Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"This Week In NASCAR" Covers Richmond And Darlington

"You can't just be that irresponsible" said Michael Waltrip. What a way to start the Monday episode of This Week In NASCAR on SPEED.

It was a four minute review of Richmond at the top of the show that featured Steve Byrnes hosting with Waltrip and Chad Knaus as the panel for an hour. Byrnes tried to cover as much ground about Richmond as possible. He knew what was coming.

Waltrip's point about Kyle Busch was that drivers must remain in control of their car, even late in the race. "This is unacceptable behavior," said Waltrip. "You can't just run over the leader and wreck them." Waltrip reinforced that Busch had a prior history of doing just this, and that somehow it was now just accepted by NASCAR.

Knaus had a different view, and took the time to point it out. Knaus was not so sure TV provided a good view of what happened. "Just because he (Busch) has a bit of a cloud around him right now, I don't think you can throw the whole Junior nation at him," said Knaus. His point was that it had happened many times before in the sport while going for the win, and it was not as bad as it was being made out to be.

"If you want to call it black-and-white, he screwed up," answered Waltrip. "Saturday night he was wrong and that is what I saw."

As usual in this show, once the momentum starts to build it is quickly deflated by the format. It was time to leave the emotion and the interest of the most recent race, and begin a long drawn-out preview of Darlington. You could almost feel the energy leave the room.

Although the NASCAR Media Group that produces the show turns-out wonderful features with outstanding editing, it is still tough to change gears and put the "preview" before the "review." Even with the drama and majesty of Darlington, the memories of the emotion surrounding Richmond in the first segment lingered.

It was twenty-two minutes into the show when Byrnes admitted to TV viewers that because of the test at Lowe's Motor Speedway, TWIN had been taped on Sunday. He introduced an "insert" from the Speedway featuring Waltrip and Greg Biffle.

Their discussion centered on the COT and the continuing issues of the car on the mile-and-a-half speedways. It was a nice point made by Waltrip that the COT is bigger than last season's car, and on narrow tracks like Charlotte it was going to get a bit crowded.

This week, the show got to the Richmond highlights before the thirty minute mark. Denny Hamlin was the early emphasis as Byrnes led the group through the video. Knaus and Waltrip worked well together on the issues in the race. They dealt with Hamlin lapping a lot of cars and the short track problem of seeing through the tire smoke in accidents.

When the topic got to the Waltrip accident, things got honest. "What you expect at that level is someone to not make that mistake," said Waltrip. "It was just unfortunate for me." Knaus tried to kid Waltrip that as he pushed Mears down the track Waltrip's rear tires were spinning and Mears has his completely locked-up.

Waltrip repeatedly said he felt like a 12 year old while he sat in the NASCAR trailer. Since he was wrecked anyway, Waltrip said that being parked by NASCAR was probably the best thing to do.

Byrnes chose to move the program ahead and did not ask Waltrip if he would do the same thing again now that he had time to think about it. Byrnes had raised the issue that the deliberate retaliation cost Waltrip a lot of points. Waltrip himself questioned whether his new COT car was really wrecked, or if he may have been able to continue after the first hit. That question will remain unanswered.

Things got interesting when the topic of Denny Hamlin stopping on the track came up. "You have to penalize him," said Waltrip. "He can't just pull up there and bring out a caution." Knaus and Byrnes were not so quick to agree.

"I don't know what happened." said Knaus. This did not go over well with Waltrip, who clearly believed Knaus and Byrnes were being politically correct. Knaus hung-on to the belief than when he "knew" the facts he could pass judgement.

"Is there any way we could just every now and then call it an ace?" asked Waltrip. "Just say he did it and that's what it is." Byrnes asked Waltrip when he had become the voice of reason. "I'm getting old," answered Waltrip.

As the final recap of the race, the panel once again reviewed the Busch vs. Junior accident. Waltrip again said Busch just got in over his head, and both panelists reviewed the strong race of Earnhardt's Hendrick team. They closed out the content portion of the show by complimenting Clint Bowyer both on and off the track.

The "scanner chatter" continues to be a strong feature on this show, and the "weekend review" and questions from viewers have been regulars since the new show began.

It seems that TWIN is going to stick with the "preview before review" format this season, and adding-in an update from the Lowe's Motor Speedway about testing was a nice touch for this show.

All three panel members are continuing to create the personal relationships that will define this program, and there is no doubt that TWIN has come a long way from its original episode. Both the program and the personalities involved continue to generate strong feelings from NASCAR fans.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your opinion.


SophiaZ123 said...

I moved my comments from the MW thread here.

SophiaZ123 said...

