Friday, May 23, 2008

SPEED President's Statement on Humpy Wheeler's Retirement

There are plenty of links currently on the Internet to the pending retirement of legendary NASCAR promoter and track president Humpy Wheeler. Below is the statement from the President of SPEED TV, Hunter Nickell.

“Over the last two decades, I made numerous trips to Humpy’s office seeking nothing more than a chance to bounce ideas off the man synonymous with free thinking and grand ideas. And, for me, it wasn’t just about coming up with the coolest ideas to promote the sport of NASCAR, it was about the enthusiasm and excitement Humpy generated around each one of them. I wish him well in his retirement, but certainly trust our relationship and mutual efforts to find the next big idea will continue for years to come.”

Over the years, I have known Mr. Wheeler and he is certainly a person who will be missed within the industry. I do hope that Mr. Nickell tries very hard to persuade Humpy to begin to contribute to both the TV and Internet sides of the NASCAR business. A good start would be to have Mr. Wheeler on Wind Tunnel after the Coke 600 from the track.

We are still awaiting an update on future episodes of The Humpy Show. The original airing was a pilot episode created by Humpy's daughter Patti, who is a NASCAR TV veteran. Maybe after his retirement, Mr. Wheeler will have some time to put into creating some memorable television programs.

If you have some memories or thoughts on Mr. Wheeler and his amazing shows at Lowe's Motor Speedway over the years, please feel free to post them. Just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. Thanks.


Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Good Afternoon JD,
No, I have no memories. But I did enjoy "The Humpy Show". And his efforts to promote NASCAR over the years. Mr. Wheeler, if you read this blog, your participation in the sport is welcome on the internet and TV as I am concerned. Thank you for all you have done and hope you will do in retirement at your pace and not our pace. Enjoy Mr. Wheeler.

Richard in N.C. said...

Over the years I have only found Humpy Wheeler to be fascinating, entertaining, and thought-provoking, whether you agree with his opinions or not. He can't be given too much credit for helping advance NASCAR.

JD, last night I saw a comment somewhere that his retirement might give him more time for "The Humpy Show." What do you think?

I've only watched "The Humpy Show" about 2 1/2 times and find it both entertaining and fascinating. I presume the 1 edition took a good deal of time for filming and editing - so that future editions of the same quality could not be cranked out quickly.

I do hope there will be more "Humpy Shows" and I feel it would be difficult for current drivers to turn down a request from Humpy to appear.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The format of the program relies on a current Sprint Cup driver to talk about a lot of things on-camera that drivers these days do not usually discuss.

It should be interesting to see if Humpy and his daughter Patti can make it fly. A program like that could also solve the big hole in the SPEED schedule when it comes to NASCAR.

That is from the moment the season ends until the January testing. That void was really bad last year, and SPEED jumped into Daytona as soon as they could, but some Humpy and NASCAR Confidential and "Best of" shows would sure be nice for November and December.


Kyle said...

I will never forget the day sitting in the stand, watching the helicopters come over the grand stands and do runs on the infield set up like a grass hut village. Explosions and fireballs everywhere!!!

The man knew how to put on a show. I'm sad that I didn't get the opportunity to see a few more of them.
Without Humpty, this sport wouldn't be anything near where it is today. He took NASCAR from second or third class citizen in the U.S. market and made it the top (well maybe second) motor sport in the world. Getting a load of drunk journalists to hop a 737 to North Carolina after the Indy 500 was over. A modern PT Barnum.

Humpty is right up there with Mr France in making NASCAR what it is today.

Thank you Mr. Wheeler.

Anonymous said...

I only know Mr. Humpy from what I've seen on TV and what I've heard.

He seems like a very nice man and very smart. His various promotions and such.

I do hope that he'll be able to get something together, it will definitely be great to see more from him :)

Anonymous said...

Never forget having the pictures fall off the walls, in the old turn 2 suites, from the pre-race show "invasion"!!!

Anonymous said...

daly planet editor said...
The format of the program relies on a current Sprint Cup driver to talk about a lot of things on-camera that drivers these days do not usually discuss.
May 21, 2008 2:44 PM

What I don't understand is why drivers like Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr can be so free wheeling on their radio shows but supposedly not on TV. They talk about anything and everything under the sun - on track and off track - and so do the other drivers who call in for interviews. You could learn more about Jimmie Johnson from his radio show than you would ever learn from TV interviews.

Why can't they do that on TV too? Is is that the radio audience is so much smaller and they know most fans won't hear them, so they say what they want?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:41AM,

You hit the nail right on the head. No one is going to post an embarrassing comment or off-color moment to YouTube or Yahoo or Rowdy if it is an audio file only.

But, put that same audio with a face and a place and it takes on a whole new meaning. It certainly is interesting that radio and satellite radio has benefitted from this "PC climate."


Newracefan said...

Nascar Now is reporting that Humpy is saying he is NOT leaving by his choice, if this is true something interesting must have occurred. I wonder if we will ever find it out.
The things Humpy thought up for the fans have amazed me. The fact that he could pull them off amazes me even more. Speed better start now to work on the pre race for next years Allstar race.

Karen said...

Newracefan said...

Nascar Now is reporting that Humpy is saying he is NOT leaving by his choice, if this is true something interesting must have occurred.

Well, that explains it then. I was startled to hear he was retiring. Seems to me he's got several good years left in him. And nobody can promote like he can. Wonder if the empty seats at the All Star race or the upcoming Coke 600 had anything to do with it? That's certainly not his fault. Too bad.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- IF ESPN and David Newton are correct that Humpy was forced out, that could be 2008's big NASCAR story - especially if he goes to work with the Frances. Sure might make a book deal more lucrative.

Since SMI is a public company, there might have to be more disclosure by SMI.

Before the report that he might have been forced out, I could not imagine anyone involved in NASCAR over 30 (except for NASCAR officials) saying no to an invitation from Humpy to appear on his show - especially since it is taped and edited. Now I'm not sure.

I can see it now - Eli Gold and Humpy in the booth for TNT.

Karen said...

Having read the story on, I now think maybe it's the best. He's so good at what he does, he can promote himself into who knows what areas?

Hopefully we'll get more Humpy everywhere, not just a few weeks during the year.

Anonymous said...

I was disturbed but not surprised to hear that as well :(

Daly Planet Editor said...

There are new posts up about Thursday's SPEED coverage and also Tradin' Paint.