Monday, November 5, 2007

Three Drivers In Search Of A Host On SPEED

You can tell it is "that time of the year." Among the NASCAR guys, only a handful are not worn down, tired out, and ready for a vacation.

Certainly, among the tired masses are Michael Waltrip and Greg Biffle. Waltrip's year has been well-documented in the media, and Biffle has been burdened with hard luck on the track. This season for Kenny Schrader has been up-and-down between having a ride and losing one.

The one place these three meet is at the NASCAR Images studios on Monday afternoons. For better or worse, they recount their experiences while taping the one hour Inside NEXTEL Cup program that is shown on SPEED Monday nights.

This season, The Daly Planet has written several times about the struggles with this one program series, and the possible solutions that could help. Despite the suggestions, nothing has changed on this year's watered-down version of this ten year old show. It certainly has seen better days.

NASCAR drivers are an interesting group, in that they respond well to a certain type of TV host and do not respond well to others. Viewers can see how drivers easily relate to SPEED's John Roberts and struggle with ESPN's Erik Kuselias. As with anything that needs to be controlled, its usually the open and flexible style of cooperative host that gets the drivers to open-up and start having fun.

Dave Despain was placed into the host role of Inside NEXTEL Cup by a SPEED TV executive. Since that time, it has not gone well. Despain is a good broadcast professional, but he is a fish out of water on INC. On this particular Monday, this was made clear by the entire panel.

There was no energy, there was not focus, and there was no point to the show. Despain's inability to have fun, be pleasant and pump-up the "three amigos" was so bad that it actually became a running joke in the show itself. Despain interrupted, he re-directed, and he spoke over-top of the stars of the show time and time again.

One had the feeling that there were three NASCAR drivers on the set just waiting to be set free to have fun. Waltrip and Schrader once again took to talking whenever they wanted and Biffle had his eyes on them, and not the host, most of the show.

The drivers tried to have some fun with Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus in black cowboy hats pictured behind the set, but Despain just could not grasp the concept. His inability to let the boys "goof around" sunk this episode, and the boys let him know that it stunk. Waltrip was particularly up-front in his evaluation.

All alone on Monday nights, SPEED viewers might be seeing the last of INC in a couple of weeks. If this is so, one might hope that the network would put together a reel of highlights from the last decade of hosts, guests, and hi-jinks. If SPEED does not care about this rich programming history, they should remember that the fans certainly do.

Once again, there was no guest on the show. Dave read the highlights like an elementary school teacher. He was not interested, and it showed. Fans had seen the highlights before, and by the end of the show even Ken Schrader was embarrassed.

How can a decade old show produced by NASCAR's own in-house production group become such a complete mess? The bottom line is that either NASCAR Images, SPEED, or both simply do not care. What SPEED put on the air tonight and represented as a national television show about NASCAR was disgraceful.

Only two races until a champion is crowned in all three of NASCAR's national touring series, and the four regular panelists of this program decide to take a walk? This program should have sizzled with all the great content from the weekend at TMS.

Readers of The Daly Planet had hoped that we would see some new faces audition as host of this program by sitting-in for a show this season. It never happened. After a terrible start to the year, Michael Waltrip finally seemed to have gotten his act together. Biffle has come a long way and is much more comfortable speaking his mind this year. Schrader kept his chin-up, and his sense of humor.

All this show needed was a new bus driver. The host position is the easiest to change. Its even easier to change for one or two episodes. The result of the lack of action by SPEED and NASCAR Images was the disaster they actually chose to put on-the-air this Monday. After ten years of loyal viewing, this is one episode that I will work very hard to forget.

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.


Anonymous said...

JD, I don't understand. I have seen worse episodes. This show seemed to have a lot of information. The only thing I found out of place was the bashing of the show it-self.

Newracefan said...

I still love INC and despite it's struggles I watch every week and usually laugh right along with Mikey, Kenny, and the Biff. Change the host but do not cancel the show.

SophiaZ123 said...

WOW! I do not understand trashing this show, tonight, JD. with all due respect, i thought tonights show was fun. Sure it was a little disjointed but the mood was upbeat.
FRANKLY, I want to know why more people are not interested in the horrible fire 'emergency' people at the races.

I noticed I mentioned that elsewhere and it got DELETED. Sorry if I was out of line, JD. Hope it's ok to write about this again here.(Bad emergency response in Texas. I am curious why so many trolls are encouraged here but a comment about bad emergency folks got deleted? :(

Anyway, Biffle said he NEEDED help cutting the cords to his head and the duct tape and tried to point at it. As we watched on TV, the keystone cops once again just stood there completely useless. I could tell Greg was upset when he sat on the window's edge and gestured.

