Monday, May 5, 2008
Michael Waltrip On SPEED Monday Night
The three hours of NASCAR-related programming on SPEED went by quickly on Sunday night. Nowhere in that time did viewers see Sprint Cup owner/driver, Craftsman Truck Series analyst and This Week in NASCAR panelist Michael Waltrip.
The SPEED Report, Victory Lane and Wind Tunnel all talked about the Sprint Cup race at Richmond. It was only Victory Lane that took the time to recap the Waltrip vs. Casey Mears moment for viewers, and to get an opinion from Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace.
One key person missing from Bob Dillner's post-race interviews on the show was Waltrip. After losing his cool and purposefully running Mears down the track and into the fence, he had been parked by NASCAR. Dillner managed to get both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch after the race, but apparently Waltrip was unavailable.
Now, Waltrip must put on his "other" hat and sit down for an hour of NASCAR TV with Steve Byrnes and Chad Knaus on Monday night. This will be the first time that Waltrip will be seen on TV after his "moment." It should make for some very interesting on-air situations.
Not only will Waltrip have to answer questions about the incident, he will also have to watch the videotape and try to explain himself. After that challenge is over, he will be facing two big hurdles. He will have to offer comments on Denny Hamlin parking on the track and bringing out a caution, and Kyle Busch losing control and taking out Waltrip's former DEI teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
When Kenny Wallace on Victory Lane addressed the Casey Mears issue, he simply said that he believed it was the new seat and the lack of vision in the COT cars that had combined to result in Mears squeezing Waltrip into the wall. That easy-to-understand explanation did not fit-in well with Waltrip's actions after the initial hit.
Perhaps, Waltrip will have seen Wallace and his comments by Monday night. With the way that Waltrip reacted, many feel there must have been more to the situation with Mears. One thing is for sure, Waltrip cannot avoid an answer this time.
This Week in NASCAR airs on SPEED at 8PM, and it will be up to Byrnes to get things on-track quickly in this episode. In the past, the program has briefly touched on the weekend race and then begun a twenty minute preview of the next event.
The format does not return the program to the "review" portion until the show is almost half-over. This week, in light of all the events of both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in Richmond, SPEED might consider talking about the present for a long time before sending viewers off into the future once again.
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