Well I tuned into the first 5 minutes and channel hopped until 25 after.

I thought Mikey did fine. He was not happy with what happened and still wasn't, which is ok with me but he knew he did a stupid thing. Chad told him he threw a tantrum.

I agree, time to move on. Just like with the Jr thing.

also after listening to the scanner with Jr tonight, I continue to be AMAZED at how HE handles his misfortunes better than some of his fans (like myself!! ) do.

No wonder so many people like him. Can't buy class no matter what your name is. He and Tony Jr are a great team. I take it as high praise that I have heard Chad specifically speak HIGHLY of Tony Jr.

I used to think he was part of Jr's problem. Egg on my face.


May 5, 2008 9:09 PM

WOW they got rid of some of the lame video filler at the end of the show. And next week the old gang back!!

Now either change the SEQUENCE of the show or move it to Thursday,(where we will NOT expect a recap of Sundays race!!) and I will quit whining.

(oh, sure, Sophia? !)


Anonymous said...

So how much time was spent discussing Watrip/Mears? Maybe two minutes? Everybody who watches this show regularly knew that it would be briefly discussed and then they would move on. Why some people thought there would be drama, and that Waltrip would be forced out of hiding today to provide "detailed answers" (for the media and NASCAR folks breathlessly awaiting his reaction at their homes) which he didn't provide to some people's satisfaction Saturday is beyond me.

As someone else predicted, it was anticlimatic after all the hype. Hope we can all move on now. (And I'm not a Mikey fan, though I don't dislike him. I just find him overexposed.)

And Chad Knaus is great. I hope he stays in TV for a long time.

SophiaZ123 said...

OOps JD, I meant to say great column.

And about almost feeling the energy leave the room, INDEED!

At our house the open windows closed themselves, the blinds closed and the fresh air left!!


So I watched DWT Stars off and on until about 25 past the hour.

Anonymous said...

Once again, this will be the first time Waltrip is going to comment on his incident on TV. How Byrnes and Knaus choose to deal with it will point the show in a direction for the future. It's that simple.


May 5, 2008 4:27 PM

JD - now that the show is over, what is your opinion of the direction is This Week In NASCAR going in? I don't see it addressed in your column. Thanks.

TexasRaceLady said...

I really, really enjoyed the show.

What a pleasure to see Chad coming into his on -- and giving Mikey a run for his money.

I didn't expect too much from Michael about the run-in with Casey, and I got about what I expected.

Too hear Chad praise Dale and Tony like he did, just makes this old lady proud that she cheers for them.

Newracefan said...

Chad busting on Mikey calling it a temper tantrum was fantastic. I also agree with Mikey that it was the fault of Casey and his spotter (Casey has already admitted that it was his fault as he didn't realized he was there). Mikey's statement "can't fix stupid" and admitting he lost about 40 points with his behavior IMO admitting a mistake. JD I agree with the deflated comment but thankfully it reinflatd. The banter between MW and CK was the best it's ever been. I can't wait until next week with the full panel I just hope too many cooks doesn't spoil the broth (so to speak)

KoHoSo said...

If I may...

"You can't just be that irresponsible," say NASCAR fans who are pulling their hair out at a show that continues to insist on running useless feature filler and spends nearly half a show previewing a race that is almost a week away.


What a shame TWIN is sticking with this ridiculous format. I tuned in tonight mainly because I wanted to hear Mikey explain his own incident. There are flashes of what could still be in how Waltrip and Knauss are playing off one another. But, except in special instances, this show is unwatchable. And even in those special instances, I don't see how anybody could watch it without having recorded it and then having fresh batteries in the remote to boogity, boogity, boogity past all of the useless features.

AMS fan said...

Kohoso, that's what I kinda do. I've figured out to record the show, even though it's on, read the posts here, and then go back and watch the "best" parts. This review, preview, review is still TERRIBLE.
I really enjoyed Chad doggin' Mikey about his tantrum. Priceless

Ritchie said...

I know that there is a group of hardcore fans that will not let this show change, but at this point those fans need to be cut loose. There are obviously some good points to this program, which is why people still care enough to complain. That may not last much longer.

At times, this show show glimpses of greatness. The video highlights that were dug out of archive were great. The coverage of the scanner communications were great. Chad was informative, and funny. Steve Byrnes did a good job of directing traffic and keeping the show moving.

However, there is this brooding, pouting black cloud on the show named Michael Waltrip. He constantly scolds other drivers with such gusto, yet retreats back to "they made me feel like a twelve year old in time-out" when the subject is him. In Mikey's world Kyle is disrespectful, Mears is ignorant, Hamlin is a trouble maker, but Waltrip? Well, he was just a little mad and besides, he wasn't really hurting anybody. I know he has some great fans, but for the rest of us he just creates cognitive dissonance.