I do NOT UNDERSTAND NASCAR's lack of 'real' emergency help.

With Waltrip, he was so tall, he needed to removed his helmet and stuff. With Biffle, it was getting the cords unhooked.

It was really disturbing and embarrassing and nobody commented on the TV ( I can't remember if I had the radio muted at that time or just turned the sound up on the tv)

Biffle was pretty understated about it tonight but I am surprised this is not getting BIG ATTENTION by NASCAR.

But the Texas race folks should be upset that such a blunder occurred.

SophiaZ123 said...

p.s. PLUS Kenny did an opening tease (WHICH THEY NEED TO KEEP doing!) and I agree with newracefan, this show DESERVES another season.

I like this bunch just fine. If everybody seems to dislike Despain, change the host but for crying out loud, do NOT throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Also, I enjoyed finding out the problems with Jimmie's visor and the safety glasses and the goggles. Like Waltrip said, this is why we tune in for those little details. I did and I laughed...a lot!! I didn't know Edwards wore them.

Sorry Waltrip and Biffle will NOT BE ON next Schrader pretended he would be sure to be there with Mikey gone, lol. Already, the show will not be as fun.

But SPEED needs to change it's Monday night line up as well and ADD NASCAR shows to solidify a good three hour block

Anonymous said...

I agree with sophiaz123. Biffle looked like he was really struggling to get out of a smoke-filled car -- as Rusty mentioned how Biffle needed to get out of there so he could breath -- but the "rescue" workers seemed more intent on lifting the hood and hooking to the wrecker while Biffle was still struggling to get out.

Biffle's body language suggested he was not happy with the workers when he got out, which harkened back to his gripes at his Vegas test crash.

Maybe it was not as bad as it looked, but I thought it deserved more TV attention and follow-up.

Anonymous said...

JD, I noticed something different about the music video that airs before the opening intro on INC. The music in the intro at the midnight airtime was different than the music at the 8pm airtime. I also notice this same situation with the "rear view mirror" segment on NASCAR victory lane. The music is always different in the re-air than in the original air time. I have not seen this done with any other TV show. Is there any particular reason why this is done?

SophiaZ123 said...

boy I am tired but did not catch the different music. Wish i had a dvr now..but I got such a kick out of the show and kenny's opening, i am re watching it.

wished I would've noticed.;-0

I just noticed the opening theme music was the same but I guess you mean after Kenny's opening tease?

Anonymous said...

SophiaZ123 said...
I just noticed the opening theme music was the same but I guess you mean after Kenny's opening tease?

November 6, 2007 12:22 AM

sorry. to be clear, I meant the "music video" right after Kenny's intro. not the theme music intro.

I do not have a DVR, but I believe it was different. Maybe someone with a DVR can double check? Either way, I know for a fact the "rear view mirror" music video on victory lane, is different each time it re-airs and I still want to know why.

drh277 said...

This is what you said in February about an episode of inc.-
"Also this week, Waltrip made a determined effort to carry on a running conversation with Kenny Schrader and guest Reed Sorenson that rarely included series host Dave Despain. His pleas of "let's get back to the highlights" and "could we get back on track?" were largely ignored." This was a post that largely praised Despain.

Then tonight you say this -"Despain's inability to have fun, be pleasant and pump-up the "three amigos" was so bad that it actually became a running joke in the show itself." This was a post that basically beat up on Despain.

I don't understand the difference in the two shows. And I don't understand why you flip flopped on Despain. I can't stand the guy myself.

Anonymous said...

The way to improve this show is to blow out the host as well as the current guests drivers.

Despain is ok on wind tunnel, but doesn't fit well on this show. Waltrip is just as bad at being a TV personality as he is a driver (maybe he drinks sterno before each show). This needs drivers that constantly finish in the top 15.

Hosts, Wendy V, Jamie Little or Krista Voda. It's time to give the women a chance. They should get one driver who sits in all year, say Truex. Then rotate all the drivers in the guest seat to get a wide variety of drivers opinions.

wickedj said...

i came here to defend Despain..i LOVE Wind Tunnel

so he doesnt like doing the taped tv show gig..dont mean you gotta bash the guy

Anonymous said...

Biffle said it was the air hose on the side of his helmet that he could not get unhooked ... The question should be "Why was there duct tape on the hose??" ...

