Monday, March 31, 2008

"This Week In NASCAR" Goes Khaki

Steve Byrnes started This Week In NASCAR with a great review of the topics that race fans wanted to talk about. With Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus on the set, Byrnes talked about Jack Roush's "Part-Gate," Jeff Burton's post-race comments and the Jimmie Johnson Martinsville spin.

Then, continuing to frustrate fans, Byrnes aimed the program at the upcoming race in Texas. Only a couple of minutes into this program, and with the conversation flowing, this change once again did not make any sense.

The saving grace of the Texas conversation was the evolving dynamic between Chad Knaus and Michael Waltrip. These two seem to have figured out a nice way of relating, even though they are completely different. Unfortunately, this change kills the momentum of the show and makes it tough to switch-back to current events.

SPEED has decided to lighten-up the set and apparently one way to do that is to arrange for all three on-air talent to wear khaki-colored shirts. As Michael Waltrip said, he feels like he is in his PJ's. The look was certainly interesting.

The pre-produced features about Texas continued and for fans looking for a continuation of Martinsville topics, there was nothing left. The video editing and the sound is outstanding, in the normal manner of the NASCAR Media Group. Unfortunately, these features are produced as complete segments that really do not require any additional conversation from the panel.

As the program continues to transition from the original program format to this one, the pro's and con's of the changes are becoming clear. Trying to motivate fans to look ahead first is tough to do. Even with the great video features, the action from one year ago just does not trump the race from the previous day.

It was twenty minutes into the hour when the panel was allowed to delve into the Martinsville racing weekend. Knaus and Waltrip did a solid job of talking about the highlights. Waltrip sounded like he wanted to have some fun, but Byrnes keeps the show on a relatively short leash.

Knaus has been working on speaking-up and participating, and this was his best show to date. He is good on the mechanical and crew chief issues, which works well to compliment the driver and owner perspective of Waltrip. It also makes for the fun moments of the show.

One of the best moments involved Waltrip asking Knaus if Dale Earnhardt Jr. has access to Jimmie Johnson's set-ups and car information. Knaus did a good job of explaining how the teams work together, and put a new spin on the low-key Tony Eury Jr. situation now that Eury is at Hendrick.

As Byrnes continued to work his way through the highlights, Knaus and Waltrip continued to feel free to ask each other questions about racing issues. Their hilarious description of Matt Kenseth losing his temper and spinning David Gilliland was outstanding.

This energetic discussion of the race from the previous day is the best part of the show. What a shame it is not held right at the top of the show to keep the viewers and pump the panel up for the rest of the hour. Maybe we will see some adjustments as SPEED and NMG continue to work on this new show.

The Truck Series discussion focused on the Kyle Busch vs. Johnny Benson confrontation and let both panelists voice their views. Both Waltrip and Knaus took the high road, but it was clear that everyone felt Busch's conduct was not expected from a Cup Series driver.

Dave Despain continues to lend his opinion to the show each week. This role is perfect for Despain and is a good weekly promo for fans that might not know about the wonderful Wind Tunnel on Sunday nights.

A weekly interview feature is interesting, and this week the person being profiled was Max Siegel, the executive in charge at DEI. There is no reporter on-camera asking questions, and the feature is essentially what is called "soundbites" from the subject on various topics. Even though the in-studio talent "tags" this feature, it certainly would be better to have the subject in the studio.

Byrnes keeps the program upbeat, and even as this show continues to find a firm footing, the potential for good things in the future is there. Waltrip and Knaus have worked out a good on-air relationship, but not having three panelists is still tough. It should be fun to watch SPEED continue to tinker with this show as the season progresses.

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batchief said...

As I have stated before I too think the show is run backwards in its content presentation. That being said, again, I thought this was the best show of the season. The input from Mike and Chad was entertaining, informative and blended together very well. It's getting there Speed, but please, just try covering the news and discussion from the just concluded race first. I think it will be well received by your viewers.

TexasRaceLady said...

While I still have a bit of trouble looking ahead before yesterday's rewind, I really enjoyed today's show.

