Monday, April 28, 2008

Talladega Takes A Backseat On TWIN

The debate rages every time that This Week In NASCAR throws the switch from review to preview. Once again on Monday, the SPEED program continued to pull the ultimate bait-and-switch on NASCAR fans.

Two of the key stories from the Sprint Cup race at Talladega involved Jimmie Johnson and Michael Waltrip. Their run at the end of the race and the colossal failure of either to complete that effort were certainly on the minds of the fans.

TWIN had Waltrip and Chad Knaus as panelists on the show and both were ready to talk for the full hour. Unfortunately, after a brief "teaser" about Talladega, the program once again followed the normal format and switched totally to a preview of the upcoming race from Richmond, VA.

Despite the outstanding video previews and footage of the Richmond action, fans still have to adjust to the panel talking about "the future" before the discussion of the past race has even started. Changing gears is tough to do when the other NASCAR TV shows do not follow this type of format. Perhaps, moving things around for one episode might be a good experiment.

Knaus and Waltrip have begun to have fun with each other on this show, and Waltrip has finally found his on-air groove with host Steve Byrnes. The fun is creeping back into this program in the same type of manner that it developed on the original Inside NEXTEL Cup series.

The NASCAR Media Group is also feeling out this show as they produce the series, and things have begun to take shape. The background now contains moving video, the lighting has improved, and the pace has been slowed down slightly. The program needs more camera shots of all three panelists, and the decision to have the two guests either talk to the host or the camera needs to be sorted-out.

Knaus is beginning to be a good match for Waltrip. While Waltrip brings his unique sense of humor and style to the program, Knaus is always trying to be the serious-minded crew chief. This contrast makes for some fun moments, and usually results in Knaus shaking his head in disbelief.

Once the show switched topics to Talladega, fans could see what should have been discussed right up-front. Waltrip, Knaus and Byrnes had a lot of fun with the highlights and the good vibe of this show was back. This included Waltrip "discovering" the truth about several issues he had during the race.

Knaus has proven to be a great student of the sport, and his analytical perspective is a welcome addition. His veteran comments about the racing action proved to be memorable when he discussed Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson coming together late in the event. He and Waltrip also addressed bump-drafting in a very frank manner.

Each week there is a review of some SPEED moments from the weekend and also an edited feature that contains "scanner chatter." This week that was lots of fun, and Knaus and Waltrip "tagged" the feature by saying some of the Cup drivers were "whiners."

The scanner feature transitioned directly into Dave Despain's weekly editorial. Perhaps, Despain could be best-served by emerging directly from a commercial and then letting the show proceed with business as usual.

A feature on Jeff Burton was informative, but interrupted the focus on last weekend's racing. There was a lot of conversation left on the table about Talladega and this is another big issue for this TV series. How many features are too many?

Surprisingly, both the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series got very poor treatment. Despite the issues in both events, the highlights were minimal and the time allotted was brief. Certainly, the Nationwide discussion should have been much more substantial and wide-ranging.

As This Week In NASCAR continues to mature, the struggle to prioritize content will no doubt be the primary issue. Had this show featured the three weekend races and then transitioned into a Richmond preview, the results for the viewer may have been very different.

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. Thank you for stopping by.


Newracefan said...

The best thing about this show was that I finally found out what happened during the last lap. Michael blew up, who knew. They even had a closer picture of the last lap crash and a possible reasons for the final melee. I've moved on from the backwards discussion issue and try not to let it ruin the entire show for me (I don't like it but have come to accept it). I liked the Jeff Burton piece but if it was skipped (how about using it for that 2 hour RaceDay) they would have had more time for NW and trucks. I thought it was a fun show and am planning to watch it again to pick up all the stuff I missed the first time.

Anonymous said...

Yes JD, You are right. 803PM to 823pm I am (previewing)reviewing a race that I have yet to see. I did not record the show tonight and did watch the full hour. Good to see Michael change his opinion after seeing the replay. "discovering" the truth about several issues he had during the race." as you said. Still feel the show is in reverse. Still not happy w/the order of the show. Yes, the chuckles were better this week. Too bad more was not said of the N'wide race.

Kyle said...

Its sad to see MW and CK waste a few hours of their day off on this horrid program.

I guess I don't understand the target audience of this show... I thought it was for the race fans, that know what Richmond is and don't need a 20 minute preview of the race.
This show was to let the experienced fan get some "insider" info on the race. I mean my god you have the back to back champ crew chief sitting on your set. LET HIM TALK ABOUT THE RACE. Not what is going on next week.

I watched about 5 minutes of the program when Top Gear was in commercial, I'd rather watch Clarkson make fun of Hammond for an hour. Then waste time watching 20 minute preview of next week that I will see in the 2 hour pre race show next week..

Ritchie said...

