Sunday, May 25, 2008

Petty Drops A Bombshell On "Tradin' Paint"

It only took a couple of minutes for SPEED's Tradin' Paint program to finally get away from the vanilla-flavored conversations of the past couple of shows and find some content to spark some good NASCAR discussion.

"I think Humpy Wheeler was one of the greatest promoters that this sport has ever seen," said panelist Kyle Petty. "On the reverse side of that, I think the sport has passed him by. Even PT Barnum doesn't work in this market today."

All this was in response to show host John Roberts bringing-up the topic of Wheeler's sudden retirement and the subsequent comments of track owner Bruton Smith. The stories these gentlemen were telling absolutely did not match-up on the same topic.

This week on Tradin' Paint it was the lightning rod NASCAR reporter for the AP Jenna Fryer as the media guest. Fryer was more circumspect in her response on the Wheeler issue and raised several good points.

She contends that Wheeler had been distancing himself from both LMS and Bruton Smith for a while now. Wheeler was not involved in the new LMS drag strip and Fryer was convinced that racing just was not "fun anymore" for Wheeler.

At this point in the show, Roberts suddenly decided he would leave the host role and become a panelist. "One thing that I think everyone agrees about around here is the fact that Humpy Wheeler is a big part of what this speedway is...he will be missed around here but he will still be presence...because of what he has done at this racetrack over the years," commented Roberts. He added that he would be the first person in line to buy Humpy's book.

This is the problem that is currently on-going with Tradin' Paint. Suddenly, Roberts has begun interjecting his own opinion and often decides that he will have the last word on a certain subject. If he would like to appear as a media panelist, that might make for a fun show. Someone like Randy Pemberton or Bob Dillner could host.

In reality, this season it is Roberts who is the host of the show. His role is to allow the two panelists to shine. It is to allow them to speak, get across their views and then send the show off to the next commercial break. For some strange reason, this has suddenly become an issue.

A discussion of the recent purchase of Kentucky Speedway by Bruton Smith was next. Both Petty and Fryer raised great points about the on-going dynamics of this rather confusing situation. Fryer guessed another shoe was about to drop, and perhaps it was the purchase and subsequent closure of Pocono Raceway. Petty agreed that was a possibility, but thought that perhaps New Hampshire might be losing a race to Kentucky.

Once again, Roberts had the last word. "No one is powerful enough to make the year longer. There are already thirty-eight events on the schedule right now. There just isn't enough room to have another date," added Roberts. He went on even further with his own answer to a question intended for the panelists. Then, he led to commercial by joking that the next topic up for discussion was "rear ends." This was not the normal John Roberts that TV viewers have come to enjoy.

Petty then led an excellent discussion of the new "crab walking" Cup cars. His technical explanation of why and how this was done was simply outstanding. Fryer's point was that NASCAR continues to make the level of creativity smaller and the crew chiefs are essentially handcuffed with the COT cars. This conversation was exactly the type of interesting and informative TV content that Tradin' Paint was created to give to the fans.

Yet again, Roberts added his own paragraph to the answers of the panel before commercial. "Another thing there is no question about is that some of the smartest engineering minds in world work in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series right now so they will find a way around any new rules that come down the pike." said Roberts. This comment was strange given the fact Petty and Fryer had just finished talking about this subject. What the program needed was the host to "throw" to commercial.

The final big segment of this show allowed Fryer to finally talk about something in depth, and that was the situation with Juan Montoya's team. She had the details on the Ganassi troubles in the sport and Petty deferred to her on those issues. Petty then talked about the same subject from a car owner perspective. His main point was that Montoya should have been involved from the beginning on crew chief changes. If he was not, a new team chemistry is going to be very hard to find.

Over the years, Tradin' Paint has been hanging-in there as a quick thirty minute show that is seen twice a weekend and is then gone. The program is so topical that it does not repeat during the week. SPEED does not produce a season-in-review on this show at the end of the year.

If the host turns the focus to the panelists and makes them work hard where the topics are concerned, the program flows. If the host takes the last word on a topic as the show heads to break, it does not. This edition of Tradin' Paint had great information and interesting content. What it did not have was a rhythm and the reason why was clear for all to see.