Folks, I know there is a group of you that wish this was still the twentieth century version of "This Week in NASCAR", but it isn't and it will never be. Its time to turn the page and use the talent available. Chad and Steve are great, but maybe it is time to put a hot young drive in Mikey's seat and see what happens. Clint Bowyer maybe?

mant2003 said...

My comments are strictly based on the fact that Waltrip didn’t make a comment after the race.

I was one of the many journalist, camera operators/ production people who waited on Waltrip to exit the NASCAR hauler. It just never happened so hearing the statements he made tonight aren’t surprising of course he’s had time to think things over with his PR people and come up with a balanced statement that includes Mears was wrong but he made a mistake.
I believe things would have been a lot different if he would’ve talked after the race but he wasn’t available and by the time he was available to talk to TV people we were all covering Dale Jr and Kyle Bush.

This is purely speculation

But I think NASCAR’s punishment for Waltrip wasn’t just parking him but it was also keeping him form talking to the media. We all know that Waltrip is a media hound and I truly believe NASCAR purposely held him in the hauler until everything else played out and then they released him.

Newracefan said...

About 49 points and no TV time sounds like a fair penalty to me. Interesting thought mant2003

Anonymous said...

I have to agree Chad Knaus is definetly becoming comfortable on this show. When he said Mike had a temper tantrum I just lost it. I liked when he explained that he wasn't going to pass judgement until he was sure of all the facts. That explains a lot about Mr Knaus. I also loved when he told Mike that he needed to pay more attention to what is going on with his racing and not what is going on around him. (Which there have been times I have thought this) What was great about it though is that Mike replied that he Tivo's the race and watches it before he does the show so that he is more informed with what was shown.
I think if we give this show some time it will come into its own.

Anonymous said...

This Week in Nascar still needs a lot of work. They need to get more drivers on there like Kenny Schrader. The driver interaction was what made the show last year. It was my favorite show but now there is nothing to really watch for. The old magic is gone. Putting Mikey and Chad is like trying to mix oil and water.It does not work. I wish they would bring back the old show that talked about the race just finished and let the drivers give their perspective. Mikey has a really amusing sence of humor if people let him talk and interact with like people in the business.

Anonymous said...

I like Michael,but I thought he was a hypocrite last night. He talked about 'respect' and 'car control' regarding Kyle. Then when Sorensen short pitted and Stewart bumped him in frustration, Michael said 'you have to control yourself'. But when his incident with Mears came up,he brushed it off. I admire what Michael's accomplished the last few years,but he often is too full of himself.I've lost respect for him. PS His brother has a lot of BS too.

Anonymous said...

Good show last nite. I really like Chad's comments. Insightful as well as occasionally wicked funny. Now if we could get Schrader or the Biff back in the mix with a post / pre mix then we'd be good to go with a great show. If Steve were to be off one show, I"d like to see Wendy Venturini host. That would be HOT!

jfs-va said...

I thought the interview of the Biff and MW from Charlotte was pretty good. If they would add a third driver(on a regular basis) and do the review first I'd be happy. Probably not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Waltrips wreck happens to alot of drivers and tempers flare, those guys have alot of money in those cars and when someone makes a obvious mistake like Mears, no one should blame them for getting upset. Kyle's deal to me was thinking he had enough talent to drive in the corner like he did without putting Jr in the wall and he found out he did not, but I like it when someone steps out and gets off the fence to make a statement like MW did, the other two were playing it safe on that issue, but Chad was on the mark in telling MW that he threw a temper tantrum,. Both Jr. and Mikey have pressure on them for different reasons and Jr. handled his wreck better than Mikey did, BUT, I still am a big fan of both, and it will be healthy for Nascar if they are both successful with their goals this years. Good show, looking forward to next week.

GinaV24 said...

As long as the PTB that control this show are going to continue to do this show "backwards" then I'll do what I've been doing and record it on my DVR and then go to the end and reverse it until we get to the race that ought to be covered first and watch that, then take it back to the begining and watch them do a preview show. It is still a ridiculous way to do a show. Mikey is such a hypocrite. He is always so judgemental of others, but then goes into his hangdog routine and woe is me deal whenever he has done something wrong. I thought it was great that Chad called him out. I'm not a big Chad fan, but I agreed and I also agreed with Chad saying he didn't know what happened with Hamlin. I know Mikey has a lot of fans, but for the most part, I find him annoying and unwatchable.

Anonymous said...

