Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Doug Yates Makes His Case On National TV

The serious struggles of several historic teams in the Sprint Cup Series this season has caught many fans by surprise. The twist in the fortunes of Petty, Yates and the Wood Brothers threatens to affect the face of NASCAR on many levels.

While Kyle Petty has been all over the media about the situation at Petty Enterprises, both the Wood Brothers and Doug Yates have been relatively low-key.

On Tuesday's thirty minute edition of NASCAR Now, host Nicole Manske took time to interview Doug Yates. It was nice to see a professional and well-spoken NASCAR veteran who clearly was motivated to return his company to good standing.

Manske challenged Yates on why the performance had suffered, and he was up-front in his response. Doug and his father had let things stay as they were when times were good, instead of making changes for the future. This is a statement that could probably be applied to all three of the historic teams now in trouble.

ESPN's Andy Petree was the right person to comment on this situation as the NASCAR Now analyst. Petree had been a car owner and run into almost exactly the same type of struggle with both sponsorship and performance. His honest evaluation of Yates issue addressed both the positive and negative elements of the situation from a veteran perspective.

It was nice to see ESPN step-up and insert themselves into a situation like this by offering Yates an opportunity to be seen and heard on national TV. This is using the power of the ESPN Networks as a partner to NASCAR. If sponsorship comes from this appearance, I certainly hope NASCAR Now follows-up on that story as well.

Manske also spoke with the highly-excitable Johnny Sauter who is stepping back into the Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix. Sauter was a great interview, and put his cards on the table in terms of having to show what he can do in Phoenix to continue in this ride. Instead of the angry and impatient Sauter of the past, he sounded like a racer who recognized that opportunities like this one do not come along too often.

Petree then put the issue in candid perspective, calling it a "make or break" situation. Saying it was one of Sauter's "last shots" at Cup racing, Petree was also honest in calling Jeremy Mayfield's release "pretty tough." Petree hinted that Mayfield may find himself turning to another series to keep himself in NASCAR.

At this time last year, fans were in full outrage at the antics and hype of NASCAR Now. This season, viewers can casually tune-in expecting the news of the day, analysis from one of ESPN's own broadcast team and top-flight guests. Manske has also integrated herself seamlessly into this broadcast since day one.

In ESPN's last go-round with NASCAR, it was John Kernan who anchored the coverage on the general racing show RPM2Night. That series quietly became the place to go for race fans of all types. Now, after two months of solid programs and professional analysis, ESPN has once again found the right mix to bring NASCAR fans that same level of comfort.

As the season plays-out and the stories continue to develop, the only challenge remaining for NASCAR Now is to grow that new found level of comfort into a solid bond of trust with the NASCAR fans. The last two months have been a pretty good start.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

I thought Ms Manske's interview was telling. She tried more than once to get Doug to answer if he could make the whole season wo/sponsorship. And he gave the school house answer. Although she did ask that tough question. And we wish Yates Racing well. She was respectful in not pressing the issue further with him. And did follow that up with Andy Petree
Kingston, NY

Matt said...

I really enjoyed today's show. Nicole asked the right questions, but did not pressure Yates too much to make it awkward. I really like her as a host.

And I agree, Andy was the right person to comment on the topic.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Manske has certainly been the pleasant surprise of the ESPN crew. After the horrible start in the late, not lamented version of NN, she has come through like a true professional. She can ask the tough questions without being offensive, and the by play between her and Andy Petree tonight was excellent. I continue to be impressed with the resurrection of this show, and Ms. Manske.

PammH said...

This was a very good show & all the folks that don't watch after Monday missed something! I'm impressed w/Nicole & didn't think I would be at season's start. This show is looking more & more like the old RPMTonite show, even tho it just focuses on Nascar related topics! Thumbs up, ESPN!!!

Anonymous said...

ESPN should have brought in an economics reporter, or Alan Greenspan into the discussion. Yates problems are more of a reflection on the sorry state of the economy than anything else. Its going to get worse before it will get better.

One of the first things that companies cut during hard times are their advertising budgets. A prolonged recession will kill multiple teams. Yates deserves sponsors, but they will be vrey hard to come by.

I'm sure it'll start hurting NASCAR network partners as well.

Unfortunatley, there aren't any easy answers. The teams better hope the COT cost savings are as big as NASCAR was promising them.

Sophia said...

I had heard down the ROAD the COT would 'save money' but thought I heard somebody say last year on INC or some show, the initial year of total switch to COT was killing the teams financially!