Mr. Daly, I find it hard to believe that you honestly believe that having Michael Waltrip talk over the other panelists creates a good show. Please tell me what form of television programming that behavior is considered acceptable? It reached a boiling point when he "suggested" that Chad Knauss be quiet. What really rubs me the wrong way was the fact that they were talking about camber! Shouldn't we have the most successful crew chief in the past decade explain camber issues to the audience?

There was much, much more wrong with this show, however I won't pile on. I have a feeling that the Waltrip fans are mad enough at me already. Honestly folks, it isn't him personally, it's just his behavior and lack of manners that I have a problem with.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I don't know if you watched the old show, but Waltrip was always the problem child and Schrader was there to keep him in line. That was the fun part.

Now, there is no Schrader and Waltrip is trying to figure out how to operate in this new TV environment.

It should be interesting to see how the rotating guests and Steve Byrnes deal with him on this show. Remember, the original idea was to have some fun now that most NASCAR fans have seen the weekend highlights like 50 times.

That is why you see the NASCAR Media Group throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this show right now. Hopefully, they will be sorting out what should stay and what should go along with the program format soon.

As for Waltrip, you either love him or you hate him, but TV execs have found out that either way....folks tune-in.


TexasRaceLady said...

I really enjoyed the show tonight. Yes, the backwards theme is still wrong, but putting that issue aside, this was fun.

Chad is really starting to have fun and to not take Mikey so seriously.

speedangel said...

In my opinion, this was one of the best, if not the best show of the season thus far. There were some flashes of what made the the old version of the show a must-see. I also still don't get the sequence of the content, but am reluctantly learning to live with it.

Anonymous said...

@kyle--unless something has seriously changed (which I doubt) they tape the show in an hour maybe a hair more and with a very rare exception there are no retakes. It's all shot straight through. That's part of why I believe the show is scripted and why the host tries to keep Mikey on task. Otherwise they end up in "hurry up" mode and turn a segment that would have been 5 minutes into 2.

I know from when Allen was host the boyz show up a bit before the show (and has been stated more than once literally at the last second. One time Mikey was so late they started taping without him and he "snuck" in). Allen with his professional self always was there doing his show prep. I never knew if he stayed over in NC or flew down the same day from RI for the show. It would make sense for him to stay over, when NBC did the races especially, but from other talk he seemed to actually go to the non-NBC races. I recall comments he'd make as a segue into some topics that he was chatting with various team members on the plane ride back as he looked up his "big words" to use on the show.

@JD--Yup! Schrader and Mikey had a "gig" going on. So they'd make comments or give each other looks that seem "cruel" to the outside world but they can get away with it because they're buddies.

Anonymous said...

I think the show is getting better every week. Chad has loosen up and started to relax and have fun with the guys. Michael is Michael, he's been like that for 12 yrs on the show and to tell you the truth, that's why I tune in. Keep making it fun guys.

I watched NN last night and noticed that "the roundtable" is a lot like IWC/INC, with ties, suit jackets and highchairs. It seems like ESPN copied the SPEED format of INC and it's working for them.

Anonymous said...

Ritchie, chill out none of the people on the show were offended by Mikey, its all part of the show, Chad can hold his own and did so quite well. I wish they would have had more time for the nationwide and truck races. Really good show, getting better each week and I also did not know what happened to Mikey's car until the show, too bad. Keep up the good work, after a long day at work myself its nice to be able to laugh, relax and learn a few things and this show does all of that for me. Thank you.

Ritchie said...

Mr. Daly, I actually did watch this program in the '90's. It was entertaining then with Waltrip, Schrader, Benson, and Bestwick. I know there is a lot of nostalgia for that show. However, I'm concerned that the desire to recreate something is clouding the fact that things have changed and they are not going back.

What made that show enjoyable was the fact that the three guys who drove in the race, get to tell us what it was like to do so. That and a little bit of craziness thrown in was fun.

What has changed is Mr. Waltrip now uses the show as a platform to lobby NASCAR or to lecture racefans. That is not fun.

By the way, what are the ratings for this show anyway? I have never heard.

Kathy said...

I thought this was the best show of the season. Chad and Mikey are a great duo. For all his silliness, Mikey has been involved with racing his entire life and is able to comment from the vantage point of a driver, a team owner, and, my favorite, as a true fan of the sport. And Chad is great with expanding on the more technical aspects of a race. I think a lot of the fans of this show watch it expressly because it is "different" from all the other highly polished "sports locker" type offerings. I like feeling that I am an invisible passenger on one of those plane rides and am hearing what a driver and crew chief might be saying behind the scenes about the race that has just been run!

JD...does Mikey have "ownership" in this show? I'm recalling a comment that Despain made last year to him about it being "his" show and I've wondered ever since.

btw...Happy Birthday April 30 to MW!!!

Daly Planet Editor said...