Mikey's description of q'ing at Texas and Chad's reaction were priceless.

The guys seem to be settling in very nicely. If they keep this up, the show will be back for real.

As for the new shirts, I liked them. Thought they were much more flattering than the black.

I enjoyed hearing Chad say that Tony Jr. was one smart guy. Many people have put Tony down as being a millstone around Dale's neck.

All-in-all, this week's show was a keeper in my book.

Well done, guys. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

A great show. Although you may have point about the order or rundown of the show, I think you are still comparing this show to INC last year which just will not work. The producers, in my view, were trying to distance themselves from last year. Whether they continue to do so, or chose not to do so, is yet to be seen. JD, what do you think they should do?

PammH said...

okay-this show didn't suck, which it has in the past! I was kinda put-off when I saw it was only Chad & Mikey, but they have developed a rapore (sp) that seems to work almost as well as KS/MW. And Stev kept it light, which worked well. And we got a few insites from insiders-a decent show, imho.

Newracefan said...

I'm done talking about the order of the show so I'll move on. We got MWR's rebuttal of Jeff Burton vs Michael McDowell and swaybar gate. I would have been interested to get Chads opinion on that but I can understand why it didn't go there. Mikey and Chad are working well together. They have started to use some wider shots so we can get Chad's reaction to Mikey, at one point he couldn't even talk it was great. I could have lived without the filler of the Max Seigal piece, I think most of it was from RealDeal. If they had a 3rd panelist we wouldn't need the filler. I also think they leave the the graphics screen up too long. They are not that complicated, show the guys talking please, Nascar guys talk with their hands when they explain things and I can't see them. Overall it was the best show so far.

SophiaZ123 said...

I watched DWTStars.

To quote Elliott Sadler, as long as SPEED Insults my intelligence by trying to FORCE ME to be interested in the next race, I ain't watching.

So many stories from the race yesterday. And instead, I read they still yap away the first 20 minutes and add rehashed filler video. What good is a show if only the center two or three talking segments are worth watching?

The show is backwards and everybody knows it. It brings the ENERGY of what has potential to a screeching halt.

I got over it being an INC "hybrid" long ago (is SB still using that lame opening comparison? But the order of the show turns folks OFF.

Also since Schrader was on the first show, it WOULD be nice for somebody to write and publish somewhere why KS is no longer a panelist. Clearly they are one person short and to use SB as a panelist is overkill.

No thanks...I get him on SPEED all Friday and Saturdays and Sunday AM. Not a put down to Steve, I like him just fine but spread the wealth, SPEED.

Thanks for the write up JD. Nice to see they are NOT changing the order of the show. It's THE MOST annoying aspect of the show. *sigh*

But what I want to know is, if you TAPE or DVR and watch the show it LESS annoying that way? :-)

I have the VCR set for three hours to catch N Now the REAL TALK PANELIST show in the overnight.

Anonymous said...

This show stinks. Plain and simple. I miss the dynamics of Ken Schrader, Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle and even Dave Despain. I even dislike the new theme music. Bring back the old format.

AMS fan said...

The best show so far. I'll have to get used to it because I cannot bring myself to watch the other channel yet. Still to much anger from last year.
I still do not like moving on to next week until this week is reviewed. That change has to be made. Give Mikey back his black shirt. Chad is even starting to grow on me. Get the order of presentation correct and I'll happy.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I tried watching the show at the beginning of the season, but cannot stand the new format. I watched the show to get the insight on what took place at the previous race. Not to see what was coming up in the next race. I have completely stopped watching.

Anonymous said...

That was the best TWINS to date. I even rewound certain parts to watch over again. I would prefer the up coming race to be previewed later, however I do see why it is not. Here is my thought, they get the preview out of the way so they can take their time to go through the weekend that was. Its seems they are taking the get the business done then have some fun. The video replays do need some work. If the wrong video is showed it throws the viewer off. I am torn between having three panelist vs two. I do miss Biffle, Vickers, and Schrader. But with two, they laugh and move on. With three sometimes the show derails and get back on track. Just my thoughts.

