Saturday, March 1, 2008

"Trackside" On SPEED: Love It Or Hate It?


I am getting a lot of email about the Trackside program from last night featuring Kyle Busch. Readers either think this show is the best thing since sliced bread or believe that it shows-off everything that is wrong with the sport.

How do you feel? This one hour show takes place every race weekend on Friday night and features Steve Byrnes as the host. Darrell Waltrip is alongside for the Fox portion of the TV package, and is joined by both Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.

Normally, there are one or two guests from the NASCAR world and the conversation is a mix of the serious and the hilarious. Friday night, a much more mature Kyle Busch was on-hand to talk with the panel and answer some good questions.

While this show is always walking the "NASCAR line," there have been some very good conversations with a lot of NASCAR personalities over the years. Byrnes has an upbeat style of hosting that ruffles some folks, but he makes it clear that he is not going to take racing too seriously.

Waltrip is always interesting, in his own way. Caught-up in all kinds of conflicts of interest, DW is almost always going to get himself into hot water one way or another. In this show, he has been fun and focused and interested in the guests. He has also been self-serving and sometimes way off-base with some comments.

McReynolds is the target of good-natured grief from Byrnes and Hammond all season long, and that does seem to wear thin after a while. No one is more focused on this sport and a better ambassador of all things NASCAR than McReynolds.

I have always enjoyed this program series, and took it as a fun SPEED show from the track that featured drivers and casual conversation. Other seem to believe that it serves to promote the NASCAR agenda, and even twists reality to what NASCAR wants fans to believe. That is a good conspiracy theory.

If you have some thoughts on Trackside, let us hear them. It might be interesting to get some samples of what NASCAR fans and casual viewers see when they watch this fast-paced hour of raucous conversation. To add your comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below, and thanks for taking the time to stop by.

26 comments:

batchief said...

What I get from Trackside is an hour of lighthearted fun. Everyone of the panel members seems to enjoy the others and the guests seem very much at ease. If it got too serious it would no longer be the Trackside many of us have come to enjoy.

Shoop said...

3 words: Darrell Waltrip Overload.

He's tolerable in spurts, but when he's on every single show, leaning over and touching whoever he's sitting next to, and boogity-ing his way into every single statement/point/argument, it becomes tiring and unwatchable.

Anonymous said...

As a fan since 1989, I appreciated the "Buffet Benny" and lighthearted things that ESPN used to do, but Speed definitely tries too hard to make things funny or controversial or something more than it's not on "Trackside" and "RaceDay". I don't want to watch 4 (or 2 on Raceday) guys talk over each other for an hour or two. I'd rather get the interviews and info I want to see elsewhere. It's the same reason I usually watch CBS' NFL show instead of ESPN and FOX.

Vince said...

Can't stand Trackside. To me it's all that is wrong with Nascar now days. I am tired of DW and Hammond and their "act". It got old years ago. And what is with those two wearing their Speed shirts with Toyota (DW) and Discount Tire (Hammond) logos on them? Talk about self serving!

Byrnes is ok and so is Larry Mac, but they all suck up to Nascar way too much. All we get is the "company" line from all of them. I like this show better when DW is off the last half of the season and Elliot Sadler is on in his place.

I try watching this show every week, but usually end up with a headache, because of DW and Hammond overload. Those two just need to shut up once and a while. Anyway, unless there is a guest I really want to see, I usually end up turning it off after 10 or 15 minutes.

They could take this show off the air and I for one, wouldn't miss it at all.

Tripp said...

Trackside is good natured fluff.

I watched the show last night, partly paying attention, and I liked it. JD's comment about a more mature Shrubby is spot on, but he's been that way through all of the interviews I've seen this season.

I'm not sure that Trackside is supposed to be really at all serious. The format includes two former crew chiefs, a former or present driver (depending upon whether it's DW or one of the Sadlers) and Byrnes talking to other current drivers and crew.