That was just a tongue-in-cheek comment about Waltrip's ability to talk about anything at anytime for seemingly any reason. It was "his show."

The program is produced by the NASCAR Media Group from the same old studio in Charlotte for SPEED. I was there two weeks ago and not much has changed from the old dumpster days with Bestwick. You can see actually see the NMG studios from I-77 as you drive through Charlotte.


Anonymous said...

I am a Longtime fan but am finished with TWIN. The NASCAR media folks refuse to respect viewers CLEAR MESSAGE about the illogical and annoying plcament of next week's race.
I turned the show off 7 minutes in and will not watch again.
ESPN now has my loyalty

Anonymous said...

Best show in a while! Even the guys lighting looked good. Some promising signs of an improved show.

Deborah said...

Parts of last night's show were very good - mostly any time Chad and Michael were talking. However, as per usual I pretty much stopped listening during much of the preview for the next race - it would be more tolerable later in the show but I don't need it shoved down my throat right off the bat. I would have been much more interested at that point in listening to Chad and Michael discuss more how Michael and Jimmie worked together at the end of the Talladega race. Like Kathy I also liked how Michael was able to comment not only from the perspective of a driver in the race, but also as a owner - I liked hearing his thoughts on the Tony Stewart situation. I also wished that they would have left out the Jeff Burton feature so that there was more time to discuss the Truck and Nationwide races. They did touch upon the Lepage wreck, but considering what a big story that was I would have liked to have had them discuss it even more.

Cypress said...

I loved the show tonight. Waltrip was funny and revealing and the show was fun.

But I also got to thinking about the preview/review thing a bit. While I think you are right that it makes the most sense to start with Talladega since it just happened and you have a late-race leader in-studio. But I started to think about your post from yesterday about NASCAR overkill -- all the pre-race hype and discussion-to-death. I don't think you can have it both ways: If fans are burned out from all those hours of coverage of Talladega, then aren't a lot of them going to also zone out when, on Monday, you keep right on talking about Talladega?

After a weekend of DEGA-DEGA-DEGA, it was nice to hear about Richmond. It was nice to hear some new stuff, get me excited, then go back into the smaller details of the weekend race.

I liked TWIN this week... a LOT!

SophiaZ123 said...

while the weekend might have been lots of Dega. Dega. Dega.

I miss my driver info, info, info. While watching the midnight Y&R on SOAPNET, I clicked over for the beginning of TWIN (I could see the picture this time but there were tech glitches when I turned back at about 20 after the hour with audio, and later during the Despain bit) I noticed I turned in to watch TWIN for the Talladega race at 25 after the hour. By 37 after THEY WERE DONE TALKING ABOUT THIS RACE??????????????

yes there was scanner chatter and Mikey was funny but I turned back to my soap when the ILL PLACE Memory lane bit on Jeff burton came on. another rythmn breaker in this show.

I still don't see why a PANEL is needed for this show...if you added up the fun 'conversation' would be at most 10 minutes.

My remote in my room has a timer so I watch the intro (I was glad to hear what happened to Mikey as NOBODY mentioned that yesterday on tv) If MRN mentioned it, it was while I was back and forth from TV to MRN audio. What a shame Mikey blew up on the last lap.

Also I enjoyed him changing his mind about what happened and Hornish did NOT purposely hit him. And he took back all the things he said about Hornish yesterday. :)

Those "rare, brief bits" ARE REFLECTIVE of what made the old show FUN.

I am glad some of you can go with the most annoying format in a tv show (Well, except for FOX's Sunday race coverage that was below abysmal, with the overused baby toys)

I would also like to know the ratings on this show but frankly, it's too much SB for me (I see him enough elsewhere) and miss a third guy talking (SCHRADER!!!)

So out of the entire what 40 minute show plus commercials, 10 minutes were fun.

Pitiful, Pitiful, Pitiful.

I STILL say the Producer/director/coffee maker on this show is the same person that shows the the NO FINISH LINE on the Cup races.

NO conspiracy theory...I'm just saying.

If anything the brief glimpses of MIKEY being FUN again made me hate the rest of the overly canned video for the show.

Honestly, nobody minds sitting thru 20 minutes of the next race preview and the Snoozarama of seemingly endless video from last years show???? Good for y'all. I am just too detailed and orderly and can't stomach it.

Great googily moogily!!. The whole point of a SHOW ON MONDAY is to talk about the race ON SUNDAY. I want voices, I want talking, I want info. NONE Of us knew what happened in the last few minutes of DEGA.

If ever there was a time to majorly tweak the SEQUENCE of this show last night was it and imo they blew it. Totally.

Move this show to Thursday, call it "next" week in NASCAR and NOBODY will gripe about the bass ackwards format that SPEED holds onto and refuses to change. But NWIN makes an uncute acronym.