Bobby Racecar said...

First time i watched this year after being hooked on IWC for the last few years, i agree, it should go Results, commentary, BGN, Trucks then the next week's events.
I think they need to quiz the driver and the crew chief more in depth on changes made at the last race, what they struggled with, what they accomplished thru the whole PAST weekend, a dairy if you will.
The upcoming race should be hyped last, leave the taste in your mouth for whats ahead.

Anonymous said...

This show stinks for one reason. It starts off with what should be the last segment.

This is mentioned again and again and again many places.

SPEED/FOX does not care what the fans want. The rehashed videos.

Has this not been addressed numerous times on this site as well?

oh, well...Speed gets cut some slack but this show deserves the boot since they can't even start the show correctly. Max Siegel promotion was lame. Hacked up video.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving Chad Knaus on the show, but I love Chad period!

Anonymous said...

I am giving up on TWIN. Byrnes' first question to Waltrip, was regarding the (anti)sway bar issue. Waltrip's decree that it was a dead issue is an insult to the viewer. Speed will never go back to the old format.

Anonymous said...

What part of chronological order does Speed not understand?

And what it the point of saying that you have a whole crowd of panelists when you can't get them into the studio to do the show?

Dede said...

I never liked Chad, but hmmmm he is kinda growing on me, he and Mikey seem to be clicking and they respect each other. I actually liked this show, it had humor, information, opinions and interesting conversation. Nice job, the show is moving in the right direction.

Ritchie said...

The show is better, however the idea that after all of the complaining that we do here the change that they made was the color of their shirts is a bit strange.

There is still something about the show that seems very amateur. I'm not sure what it is, but the show just seems very choppy and lacks good flow.

batchief said...

John have you noticed that people are commenting on the show and admitting they aren't even watching it? How do you comment on the topic of the post when you aren't even watching the show be reviewed? Give it a second go folks, it does seem to be headed in a positive direction. Also, someone quoted E. Sadler that Speed insulted his intelligence which, to my knowledge, he did not say. I think he was talking about something totally different. I know, I know, that isn't what you meant Sophia, but just reread your statement. It is a little misleading.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of complaining about doing the preview first because they obviously aren't going to change it, but I thought in general this show was really good.

I'd have to go back and compare but it seems like the panel had a lot more air time than they had in the past which is fantastic since it is the one thing that can set this show apart from the rest...

Plus, the Byrnes/Waltrip chemistry is really settling in which is a huge key to this show being a success.

It's nice to see Knaus loosen up a bit. As I've said before, I root against the 48 but Knaus has top-notch TV potential with his personality and knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking when I read that comment, why would Elliott Sadler bash SPEED, he does Trackside for them, rather foolish to bash your employer..... mmmmmmmmm
Oh well, to the topic at hand.... TWINS.... Chad is growing on me, Steve is starting to loosen up... I love Michael as usual... MISS Shrader TERRIBLY! My biggest problem with the show is the same as everyone else.... I don't want to see the previews of the next race until the end of the show. I don't want to WASTE time with videotaped highlights from LAST years event and other random subjects when there are people there to discuss current topics... just seems like a big waste to me... Don't mind the new shirts, perhaps they could go back to wearing jeans with them....would make it less pajama like! :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:54PM,

There is a big difference between noting a wardrobe change for the on-air staff and spending hours talking about the clothing, hair, make-up and even the shoes of a young woman working on TV.

Mine was observational, that thread at SPEED was nothing but creepy and sexist. We do not tolerate that here.


Anonymous said...

I don't like Byrnes giving MW time to air his agendas, like defending Michael McDowell about Jeff Burton's comments. At the very top of the show! That was uncalled for for MW to go on and on about how Burton was too hard on McDowell and so on. Very obvious that he had told Byrnes he wanted to talk about it at the beginning of the show.

The ironic part of that was MW was joking about how great it was to have Jeff Gordon be his spokesperson (Gordon said the swaybar stuff was overblown this weekend)...but Gordon agreed with Burton Sunday and said McDowell wouldn't move out of anybody's way for 500 laps.

jfs-va said...

