn't know that Biffle has never finished a Dega race, you think that would be one of the those things they would mention in the race. It's not like Biffle is field filler.

BillWebz

Anonymous said...

The fun was back!

Biffle was on the hot seat.

All three guys ran.

Mikey didn't have to be embarrassed about not making the race.

Enjoyable show.

Anonymous said...

Great show, very light-hearted, funny and factual. Biffle is clicking with the group and can handle the other two. Loved the clips of the race, and the pit stops. All the guys on the panel have chosen very stressful careers, granted they make good money, but to be able to laugh at yourself is priceless.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that I did not like was the typical "toeing the line" from Waltrip, as he said that the race was exciting,that there was nothing wrong with the pack falling into line in the back, and Jeff and Jimmie hanging around in the back for 490 laps was great. Every post and/or article on the web related to the race and/or broadcast stated that it was boring.Even the drivers, including(gasp!) Dale Jr. said it was boring. Ryan Newman said he drove for 15 laps with one hand, Jeff Gordon said he yawned in the race car, and that he never did that before. What race was Mikey in? It's true that if Despain lets the panel talk and be themselves, (or is it the producer?),then the show actually shines. It also helps when the entire panel is in the race. I still like the idea of having a guest on "the hot seat" each week. If they brought that back, and actually had top drivers,i.e. Gordon, Johnson, Earnhardt,Stewart,etc., then the panel could take the show to the next level. Can you imagine Shrader grilling Stewart about his temper? And you know he would.That would be priceless......

Anonymous said...

Not "every" post said it was boring, and in fact, I thought it ws very interesting to watch the packs shift around.

Boring for drivers does not equal boring for viewers.

Why do people get so upset when a driver agrees with NASCAR?

Anonymous said...

You think they'll fix it up and we'll have two NC races in a nascar series preety soon, I hope so.

No chance.

Racing, yes.

NASCAR Cup races (or even Nationwide or Truck), no way.

Anonymous said...

Thought it was funny that Mikey said he thought all races were exciting. Was kissing NASCAR's a$$ part of his penalities? Glad he finally saved up enough money to buy socks. What is the latest on Mikey and Ty's investigation into who caused the problem in Daytona?

Bobb said...

blog said:
Rarely has SPEED ventured out and taken a poke at the ESPN on ABC gang, but in this show the poking was aimed at Rusty Wallace and his brand new "Draft Lock." Completely tongue-in-cheek, Despain said he had not heard that term before. Unfortunately, it appeared that none of the panelists had watched the ABC telecast, and Despain's attempt at humor fell flat.

I disagree - I was laughing by butt off - it was an obvious dead-pan line that may have been rehearsed. Despain asking if anyone ever heard of draft lock and all three almost in unison shaking their heads and saying not me - uh-uh - No. Sorry John you didn't get it. Then later with the frogger draft-lock reference. That sealed it. It was pre-planned. The best jokes are the least obvious.

Anonymous said...

What is the latest on Mikey and Ty's investigation into who caused the problem in Daytona?


If you actually cared, you'd know he said they'd fired several people they found responsible.

But you don't care, you're just try to be a jerk.

And it's working. You are.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "Draft Lock". Mikey slipped in something like "tell me who said it and I'll tell you"...(couldn't hear the rest). I think no one wanted to blast Rusty by name. Also, no mention of Mikey giving COT a "10", which most would conclude was him kissing up t0 NASCAR. However, Biff said if they fix the problem seeing out the front window he would give it a "12". (Jeff G on WT also was very positive about it, saying NASCAR was conservative, which probably was a good thing and next time should be back to 3 wide racing). Oh, last thing about boring. I watched the race live for the first time in years (Tivo) because we got an HD TV...hated the commercials, but I liked the race, because I like all the strategy. In the end, every race, no matter the track has it's "boring" time.

Joe from Philly said...

Yup. GREAT show! It seems like they're going out of their way to be loose. And yet they're actually being loose while trying! ;-)


Keep it up boys! I'm back in the groove and WANT to watch this show again!

GinaV24 said...

I watched the show for the first time in a long time based on last 2 week's columns saying things were looking up. I enjoyed the show so if they can keep up this level of fun -- even though they did avoid all controversy as always and Mikey's constant sucking up to NASCAR is still irritating, at least it was better fun than it has been. Good job!

Anonymous said...

I loved it when the Bif even agreed that his car was ugly. I had to laugh when MW said the single file racing at Tally was exciting, he really does kiss Nascars butt. Go snoogs!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't watch the show last night but I'm glad to read that things are back to normal on INC. The wisecracks and silliness are mainly why I've watched the show in the past. It's the one gauranteed thing that I know will make me laugh a lot after coming home from work on Monday.

Providing it stays the same, I'll make it a habit to watch it for the rest of the season.

Deborah said...

It's kind of humorous to me that some are criticizing Michael for saying that the racing at Talladega wasn't boring - didn't anyone notice how Michael was racing up front for a large part of this race and even led a number of laps? Of course that's not going to be boring for him considering the way the rest of his season has gone! But in general, I think that the drivers have a very different perspective on the racing than fans do at home. Those of us who watch at home only see what the TV broadcast chooses to show us, which may not paint a complete picture of what's going on in each race for every team and driver.