It's easy to let the tone drift more to casual discussion than interview, and I think that's the way Speed lets it go. It's more Merv Griffin than CBS's Mike Wallace. I have no problem with that.

For me, it's a discretionary show, meaning I'll watch it if it's on but I'm not going to make time on my TiVo for it. Making it a more serious interview and analysis show would probably make it less interesting to me.

dwight said...

My DVR is set to record Trackside, and I usually watch some or all of it sometime during the evening. One can catch up on what happened Friday at the track, the hosts are tolerable, and the guests are sometimes interesting. So what if they take the NASCAR line. We know what we are getting, and can season it however we choose. When Fox is done carrying the races, DW will be gone. I assume it will be Elliot Sadler again.

I thought last night's show with Kyle Busch was one of the better recent episodes. Most of the time when we see a driver, we get just a sound bite. Kyle has created lots of those when he doesn't look very good. Actually, there are at least a few of those, and we get feed them over and over and over. Last night he had a chance to show that he is not just a bozo, and that he is maturing reasonably well.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Trackside or any of it's personalities. It was the first NASCAR show I ever saw on SPEED and it introduced me to the rest of NASCAR of a sport, and the rest of the NASCAR on SPEED programing.

If I had not caught that show by accident while flipping through channels a few years ago, I probably would not be a big fan of NASCAR today. Before Trackside I only saw maybe one race a year by accident. After I saw the show, I watch just about every race and even go to a few. Everything about Trackside just makes a good show for me.

frankp316 said...

Trackside was better in it's early days when it was live instead of pre-recorded as it is now. This kind of programming is always better without a net.

Anonymous said...

frankp316 said...
Trackside was better in it's early days when it was live instead of pre-recorded as it is now.

March 1, 2008 1:12 PM

I believe the show was live last night. DW and Larry and to run from LIVE qualifying coverage to the LIVE Trackside show. They would not have to run if it was not LIVE.

DonDahlmann said...

I enjoy Trackside a lot. It is the only kinf of "in-depth" report, we can see here in Germany. Larry Mac gives some good views an NASCAR, despite he is a little to much on the official NASCAR side. It is always a pleasure to the some drivers answering good questions from DW and the other guys.

Truck Series Fan! said...

I think there are too many people on the program and they sometimes talk over each other.

Anonymous said...

I like watching Trackside - sure it is a more light hearted view of the weekends racing- but that is a balance to the rest of the programs on FOX, SPEED, ESPN, etc. Get to see a different side of the drivers too at times - not always talking about the race but maybe other activities they are involved in. I almost always tune in - my work schedule allowing.

Newracefan said...

I enjoy watching Trackside with either DW or Elliot. I am not looking for hard news and information from this show but a little inside information on the drivers personalities that the longer interviews can sometimes provide. Most drivers seem comfortable with these guys and if we are lucky they forget (somewhat) about the camera and just have fun. Kyle busting DW for texting during the show was hysterical. The fact that they seem to be "pro Nascar" is not a problem for me because I have heard them disagree on occasion (for example Larry did not think that 24 and 48 should have been punished as severly last year at Fontana).

Anonymous said...

Trackside is usually live. It was live last night and will be next week in Atlanta. Only when it airs late on Friday night on the east coast is it taped and that is usually becuase of a truck or nationwide race.

Richard in N.C. said...

I really do enjoy Trackside & try to catch it whenever possible. I realize you probably need to like DW, Larry, & Hammonds to really enjoy the show, although I do think Steve B does a good job keeping things reasonably under control. I find it both entertaining and informative. I believe Trackside's real claim to fame is that it is lighthearted and provides an atmosphere where drivers and others know they will be comfortable and treated with respect. As a result it appears to me drivers and others are more willing to come on the show for extended appearances. It appears to me that Trackside provides an atmosphere where drivers feel they will have a chance to express their position without interruption and without some reporter's trying to "catch" them or twist the driver's words. DW, Larry Mc, etc. do raise issues in the news, but not in a confrontational manner.

