Monday, October 8, 2007

Petty And Fryer Square-Off On "Tradin' Paint"

In an attempt to get this show back on track after two weeks of cream puff NASCAR owner "interviews," Tradin' Paint on SPEED welcomed AP reporter Jenna Fryer alongside host John Roberts and resident analyst Kyle Petty.

One of the first sentences out of Fryer's mouth was "when does Jenna get to talk?" This set the tone for the rest of the program, and focused once again on Kyle Petty's growing anger with the mainstream NASCAR print and Internet media.

Petty responded "with the stuff you write, go ahead and talk." What he was saying very clearly is that he believes many of the NASCAR media stories are simply made-up. He has said before many times on this show "I don't know where you guys get this stuff."

The topic of discussion was Kansas, and who won the NEXTEL Cup race. Petty had already explained the NASCAR line, and Fryer was trying compare NASCAR's Montreal ruling about Robby Gordon to the "non-ruling" of Greg Biffle. She started by saying she personally was in Montreal for the race. Petty broke-in with his temper already getting hot.

"Then you have no right to comment on it (Kansas)" said Petty. "Let's move along to the next topic." Fryer looked over at host John Roberts and said "I'm just going to go, I am going to leave." Roberts finally stepped-in and took control. He asked for her opinion, which is basically the format of the show...and key to its success.

Fryer's point was that both Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, two past champions, had both complained that Biffle did not maintain a reasonable speed behind the pace car, and had in fact, run out of gas. In a rare moment, host John Roberts departed from his assigned role and began to lecture Ms. Fryer.

"That's because they didn't understand the rule" said Roberts. "Its like Kyle said" continued Roberts. This outburst was a mistake. It took the neutral party out of the mix, and painted the normally dependable Roberts as "taking a side."

Fryer's point was that its time for NASCAR to make the rules a bit clearer, so that veterans like Gordon and Johnson are not confused about simple issues like reasonable speed. This did not sit well with Petty once again.

"I don't care if ten guys with twenty championships are arguing about it, that's irrelevant" said Petty. Roberts continued to side with Petty, and abandon his host role. "Should NASCAR then penalize Johnson and Clint Bowyer for passing Biffle?" he asked Fryer. When she took a deep breath and paused, Petty said "come on Jenna, let's go!" This two-against-one twist really threw the show off track.

Bruton Smith's anger over a failed drag strip and his threat to move the Lowes Motor Speedway was the next topic. Fryer called Smith out as simply grandstanding and trying to leverage his financial impact on the area against his continuing wishes to host an NHRA event. Petty showed his political correctness by promoting the fact that a drag strip in the area would be beneficial. There was no real information about how many racing weekends, of both national and regional action, would be hosted at the track.

Fryer was asked about the COT, and expressed the normal concerns about visibility and bump drafting. Petty voiced his concerns about how and why Jacques Villeneuve and Sam Hornish were simply allowed by NASCAR to jump in the middle of The Chase with little Talladega experience. On these points, the panelists agreed and things returned to a discussion about NASCAR topics.

Petty dominates this show, and is allowed by Roberts to have the vast majority of the time. In the last two Tradin' Paint shows, the third "media" panelist consisted of a NEXTEL Cup owner. On both of these shows, Kyle was the star and the owner simply agreed with him and occasionally added-on a point or two. The return to dealing with an intelligent media personality was tough.

"You talk a lot" said Fryer after an extended Petty monologue on the state of the sport. "Yes, I know" said Petty. Roberts immediately stepped-in and said "but Jenna, you write a lot." He then switched the topic to Kyle Busch.

Finally, Fryer was given her opportunity to shine. Her frank words about Kyle Busch and the changes in both his maturity and his driving since losing his ride were outstanding. It also showed the power of her national reporting in that her original column suggested Rick Hendrick move Kyle along and hire Dale Earnhardt Jr. Almost all NASCAR fans know that is exactly what happened.

The closing segment of this show really pointed out the need for Roberts and the show Producer to agree on a tighter time format and that fact that Roberts needs to "move things along" when Petty begins to expound. Roberts final topic was the NEXTEL Cup race at Talladega.

Both panelists showed why they are in the national spotlight with their knowledge. Fryer predicted Dale Junior having a strong run in his final DEI race with Tony Eury Jr. Petty believed this was Toyota's best chance for a strong performance, and possibly a redemption of a bad season for Michael Waltrip. Fryer suggested The Chase standings would continue to flip and flop like Kansas. Petty closed the show by suggesting that Talladega has seen many first time winners, and this time there might be a first time win for a manufacturer.

