Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Daytona: The Review


  • Fantastic Craftsman Truck race with outstanding technical pictures and sound, beating Fox Sports at its own game. The Truck race was the highlight of the week because of the continual action throughout the event. Phil Parsons is at the top of his game, and continues to show the class of the Parsons family. Krista Voda is simply wonderful, welcome back.
  • Raceday is too long, too loud, and too over-the-top...and that is why we love it! No one can make you nuts like Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, who represent either everything that is wrong with this country, or everything that is good about it. This is the franchise for SPEED, and John Roberts is the best TV traffic cop in the business since Brent Musberger on the NFL Today. Does that make Wendy Venturini the new Phyllis George?
  • Victory Lane continues to be a quiet little jewel of a show that many people miss. The immediate winner interview, the emotion of the car owner, crew chief, family members, and the actual on-scene location cannot be beat. More interviews should be done, and the program should be as casual as possible, but it certainly has the potential to be what NASCAR needs, a live TV window into the post-race activity.
  • Inside NEXTEL Cup needs some fixing. Either everyone is going to play nice, or this is going to be a repeat of the 2006 stand-off between Michael Waltrip and Dave Despain. Time to sort out what the network wants, and make the changes needed for this show to continue its long run.


  • NASCAR Now was interesting with Erik Kuselias, and a disaster with Chris Fowler. Why did the network think that the College Gameday host would be a better fit for Daytona? Credit to Rusty Wallace, Shannon Spake, Marty Smith, and Alan Bestwick for hanging-in regardless of the level of knowledge on the set. And often, there just wasn't much.
  • The Daytona Busch Race was a nice solid performance by Jerry Punch to shake the rust off a long break from NASCAR. Rusty Wallace was solid, informative, and a good counterpoint to Andy Petree. ESPN delivered a strong technical performance, and clearly set the table for their future NEXTEL Cup debut. This is a network that wants more of NASCAR.

Fox Sports

  • The Daytona 500 on Fox was a mixture of strong performances and strange happenings. Mike Joy is clearly the best at his craft, and Larry McReynolds remains as intense as ever. The surprise was Darrell Waltrip. Though he should be banned from discussing any aspect of Toyota or Michael Waltrip Racing before the event, things changed when the racing began. Darrell Waltrip has grown up. His focus was strong, his comments interesting, and his composure never wavered. This was his strongest color commentary performance since he joined the network. The downside of the race was the TV directing focusing endlessly on the leaders, this has to stop. Also, the reluctance to use the in-car audio because a Fox sister company, DirecTV, was selling the "Hot Pass." The lack of driver, spotter, and crew chief chatter left a hole in the telecast that should have been filled.