Monday, November 19, 2007
Robin Miller Rocks Kyle Petty And "Tradin' Paint"
Fans had hoped that SPEED would make a good choice for the final media guest of the outstanding series Tradin' Paint.
The network did not have to look far to find the perfect candidate. Robin Miller pried himself away from the open-wheel world to stop by Homestead and let his opinion be known.
Both John Roberts and regular panelist Kyle Petty appeared to be pleased to welcome a member of the SPEED Channel extended family. Miller was more "user friendly" than the many NASCAR journalists that had enraged Petty throughout the season.
SPEED added a special touch to this program by playing back thoughts offered by some of the more memorable guests of Tradin' Paint over the last ten months. This was a great feature.
There is no doubt that Miller views NASCAR with a certain level of disdain, but he managed to temper his words and participate in some good and lively discussions on this program. It was exactly what SPEED needed to send this show into the off-season on a high note.
The fireworks started with the discussion of the top 35 rule. Miller offered theory, and Petty offered reality. Petty continues to move this topic over to the business model of keeping some value in the teams, without any franchising system. Miller used the good comparison that the big value of the Indy 500 was that the fastest thirty-three cars started no matter who they were or who owned them.
Ray Dunlap stepped-up to offer thoughts on the past champions provisional and was very clear with his words on this issue. He suggested eliminating it for 2008. Miller offered the point that the owners are going to use anything at their disposal to assure that their teams make the race. Petty tried to agree, but could not resist taking a shot at Dunlap's credibility along the way.
Petty's point was that these rules were decades old, and it was simply time to modernize all the old rules when NASCAR decides to pay attention to this issue. Petty said that under the current system Dale Jarrett has every "freaking right" to use his past champions provisional even if he is several tenths off the pace. Kyle does have a way with words.
In this final program, host John Roberts set a sightly milder tone than some of the knock-down drag-out affairs from earlier in the season. AP Reporter Jenna Fryer and Petty could hardly find any common ground, and Petty basically accused her of fabricating stories. "Can I just leave now?" said Fryer only five minutes into the show.
Nothing, however, will top the Kyle Petty vs. Bob Pockrass from SceneDaily debacle this season. That one had viewers howling and The Daly Planet comments flying for a full week. Pockrass has a personality that, well, kind of gets under your skin a little bit. To Petty, Pockrass is just flat and simply a complete moron.
John Roberts put on his referee hat and waded into a discussion that featured Pockrass questioning everything under the NASCAR sun, often times without the respect or dignity that the Petty family finds very fundamental to the sport. The result was Petty blowing his top on national TV.
Just like Jenna Fryer, Petty accused Pockrass of deliberately making things up in his stories, and told him he was "full of BS." Petty went on to question the NASCAR Media in general, suggesting they manufactured false rumors to feed their publications and websites.
One final memorable moment was when Pockrass suggested Montoya could not win in his first season because of the steep NASCAR learning curve. Petty dismissed him with a wave and said Pockrass did not know the sport, and did not understand that anyone could win on any Sunday. Pockrass said "I guess that includes you too, right?"
On the way out the door, Petty said on SPEED that Pockrass and most of the NASCAR Media spend their time "blowing smoke up people's butts." The bottom line for Petty was, the media was always wrong and he was always right.
That is why a nice, middle-aged man like Robin Miller from the SPEED family was the right choice for this show. They talked about good subjects, each gave their opinions, and the season ended without the potential for post-show festivities. Although, I do think Fryer could take Petty on a good day.
Earlier this season, I called Tradin' Paint "the little TV show that could." Given one additional guest, this show could fill a quality hour on SPEED and re-air on Mondays behind Inside NEXTEL Cup, should that program series return. The key problem for Tradin' Paint is that viewers cannot find it among the multi-channel NASCAR mess of a TV schedule.
John Roberts and Kyle Petty have made this show worth watching all season long. Their guests have almost always made it memorable. With a little polish, a few more resources, and a steady timeslot, Tradin' Paint could finally give SPEED the NASCAR opinion and discussion-style show they have been lacking. This team put a solid TV season under their belts in 2007.
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