Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Steve Byrnes Answers Your NASCAR TV Questions

Since we have received so many great comments during the year about a wide variety of NASCAR TV topics, we have decided to add a new feature.

The Daly Planet will post a column talking about one NASCAR TV personality, and then allow you to ask them the one question that has been on your mind all season long. The key word in that sentence

Any post with multiple questions will be deleted, so make your one question count. Our guest will read the column, send me the answers they feel comfortable providing, and we will review what they say together. Considering the level of NASCAR TV knowledge shown in the thousands of comments on this blog, it should be interesting.

Our inaugural guest is Steve Byrnes from Fox Sports and SPEED. Currently living in the Carolinas, Steve is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Radio, TV, and Film. He hails from LaGrange, Illinois and his full bio from can be seen by clicking here.

NASCAR fans like Steve because of his on-air style. He makes the transition between hosting a studio or talk show and working in the announce booth for on-track action very smoothly.

Using that versatility, Steve hosts the popular Trackside show on SPEED that has grown into a featured primetime live program for the network. On racing weekends, he also hosts NASCAR Live, and during the final ten race stretch he hosts The Chase is On from the SPEED studios in Charlotte.

The Daly Planet received many comments and emails about Steve's hosting of the practice and qualifying sessions for both the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series. He and his SPEED crew often stepped-in right between the other networks telecasting the actual races. In fact, when Byrnes ended practice for one series, another network might immediately go on-the-air with Happy Hour or a live race. NASCAR fans appreciated the good humor and solid knowledge that he brought to these telecasts.

Working for Fox Sports, Steve is a pit reporter for the NASCAR on Fox telecasts, and has also managed to quietly slip-in some work doing play-by-play for selected NFL Football games. That assignment is a big statement about his sports TV abilities.

Veteran NASCAR fans remember Steve from a long list of shows, including the Totally NASCAR series that aired on both SPEED and FoxSportsNet.

In summary, Steve has been a fixture on the NASCAR scene for some time now, and his ability to relate to the audience, show guests and his fellow on-air announcers has been well documented. We certainly appreciate his help with this "experiment."

This post will remain up through Thursday, to allow folks to think of the one good question that they have always wanted to ask. Steve will be reviewing the questions on Friday, and I will publish a column with his answers over the weekend.

UPDATE: Thanks for your great questions, Steve's answers will be up soon.

If this first effort goes well, we have Krista Voda, Wendy Venturini, Randy Pemberton, Matt Yocum and several other folks who would also like to participate. Thanks again for stopping by.


The Last To Know said...

Hi Steve, my question is why have you not had a female guest on Trackside? With the good female reporters that Speed has (Krista, Wendy) it would be nice to hear their perspective on Nascar issues.

Grandma J said...

Are you and Carl going to do The Chase Is On again next year?

kevvan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...


Try again please. We are only asking one at a time. That way Steve can pick and choose when its all done on Friday.

Thanks again,

stricklinfan82 said...


Thank you very much for participating in this session. You have always done a fantastic job with all your NASCAR TV work over the years and it's certainly an honor to get the chance to participate in this Q&A session with you.

My question relates back to your career covering the sport of NASCAR. I very much enjoyed seeing a lot of never-before-seen footage of some memorable times you shared with the late Dale Earnhardt in the movie "Dale". I was just wondering if there were any other memorable stories that stick out in your mind when you look back at the times you have shared with Dale or any other drivers / NASCAR personalities in your time covering this sport.

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve, thanks for agreeing to answer our questions!

Since you're obviously a very busy guy, I'd like to know what your typical race weekend is like for you during the season. Not just your on-camera time, but the preparation that goes into bringing you and the crazy guys you work with to our TV screens every weekend. I'm sure you make it look way easier than it is, and I'm curious about what it takes to produce such TV awesomeness.


TexasRaceLady said...

If you could interview any driver, past or present, who would it be?

Palestine, TX

Anonymous said...

Steve, Do you believe television will still be the primary means by which NASCAR fans get their racing news in the future or will they gradually move to other platforms like the internet and their mobile devices to get NASCAR news and information?

Bill H said...


Discounting the on air personalities, why do you think there was such a marked difference between how Speed covered the CTS races and ESPN covered the Cup races?


Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey Everybody,

Great questions so far. If you are posting as "Anon," please feel free to put your name and location at the bottom of the question.

Thanks, JD

Anonymous said...


You have a lot of different jobs doing NASCAR TV and I was just wondering which role you enjoy the most?


elena said...

Hi Steve, Thanks for taking the time to participate. You are such a professional and I have enjoyed watching you over the the years. My question is, have you ever committed an exteme blopper on air that was hard to recover from? (Because you and collegues were trying to supress laughter.) So much of what we see is live, so I hope you can share a funny incident.


Anonymous said...


I'm curious to know the primary item (non technical) that you would address and possibly change for live CUP TV coverage?

Most of us who read The Daly Planet have our own ideas and it would be interesting to know how a member of the coverage group perceives these issues.

Thanks in advance,
JD (a different JD)

Vince said...

Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to come by and answer some of our questions. Mine concerns next year. Can you give us a hint on what new things you and Speed will be giving us next year as far as our Nascar coverage?

Thanks again.


Thornton,Colorado said...

What do you think of the current coverage by ESPN?

Alex said...

Growing up, did you always want to have a career involving racing? If so, did you want to be a driver or have a TV job?


midwest racefan said...

Steve - I have a two part question. Love your work and I agree with one other fan above, that your section in the dale movie was the best part. how come barney hall wasn't asked to be a part of the dale movie? I would imagine he has some really good stories about dale. to my questions. How come SPEED does not do a daily NASCAR program? It just seems like a no brainer. I know NASCAR nation bombed, but NASCAR now and ESPN lowered the bar for sure!
Will you and your FOX sports team be working the two truck races this year on FOX? I love the trucks and I think they have a great team, but I would love to see the whole FOX sports nextel cup team work those shows. I think you guys are the best.
thanks for taking the time to come to this website that john has put together.


Daly Planet Editor said...


That was pretty sneaky. Two part question. It was good, so the judges will let it slide and besides Steve already read it.

Try to keep things to one good question if you want an answer folks.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Steve:
I'd like to ask this question:
Given that your sports background prior to 1985 was not automotive-related and your bio lists football as your favorite sport, what has kept you, in broadcasting, in motorsports the last 22 years (aside from the FOX NFL broadcasts that you do from time to time)?
Thanks for taking your valuable time to respond to the questions in this column!
Tom in Dayton, OH.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for answering our questions.

I'd like to know what you think was the biggest story of the 2007 racing season?


Merritt Island, Florida

AndyPandy said...


Thanks for joining JD and helping us out here. How did Sterling Marlin react the first time he heard you do your Sterling voice in front of him?

(I sure hope he gets a ride next year.)

Matt said...

Hey Steve,

Thanks for taking time to answer some questions. This is not a criticism, and I enjoy FOX's coverage very much, but there is a very different approach that FOX takes to covering NASCAR than that of ESPN and TNT, and previously NBC. FOX is, shall we say, a little more fun and loose than the other networks, yet still covers the sport extremely well. Do you ever think or fear that the fun you guys have during the broadcasts takes away from the races, practices, qualifyings themselves and turns the announcers into "celebrities"?

Richard in N.C. said...

Steve- Thanks for agreeing to consider questions. I got digital cable for 1 reason - so I can watch SPEED. I really, really do enjoy NASCAR practice, qualifying, and Trackside and your work on them and often tape Trackside to make sure I don't miss it. After hooking many fans for 10 months, why does SPEED go virtually NASCAR dark for December & January? I would enjoy Trackside reruns much more than what is in its place in the "off-season". I would really enjoy a weekly "off-season" show like The Chase show you did with Carl Edwards. Thanks for your super work.

SophiaZ123 said...


After my brother in Seattle got me so into NASCAR, I got SPEED so I could keep up with all the racing shows and qualifying.

I enjoy your work and the other sidekicks you have as well.

QUESTION: Why do you guys sit with your backs to the crowd on Trackside? If I were standing there, LIVE, I would want to see your smiling face (as well as the others, and the guests!)

I realize this question may seem like minutiae but inquiring minds want to know.

Do you tire of all the waving signs the crowds have and want to force us the TV viewers to see them? Just kidding.


Look forward to seeing you in racing season and thanks for being the first to take part in this Q&A for the DaleyPlanet.

Sophia in SW Ohio

Anonymous said...


When you do the pre-interviews with the guests, what are the type of things that they ask you not to bring up? What if that is the big story about them recently? Would you just ignore being a journalist and go with being a talk show host? I'm not sure how you see your role when the guest is involved in some controversy they want to hide from.


Jo - Tampa FL said...

Hi Steve ! Love your work all of it in your many roles. Now my question - and its kind of a 2 parter sort of...If some one during pre interview says ok about a subject, then on air they keep talking about other stuff or going in a different direction - Who makes the decision to ask you or the voices in your ear & can you make the final decision?
Oh John don't delete me please it really is all the same question I think & I've always wondered...

Newracefan said...

Steve, Thanks so much for answering our questions, we all really appreciate it. How/who decides who is going to be interviewed on Trackside and the other Speed shows and does anyone ever refuse?

Perkiomenville, PA

Anonymous said...

Steve - I'm a big fan of 'Trackside' and try not to miss it. You guys always look like you are having so much fun, and I wondered if you guys are friends off the show, or just work buddies?

Thanks for answering our questions.

Ann in AZ

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great questions guys, but I want to remind you again. I think you have a better chance of Steve answering your question if you just ask one really good one.

Thanks, JD

Anonymous said...


How much research do you perform before a typical NASCAR event?

By performing research, I mean reading the weekly team press releases, logging on to message boards for the latest rumors regarding the sport, and by reviewing statistics such as driver and owner points.

I ask this because some of the television personalities seem to be clueless about certain events.

Take Pinnacle joining Ginn Racing and Joe Nemechek for example. When Nemechek made his qualifying run at Phoenix, the personalities in the booth had no idea what Pinnacle was. One of them even thought it was the golf ball company instead of a hotel/resort in Las Vegas. Ginn Racing had a press release that clearly stated what the sponsor was before that weekend. Thankfully the producers told the commentators what it was and they corrected the error, but they seemed unstudied or ill-informed.