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Adam T. Martin said...

This was interesting to watch and I enjoy hearing Kyle Petty speaking his mind.

Karen said...

I wouldn't have really noticed John Roberts including himself in the conversations if you hadn't brought it up. All in all, good show.

RPM said...

Am I the only NASCAR fan that enjoys watching Pocono? Different turns, uber long straightaway and the occasional deer on the track.

I don't know the logistics of putting on a race there, but it is always interesting to watch, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

It continues to amaze me that anyone can watch / listen to any period of conversation by the infamous Jenna Fryer as she continues to perpetuate a vocabulary consisting entirely of: "you know" - "whatever" interspersed by many "and uhs."

Ah, the pleasures of professional journalists. How can anyone so very capable of writing in complete sentences so very unable to speak in complete sentences.

So very disconcerting and disappointing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick said...


I LOVE Pocono too!!! But apparently there aren't that many of us. :(

Daly Planet Editor said...

The problem is not loving Pocono guys, it is the fact that fans have to love Pocono twice in a short period of time. I do believe we will be seeing that change shortly.


Newracefan said...

I enjoyed Tradin Paint and did notice JR adding his opinion about Humpy not so much the other points. I wonder if JR was so suprised with what Kyle said that it threw him off and he felt the need to comment. I also wonder if simce his opinion is expected on Race Day even as a host that this flows over to TP. I don't notice JF "speaking" issues as other posters have, I was just glad it was a show where they disagreed

Newracefan said...

JD I agree about Pocono, the races are too close together but with the location early or late season races are not an option. With "market issues" as Kyle would say I can see them losing 1 race but hopefully not both. I live in PA but would be happier (if I had to choose) with Pocono losing a race more than Dover. I just wish the race that gets added wasn't another "cookie cutter" track. Even if the facilities and traffic are "better".

GinaV24 said...

Trading Paint needs 3 panelists, rather than 2 and a moderator. I like John Roberts more on RACEDAY than I do here because well, he wants to play both sides here. I think Humpy will, indeed, be missed at Charlotte. Pocono is much better on TV than in person as it is a really big track and the cars go away for a really long time. I've been there a couple of times so I know it isn't just a one time reaction on my part. Plus, having 2 races at the same track so close together doesn't make sense. Also, it seems that what Bruton wants, Bruton gets. I could live with only one race at Pocono for the season -- I'd hate to see him close NH as the racing has gotten a lot better there than it used to be, but if he wants a Chase date in Vegas, he'll probably do it to get it.

Anonymous said...

Karen asked this question in the other Tradin Paint column, and since it is off the first page of posts I thought I would answer it here. She wanted to know where you can find the very good series of Q&A's Jenna Fryer does with Juan Pablo Montoya which I mentioned in my comment about Ms. Fryer.

Karen - They appear about every other week, but they are not labeled as Q&As. If you check on Jayski's article page, look for a headline about Montoya from either the Associated Press or ESPN/Associated Press. (Not today, though, the Montoya AP story is purely about JPM being very upset that Ganassi fired his crew chief.)

Or to find some past ones, Google "Fryer, Montoya, Q&A". Usually, the story will begin with news from the previous weekend's race, then go into the Q&A. They;ll talk about racing, then other stuff in his life.

Q: What did you do while in Las Vegas?
JPM: We went to the amusements for the rides, and I did them all. On the first ride, the chairs open up, and you end up looking down outside the building. It's freaky a little bit, and you can get sick as they spin you around. Then we went in a little car that goes over the thing, and it was scary.
Q: You were scared?
JPM: Oh yes.
Q: I thought you weren't scared of anything?
JPM: Oh, no way. I am scared of heights. I am a baby.
Q: I asked you once if you were scared of anything ...
JPM: Yes, heights.
Q: But you got mad at me and said you weren't scared of anything.
JPM: That's wrong. Heights. It's why I said I would never parachute. There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity. I don't like it.
Q: But your home in Miami is THE PENTHOUSE!
JPM: Yes, so?
Q: Heights?
JPM: I don't stand outside and try to go over the balcony.
Q: Do you stand on the balcony?
JPM: Now I can. In the beginning when we first moved in, I couldn't go out there.
Q: Wow, you are a baby!
JPM: Oh yeah.