Why didn't Biff correct Dave when he mispronounced the name of the city mentioned in Biff's ZMax question/letter?? Biff's home state & he should darn well know how to pronounce "Bothell, WA" (It's not "Bow-Thell" ... It rhymes with "brothel") ...

The intro segment is too long ... They were 8 minutes into the show before they actually started reviewing about the race ... They showed Denny hitting AJ, but failed to show that it was Vickers that punted AJ into the wall the first time ...

I like Despain ... But, he just does not work on the type of show that INC is ... Wind Tunnel is much better suited for Dave ...

The show is good ... The 3 main "experts" are good ... Change the ringleader to John Roberts or Steve Byrnes and you will have a much better show ... Use Harvick or Jeff Burton or Bowyer as a fill-in ... I think AJ Allmendinger would work well on the show as a fill-in expert just because everything is soooooo new to him and he's got a very refreshing attitude about Nascar ...

During the review of the Truck race, I didn't like the fact that they showed video of Skinner's wife ... I'm sorry, but I get soooo tired of the focusing on the wives/mothers of the drivers ... They're not the ones driving the cars & trucks ... Plus, Skinner's wreck wasn't even that bad ...

The show's runtime needs to be expanded to 90 minutes ... IF Speed is NOT going to have any other shows that review the Busch and Truck races ... There's so much that we miss out on and INC fills in a lot of the blanks ...

This particular episode had good parts and bad parts ... But, that's been the only consistent thing about the show the past 3 seasons ...

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was a good one. It was lighthearted and everyone was having fun. I learned some things and laughed a little, that's why I tune in every Monday night. I hope they continue for a couple more years.

Sal said...

If you're going to replace the host (Despain really isn't suited to this show, good as he is), please replace Mikey while you're at it. He is there for nothing else than to tout the Nascar party line, and frequently insult the fans by putting down anything or anyone who expresses an opinion that doesn't treat Brain France as the brilliant savior of Nascar. Ratings and attendance would suggest otherwise.

dr said...

INC may not be the best informational NASCAR show, but it is easily the most entertaining, even in its present state.

Anonymous said...

The only viewer who could or should be enjoying this debacle is Alan Bestwick. I believe the best chance of saving this show is assigning a host who actually likes NASCAR and understands it. Wendy Venturini is my choice.

Anonymous said...

Reinstate Bestwick.

The show will quickly return to the one we've all watched and loved for ten years.

Busch Series Fan! said...

JD, I think you were a little harsh in this column, and yes it was a little disjointed last night but I wouldn't want this show off the air. Gotta go and vote now!

jfs-va said...

I guess I feel the same as alot of the others who have posted. I look forward to the show every week and while it may not always be "perfect", I learn things from it and enjoy the banter.

Being a new fan this year, I don't have knowledge of the previous seasons to compare, so maybe I would feel differently if I did. I hope this show is around next season. I see it as the period on the racing weekend and then I move on to what's next.

Ritchie said...

JD - I hope that we can agree to disagree about this show. I feel that you could put anybody from Allen Bestwick to John Roberts to Mike Joy in the host seat and it isn't going to make a difference. As long as we still have the same drivers as panelist the show is going to slip into the ratings dump. When you have two-thirds of the panelists not even racing, I really don't know how much they can add to the show called Inside Nextel Cup. As a viewer, I feel that two of the panelist are actually joking around and cutting up because they truly don't have anything to add to the show.

The constant preaching by Mr. Waltrip has become completely unbearable. Last night he climbed on his soapbox to chide everyone for talking about the old points system for crying out loud! He claimed in his sermon that it makes him angry and that he doesn't want to hear about it again. There is something new making him mad every week and frankly I don't know how a new host is going to change that behavior.

Maybe Mr. Despain isn't the correct host, or maybe he is in a no-win situation. Then again, maybe the driver paradigm has shifted and this show has simply run its course.

Kathy said...

I love the light-hearted quality of this show and the "insider" information. It is not meant to be "hard news" coverage of the sport. It is what it is and you will either love it or hate it. Some of us like the lighter have to admit you will not hear about Jimmie Johnson worrying about his image being destroyed by the type of eye ware he chooses to run in anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Despain must be the perfect host....People all have differing views on what they saw and liked or disliked, but they all watched. If no Dave, I think it might turn NASCAR Vanilla on us.

Anonymous said...

I don't want this show to be serious at all...I think of it as watching Jon Stewart VS Brian Williams for the news.

Deborah said...