TexasRaceLady said...

I enjoy Trackside. It is a little news and a lot of fun.

And, as far as the guys talking over each other --- I've been at parties where everyone was doing the same thing. What't the difference?

The drivers seem to be relaxed and really able to enjoy themselves --- even answering the questions.

The one thing I frequently have a problem with ---- the crowds are sometimes SO loud, you can't hear the guys.

Anonymous said...

I love Trackside! I wouldn't miss it.

It's nice and interesting to see/hear drivers out of the garage environment.

I'm surprised people don't like it, but then again it seems like there are people out there who look for things in NASCAR to annoy them. I think they get some twisted satisfaction from being anti-NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Vince, its pretty tacky when Waltrip and Hammond wear sponsorship logos on their shirts. Waltrip didn't have the Toyota shirt on earlier, but put it on for Trackside. What's up with that? You never see John Madden appear on NBC with an Ace Hardware shirt.

stricklinfan82 said...

I love watching Trackside. I love seeing these guys in a relaxed atmosphere having a great time. This is definitely one of those shows that always leaves me wanting more. To me an hour is never enough time.

Anonymous said...

"You never see John Madden appear on NBC with an Ace Hardware shirt."

And you would not see DW or Hammond with sponsor shirts on FOX. Do you know the difference between a cable network and a broadcast network?

Vince said...

Annon@4:36
And you would not see DW or Hammond with sponsor shirts on FOX. Do you know the difference between a cable network and a broadcast network?
==================
Your point is what?

Anonymous said...

Vince said...
Your point is what?

March 1, 2008 7:37 PM

Did you just not read the rest of the comments? Someone was trying to compare operations at NBC(a high profile broadcast network) with operations at SPEED (a cable network). You just cannot compare the two. I used FOX, also a broadcast network, as proof of the different policies. Something DW would do on SPEED would not happen on FOX. Something John Madden might hypothetically do on NFL network, if you will, would not happen on NBC.

You just cannot compare Broadcast TV with cable TV. Was my point clear?

ri88girl said...

I love me some Trackside. It's kind of like the BBBs or Raceday it ain't racin' unless its there.

PG_Harley said...

OK... maybe I would be in that conspiracy grouping, although the conspiracy is an unspoken one... toe the line boys, say nice things and don't tell what goes on behind the curtain. If one is willing to accept that they are rarely going to get the truth from the media covering NASCAR, then take it for what it is.

With that off my chest, I enjoy the Trackside shows. Some are better than others, but there is often humor found, kind of a "locker room light" where folks poke fun at each other knowing that it will comeback at them.

We do get some good info at times and I did like the Kyle B interview. He showed he is maturing and can have a bit of fun along the way.

Steve is always an excellent host, regardless of what show he is leading, Larry Mac is the real deal and his love and passion for the sport is evident. Jeff just tries too hard sometimes but is an important part of the core threesome.
Now...DW... goofy as a bedbug at times, but that is his shtick. I really like his work on the race telecasts, but after 3 weeks of his being virtually everywhere, I am about ready for a break. HE would do best by moderating his participation in some of the "shop talk" shows.

I am settling in for the season of racing and the supporting shows, Trackside, Trading Paint and on and on.... can't get enough of it all.

Anonymous said...

i like watching trackside, mainly because DW is on there...

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed just about everybody on SPEED shows wears shirts with sponsor logos?

Carl Edwards wears an Office Depot shirt on The Chase Is On. Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer wear sponsor logos on RaceDay. Michael Waltrip, Kenny Schrader, and Greg Biffle wear sponsor logos on Inside Nextel Cup/This Week In NASCAR.

It's the way it is on SPEED. I assume it somewhat offsets the cost for SPEED to have big personalities on their shows.

It's kind of funny to see somebody complaining about something in NASCAR having sponsor logos. :-)