As a first attempt at returning this show to a "journalistic forum," SPEED did the right thing by inviting a tough veteran reporter who simply does not take any grief from anyone. Fryer has been on this beat for a long time, and her work speaks volumes for her ability to keep racing in perspective, and yet push the issues that NASCAR is sometimes hesitant to deal with. She would be a perfect guest for the final show in Homestead.

In replacing Michael Waltrip this season, Petty has been on a TV journey of his own that has included his stint as a race analyst on TNT. He is working to re-define his own personality so that it "fits" on the TV screen, and Tradin' Paint is a good place for him to learn. Watching him control his temper and learn "TV patience" with some of the media guests has been fun this season.

Unfortunately, this show really took a step back when they changed from a media guest to a couple of owners right in the heart of the season. Why this was done, SPEED will not say. It really took the wind out of the Tradin' Paint sails that Roberts and Petty had worked so hard to build-up.

With the success of shows like Trackside and RaceDay, there has to be some feeling in the SPEED camp that with only one more guest, Tradin' Paint could easily fill the forty-three minutes of content that make a one hour TV talk show.

With the "media" changing as quickly as the COT rules, perhaps one TV/Radio and one Print/Internet guest along with Petty and Roberts might make a solid hour that SPEED can replay on Monday nights.

It is curious as to why Barney Hall, Dave Moody, Allen Bestwick, Mark Garrow, or even Brad Daugherty have not appeared on this show as the electronic media guest. On the print side, we have not had a David Poole sighting recently, and featured reporters like Marty Smith, Terry Blount, and Angelique Chengelis have never appeared. If there is an ESPN issue, then tell us. If there is not, then invite them on this SPEED show and let it fly.

As The Daly Planet has said many times this year, Tradin' Paint has the potential to be just as big a franchise program for SPEED as RaceDay. Fans are absolutely starved for independent media opinions and debate in a TV setting. Simply by adding a follow-up link on the message boards, the network would finally be able to integrate the two pieces that have never come together for SPEED, their TV network and their Internet site.

After the qualifying fiasco, the DEI/RCR engine issues, and the lack of any racing until the final lap, the next edition of Tradin' Paint is going to be very interesting. Who the network selects to be the media guest could make the difference between inspiring debate or continued media bashing. Petty has made it quite clear that he is capable of both.

UPDATE: SPEED has just informed The Daly Planet that Thomas Pope, the longtime Motor Sports Editor of the Fayettteville Observer, will be the media guest. Pope has covered motorsports since 1978 for the same newspaper. You can read his columns in advance of the show at and there is no sign-up requirement.

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 taking the time to stop-by, and leave your comment.


Anonymous said...

Were I Fryer, I'd have walked off the set.

There's no call for two-vs-one attacks during a show that's intended to present two sides to each issue.

Unless they change the title of the show to "Beat the Press," which might be want Kyle wants, the show's supposed to be a discussion, not a shout-down.

And maybe it's getting tougher to find guests when they're treated this way.

Kyle had better tread carefully. Between things like the Hamlin incident and shows like this, he is going to use up his store of goodwill among the fans.

Anonymous said...

great web site. haven't found anything i don't agree with.


Anonymous said...

This was certainly a more entertaining show than the last two snoozefests. Although I think Kyle's take on the finish at Kansas was more correct, JR needed to maintain the neutral host's role. Kyle certainly appears to be completely capable of taking care of himself.

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions for future guests, John. I would also like to see David Cariavello from in the pool for this show. His columns are usually excellent and don't always toe the NASCAR line.

**TV ALERT**: John, I was going to put this in your Q&A but that may not be until tomorrow. So sorry to go off the Tradin Paint subject, but I wanted to ask you why ESPN2 is not promoting their NASCAR: Chasing Glory series? I saw a report about it on That's over the weekend and apparently I have already missed an episode. I didn't even know it existed!! I don't remember hearing it being promoted during the race, do you?

It's coming on tomorrow at 5:30 PM Eastern, which means many people like me will have to set the recorder for it tonight. No repeats except for the finale, either, which makes no sense- but it's ESPN, so I guess that's business as usual.

Here is a little bit from the report on That's Racin, if that's OK to list here:

The half-hour series documents the drivers' preparation, as well as their teams', for each race in the Chase.