I've not enjoyed INC as much as in the past since Speed made changes and brought Despain on, but I must have been watching a different show than you JD last night. I thought this was a solid show in which the whole panel seemed comfortable and had some interesting things to say. The discussion about Greg's flaming car was good, particularly since he offered up information, that he got hung up on his air hose, that wasn't available elsewhere. Also the eyewear discussion and the comment about how you might be able to tease Dale Earnhardt but that he'd get you weeks later, to some these might seem like insignificant discussions but for a lot of fans it's the reason they're tuning in to hear something different than what they can get from other media sources. In general they all - and I would include Despain - seemed to be having a fairly good time of doing the show, which hasn't always seemed to be the case this season.

I definitely think there's ways that Speed could improve this show but sometimes it seems that INC and those on it get picked apart and trashed in this space for very small things. Every show, particularly one like this is going to have it's ups and downs, and since the panel isn't made up of professional TV personalities, but instead of professional race car drivers, they're going to have their flaws too. I don't think I'd want to watch a show that was polished and perfect all the time.

Anonymous said...

I tried to watch last nights show, but Despain just doesn't do anything for me. He looks totally out of place, and it seems to me that he doesn't even want to be there. I really do like INC, however I think it needs a new host. Bestwick would let the guys have fun. I've always liked Kenny, and think he should stay on. Even though he doesn't have a Cup ride. Mikey? I'm getting sick of his ways. His act is getting old. Just like his brothers Boogity, etc act is getting old. I also think that if Greg would just lighten up a little, he'd be OK. Hopefully, the show will be on next year, but maybe with a different format. Change it up somehow!

Anonymous said...

One poster said that they want the current three panelists thrown out, and have current top 15 drivers on the show, as well as Truex on all year. WTF? Truex has as much personality as a throw rug. The reason Shrader and Waltrip have been doing this so long is not only their on-air personalities, but their HISTORY AND KNOWLEDGE of the sport. If there is an inside joke, or if there is a response to certain safety issues, then they could tell you the "whys" not just the "hows". Truex has ,what, two years of experience? If someone asked him why the HANS device was impemented , he'll tell you "Because NASCAR said so." Ask Kenny Shrader the same question, and I guarantee you will get a different response. These people that have short attention spans, and only want the flavor of the month grind on my nerves, as I know that they are "new" fans who couldn't tell you who Ray Fox was, or what an "Earnhardt bar" is. History, people. That's why these two veteran drivers are on the show. They make it entertaining with their wit, as well as their knowledge. Put Martin Truex on there, and let the sleeping begin!

Robyn said...

I really enjoyed last night's show. When I watch, I am not always looking for perfection. I just want to hear what these drivers have to say. I agree that it is bad that 2 of the 3 panelists weren't even in the race. But they may have seen things that we were not shown and as drivers in the race they would not be able to see. It was good to hear Biffle's explaination as to what happened to him when the car was on fire. You wouldn't have gotten that anywhere else. I'm still waiting to hear if Kyle Petty and Bill Elliott are ok.

Anonymous said...

I love INC, despise Despain and wish the show was on at another time beside opposite PRISON BREAK, my favorite show!!!!!!!!!

Steve L said...

I'm with Ritchie on this one.

As soon as Mikey started his "get over it" attitude about the past points system I turned the channel.

He has had this "get over it" attitude about the COT, NASCAR rules, prior point system and other rants. I used to like him but have lost all respect for him.

Dave is a joke. It's clear on 'Wind Bag Tunnel' he does not like NASCAR so why in the world is he on INC?

Sorry but I vote to scrap the show completely

Anonymous said...

Put me in the category of those that still love INC in spite of its occasional struggles. It was never meant to be what NASCAR Now is supposed to be. It is meant to be an entertainment show first and foremost, and if there's some information gleaned within the hour it's a bonus. But I do think that the struggles have been more frequent since the changes made by Chris Long that have been well documented here and other places.

My observation is that Biffle has seemed much more comfortable since his wedding. Maybe there was some weight on him that finally was lifted.

I've heard that the show is in fact returning next season. Where have you heard otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Put me squarely in the "I Like Mikey" camp.

Maybe it's because I don't like whiners, either.

Anonymous said...

All speed needs to do is bring back AB why is this so hard for them to do? If nothing else, he could give us a great last few shows. I wish somone would explain why he was booted to begin with and why, since Dispain is universally considered at the lest unsuited to the host chair, hasn't someone gotten Alan on the phone? What did he do?

Anonymous said...