Also, what if Michael genuinely agrees with the decisions that Nascar makes? Is he supposed to not say what he thinks because it's not what the fans want to hear? Sometimes it seems as if some fans are only open to hearing anti-Nascar opinions that they agree with but the reality is that it's possible for there to be pro-Nascar opinions that are valid too. I want to hear opinions and view points from all sides whether I agree with that opinion or not. Beyond that Michael has been known to question Nascar such as on last week's INC in relation to the way things unfolded at the end of the race, and on his XM show in relation to the way Nascar handled things when Carl Edwards car was found to be too low.

As for last night's show, I thought it was one of the best ones all season. There was a lot of joking around and good discussion - more more interesting and entertaining than it's been for a while. The look on Greg's face when they were talking about the ugliness of his car was hysterical!

JHD said...

Deborah, at least for me, the problem with Michael's constant NASCAR cheerleading has to do with the fact that no matter how outrageous, inconsistent or just downright weird the decision is, Michael will agree and say it's great for the sport. Even when it directly contradicts something he agreed with the previous week.

I understand wanting to be supportive of the sport that provides your paycheck, but sometimes he goes overboard, and I think that's what irritates people more than anything.

Anonymous said...

I wish the show would go back to its original lineup. I don't care for Dave, I liked Allen Bestwick better as the host (I really liked Johnny Benson but I understand letting him go because he is not racing Cup at the moment.) Love Mikey and Kenny. they are great!

Anonymous said...

the problem with Michael's constant NASCAR cheerleading has to do with the fact that no matter how outrageous, inconsistent or just downright weird the decision is, Michael will agree and say it's great for the sport.

But he doesn't do it constantly. He does speak critically about NASCAR.

Lisa Hogan said...

Deborah-
Well said.

Anonymous said...

I thought the "draft lock" thing was perfect whether it was rehearsed or not. Rusty (or ESPN) was trying to sell the lock as some kind of commonly used term and it was clear none of the drivers had ever heard it before.

Kathy said...

I look forward to this show every week...it's like sitting with the guys after the race and seeing it from their perspective without all the hype of the post-race interviews. I love their "inside" jokes...keep them coming.

Rusty Wallace is probably a fine guy, but I get really tired of hearing his overuse of terms like "aero-loose" and his new "draft-lock"! And the comment at the beginning of the race that the go or go homers at the front were "inexperienced" and likely to cause a pile up that could take out some of the 35 cars behind them was just plain uninformed...Mikey, Dale, and Joe are "inexperienced"...give me a break.

Those chasers are not going to admit they had to work during the race...they'd rather pretend that it was oh-so-boring and they could drive with one hand on the wheel because they are so "cool"...sorry, I don't believe it.

Busch Series Fan! said...

The one thing I noticed about last night's show was that the group seemed to talk over each other and it was hard to understand them.

Anonymous said...

cant stand waltrip

sean424 said...

I'm really not so sure Despain was actually poking fun at the draft lock thing as much as he didn't really understand it, nor have any idea what it was about. He is absolutely the wrong host for this show... I wish they'd get someone who actually cares about/enjoys/follows NASCAR. He just comes off as being completely ignorant the majority of the time.

Daly Planet Editor said...

sean,

I agree with you. I don't think they are slick enough to deal with group jokes and Despain is not into the NASCAR scene. In much the same way that Suzy Kolber was placed on NASCAR Countdown, Despain was placed on INC.

AndyPandy said...

If I were the King of the World, IndyCar and Champ Car would finally get back together, and Despain and his buddy Robin Miller would have IOW (Inside Open Wheel) on SPEED, leaving INC and all other NASCAR shows for NASCAR professionals.

ESPN and NASCAR would negotiate an end to their contract and the Worldwide Leader would cover high-tech Indy racing with their high-tech broadcasting gimmickry.

Truck and Nationwide series races and all series qualifying and practices would be shown on SPEED. FOX would split the Sprint Cup races with the CW (an over-the air network with no conflicting NFL contract). The FOX announcers would cover the whole season with occasional fill-ins (Bestwick, Petty, Dale Jarrett, Wally) to give Mike, Larry and Darrell a break for a couple a races each.

And Wendy would have her own show on SPEED. It's good to be the King.

Daly Planet Editor said...

andy,

Great post...I am still laughing. All hail the king.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is...Finally they are beginning to loosen up again. I have hated that the producers tried to change INC to be more of the same annoying life and death drama, stick and ball schtick that other sports commentary shows shove down your throat. Somehow I guess they felt that this would legitimize racing as a main stream sport. But who for, the stick and ball media?

More than once I this year I have thought "thank god for Schrader, at least he still remembers that its racing stupid, its supposed to be fun". Hope the boys can keep it going, and bring the show all the way back to its former self, a light hearted look at a sport we love.

Now if they'd only bring back the hot seat...