"This program gives NASCAR fans new insight and information from their favorite drivers as they deal with the rigors and stress of competing for the championship," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. "It provides a very in-depth look into the life of a top NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver."

The program airs Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 through Nov. 14, and switches to Tuesdays at either 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. for the remaining episodes, with the finale scheduled for Dec. 4. The final two episodes re-air Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Daly Planet Editor said...

In the ESPN weekly media release, they only have one line about the series. I have no idea what they are thinking.


Anonymous said...

NASCAR: Chasing Glory has been on the air for two weeks already. Tomorrow is the third episode.

AndyPandy said...

I do agree that John should make it a point to try to stay neutral and move the show along, but Kyle is being Kyle and should continue to do so.

I don't buy the "using up his store of goodwill" argument since (here we go again) Hamlin invited Petty to his garage to discuss the incident, Kyle was steamed about getting dumped, and let Hamlin know. That is the traditional way that drivers have always discussed things - one on one. If a little slap at the visor set off Hamlin, how do you think Kyle should feel about getting sent into the outside wall?

I didn't see Denny's guys make any attempt to stop Kyle, and if Kyle wanted to actually get physical, he would have come out in a lot better shape than Hamlin.

Bottom line - I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there aree MORE Petty fans after Dover, and this show shouldn't hurt him either. The old guy has still got the fire, and now he's showing it on TV and maybe, along with Bobby, it's going to start to show in the race results, too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:50 wrote:
NASCAR: Chasing Glory has been on the air for two weeks already. Tomorrow is the third episode.

Wow. A network group paying to show the Chase creates a documentary series about the drivers in the Chase... and doesn't bother to publicize it during Chase races. It would be mind-boggling if it wasn't so sad.

Regarding Jenna Fryer, she has a good TV presence and can verbalize her views, but if the talk on Tradin' Paint gets into detail of racing instead of contracts or scandals, she fades out.

I'll never forget when Jeff Gordon was a guest (now that was a great guest! Mr. Daly, I think you wrote a column about it) and he gave such great detail about the COT, even bringing a part from the COT car to explain his issues with it. When he was finished Jenna Fryer (rather rudely) dismissed his information by saying she wasn't interested in technical stuff.

Kyle was there on TP that day, maybe he remembers that and dismisses Jenna Fryer the way she did Jeff Gordon.

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

Petty responded "with the stuff you write, go ahead and talk."

I do think that this statement explains a lot. I don’t read her columns. I did try a few times; but, didn’t enjoy them. If she wrote a column saying the same things she was saying on the show, I understand why this particular show was different.

She seemed to have based her views on what other people told her, not what she saw herself. When she kept insisting that Biffle had stopped on the track, I could only shake my head. It was funny watching the clip and Kyle asking her, “where did he stop?”

I understood NASCAR’s decisions during this race and I don’t think that Gordon and Johnson were confused. If either one had been in Biffle’s place, they would have defended the decision.

I was surprised at John Roberts (one of my favorites) during this show. I really enjoy Kyle on the show. I think that there was a whole “back story” going on here that the viewers will probably never hear about.

Maria said...

I have lost all respect for Kyle Petty now!! What a horrible thing to do to Jenna! There was no reason to attack Jenna for telling the truth! She is 100% right. Robby was told over and over by NA$CAR he did not maintain "PACECAR SPEED"! Now all of a sudden NA$CAR changes the rules and all of a sudden, it's no longer "PACECAR SPEED" It's "REASONALBE SPEED"! Jenn was tell the truth and pointing it out! Kyle did not like hearing the truth so he attacks this woman! What a jerk Kyle was! He is losing many manu fans all over the place! Many people have lost all respect for him now! Give it up Kyle you have no clue what you are talking about! Jenna is right, you are wrong!

Anonymous said...

"When he was finished Jenna Fryer (rather rudely) dismissed his information by saying she wasn't interested in technical stuff."

Hey, I remember that. She said that Gordon's explanation was over her head, something like that. She was probably just joking, but it was awkward and I agree it was a little rude, because Jeff Gordon is Jeff Gordon.

He didn't have to take the time to prepare for and take an interest in Tradin' Paint subjects, because it was a big deal that he showed up anyway. He could have just rolled over there from practice and said "I agree with Kyle" the whole show, like the owners do.

Anonymous said...

I think the show should be an hour, it seems to be fifteen minutes of commercials. Let's put the Biffle thing to rest, he won, end of story.