Music being changed for re-airs is most likely because of the contracts they have with the music companies. They have an "ephemeral rule" that says you can use popular music for one time use without having to pay for it. Therefore when the show re-airs, they use generic music. I'm not sure if this is the case but just a guess from what has been described.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
All speed needs to do is bring back AB why is this so hard for them to do? If nothing else, he could give us a great last few shows. I wish somone would explain why he was booted to begin with and why, since Dispain is universally considered at the lest unsuited to the host chair, hasn't someone gotten Alan on the phone? What did he do?"

Bestwick works for ABC/ESPN not FOX/SPEEDTV which has the show we are talking about.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments,

Let me talk about a couple of things. What we reviewed was a program that has been on all season, and has only three episodes left. The host, and the panelists should have been on their game from the word "go."

Secondly, this show is on tape. It is pre-produced. When you have a bad segment, when the energy is low, when the talent gets off-track, you simply stop and re-group.

This was not a live show that was having a off-night. This was the finished final product from NASCAR Images of a national TV show about NASCAR at the height of the season.

Despain is great on WindTunnel, and I encouraged SPEED to bring it back on Monday nights following INC for two hours next season. But on INC, he is what they call in the business a "show killer."

His personality, his need for control, and his attitude that serve him so well on WT absolutely kill him on INC, where he is not the star and is not supposed to be.

Imagine someone with a good sense of humor and a quick wit like John Robert, Steve Byrnes, or Wendy Venturini in that chair. With exactly the same three drivers, the show would be completely different immediately.

When you set the bar as high as INC did over the last ten years, you can't just "mail one in" like all four of them did last night. This is not cable access, or a Regional Sports Network, this is the big time.

Remember, this site is about the TV part, not their driving or what kind of season they are having.

The Producer should have stopped this show, re-grouped, re-focused, and then put on the kind of outstanding program that the three panelists are capable of when Despain has his marching orders correct.

Waltrip and Despain both made remarks about how bad this show was...during the show. Schrader ended the show by asking people to come back next week because it was so bad.

If this had been June, that would be one thing. But, in November at the very height of The Chase and the season, this was a big mistake that should have been corrected prior to air.

Anonymous said...

I see your point JD, but I remember only one show back when Alan was hosting that they said that it was so bad they started over.

I think their plan is to do it as if it were live and air it that way -- maybe for the sake of spontaneity, maybe for the sake of the drivers' schedules.

Personally, I think that they've stayed with that format just because that's the way it's always been done. The show, in the beginning especially, was "the little cable access show that could." Should that, for lack of a better term, "policy" have changed I don't know.

MBeard, Muskogee, OK said...

Sorry Mr. Daly, but I like this weekly program and I'm a "veteran" viewer of eight years, rarely missing a show. I also screamed in an email to SPEED when they moved DeSpain over and replaced Bestwick. BUT,and I know I'm WAAAY in the minority, but I like him and his disjointed style. I've even started watching his other shows too.

I enjoy Schrader and Biffle, and even though Mikey gets very tiresome, they all kind of fit.


MBeard, Muskogee, OK

Ritchie said...

John, you are the expert and if you say that I will like the show better with a different host then so be it. However, you say that I should imagine it with a different host. When I do that, all that I see is two of the drivers that I have grown tired of, going over the highlights of the race just like they did ten years ago. Except now, those two drivers hardly race and one of them thinks that the show is all about him, not the racing (which is, ironically, the same thing everyone complains about when talking about ESPN).

Then again, maybe I'm just completely wrong.

Anonymous said...

Bestwick works for ABC/ESPN not FOX/SPEEDTV which has the show we are talking about.

Is he a freelancer or does he have a contract which demands exclusivity? Is he an employee or a contractor?

Kathy said...

If the production is a mess, shouldn't the director or editor or whoever is in charge of that part of the show be taking the "hit" and not the on-air personalities? And why is Wendy being pushed forward as a possible replacement? She is good at what she does, but I just can't see her in the middle of this mix.

Photojosh said...

I really like INC and watch it every week.

No, the drivers aren't in the top 15 every week. But Biffle has been beat down by bad luck this year, and is normally a top 15 driver. Waltrip's Toyota adventure is worth following and he is an interesting personality. And Kenny is one of the coolest drivers in the series. he's one of those guys who will race anything anywhere anytime. He's been around the sport through it's highest and lowest points.

I was bummed when Dave replaced Alan. But that sort of thing happens in TV. I have come to really enjoy Windtunnel, but I'd like to see someone else "driving" INC. I think it would really fix the issues the show has from time to time. One of the "gals" is not a bad idea at all. Wendy? Claire B.? Or maybe one of the MRN guys? I'm just casting around here.

The INC problems are minor and can be fixed. I really hope the show continues.

Barry Kentrup said...