If I got that wrong somebody will set me straight. But between COT costs and sponsorships, it's scary for many teams.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Mankse is doing an excellent job this season.

Reminder that a new NASCAR show from NASCAR Media group debuts Wednesday night at 9 PM EST on the Great American Country (GAC) network, "Drafting Partners."

"Each week, GAC pairs an artist with a NASCAR driver to learn more about America’s number-one motorsport and discover the artists' similarities in "putting on the show," families, and life on the road. Throughout "Drafting Partners," the artists, drivers, and fans show some of their favorite country music videos.

Arista Nashville recording artist Jason Michael Carroll (best known for his hits, "Alyssa Lies" and "Livin' Our Love Song") teams with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Scott Wimmer to host the first episodes. A long-time NASCAR aficionado, Jason Michael gets the tour of his dreams as Wimmer shows him Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The two witness the speed and athleticism of the pit crew for Wimmer's teammate, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton, watch the race from on top of the team's hauler and sign autographs for fans at one of NASCAR's most popular tracks.

Drafting Partners" is produced by NASCAR Media Group and is the first GAC series solely dedicated to connecting country music and NASCAR fans.

"Throughout NASCAR's 60 years, many drivers have been avid country music fans, and that continues today," said Jay Abraham, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR Media Group and Vice President, New Media and Content for NASCAR. "We're proud to partner with GAC to take country music fans on a unique backstage pass to NASCAR, and to give them a chance to see how the top personalities in our sport and country music are similar."

12 episodes scheduled. The first episode repeats several times through the week.

Anonymous said...

How sad is it that some channel that I've never heard of (and I'm probably not the only one) is getting a NASCAR Images/Media Group series. And an hour long series at that.

SPEED and ESPN, where are you? Why don't you have any of these Media Group series? It's fine that this channel has this program, but can't something more general related to NASCAR drivers than a country music NASCAR show ALSO get on the air?

Anonymous said...

Not sure if there is going to be a followup here this week on the "FOX finish", but the "FOX Director" who must remain anonymous on this site called into Tony Stewart's radio show last night. He's directing the Prelude PPV for Tony again.

kang said...

Great to see a nascar show aimed at folks over 12. Sure beats those clown acts on fox and speed.Espn has come a long way in a hurry. Hard to believe but true.

Ritchie said...

I would also like to congratulate Ms. Manske on a great job so far. It honestly feels like she has been hosting this show forever. I also would like to thank Andy Petree for providing excellent analysis everytime he is on the show. It is nice to watch a NASCAR related program and not feel like I have spent an hour at Chucky Cheese, as I feel after watching SPEED.

Anonymous said...

How sad is it that some channel that I've never heard of (and I'm probably not the only one) is getting a NASCAR Images/Media Group series.

I looked it up at TVguide.com but I don't get GAC. They maybe should have put it on CMT; everybody gets that.

I'll be curious to see if NASCAR Now tonight covers the Aaron Fike interview from Ryan McGee that's been on the espn.com homepage, He's saying he was doing heroin on the days of truck races (before he said he made sure he was "clean" on race days.) He finished 5th in one race after using it earlier that day. That's a pretty big deal -a really big deal.

I remember drivers like Harvick/Burton calling for stricter drug testing when he was first arrested, I can see them really calling for it now! Jim Hunter always has the same response - our drug policy is fine. But Fike says it isnt (which is why he's talking) and he should know.

Why is ESPN the Magazine getting all the NASCAR news first anyway? They had swaybar gate before anybody else. Maybe they should make Ryan McGee a NASCAR Now regular. I don't recall seeing him on there before.

Anonymous said...

My question for Doug Yates or anybody from Ford is, when will they start using their new Nascar engine?

Anonymous said...

JD- I'm not sure which was better, the NASCAR Now show or your post re. Kudos to ESPN for picking the perfect match ( Doug Yates & Andy Petree) and for handling it in a thoughtful, adult manner without trying to put Doug Yates on the Hot Seat. Thank you JD & ESPN. I continue to be fascinated and impressed by the improvements at ESPN.

Newracefan said...

Excellent show Nicole asks the right questions in the right way. Good for NN helping out Yates and I hope these guys find a sponser soon

Anonymous said...

@anon 10:15--thanks for that! I hadn't heard of this!

Anonymous said...

ESPN finally settling on a lineup of hosts and contributors for NASCAR Now has really helped this season. In the past with so many different people, it made the show cheesy and hard to watch at times. I watched this particular segment with Doug Yates and thought Nicole Manske did a good job asking him questions even when it seemed like he was maybe trying to skate around the answers.