Anonymous said...

JD, you seem to have something to say about most of the guys on tv, I'm wondering why you don't just go back to espn and take over some of these shows you think are no good because of the host.

ttc said...

Given that Bruton Smith has never been a willing interview while Humpy has been always been colorful and available, I'm not surprised that John Roberts or his panel would favor the latter.

As for Pocono, despite some great finishes such as Jeremy Mayfield bumping Dale Sr. out of the lead on the last lap in June 2000, the two 500 mile races on the flat track are often boring. Moving one of the Pocono races to Kentucky would make sense.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:13PM,

First of all, Tradin' Paint is on SPEED and produced by the NASCAR Media Group. I met that group and said hello about a month back. Went to lunch with the Tradin' Paint Producer.

This blog has been talking about all the NASCAR TV partners since January of 2007.

I have a great relationship with the current ESPN folks, and hope to continue it in the future.


red said...

in re: pocono: i, too, live in the philly area and can get to pocono a ton faster than i can get to dover. but i REALLY dislike trying to watch a race at pocono. there are blind spots on that odd track where you can't see the cars, the traffic is insane and i just don't have the patience for that long a race at that size track. i prefer dover.

that being said: for us in this area, those race are practically back to back and it's always amused me that dover, pocono, loudon get jammed up like that every year on the schedule. in the meantime, they're racing in 100+ degrees at other tracks when it's reasonable warm out here.

2009 and '10 will be interesting -- since, according to nascar, the 2009 schedule is not set and there's no room in the inn next year for kentucky . . .

Anonymous said...

So Kyle Petty thinks NASCAR has outgrown Humpy. Seems as if Kyle would be very familiar with people that NASCAR has outgrown, no?

And John Roberts needs to understand that viewers don't watch TP to hear what HE has to say.

Anonymous said...

Not happy about seeing another traditional track go.

They said Darlington didn't fill the stands but is has. However the track that replaced it (California) hasn't ever, yet NASCAR's promoting it.

Last years Pocono race was handled horribly. They did anything and everything they could to get to 1/2 way then they called it. Just a joke. They certainly wouldn't do that some of there other venues.

Maybe because there are no football arenas near Pocono where Brain France can go when the races are in town.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a mistake to leave Pocono. Kentucky is just another cookie cutter. Pocono is so much more. But it doesn't matter if Pocono sells every seat for both races: if Smith buys it, its gone. Before closing it down though, I think Bruton Smith should do a poll and find out how people feel about him closing down Wilkesboro.

I'm a die hard Kyle Petty fan. I hate to see him get out of the car but one thing I am looking forward to is seeing him on TV more. Nobody on tv today is as good at this as he is. he and Dallenbach were great together. Be nice to see him and Jarrett. As for JR, you know what always happens when people who tell the news try to make the news. Dan Rather is out of work now.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that the present owners will sell Pocono to Bruton Smith?

Think about that for a moment.

Anonymous said...

Dan Rather is out of work now.

No, he isn't.

Get your facts right.

Anonymous said...


I love Pocono! I love the hot passes, love the unique style of the track, love the area around Pocono (it's beautiful) but I am not a fan of the two dates so close together. I usually attend only one of the races for that reason. I guess if I had to pick a track to lose a date, it would be Pocono.

Anonymous said...

Jenna does a good job on the show... but she doesn't speak as well as she writes.

Roberts is a strange presence on SpeedTV. He's been around for years but for some reason he seems new and green... or maybe wooden and detatched describes him a little better. He's got that Bob Jenkins wooden headed persona. They should swap him out for someone more like a Byrnes.

Speed needs to find a post millenial Ned Jarrett. Someone from the inside of the sport that is well spoken. Lord, I cringe at McReynolds and Hammond's language mutilations hourly.