Bestwick thought it was the AB show!! He was horrible!! I think someone thought Dave was the ugly duckling who could become a swan. It didn't happen.

The stars of the show are Mikey and Kenny and the other drivers who show up now and then. When the Drivers get involved in a conversation, no matter how far off topic it is, I LOVE IT. That is what I have tuned in to see since the VERY beginning of the show.

I have already seen the cup, busch and truck races. The review of these races is to get the panelist view on what happened and why.

The panel on this show is fine. I would love to see a host with NASCAR experience like Krista Voda.

I think the female aspect would help this show tremendously.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:26PM,

The show used to have a Hot Seat guest, and also used to have a video feature that MW did at the track. It was never so serious, and I am absolutely not taking a swing at DD, if I had my way WindTunnel would be back to at least four days a week. I think that show, done right, could dominate the TV ratings.


The good thing about TV is that it is all subjective. That is why we have this site, because we all like different things. No one is wrong or right, we just like to talk about what we like and hear what others think.

If your opinion is that two of the three drivers need to be changed, it has just as much weight as mine. We shall see what happens.


Great comments and question. Just like a NASCAR team, the production "team" at INC is a group that has worked together for a long time. Input from all parties is what results in the show that we see. While each person has a different role, they all contribute to the end product.

Performing as an "on-air talent" takes preparation and focus. Just a couple of shows back, this group had their best show of the year.

Readers wrote in to applaud this group getting back on-track, having fun, and hearing laughter once again on INC.

When SPEED sits down in the off-season and has their post-season meeting, it will be interesting to see if they decide to continue, and if they do...what changes will we see for 2008?


S said...

JD... IMHO, Dave Dispain needs to go... INC is wonderful and even more wonderful when whinnyWaltrip is NOT on the show. MW runs his mouth and complains way too much not giving Kenny nor Greg much time to state their opinions.

If Kenny wasn't on the show, INC would be washed up. Kenny would make a wonderful host and knows his stuff about racing!

Change the host... and please do not cancel the show... Thanks for listening.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a live Q&A session going on right now, just refresh to the main page if you would like to participate.


Anonymous said...

Back when they shows were good AB would get to the studio early in the morning and prep for the afternoon taping. The producer (remember the panel would say something to Harry) would also work with AB and get a great show out of a days work. Then, Chris Long came along and got rid of AB and tried to make the show a serious show. I think Harry was also taken off the show because I have not heard his name in a long time. That is when it all started to fall apart. Do not forget that Chris also play a major roll in killing Totally NASCAR.
From what I heard Chris is gone and now it is time to put the show back to what it once was, including Johnny Benson.

Vince said...

I'm wondering how many that like this show in it's current state are new or fairly new viewers vs the long time viewers?

I watched this show when it first came out 10 years ago and have tried to watch it a couple of times since AB and JB were dumped and it's just not the same show. DD has to have control or he gets his nose outta joint. Mikey gets on his pulpit about something every week. It seemed like with AB, he let the guys go to some extent, but still controlled the show in a "good" way.

And I miss the Hot Seat segment. You never knew who was going to show up. Kenny and Mikey would do there best to really put them on the spot.

Deborah said...

I'm not sure the comments about how "bad" the show was were meant to be taken seriously. Hasn't it always been a long-running joke on INC about how "bad" the show is, that viewers might not want to tune in the next week and that Speed might cancel them as a result?

Also, while this blog seems to push the idea that INC is on the verge of being canceled, Michael was asked about INC in a chat with fans about a month or so ago. He said that INC will be back next season and he'll also be back on the show. So maybe things can still change but whatever decisions Speed was going to make about the show might have already been made.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Let's face it, this episode was bad. I like those guys, you like those guys, but it stunk.

Nothing is harder than changing something when you don't "have to."

This show could come back next season just as it is, with the same folks, on the same night, with the same format.

If you are a long time viewer of this show, you know that three of the four elements for a great TV series are in place.

What's the problem with changing the host? Will the show collapse? Will DD be on the street? No, it could only shake things up and make the panel get back on their game.

Once again, I think DD should be on the air four nights a week with WindTunnel. I watched it, and I miss it now. The Sunday show is too crowded and chaotic.

Anonymous said...

Folks calling for a top 10 driver in the show weekly need to remember that this is not a high paying gig, and you don't get Gordon or Johnson for free. Schrader, Waltrip, Benson and bestwick started this show on a shoe-string and in a garage over a decade ago. (it still is in what equates to a garage with a roll-down door leading to the back...remember when you used to be able to hear the trash truck?). I say leave the panel as-is...actually, I still miss Benson. I wish they would bring Bestwick back...he mixed well with the panel, and still knew how to keep them on time. Watching Dave try and host this show is almost as painful as watching Jay Mohr host the Champions banquet. (ugh)

Don't cancel the show, just fix what is broken. Let dave do Wind Tunnel, and bring Alan back.