Knowing which cars are in the top 35 in owner points has been a struggle for some commentators also. It seems like someone makes a mistake on every qualifying session.

Human error does happen, but some people covering the action seem to be clueless about events in the NASCAR community.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, and please work on your Homer Simpson impression before you attempt it again. ;)

Charlie said...

Hello Steve,
Thanks for taking the time to be part of the Daily Planet Forum.
Question - Have you ever been in a race car with Darrell Waltrip driving?

Manistique, MI

Lisa Foster said...

Do you think there will ever be a NASCAR content only channel?

I really liked it when Speed did theme days.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Steve!

HotPass on DirecTV is great. Do you guys do anything different as far as coverage is concerned, since HotPass came along. Really enjoy what you guys do for the sport. Keep up the good work!

Isaiah from Peoria, IL
PS: Hello from Illinois!!

Busch Series Fan! said...

Steve, will INC be broadcast next race season and if so, will it have a new host? And why doesn't Speed have a program exclusive to the Truck & Busch series. Thanks & Happy Holidays,
Vicky in Houston, Texas

fbu1 said...

Hi Steve:

Considering your well rounded and informed TV presence, it has been entertaining to watch the various shows that you host. The NCTS crew, collectively, has also been a pleasure to watch with it's compatible blend of banter and information. The various SPEED programs demonstrate that NASCAR reporters can present pertinent facts in an entertaining manner. So, my question is:

Why do the Cup race shows have to be bloated, over produced spectacles that, despite their devoted resources, are far less informative than the lower key NCTS races. Is it generally a corporate philosophy, a producer issue, a personnel issue etc? Despite all the pomp and ceremony of the Sunday races, the execution of the actual Cup race coverage has been disappointing, specifically on TNT and ESPN. I know that you can not be critical of a specific network, I am looking for an "in general" answer.

Central PA

Scott said...


Do you believe the fans' current commenst about the state of NSCAR being in decline (due to reasons like officiating designed to produce a good "show," the COT, multicar owners, drivers who won't speak their minds on TV anymore, etc., etc.) are justified or not?

jimicement said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garry said...

Interesting that you don't have any ESPN reporters lined up. Steve, thanks for taking the time to answer the FANS questions. It's good to know there are still a few people out there who care about us. My question is, In what direction do you HONESTLY(not from a FOX employee, but as a fan) see NASCAR headed, given the declining ratings, drops in attendance, and constant rules changes,and outright rage from the fans against NASCAR and the networks?

slithybill said...

Mr. Byrnes--

Would you be so kind as to give us a peek into a day in the life of a NASCAR Pit Road reporter? (i.e., how much time you spend in the garage before and after a race, how you listen to all the scanners of the drivers you're covering (or who's listening to them for you), how you continue to cover the pits when you follow a car to the garage or are waiting for a driver to come out of the infield care center, etc...)

Thank you!


Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I SURE wish I could also ask if Steve had ever been in a car with Dale Earnhardt.

josborne2382 said...


Great work in all of your shows and we certainly look forward to seeing you return next year.

After reading all of the questions and seeing all of the great topics covered, I wondered what kind of question to ask you...then it hit me! With all the great things you have done in the many years covering the sport and the many things you continue to do, what is left for Steve Byrnes to do? In other words, what haven't you done yet that you would still like to do?

Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions and even more so for the opportunity to get them answered!


Hammond, IN.

Phathead said...

Since NASCAR has moved away from its roots and has alienated most of the old time fans of the sports, we can only hope that they will realize this before most of the fans finally do leave the sport.

My question is this, what is the probability of using the Busch (Nationwide) Series as a testing ground for new cup ideas? The "Pony Car" COT has proved to be extremely interesting to myself and others and could very well be something which brings back the old timers. I have even seen concepts drawn up that look downright sexy and reminds me of the glory days of the sport.


The idea of using the Busch Series as kind of a testing ground seems like a decent idea, I am just wondering what you would think of the feasibility of it.


Matt said...

Hey Steve, thanks so much for answering our questions - we really appreciate it.

Since you majored in Radio, TV, and Film, was there a specific announcer or commentator that inspired you into this field?

And your Sterling impression is hilarious.

Thanks again,

Anonymous said...

Steve, thanks for all your good TV work. Many NASCAR fans have expressed concerns about this year's NASCAR coverage by ESPN/ABC.

Do the drivers express any opinions to you about the quality of the TV coverage? Thanks

LP in KS

Anonymous said...

When FOX isn't broadcasting, where do watch the race from?

cncspd said...

Thank you for taking all the questions and I love the job you do on SPEED.
Would you ever consider doing another daily show such as Totally NASCAR again? I know some of the behind the scene's people such as Ryan, Rob, Amber and Scott would love to see T/N come back.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your work on t.v. and look forward to seeing you do your thing next season.

Who are some of your favorite drivers today and why? In any series, I mean, not just Cup.

Chris in Austin, TX.