Thursday, November 8, 2007

Everybody's Yelling At Me...Again

Thank goodness email does not have a volume control. Its easy to look at the list and just think these little messages are going to be brief and meaningful. Sometimes, in reality, all heck is about to break loose.

This was The Daly Planet email box after Marty Reid hosted back-to-back versions of NASCAR Now. Boy, mention Marty's name and everyone has a reaction.

My column about Marty hosting the "NASCAR Summit" without NASCAR got both positive and negative comments right away. It even inspired another Joe Foster video that showed-up on the AOL Fanhouse. The show was great, but making Reid talk about using an NFL football format for races was um...Busch league?

Luckily, Reid came back on Wednesday and did his usual professional job of hosting this thirty minute show. Reid really put the topper on this "new" NASCAR Now by reading, and sometimes answering, viewer email. This put The Daly Planet email box on nuclear.

My next article talked about Reid being the face of both the NHRA and IndyCar for ESPN and ABC. I liked Marty on the drag racing, but this season I had not seen many NHRA events with my new NASCAR commitment. I guess I should have tuned-in.

My first email of the day was from our friends at ESPN, telling me that Reid was moved off the NHRA Series this season, and put on the IndyCar beat. Much to my surprise, he has not done any NHRA telecasts this year. I certainly appreciate their help, and like the fact that somebody, somewhere at ESPN is reading this little column.

The even bigger surprise was who ESPN had put on the NHRA series. It was the former voice of the Indy 500, ABC veteran Paul Page. Long past his prime, I was under the impression that Page had retired. NHRA fans reminded me this was certainly not the case.

My error in mentioning Reid and the drag racing this season began a long list of emails from NHRA fans that sounded vaguely familiar. ESPN had assigned an announcer to their series that did not fit, that did not know the language, and that did not even know the fundamentals of the sport. Why was Paul Page happening to us, they said. Talk about deja vu.

Little did I know this domino effect would continue with more Marty Reid fans asking if a certain NASCAR Now show host had been fired? Apparently, a season long build-up of fan frustration was being vented. Unfortunately, I am not in that loop, and can only sit back and watch the action for the next two weeks with everyone else.

Thursday night, Marty Reid was back on NASCAR Now and absolutely put the show over the top with his easy-going style. Kyle Busch, Stacy Compton and DJ Copp were on the program. Kyle did a great interview, Stacy handled his analyst duties from the Phoenix track still in his fire suit, and DJ Copp pointed out the key pit crew issues that are going to be so crucial this weekend. It was wonderful.

But, just like Wednesday night, Reid had something that really raised this show to a new level. That was an extended interview with a real NASCAR racer named Ron Hornaday. The Craftsman Truck Series has really taken it right in the teeth from NASCAR Now this season, and The Daly Planet had pointed that out many times.

This one interview demonstrated just how powerful and dynamic a single driver can be when he is asked the right questions by the right person. Hornaday's intensity leapt through the screen and gave the Truck Series a personality right in front the viewer's eyes. Hornaday is an old style racer who is tough as nails and embodies the spirit of the Truck Series from top to bottom.

Reid led him through several Truck Series championship scenarios complete with dirty team tactics, rough driving and even some post-race "festivities." The key for Reid is to let the driver shine, and get out of the way. He did just that.

If there was any viewer who watched the Ron Hornaday interview on NASCAR Now and is not going to watch the Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night, they need to check their pulse. That is the type of interview that drives fans to both the TV and the racetrack. The power of NASCAR Now was on full display.

Kudos once again to ESPN for having the courage to make changes this late in the season to this program, and let someone like Marty Reid help them do it. Thursday's NASCAR Now finally summoned-up in me the first comparison of this series to the classic RPM2Night that helped to put ESPN on the motorsports map. Nice job, everybody.

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 opinion.


slithybill said...

WOW! Three NASCAR Now episodes in a row hosted by Marty Reid! I watched tonight and agree with everything you wrote. I've already programmed my DVR to record every episode of NASCAR Now again.

I'll withhold my kudos to ESPN until it's certain this change is permanent, as I've been fooled by them before. But it's good to know that ESPN knows they have problems and are working to fix them!