Anonymous said...

I've heard a few comments about the fact the show is taped, which it is. But did anyone catch the show after Atlanta? They made some reference to the show being done "live", because all the drivers were at the COT tests and had to come in so late. They talked about Biffle being the fastest in the second test. Do you think it was just taped "live", or that it was actually live?

Anonymous said...

About once a year they end up doing a live show because of conflicts during the day. It is actually live....although it goes to show that they are actually pretty darned good at what they do if you can't tell whether it is live or "memorex".

Mikey and Schrader could do this in their sleep they have been at it so long. I like Biff better than Vickers, although Vickers seems to be more comfortable in the third seat. I also miss the "Hot Seat" segment, because they would often have the weekends winner or CC or Owner on. And they also used to always have the "top finisher" of the three each week do the intro instead of the host.

I think the panel has a good mix on it. Schrader races everything, everywhere. Mikey, love him or hate him, has been a good sport despite his rough year, and now brings in insite as not only a driver, but an owner. Benson would be good because he could be the truck series voice...the truck series has the best championship race going of the three series and is very under-represented every week.

You fixed what wasn't broke, Speed. Now put it back.

SophiaZ123 said...

The worst thing SPEED ever did, from what I have read by 100's of messages on boards, was to DUMP the several nights of WTunnel.

One hour indeed, is not NEARLY enough. Segments are often rushed or too many half drunk callers wasting time.

I loved Despains interview with Economaki (sp?) being just a few years into NASCAR. I think Despain is a great host and do not feel the hatred but I know we are all different.

I still enjoyed last nights show and it made me laugh. Wasnt' that horrible to many of us.

Also the in radio comment about Jimmie and the goggles making him look like a dork were priceless.

Also I DO remember Ken Schrader saying a few weeks ago you should NEVER duct tape the helmet host. I think we saw why with Biffle being stuck. NASCAR should outlaw the use of that.

HOPEFULLY this message will post but earlier today, I got a message that another similar site with Blogger was having technical problems and things would appear to go no where or I zappped my message to the Space Station.

Anyway, if the show makes me laugh, I love it and like Deborah said, the guys have always put themselves down.

Also make the show 90 minutes and have the hotseat brought back. Answer more email and take time interviewing the hotseat guests.

Also show more bits from Busch and Truck races. I do not think this show HAS to be about the CUP races. After all with NASCAR changing it's series names more than some folks change winter coats, whats the big deal about tweaking the name of this show AND keeping KS, MW and Biffle OR bringing back JB for the truck series.

So many kernels in this show but Chris Long broke the popcorn popper.


Deborah said...

JD, why do I need to "face it" that the episode was bad? Because you think it was bad everyone else should feel the same way? Read the comments, it's not just me that thought the show was decent last night, and we gave specific reasons as to why we liked last night's show, plus various elements of INC overall. I don't personally care for Despain, I'd have no problem if he was replaced, and I also think the format of the show needs some tweaking, however, I'm not going to say Despain or the show was terrible last night when I don't think that it was.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:21PM,

A Jay Mohr mention on The Daly Planet...that has to be extra points! Possibly one of the most painful TV programs in the history of NASCAR TV.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:36 PM,

The show after the Atlanta race was one of the few that they've actually done live without the safety net of pre-recording.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:36 PM,

The show after the Atlanta race was one of the few that they've actually done live without the safety net of pre-recording.

Anonymous said...

A Jay Mohr mention on The Daly Planet...that has to be extra points! Possibly one of the most painful TV programs in the history of NASCAR TV.

Thank you, thank you! LOL. However, he is the worst TV host on the planet, always seems to be drunk, and brings nothing to what is already a too long program. I am praying that NASCAR moves the ceremony to the HoF when it is finished, and moves to get a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour to host...or heck, all three of 'em. THAT would be a show worth watching.

Anonymous said...

I felt the show was a bit "down" but thought it was because Mikey and Greg had come back from Texas, arriving at who knows when.
I think DeSpain has improved, but would still prefer Alan Bestwick, John Roberts or Wendy Ventirini.
You MUST have a couple of drivers with "history" like Mikey and Schrader. There comparisons with old-time drivers and racing add so much to the show.
Please, please, don't cancel this show. It adds a different element than Victory Lane, and cuts the long emptyness from Sunday night until Thursday or Friday night with no NASCAR on SPEED.