JD, has anyone at SPEED explained to you why they choose to talk about the next race first? We all seem to be wondering why they choose to do it this way.

It wasn't a bad show, but something is still missing. Yes, I know, INC is gone, but it would have been so much more entertaining to hear Bif,Waltrip, and Schrader, all of whom raced and were caught up in various incidents on track. The funny discussion about Matt hitting the 38 on purpose was an example of something that used to occur alot on the old show.

Deborah said...

Anon at 9:41 a.m. - An agenda? One of the bigger stories of yesterday's race was Jeff Burton's comments about Michael McDowell and it would have been discussed regardless of whether Michael was on the show or not. The same sentiments may have been expressed by someone else because commonly drivers who are still racing for something - trying to stay on the lead lap, racing for position, etc... don't just move over. Because the way McDowell raced was a topic all day on XM and on various websites I was looking forward to watching TWiN specifically so I could find out what Michael's view as McDowell's car owner was. One of the best parts of the Monday night show in whatever form it takes is getting insight from the drivers, owners, car chiefs or whoever appears on the show about the events of the weekend and specifically the things they're directly involved with.

As for the rest of the show, I recorded it and fast-forwarded through everything that didn't involve Michael and Chad. I have no interest in the taped segments.

Kathy said...

Beginning with the next race is just WRONG! First, the panel wants to jump into talking about the action and controversies that have just occurred at the last race. That's where the energy lies in the first segment. When you deny them the ability to get that off their chests first, it is like leading the pack into turn 1 and stomping on the brakes...everything comes to a screeching halt!

I am constantly confused during the beginning segments when remarks are naturally being made about last Sunday's race as video of the upcoming track is being shown!

I have grown to enjoy the two-man panel and as much as I liked Kenny, having him on the panel seemed to lead the panelists into silliness and "inside" jokes rather than the occasional humorous observations that we tend to see currently. And I like Chad's input. He is obviously knowledgeable but doesn't seem to mind looking at the lighter side of competition as well...a problem I always observed with Brian Vickers.

The new show is growing on me...but I will not cede the sequence issue to Speed!

Anonymous said...

Whoever decided to go with the Khaki shirts should be fired!!!

It made the guys look washed out and Mikey was right, it looked like pajamas.

I think they tinkered themselves out of a decent looking show.

Anonymous said...

This show is terrible!!! Just horrid!
SPEED continues to give up all of the ground they gained on ESPN last year, and for what?
The extended piece on Max "the music man" and DEI was completely non sequitor.
Earth to SPEED! Hello? Is ANYBODY watching the store there????

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:04AM,

I am stilly trying to put together in my mind what Max was doing on the show and exactly what he said that we have not heard before.

Now, if he had been on the set and participated in the show it would have been a different story. Having no reporter on-camera and just listening to him talk about various subjects was a little strange.

I do think that watching SPEED continue to tinker with this show is a good sign. The lights are bright, the dark colors are gone, and the panel is happy.

Not quite sure who did the on-camera testing of those shirts, you do not usually wear a color like tan or Khaki as primary wardrobe.

Maybe the same person who chose those white jackets?


Anonymous said...

I have tried to watch this show every week, but have yet to make it through the first 10 minutes. PLEASE go back to the old format.

Anonymous said...

All they really need to do to make the show very good is alter the sequence and ditch the "feature".

The rest is close.

Anonymous said...

It should be "This week in NASCAR" not NEXT week in NASCAR
other than that, I really like the show

Anonymous said...

I'm a west coaster so read these posts a little late. Did no one but me hear John Robert's promo at the end of VL for TWIN mention the "gang" of MW, CK and KENNY SCHRADER. May have said Biff too, can't remember, but definitely mentioned KS. Will Kenny be back? Did JR not get the more Biff or Kenny?

Have to say, show was much better, but I too fast forward canned features.

Still hate the next race first. There was a brief moment of hope when they started the discussion, but then...TEXAS!

