Monday, March 3, 2008
Phil Parsons Helps SPEED Fill The Void
The original idea of having three drivers stop by the TV studio and talk about the race on Monday was a good one. In one form or another, the Monday night NASCAR show on SPEED has been around for over a decade.
This Monday night, there was only one small problem. All of the "usual suspects" were in Phoenix, AZ testing with the Cup Series. Luckily, SPEED had a great "replacement player" in the wings.
Phil Parsons joined host Steve Byrnes to make-up the studio panel for This Week In NASCAR. It was interesting at first to see only two people, but Parsons was the perfect choice. His personal experience in the sport and his calm and easy-going on-air presence worked very well.
Byrnes hooked-up by satellite with both Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle for a timely interview. Both drivers have good relationships with Byrnes, and the interview was informative and covered the right ground. The two drivers were more at ease than in normal media interviews, and the effort to get them on-camera during testing was appreciated.
Byrnes leaned a lot on edited features throughout the show, and the quality of the NMG video in almost every piece was outstanding. Parsons was great in following-up many of the video pieces with his own veteran take on the subject.
As the show progressed, it was easy to understand why Craftsman Truck Series viewers have enjoyed Parsons for years. His style and sense of calm just draws viewers into what he is talking about. His plain-spoken manner gets NASCAR issues across to all kinds of fans with all levels of knowledge.
When Biffle and Edwards returned later in the show, Biffle was outstanding in addressing the safety concerns surrounding the Jeff Gordon accident in Las Vegas. Without interference, Biffle also talked about several other subjects in the same informed manner that he brought to Inside NEXTEL Cup.
It was a nice touch to dig deep in the NMG archive and bring out a Jeff Gordon interview from his rookie year. Mixed with footage and soundbites from the present day, it made for an outstanding feature that fans will remember for a long time. Parsons and Byrnes did a solid follow-up on the Gordon feature and put the impact of Jeff Gordon teaming with Rick Hendrick into a good perspective.
Each week, Dave Despain appears to offer his opinion on one topic. This time, it was Jeff Gordon. Despain put into perspective his unique open-wheel experiences with Gordon, and the pathway that ultimately led Gordon to NASCAR. All comparisons to Andy Rooney aside, this Despain feature is going to lead to great discussions when the full panel is on the program.
In the next-to-last segment of the program, Parsons did a great job of answering viewer mail. His NASCAR knowledge really hints to SPEED that perhaps the Craftsman Truck Series needs some additional TV programming during the week with Parsons in the mix.
Byrnes did a good job directing traffic, and dealing with a situation that called on a lot of his TV skills. After a rough start, this program seems to be sorting itself out in terms of features and sponsored elements. Once the full panel returns next week, it will be the first time that Byrnes and the gang will be together this season. That show might be one to circle on your TV calendar.
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.