I'm now looking forward to this weekend's NASCAR Now. Shoot, I may even actually watch all three races now!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed the last 3 nights of NASCAR Now. Unfortunately Marty said at the beginning of Tuesday's show that he would be hosting for the next 3 days. I have a feeling EK will be back for the next edition of NASCAR Now.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how when Marty Reid made his "four quarters" argument it was suggested that it was force fed to him. I can assure you it most certainly was not. Just because he's a "racing knowledgeable" guy doesn't mean he doesn't have any wacky ideas on how to alter the sport. I can assure you that the idea, however ridiculous and revolutionary, was his alone, as he discussed it preshow with both Marty Smith and David Poole.

This is just one of those things that gets me going about this blog. While helpful, it most certainly can also be off the mark. If something goes well with Reid, it's because he's a NASCAR guy, but if it's something you find stupid and unrealistic, it was the producer who fed him the suggestion.

You also mentioned that Marty Smith tried to avoid the question to which Reid responded with his 4-quarters argument. He actually deferred to Poole because Poole had said before the show that he had a great idea on how to fix certain things, starting with his "500 points for your first win of the season" argument.

drh277 said...

I agree with anonymous. Anytime a non racing person comes on to the scene they are "terrible". Suzy K, Brad D., Erik K., Tim K., Brent M., the list goes on and on. I think Marty Smith is terrible. But because he's a racing insider everyone on here loves him. He's doing the same things that EK did. Namely the fantasy crap. Driver pick em can't be far behind.

And to those people that say they can't wait for FOX I say your all nuts. I can't stand Boogitty, Boogitty, or Chris Myers and don't even get me started about the steroid using Jeff Hammond.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:04AM,

I think the thing that is funny is that you can come here and try to feed me the line that Reid thought this up.

Then you can feed me the line that Marty Smith was just being a gentleman and let David Poole talk.

I think the funny thing about this blog is that two of the three guys you mentioned emailed me after the show, and neither one of them mentioned your name....oh...that would be Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Very strange your comments on NHRA and Reid...I did at least 2 posts and sent you emails concerning your article on ESPN's coverage of the NHRA event when John Force was injured. You commented on the show mostly trashing how ESPN covered the crash.(you pulled this off your blog) Now you say you have been not watching and did not know about Paul Page. In my posts and emails I said the Page had let viewers know eveything was on tape and even updated Force's condition before the braodcast. Are you just forgetting that Page had taken over?

Sal said...

Marty Read has shown the possibilities of what the show could be. What came through, even more than his knowledge of racing, is the fact that he likes and respects the sport and the people in it. In a time when Nascar and it's fans are generally ignored or ridiculed, it was a refreshing change. Kudos to ESPN for (perhaps) listening and improving the show.

Jimm57 said...

JD, because of this blog and reading about Marty Reid hosting this week, I watched last nights Nascar Now and enjoyed the show. As I sat there with my family, I too was reminded of the old RPM2nite. They had cameras talking to real drivers AT THE TRACK, and even LIVE! This was excitement, and not hyped nonsence like Eric The Silliest does. Regarding the Hornaday interview, he made a kinda snyde comment to Marty like "Well, you guys in the media write anything" and I thought that was well put, but aimed not so much at Marty, but at ESPN in general because of how they've been slighted (read forgotten) on Nascar Now. Enjoyed Thursdays show. Would hate it to see EK back. Lets hope they keep Marty (and the production team who did this good show) around to host every show next year for us. Dump EK in the desert some where.

Anonymous said...

I watched Nascar Now last night for the first time in months since Kyle Busch is my favorite driver and since you had said that the show was improving with Marty Reid.

That was definitely NOT the Nascar Now I'd turned off early this summer. While asking Kyle why he does so many races was a little silly from a long-time fan perspective I can appreciate the necessity from a media perspective.

The interview with Hornaday was great. It was cool hearing Grandpa appologize for going off too much on his post-race interview last week. And that line about why should he be the one to lift really made me smile.

Making Thursday Truck night on Nascar Now would make sure that I'd tune in a lot more than I do now.

Anonymous said...

I've come to the conclusion that the "racing-knowledgeable" hosts of NN take an active role in the proudtcion of the show, whereas Erik walks in and says, "Whatcha got for me?"

That's the most likely explanation I can find for the difference in the quality from host-to-host.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. Anytime a non racing person comes on to the scene they are "terrible".

Exactly. So why not just use people who know the sport?

