Michael Waltrip continues to be the story of Inside NEXTEL Cup on SPEED. Seemingly unfazed that a television program is going on around him, Waltrip stares off-set, drinks beverages on-camera, and generally says whatever he wants, whenever he wants, for the better part of an hour. In this week's episode, his phone even rang in mid-segment.
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.
The show glossed over Waltrip's failure to qualify for Fontana, and then stood-by and allowed Waltrip to promo DirecTV's Hot Pass. For some reason, the lead team owner and top driver for Toyota stayed at Fontana to announce Dale Jr's race in the Budweiser Chevrolet. It might have helped if Despain had asked why Waltrip did this, and how Toyota might have felt. Unfortunately, Despain is so intimidated by Waltrip this will never happen.
Give Despain his due, he has been placed in this show by SPEED management, and after the cancellation of Wind Tunnel's weekday edition, this provides him one additional show to host each week. Unfortunately, he is a fish out of water.
Despain announced that Greg Biffle will soon be a show regular, and it begs the question of what other changes this show will undergo in two weeks? Certainly, things cannot go on much longer the way they are. While Alan Bestwick always used to claim there was chaos going on, he knew just how to talk to "NASCAR guys," and how to reign them in when they needed it. And, as veteran viewers know, they usually need it...a lot. This series was one of the cornerstones for SpeedVision, and then a hit show for SPEED Channel for years. Now, its struggling for its fundamental survival.