A real positive is the "scanner" feature. For fans who are unable to avail themselves of internet/tv resources it's a few moments of "inside' stuff that makes racing so different from all other sports. I would be lost with my scanner at a race!


Anonymous said...

The show has taken a different spin, i miss Kenny S, however, Steve Byrnes is a good guy, knows his race stuff. Give the show some time. Take race day, the show has lots of stuff, funny with Jimmy and "Herm", Roberts is a giggling idiot, he needs to go. Track side with the 4 Amigo's, is a riot...Steve hosts that show and it is a hit. So lets see how it goes for the rest of the season. Dave D, took it nowhere last year, yet he's the right guy for "Windtunnel".

SophiaZ123 said...

Just to clarify, I was using an old quote of Sadlers about Oil lid gate, NOT the TWIN show. Sorry if I mislead.

Also, I used to not like Knaus at ALL but have become hooked on Nascar Performance and he and Bootie are great on that show. Then again, Jr joining Hendrick, I have altered many of my previous prejudices! :-)

Khaki is not a good color on screen like the guys in the FOX booth in the gray shirts some weeks back. Dark red or maroon looks good and generally flattering to all skin tones, if the guys looked washed out last night.

If I read SPEED would FINALLY ditch the mood kill, buzz kill of the segment order of this show, I would watch again.

Reading about the improvements on NNow and especially the hour Monday show is what got me watching .

Thanks to JD for writing of them here. And if I miss a NN show I can read about it here and sometimes catch the repeat.

That's whats great about this blog.

But for the record, most all negative posts on the TWIN show same the SAME THING.

START the show with discussion of the most RECENT RACE. What I found a turn off about that feature is they would talk about the NEXT race, then show clips of last years race of the track?? For way too long...ZZZzzzz.

It ruins energy and momentum.

Thus my DVR question that if you watched the show backwards, would it be less annoying.

The next race preview should be at the end of the show and no longer than 5 minutes. I believe others have echoed that sentiment. :-)

I thought the lighting on the show was fine when I watched it... a little dark but that was ok. That's just fluff. But to yank away the best part of the show, the talking, will make this shows ratings in the tank.

Also I actually read Byrnes mentioned the "Digger cam" on last nights show. Is that true???? Maybe they will wear Digger t shirts next week.

Newracefan said...

I think this weeks coverage of the the next race was not as long as previous shows. I also think there might have been a little more discussion overall. Steve's mentioned Digger for 1 second referencing a video clip as they were going to commercial. Not a big deal. I'm ok with the new shirts too. Maybe they work better in HD (not that I have speed HD )but seemed ok to me, the backround contrasts and Mikey will just have to wear darker pants to prevent the PJ effect. Still would like less of the packaged clips like Max Seigal, just rewatched the show and I still don't know why it was included, I'm sure the guys could have found something to talk about. Maybe it was filler because there was no NW race, next time let the guys talk more instead. The DD piece was interesting but the guys didn't discuss it and I would have liked to hear Chads opinion, it was obviously added later. They talked about DEI after the Max interview for a minute or 2 so the guys knew about that one.

JD how much say does Steve have in the structure of the show?

Daly Planet Editor said...


He is not the producer, but his opinion and input is valuable as an experienced TV personality.

Lots of the parts for this show are being put together on Sunday while Steve and his panelists are still at the race and then traveling back.

This reality limits the pre-production input, but certainly allows for good post-show meetings where new ideas and changes can be floated.


Anonymous said...

I think the reason they mix up the presentations is to keep viewers, if they went like everyone wants them to, you would watch the first part of the show then go to the kitchen or change channels. they want you to watch the whole show.

Anonymous said...

Even though the show had an uneven flow, I really enjoyed TWIN.

I think Chad and Mikey are great together and like that they try to infuse a lot of humor and fun into the show. That is what makes the show worth watching as far as I'm concerned. Just once I'd love to see a show where Steve Byrnes just let's them 'go' and rolls along with it.

As a native Texan who ventures up to the track from Austin for the races, I truly appreciated the incredibly kind words Mikey said about the fans and the people who work at the track. That means a lot to me!