Does ESPN use Rusty on MNF?


And they shouldn't use Suzy on NASCAR broadcasts.

Ritchie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritchie said...

Mr. Daly, I agree with you about improvements to the show. The content was great and informative. One of the problems that I had with prior shows was that they never told me anything that I couldn't learn from the internet. The interview with Mr. Hornaday is an example of how the show can differentiate itself from the internet. Seeing him in person doing the interview communicated so much more than I could have learned from reading a transcript of the conversation.

However, I do have a mild annoyance about the show. Hopefully, it isn't too early to complain about something after getting a host people seem to like. Mr. Reid, though very informative, seems to lose my attention when he is talking. I don't know why that is or how to explain it, but there is something very soft and monotone about his voice. When I am in a room, with the TV on and various other distractions, the distractions seem to win out. To be honest with you, that didn't happen when Ryan Burr was hosting or when Mike Missaro (spelling?) was hosting. I may not fall within the normal distribution with this opinion, but it was something that I noticed.

Anonymous said...

My prediction is Ryan Burr will be back on tonight's late show, Erik K. will be back Sunday morning, and either Ryan or Marty will have the last two late night NASCAR Now programs.

After watching NN for the last three nights, I do see some definite improvements. However, I remained convinced (as pointed out on this site last week) that if Craftsman wasn't paying ESPN a "promotional consideration" we would not have Truck Thursdays (did you guys notice the Craftsman Logo under the NN logo at the beginning of the show, plus their ad before the Hornaday interview?) The fact that they have to pay for Truck series coverage is a real shame.

Marty Reid is good. Other than his blunder in calling NASCAR "the country's second largest sport" the first night (PR jibberish, not fact) he has a calm TV presence. I like that he's not overly hyped up. I get enough of that from PTI (which is a great show purely because of its hosts, but not everybody is good at that hyped up energy so they shouldn't try) and Marty is a good change.

drh277 said "I think Marty Smith is terrible. But because he's a racing insider everyone on here loves him. " While I think the cult of Marty is a little strong (it's like some people think he's a driver,not a reporter), I can overlook that because IMO his reporting seems rock solid and balanced, and his TV presence is good; this show would be at a big loss without him.

As another posted said after the first episode, David Poole is too strongly opinionated for me to want him on the show very often in the future, and also his facts are dodgy. For instance, he said on the other day: "It never ceases to amaze me how some people can look at the grandstands at Texas Motor Speedway last week and see empty seats." He said there had to be at least 150,000 people and even though the official count was 183,500 and was exaggerated, it was still a lot of people and that's what matters.

The gall of that amazes me. He's annoyed because we notice that 33,000-40,000 seats which were previously sold for years were empty?(Punch kept saying 190,000 people were in attendance on air) And we notice that the *official* count is exaggerated? And this is a bad thing? That's not the kind of analysis I want to see from *anybody* on NASCAR Now.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that struck me during both Kyle Busch's and Ron Hornaday's interviews was when Marty Reid was asking a particularly sticky question, he clarified immediately that he was asking the question for a real, valid point. Like asking Kyle about pitstop issues during races, clarifying that he was getting to the point that racing is a true team sport.

Erik K. would not have gone there at all. If he had, I can just see the driver getting defensive with the way the question was asked. Marty had a way of asking the questions, clarifying his point and letting both drivers answer the questions in a way that did not seem to offend either one.

Ron Hornaday's interview was great. Marty allowed Ron's personality to show through by asking the right questions and actually letting him answer the questions, sneak in his jabs and move on. That interview really did make me want to watch the truck race.

This is what I want from a daily NASCAR show. More news, more interviews and less fluff. The dreaded "driver pick 'ems" was limited to one match-up, which actually made sense under the current Cup senario.

This was a great show. I will, however, reserve my kudos until I know that ESPN has finally gotten the point and has made permanent changes to this show.

bevo said...

After reading that Marty was hosting NN I put it back on my Tivo list and it's been a pleasure watching the show. As long as he's hosting I'll keep it on Tivo.

BTW the whole Page thing with NHRA started two years ago, he did about half of the races. He tries but he's not what we need for the races. Mike Dunn deserves a better partner - my vote is for Dave Rief

Lisa Hogan said...

ritchie: I agree with you about Mr. Reid's speaking voice. I've stated before that he and Punch sound the same to me. They have the same cadence and monotone.

slithybill said...