I like Michael,but I thought he was a hypocrite last night. He talked about 'respect' and 'car control' regarding Kyle. Then when Sorensen short pitted and Stewart bumped him in frustration, Michael said 'you have to control yourself'. But when his incident with Mears came up,he brushed it off. I admire what Michael's accomplished the last few years,but he often is too full of himself.I've lost respect for him. PS His brother has a lot of BS too.

MW had car control during the PUSH. He hooked up with a Hendrick car and was attempting to go to the front......MW was in control of his Mears wrecked car the entire time......I saw him steering the car.

Anonymous said...

I went one better than sophiaz
I didn't even bother to tune in, and will not until they change the format

batchief said...

Remember everyone, all hands on deck next week, Waltrip, Biffle, Knaus and Schrader from Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Tom said...

I made a point of watching this episode, and overall, the show still does nothing for me-they still have everything backwards (literally and figurativly). Mikey was an embarrasment. Talking about people "controlling the car" and then acting like the kid in the corner with a dunce cap when his situation was mentioned. A highlight was Chad speaking out about MW's hipocrisy. This still might work if they bring in another driver with no agenda-except racing (Schrader). I am OK with a new show format (doesn't have to be IWCR), but I do want a GOOD show, which this is not. When you consider that many shows now provide us with highlights, and that very few are interested in a 20+ minute preview, it makes sense to provide what is not available elsewhere. The best thing I can think of that is currently NOT fully provided for is a panel of drivers having freewheeling discussions about the race-and whatever else they can think of.

Inverness, FL

Andrew S. said...

The show being taped on Sunday explains why Schrader wasn't there. He was busy RACING. ARCA Re/Max Series Carolina 500 from Rockingham. He finished 2nd, or first loser as he likes to say.

Vicky D said...

When Chad first was on this show I didn't like him but he was great on Monday's show. I enjoyed it.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Yes, this week I did watch the program as it aired. I usually record it as that I(we)hate the reverse format. Note to those who advertise. I also record and reverse to see the last half of the show. Get it, if your commercial is in the first half hour, I did not see it.

Luna said...

Writing in from Moscow, Russia. Finally was able to find the show online. (although had to watch the Tuesday morning rerun, as the live one is on at 4 a.m. my time.)
Some of my comments may be a bit stale to those of you who've been watching since February.

I was totally put off by the preview of next week's race. Whatever happened to the lap-by-lap review of the show's previous incarnations?

I thought Mikey was spectacular. He's the reason I watched the previous incarnations of the shows to begin with. He totally cracks me up!!
Chad was great. And, I like his and Mikey's interaction.

I definitely think this is a better show than the version with Dave Despain last year--except for the ultra long focus on Darlington. Steve Byrnes doesn't seem to be as controlling as Despain, and Byrnes definitely seems to have a better sense of humour.

Can't wait for next week with Biffle and Kenny. Kenny and Mikey are hilarious together.

BTW, if any has tips on how to see the races online, please let me know. I can only "see" them with TrackPass right now, and it pretty much sucks.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Luna, thanks for stopping by. JD, my how this blog has expanded. Way to go.

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was pretty good except for the line from Chad when he wouldn't comment on the Kyle - Jr, accident, Jr, said if he wanted to take me out he could have done it in turn two, well when they came off turn two Kyle was surprised that Jr. was out driving him and was going to leave him in the dust, thats when he decided to run into Jr. in turn three. No one will admit it but that's the way it is.

Cypress said...

I guess I go against the grain, but I find Chad Knaus to be boring (really boring) and politically correct. Meanwhile, I love Michael Waltrip's energy, humor, and strong opinions. Yeah, he totally ducked the blame in the Mears incident, but that's when the host should step in. Compare what Waltrip was saying about KB/DEjr to the stuff on the "better" NASCAR Now - no comparison. One was honest, raw, and very insightful to the thinking of drivers. The NASCAR Now panel has nothing to offer except "well, just racin'."

I like TWIN. I wish they'd move the preview to the second half, but I find it much more entertaining than NASCAR Now.

Richard in N.C. said...

I enjoyed the show, but I was very disappointed that Mikey criticized Hamlin and Kyle B, but never manned up and said he was wrong and over-reacted. But, Mikey is still human and it is much easier to criticize others than to admit one's own faults. I really missed Kenny S's not being there to zing Mikey as only he can do.

I do enjoy TWIN, but I do not think it is as good as it could be. I wonder if someone at SPEED feels that mentioning the past weekend's race is the hook to keep viewers tuned in while next week's race is discussed?

Junior's comments after the Richmond race reminded me of his father - don't whine or don't tell everything that's on your mind.

Mike said...

It's nice to know that Chad's dog was puking in the his Tahoe while at the same time Mikey was spending 6 hrs on his Tivo reviewing the race.