Anonymous said...

T o respond to several writers in today's column- Kyle is wrong and Jenna is right???? Since when did Jenna drive a NASCAR Nextel Cup car? Where is her vast 30 plus years of driving in the sport?
Also, the one reader that responded about "between things like the Hamlin incident, he is going to use up his store of goodwill among the fans."? Your'e kidding right? Hamlin was at fault, and he so much as said so two days later. His store of goodwill? When Hamlin loses a son, and starts up a camp for sick children, then maybe you can complain. Kyle Petty and his family have done more for NASCAR, and more for families then Denny Hamlin will ever do in 1000 years.

Anonymous said...

Where is her vast 30 plus years of driving in the sport?

When was his last win?

By your standard--only those with actual experience can comment on NASCAR--your comments don't matter either, since YOU don't have a "vast 30 plus years of driving in the sport."

sbundy said...

I think it comes down to the fact that Kyle Petty is not the show. It is tradin' paint, it should be a back and forth debate, not Kyle's views and the rest take a hike. Jenna Fryer is knowledgeable in nascar and has credibility, but Kyle has an issue with her personally, that is obvious. I don't think its a macho male thing. Kyle is just rude. He doesnt treat any of the beat writers with respect. It is okay to have an opinion that doesn't align with Petty's. I would like to see more debate, not Kyle's way or the highway mentality

Anonymous said...

My vast 30 plus years ARE in the sport. And it doesn't take wins to truly be a remarkable person. Media reports on the story-Drivers and crew ARE the story.

bevo said...


Moody was on Tradin'Paint last season and let's just say he wasn't in his natural environment and I think he would be the first one to agree with that :) I love the job he does calling the race and his radio show is great (though it was more fun and interesting in the 123 days when he talked NHRA, IRL, F1 and Champ Car) but tv is not his strong suit.

Anonymous said...

But you aren't a driver.

So your comments don't matter.

That's your standard.

Anonymous said...

Both Kyle Petty and Dale Jr. are in racing for only one reason---DADDY was a great driver. Kyle has worn thin but I solved the problem for me...CLICK.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused JD.

Why was qualifying a 'fiasco'??

Can't figure that one out....

Anonymous said...

I know this post is not concerning the TV aspect of this column, but rather to clarify the argument between Petty, Roberts and Fryer.
I've pulled out my NASCAR Nextel Cup rulebook for "07 and the following is exactly the rule:
10-7A..White Flag
"When the white flag is displayed, it signifies the leader has started his/her last lap. When the yellow flag is displayed during the white flag lap, cars will be scored on the basis of their respective track position. NO PASSING WILL BE PERMITTED as long as cars maintain a reasonable speed considering the conditions that exist on the track. The determination of respective track position and reasonable speed are judgment calls that will be made by NASCAR officials."
Just thought I'd put this entry in so each can see what the rule states and make their own judgment on the outcome at Kansas.

Anonymous said...

How do you have a copy of the rulebook?

Anonymous said...

It seems like Kyle Petty is the kind of person who is almost incapable of having a calm and reasonable discussion, especially with someone who he considers to be "inferior". Instead of methodically debating the issue at hand, he takes every little disagreement as some sort of attack on his personal integrity, and he responds with over-the-top harangues. It's getting old...

Anonymous said...

Kyle petty is one of the best people in the garage and he has fun with the media. Lighten up already would ya.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. When you say "he has fun with the media" are you referring to his incessent on-air bullying of the guest journalists on TP?

It didn't seem like Jenna Fryer or the previous two guest reporters (not counting Evernham & Childress) where having much fun at all. In fact, they were noticeably cringing away from him!

Richard in N.C. said...

JOHN, I have watched the last 1/2 or 2/3 of the show and I did not think Kyle was mad - just passionate. At least down here, there is a lot written by the media that has to be pure imagination- and what is really commentary is presented as fact. It seems to me that one purpose of TRADIN' PAINT is to make the media back up what they write. The racing print media, especially newspapers, has become increasingly outlandish and anti-NASCAR since the consolidation of the NASCAR TV contract - which, with the Internet, has diminished the importance of the print media as a source of racing news and information. TRADIN' PAINT implies a 2-way street, not just 1-way. The media can be asked to support their opinions - and often they do not really know what they are talking about, such as in February when the common, print media line was that Toyota was going to overwhelm the other teams in NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Great post, that is exactly the kind of opinion we are looking for. I hope you watch the show this weekend and comment again next week. Thanks.