Ken-Michigan said...

Content of this program is one thing, but a little professionalism would be nice.

Maybe I pay WAYYYY too much attention to details, but the very first thing that stuck out to me during the first minute of the show was Mike Waltrip's shirt.

Am I the only one that noticed that Waltrip didnt even take time to button down his collar on his new shirt.

Leaves me with the impression that HE doesnt care, the crew is clueless about details and evidently Byrnes or Knaus wouldnt even inform Waltrip that he needs to button down the collar on his shirt.

Just plain sloppy television ? OR isnt this a big deal ??

Newracefan said...

Button down the collar- not a big deal. My guess is they are handed the shirts when they get there. If it was a big deal someone else should have buttoned it before they gave it to him.

Anonymous said...

Don't care about shirts. Don't care about lighting. I care about content. Unfortunately, with the exception of MW's take, there is nothing in the present content that can not be gotten at any one of three or four other shows.
Change the segment order. Give us a panel... that's a panel as in three or four people with different points of view who participated so they can give us an insiders view of how last week's race played out.

There are lots of smart, entertaining people out there and some of them are even drivers. Schrader, Vickers, Stewart, Biffle, Sadler, Harvick, Burton, Franchitti, Montoya, Edwards, even Jr. for a few.

Since we've gone the Knaus route, how about the tops of other pit boxes? Knaus is okay as long as he is relating things from a crew chief's point of view and not telling us what it is like to drive a race car. I want to hear how he arrived at a tactical decision. What did his driver tell him that made him make the changes he chose throughout the day and the weekend. Why did he decide to call a two-tire stop and what was the alternative? Let the moderator throw out a few question marks and stand back!

For God's sake, there are audio/video crews bumping into each other all over the garage to get the same canned stuff week after boring, stultifying week. I can get canned stuff anywhere! ASK QUESTIONS OF PEOPLE IN THE STUDIO, then let everybody discuss it!

Anonymous said...

Mikey should've watched a tape of the race before the show started ... as he would've found out that his driver (McDowell) had dumped his other driver (Reutimann) early on in the race ... Would that have changed his rebuttal to Jeff Burton's statement about McDowell?? Probably not, but it may have forced him to think before he opened his mouth ... Also, he should've read / listened to what other drivers had to say about McDowell's performance (or lack thereof) ... Though, McDowell should've done his homework & watched the races closely (after he got the job offer) to see HOW the big boys race and then talk to the ones that would be the first to call him out ... David Ragan went to Tony Stewart AFTER the fact (instead of before) and learned what he should have done ...

The segment with Max was just wrong ... I think a lot of people are tired of the media's constant harping of "How long will it take DEI to turn itself around without Jr?" routine ... We know DEI is rebuilding & regrouping ... The time used for the interview could've been used for more reviewing of the races ...

IF SPEED's going to continue with the whole "Let's look forward to the next race" routine, then they need to make the show 90 minutes ... That will allow them to promote what's coming up this week as well as look back at last week's races ... Calling the show "This Week In NASCAR" is correct as they use Monday to start the current week (and Sunday is the end of the week) ...

The show really does need the third panelist ... Either Biffle or Schrader ... Both would've worked really well on this week's show ... Schrader could've discussed the manf switch at BAM ... Whereas Biffle could've talked about that incident with Newman and Jimmie ... Getting Chad out of the HMS zone has gained him respect from people who are anti-HMS ... Plus, it allows people to see that he's not a Stepford crew chief ... ;-)

I'm still not liking the segments with Despain ... It's just another time killer ... Plus, when he constantly berates all things NASCAR on "Wind Tunnel" on Sunday, it makes him the hypocrite on Monday ...

Truck Series Fan said...

I was really really disappointed with this show on Monday. It seemed like the topics jumped around and seemed choppy and the upcoming race should be discussed after the race on Sunday. I particularly didn't like those shirts either and I don't really care for Chad Knaus I was happy with Kenny Schrader, Michael Waltrip & Johnny Benson and what happened to Greg Biffle & Schrader?