And give me TWO HOURS of WTunnel on Monday to cover NASCAR and other races, and I will be happy.

Monday night needs SOMETHING for us to review lots of great racin on the weekend. One hour of WT is not enough.

But I am glad the rest of you can enjoy this motherless TWIN show as to me, it is still a ship with no captain and nobody with the SPINE to admit the order of the show stinks to high heavens.

Off to get my second cup of coffee (I only have two mugs believe it or not!)

=: -)

Sorry for the long manifesto.

Daly Planet Editor said...


You did a good job of hitting the nail on the head. How do the NMG producers get this show to stand-out from the others that fans have alread seen?

They have tried to put the cart before the horse in this new format, but it simply did not work. The reason is the same as the one they should use to change it back permanently...that is the personalities on the set.

When Waltrip and Knaus were two of the central characters in the action on Sunday, Talladega should be reviewed first.

On other shows like The SPEED Report and Wind Tunnel and even Victory Lane, they do not have the participants talking about the event for the entire hour.

INC worked because the producer allowed it to be personality-driven, just like the sport. Trusting that guys like Waltrip, Schrader and Knaus can make it interesting for the viewer is hard to do, but that is going to be the key to success for this series.

It should be fun to watch the production team wrestle with these decisions. TV is fun, huh?


Daly Planet Editor said...


Great googily moogily? Such language!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've figured out how to watch the show..... now I REALLY enjoy it... I tivo it... Then I can watch the hour long show in about 30 minutes... I fast forward through the canned video and just watch the panel interaction... I never really liked Chad before this show...but my opinion has changed. I really enjoyed he and Mikey together..... To bad they don't throw Shrader into the mix....
Loved Mikey's 'aha' moments....just needed a lot more discussions and a lot less video... they are getting there...
gave up on that format...they seem to be stuck on preview before review

Mike said...

I agree with the "it's getting better" comments. But, IT'S STILL A FRUSTRATING SHOW TO WATCH !!!!

Wait a minute ..... think about this, IF they flipped flopped the order of the show we could watch the best part 1st then shut 'er down when the garbage (preview) came on later. Could the producers be afraid of this scenario ???

Anonymous said...

This week is pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back. Reducing the Nationwide and Truck series highlights/discussion to a mere afterthought was a totally boneheaded idea. I would love for someone to do a breakdown of how many minutes they spend talking versus showing video.

NASCAR Now blows TWIN out of the water. Sorry Speed, but until you make some changes, I will spend the time it would normally take to watch TWIN on something more useful.

Richmond, VA

Richard in N.C. said...

I did not get to see last night's show, but it seems to me to be a no-brainer that the show should definitely start with Sunday's race when it was as exciting as 'Dega was and then use its story lines to transition into the upcoming race. I like Mikey, Chad, and Steve, but I don't feel compelled to watch the show if Kenny S is not on.

Gatorfan said...

I enjoyed the show this week, although it would have been better to hear more about the current race up front. The talk about working together and the draft and bump drafting, considering how important all of those proved to be Sunday would have been good to hear about up front. The fact they had Knaus and Waltrip...whose cars worked very well together to get up to the front and then got booted back as the race came to an end...screamed for a great re-cap.

Mikey was on a self depricating role last night:

"It's been five years.....I don't know about anyone else, but my clock is tickin'....."

"Look at me...I'm dressed retarded..."

Waltrip: "I just can't seem to get it all together...I'm strugglin know with one to go comin to the white yesterday, I was thinkin "Things are gonna work out for me...and now I am just the same old Mike.."

Byrnes "Michael Waltrip, you are my horse if you never win another race"

Knaus "I think the fumes...from the blown engine, got in the cockpit..."

Waltrip "I don't want to be your horse...cause I can't stand the thought of you riding me"

"Upon further review....maybe that WAS my fault.....I'd like to apologize to Sam Hornish for all the bad things I said about him...."

Yup...the banter was if on;y they would get the show in the right order, we might be almost decent again!

SophiaZ123 said...


Thank you for the Mikeyisms!

Those were THE BEST PART OF THIS OTHERWISE video saturated show.


Thanks again...I really needed a laugh tonight.


Anonymous said...

@kathy--JD's right, that's an old joke. The way I remember hearing it, is that Mikey was approached about doing the show and was able to invite a couple of buddies along to do the show with him. So he invited Schrader and Johnny B. along, I forget how Allen came into the picture. So they became the original Expert Panel But anywho, that's how it became "Mikey's show".

Anonymous said...

TWIN would have been 500% better if there was no Mikey.......and replace him with Kenny Schrader!

I watched 2 minutes... seen Mikey and turned the channel... I have no interest in even listening to any thing he says...


Anonymous said...

Gosh, missed it again... and don't care. Dang-it. (Do you suppose they will write me a note to let me know when they have finally got it working again?)