Julie said...

I agree that John Roberts needs to try and stay out of it... or he needs to be apart of it and comment on every subject, but he can't have it both ways.

I also think that this show could be great if they added another personality and expanded it. I don't know if they're afraid to do that after the demise of Pit Bulls or what, but there is a need for this type of program.

As an aside, I cringed when Jenna said they had to stop to get behind Biffle. That was Jeff Gordon's comment, and she remembered it out of context. It's unfortunate because she had been doing a great job up until that point.

Anonymous said...

First, Fryer is the "Paris Hilton of NASCAR reporters." Blond, nasaled "like wow." Not very insightful and very little to offer other than spreading unconfirmed rumors from some person in a startched twill shirt and slick, spiked hair.
Kyle Petty has been around and knows this sport. I, too, thought he was passionate. "Reporters" (there are some outstanding ones in the sport, she is not one of them) should independently confirm stories. I've read hers, there is a tremendous amount of rumor in them. That can cause potential sponsor problems.
Actually, I thought Kyle was a bit easy on her.
Maybe instead of walking off she should have not been invited.
Have you listened to her attempt at radio?

Anonymous said...

Actually, David Newton is the Paris Hilton of NASCAR reporters.

Seriously. Read his articles.

But I enjoy his somewhat rare appearances on NASCAR Now - his irreverence is refreshing yet he delivers hard news there, unlike in many of his articles, which tend to obsess on the celebrity aspects of NASCAR drivers. I've not seen him on Tradin' Paint before but I'd be interested to see him as a panelist if he sticks to the hard news.

Anonymous said...

First, Fryer is the "Paris Hilton of NASCAR reporters." Blond, nasaled "like wow." Not very insightful and very little to offer other than spreading unconfirmed rumors from some person in a startched twill shirt and slick, spiked hair.

She is an AP print reporter, and a very good one. Perhaps you don't like her on-air performance, but she routinely beats the competition in breaking NASCAR-related stories.

Anonymous said...

in February when the common, print media line was that Toyota was going to overwhelm the other teams in NASCAR.
Opinion columnists may have said this, but reporters, like Fryer, weren't expressing their opinion--they were reporting what people (like Jack Roush) were saying.

Anonymous said...

TRADIN' PAINT implies a 2-way street, not just 1-way. The media can be asked to support their opinions
...and if Kyle did THAT instead of bullying and insulting the guests, that would be fine. But it isn't what happens.

He thinks he's untouchable, but that's going to change if he keeps acting like this.

Anonymous said...

I lost a bunch of respect for Kyle after the Sonoma incident when he dropped the F-bomb. Not that I'm offended by the word... I use it all the time.

However, only 5 minutes before they had cut to Kyle for his "in race reporter" feature and he is on the radio leading a team prayer for a safe race.

My question: Was he still addressing Jesus when he dropped the F-bomb a few moments later?

Nobody likes a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Geez, what a pissing match the blogs are this week. Romper Room.
There is someone on here who is very miserable with his/her life and choosing to take it out on everyone here.

The F-bomb making it onto the airwaves during that race was ESPN's fault and they admitted it. It was initially edited out.

I have no further comments.

Richard in N.C. said...

My point about the reporting about Toyota early in the year is that it was not based on fact - but, made for a good story. A modest amount of real reporting would have disclosed that Toyota in the past 5 to 7 years has spent well over $1 BILLION in Formula 1 and still has not won a race - so expecting Toyota to be able to swamp the other teams in NASCAR in 2007 was silly. Jack Roush had a vested, financial interest in talking about the evils of Toyota (to get more money out of Ford- as he apparently did), but I never saw any broadly distributed article questioning Roush's motive as possibly self-interest, rather than accuracy.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Guys,

Thanks for your comments. There certainly are some different feelings about this one show, and about how the series should conduct itself for the rest of the season.

TNT was the F-bomb network for Kyle, and it was a strange mistake for a professional TV network to listen to a replay, and then play it back knowing there was a profanity on it. This is the big time, and it should not have happened.

This weekend the show should be very interesting. We will talk about it during the week, thanks again for your comments.


Anonymous said...

A modest amount of real reporting would have disclosed that Toyota in the past 5 to 7 years has spent well over $1 BILLION in Formula 1 and still has not won a race

Darned near EVERY story I read in the print media at the time mentioned that fact. Don't know how you missed it.