Anonymous said...

deborah said...
JD, why do I need to "face it" that the episode was bad? Because you think it was bad everyone else should feel the same way?

agreed - you can't say both "Let's face it, this episode was bad" and "The good thing about TV is that it is all subjective. That is why we have this site, because we all like different things. No one is wrong or right, we just like to talk about what we like and hear what others think."

Daly Planet Editor said...


State your case. When things go wrong, sometimes its funny. When things go wrong, sometimes its not.

You think it was funny. I don't. You think they were just poking fun at each other and I think they were embarrassed.

Forty-plus teams are two races away from ending a ten month Cup season. There is a time to mess around and a time to "get up on it" and prepare and execute like you should.

I don't feel they did, and I think Schrader confirmed it at the end of the show by saying they are not always this bad.

I agree with Kenny, if you check my archives recently I wrote a glowing review about a show where they cooked through the highlights with all kinds of good info while still having fun. So, what happened?

Many of the comments here said they have seen worse episodes. That is of little consolation. Most everyone wants the show back, and some even want DD back.

Is the standard for this show three tired and dis-interested guys being talked-over by a host who just wants to get back to Wind Tunnel? That is what I saw.

What I have seen in the past is three pumped-up drivers itching to talk about the big race on Sunday, and pass along their personal knowledge to fans of the show. Then, have fun with some fan questions and talk about the upcoming race.

I miss good NASCAR TV on SPEED from anywhere but the SPEED stage at the track. I miss the Hot Seat and the ninety minute format and the features from the track.

In just a couple of weeks, INC will fold its tent again. This push by me is to remind them of what they could be, what they used to be, and what they certainly were not last night.


Busch Series Fan! said...

JD, I remember when Windtunnel was on every weeknight during the racing season and Dave did a great job but I don't think he has been the greatest on INC. I sometimes think Greg is tired or something like that. I think Mikey & Kenny Schrader play off each other but sometimes Michael gets on a soapbox and I can't stand that. I loved their comments on the picture of Johnson & Knaus in their cowboy hats. I thought it looked stupid too. There's probably 3 or 4 people who could be a decent host of INC too.

Anonymous said...

I say "Dump Dave" and bring on Wendy Venturini. She'd be an excellent host and is clever enough to play along but yet keep the show on track. Kinda like an elementary classroom with she playing the teacher part and the the other 3 featured as class clowns. No doubt a winning combination

coffee said...

I've only had SPEED for a couple of years and vaguely remember NOT watching Johnny Benson. But, I love the show this year with all the tongue-in-cheek and bench racing. They should forget the news and highlights as that stuff is ground into powder by all of the other shows. Let 'em bench race and lets have fun!

Anonymous said...

I did watch the show Monday and it was pretty good but I did notice that Dave Despain was too uptight and didn't seem to want to have any fun. Last season and at the beginning of this season, there were several episodes where the guys cut up so much they had me rolling with laughter. Why does every NASCAR related show have to be rigid and uptight? Why can't there be one that covers the races but has a healthy dose of silliness mixed in? Especially a show that airs on Monday since we all know that Mondays tend to suck in general. Everyone also knows that a majority of the drivers are very witty guys so why force them to keep it bottled up? I'm tired of 'no laughter, no fun' shows.

Chris in Austin, TX.

Anonymous said...

JD---I have been watching INC since day one of the show. Granted some shows are better than others, I still look forward to watching it every week. I was very dissapointed when Bestwick and Benson got the axe. Maybe Alan couldn't maintain control of the show but that's what made it good. Despain is fine on windtunell but He's out of place on INC. I also agree with many other people that Mikey is getting old. He steals air time form the other panelists by talking over them constantly. I use to like Mikey but he has worn out his welcome. I hope INC is back next year and many more ...
Dale Jr Fan

Anonymous said...

I actually enjoyed this show more than most and also thought that Despain was making a sideways mention of this column at one point.

Anonymous said...

I like Dave Despain, and think Wind Tunnel is a great show, however, he totally ruins the chemistry on this once fun and candid look at the past weekend's events. I stopped watching not long after he took over.

I say bring back Allen Bestwick. I'm really not sure why Speed took him out to begin with. I thought the show was great, and I watched it every night.

John said...

I'm not sure what Allen Bestwick's contract situation is, but I was in charge of INS, his cell phone would be ringing.

I miss the feel of four insider's (who seem to like each other), shooting the breeze after the race.