Between 8:06 & 8:25PM was a total waste of everyone's time. What production consultant convinced the show's producers that this is the way to higher ratings ???


slithybill said...

This has probably been mentioned before, but why did they discuss the Richmond race at all? That happened Saturday night, which was LAST week. I thought the show was "THIS Week in NASCAR". If they want to discuss LAST week's race, then they should start another show called "LAST Week in NASCAR". But I guess LaWIN is not as appealing an acronym as TWIN. Or they could call it "Two Weeks in NASCAR" or even "These Weeks in NASCAR" and keep the TWIN tag.

The dynamics between Waltrip and Knaus are getting better, but their chemistry keeps getting derailed by all the video packages.

Just like last year, the show seems more interested in cramming in all the highlights than in hearing all the commentary from the panel. TWIN has really devolved into "This Week in NASCAR Video Highlights (introduced by a driver and a crew chief)".

Hopefully next week's show will allow for more discussion from the panel. Maybe having all four on the panel will allow them to cut some of the video features. But probably not. I'm guessing they'll show even more video just to hype the All-Star Challenge "coming to you right here on SPEED".

Anonymous said...

If everyone thinks Schrader is so good, then why doesn't ESPN use him if he is available??? They could easily use him on NN. In fact, why don't they use him and Mikey since they have such "great on camera chemistry"??

Just for Men Mike said...

Thank you Chad!Someone finally has revealed Mikey for the fool and hyprocrite that he is!

1. Chad didn't let Mikey get away with slamming Kyle.
2. Chad stood up for his teamate Casey and described Mikey as having "a temper tantrum".
3. Chad made Mikey look like a fool when Mikey didn't even understand that sponser Monster was a Sprint Cup marketing campaign.
4. Chad refused to agree with Mikey's simplistic dismissal of Denny's caution.

Chad runs rings around Mikey in term of brain power and verbal skills. Chad please keep it up to keep Mikey's mouth shut!

Daly Planet Editor said...


Thanks for stopping by. When you get a minute, tell us what you are doing over there.


Daytona Kid said...

Mikey was out of control Monday night....I ended up screaming at him thru the TV..three times (maybe more?) Steve Byrnes asked Chad a question that started out Chad....? and Mikey butted right in and gave his opinion. Very sad that Speed has allowed this program to become the Mikey Week of My Opinions...The Hell With NASCAR and the Fans Getting True Opinions (MWMOTHWNFGTO...Ok too long an acronym).

More nights like that one and it's back to regular progamming!

Daly Planet Editor said...


Any thoughts?


Deborah said...

Not much to say that I haven't said in relation to virtually every TWiN that's come before this one. I recorded the show so I could fast-forward through a lot of the preview segment and the other parts of the show that didn't involve discussion among the panel. It's almost laughable that they insisted on having the preview for Darlington up front when events from the race at Richmond were big news stories. The show would benefit from having a third panelist, particularly since there was so much to talk about from the race just past - another driver's opinion would have been interesting to hear, especially in relation to the Kyle/Junior incident since there are so many wide-ranging viewpoints on that.

As for Michael, some seemed to be expecting some big dramatic statement from him in relation to his accident but he said about what I figured he would. At the top of the show Michael gave some strong opinions on Kyle which I didn't particularly agree with, but one reason I tune in is to hear what Michael thinks whether I agree or not.

Anonymous said...


Great analysis; you hit most of the highlights and "low" lights.

I think Michael also was quite realistic in dealing with his on-track incident with Casey Mears, for which I've heard Casey admitted blame.

I heard MW say *several* times that he lost his cool. He also took it like a man when Byrnes and Knaus rubbed his nose in the fact that he'd had a tantrum.

And the "You can't fix stupid" was self deprecating humor at its best, but seems to have fallen on some deaf ears.

The honest disagreements between Waltrip and Knaus were refreshing, well handled by the participants, and proved that the chemistry is growing.

This was the first TWIN where I could feel the show's own identity and that's also a good thing.

Nevertheless, the insistance on discontinuity in the chronological order of things is so off-putting that I also find myself either turning off the sound, switching to NASCAR NOW if it's on, or fast forwarding it if I've taped it.

That's very disappointing.

Dannyboy aka topgeardan.

Anonymous said...

I like Michael Waltrip and still do but he was a hypocrite and a winer last Monday night.

He bad mouthed KB (shrub) for taking out junior but later in same show they show Darlington finish when Kraven beat Kurt Busch and they wrecked at the finish line. Apparently that is one of them racing deals but when a Earnhardt is involved it isn't. Not sure I get the difference.