I checked my DVR this morning to ensure I programmed it correctly to record all the remaining episodes of NASCAR Now. I discovered that next week the show will be one hour long every day, Monday through Thursday! Hopefully Marty Reid will be hosting.

And according to the program schedule on, a one hour NASCAR Now will be on ESPN (and not ESPN2) following the Homestead race at 10:00pm ET. Between ESPN and SPEED, it should be a full night of NASCAR.

But the Cup and Busch season review shows on ESPN2 on the 25th are still only 30 minutes long.

Anonymous said...


They've actually changed the ESPN TV schedule since Tuesday. WOW.

Maybe complaining here does help, as several of us complained Tuesday morning that the lack of postrace championship coverage on Nov. 18 for the three main ESPN channels was ridiculous. It also shows that ESPN can adjust its schedule on the fly - IF they choose to.

On the TV listings as of Nov. 6 and 7 (the last time I checked), a car auction was scheduled to air on ESPN Nov. 18 from 8-11 PM Eastern. Now there's an edition of College Football Live from 8-10 - and NASCAR Now from 10-11.

NASCAR Now will also air as a one hour show at midnight on ESPN 2 when it was only supposed to be a half hour (a replay of the 10 PM show on ESPN, I assume.)

NN remains a half hour show on Nov. 21 at 1:30 Eastern. That still looks like the last NN program, I don't see any others on the schedule.

So thanks and kudos to ESPN managers and schedulers for being responsive. Perhaps someone from NASCAR or NASCAR on ESPN ntoiced this absence of coverage early this week and pitched a fit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:03, I agree with ya about not bringing David Poole back as a commentator if he's going to put the blinders on. Even the track smack guys on were talking about the empty seats at Texas and called the view of the empty seats on TV sad. If NN is going to have outside commentators (meaning not their Insiders) on as guests - which isn't a bad idea - they need to have guests who are going to tell it like it is. But I like the effort being made to try out some new things on NN, better late than never.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, Of course you were right. I found NN to be night & day different from when Erik K. was on. The big difference to me was that Marty Reid was able to talk WITH the interviewee, not at him. He was able to follow up with what the interviewee had to say, not just the next question in the script. With Marty Reid NN showed promise. Maybe there is hope?

I am probably being cynical, but David Poole works for the Charlotte Observer, in which I feel certain Lowes Motor Speedway is a large advertiser - and LMS and Texas Motor Speedway are owned by the same co.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:58AM,

The John Force accident had Paul Page on it, but I had no idea he was doing all the shows. I just thought Marty had a conflict.

I was surprised because Marty had worked to hard to get up to speed on all things NHRA. That is a tough sport to keep track of on the pro side. (Trust me.)

My comments at the time were from watching the coverage in-progress and being upset at the lack of info from the announce team and the lack of respect for the family from the TV crew. At that moment, I thought Force was dead.

Then, lo and behold, its all explained to me that its on tape, and since they now know (in real life) that he is going to live, its OK to show on ESPN. I still feel exactly the same way and made myself clear to several NHRA folks.

That's the scoop on why I did not know Marty was totally gone from the coverage. Sorry it took so long to respond, I was out actually working.


Anonymous said...

Geez, nothing like find out after the fact that Grampa's (I coined that phrase on the Speed boards last year) doin' an interview on NN ... I can never remember when that show is on as I hardly watch that network to begin with ...

I don't like Marty Smith or Cowlishaw or Angelique or Erik or Shannon or Jamie or most of the people that Disney hired ...

Nascar Nation was starting to turn the corner to be a good daily news show ... Then Jim Liberatore sold us (the viewers) out and hired Chris Long ... But, then Uncle Rupert did NOT renew Jim's contract and we got screwed again ...

SPEED really should resurrect Totally NASCAR ... or do a daily version of Speed News (like they promised us after they canned Nascar Nation) ... Hire people who know the sport, not these mamby pamby stick & ball idiots ... They're an insult to the fans AND the sport ...

Anonymous said...

He is no JOHN KERNAN but MARTY REID did the best job of anyone to host NASCAR NOW this season. It is no wonder after great performances that ESPN would replace him! What's next? Doing away with MIKE AND MIKE in the morning cause they are too good?