Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Venturini Gets First Primetime Special

Update: For those readers who watched this program, please share your thoughts by using the COMMENTS section below. Thank you for telling us your opinion of Hometown Heroes on SPEED.

This week begins the build-up to the All-Star race on SPEED. Since that network does not carry any Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series points races, this week means a lot to the entire SPEED on-air staff.

The network is physically located in South Charlotte, right off Interstate 77. Having the All-Star festivities happening around town keeps everything right in the network's own backyard.

This year, SPEED has invested in a very interesting program that will be hosted by Wendy Venturini. The show will air on Wednesday, May 14th at 9PM Eastern Time. The official title is NASCAR Sprint All-Star 2008 Hometown Heroes. Despite the long name, the show may be one that deserves to find a place on your TiVo or DVR.

The format is simply a great idea and one that perhaps only SPEED and the NASCAR Media Group could create. Venturini asked the drivers who will be participating in the All-Star race to identify their "hometown hero." The single person who was a key mentor in their life. It could be someone racing-related, but not necessarily.

Venturini then hit the road, traveling to the hometowns of the drivers and finding the "hometown heroes" that were selected. The result should be an interesting look into the lives of unknown Americans who profoundly affected some of the highest-profile NASCAR stars.

Some of the folks interviewed include one of Ryan Newman's high school teachers, a 71-year old friend and fellow race of Ken Schrader and David Ragan's dad, former racer Ken Ragan. The list of other interviews is very diverse.

Venturini has worked hard to establish a style of interviewing that allows her subject to open-up and add emotion to an answer that may have only contained facts for another reporter. Before we call her the Barbara Walters of NASCAR, Venturini needs to put some more specials like this one under her TV belt.

She will be playing a key role in the upcoming coverage of the All-Star festivities, and a more detailed list of SPEED's special programming will be available on TDP early in the week. This special should be a good program to get things underway.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

This seems like it will be a good show.

JD, Since all these programs will be on HD on SPEED, I want to bring that topic back into the spotlight. My cable Co. Still does not carry SPEED HD, so I will miss the HD versions of this show and others, INCLUDING this weeks upcoming race. I called my Cable Co. many times about this and they have said they will put SPEED HD on a requested list. But it still has NOT been added to my lineup after many months of calling. I am surprised SPEED has not done more to encourage cable co.'s to carry the channel. JD, can you ask them about this?

Thanks for the site.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to this :). Have the DVR set :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

SPEED continues to say that cable companies have their own agenda. They only add HD channels when they feel the need from the consumer. It is frustrating.

SPEED is mostly a digital pay channel on a tier, and right now the basic cable networks are finishing the transition to HD.

The feed is up from SPEED, it is just a matter of the big Major System Operators deciding that racing on the weekend and lifestyle shows during the week is a priority.


Anonymous said...

I think Wendy is GREAT. JD, is it possible that Newscorp sees a double benefit in making Speed HD very expensive for Dishnetwork and cable competitors while preserving exclusivity of Speed HD on DirectTV.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nope. The goal of SPEED HD is distribution, but they are in a long line of other cable TV networks doing the same thing.

I do not want to get this section off-topic any more, so I will get together a HD update for Monday.



Sophia said...

I look forward to Wendy's special, JD. I heard her mention it in passing on Race Day.

Anonymous said...

I love Wendy and her reporting. She's awesome! It's nice to see that SPEED lets their on-air people let the fun side of their personality show, too, and that they are not forced to be an uptight, stuffed shirt like other network peeps.

This is one show I'm really looking forward to seeing. DVR is set!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:28PM,

I am hoping that this type of show can lead SPEED to understand how many human stories are out there in a sport this big.

NASCAR really loses a lot in translation by having located in an office building in Atlanta. Turner Interactive pays to run it, but they have almost no presence in Charlotte or Mooresville.

This void trickles down into the lack of any non-competition stories on or SPEED during the week. Maybe with Wendy showing the broad effect this sport has on the nation as a whole, it may lead to some additional TV programming or content.


Anonymous said...

I can't say enough good things about Wendy. She does an outstanding job. But pleeze-no comparisons to Barbera Walters. Hers are typically puffball interviews

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't SPEED just give Wendy her own interview show like Chris Meyers has on FSN?

Newracefan said...

Can't wait. Wendy has always been a favorite and this show sounds like the very thing I enjoy about Nascar the personal side of the Nascar community

Anonymous said...

Where did Wendy V. come from? All of a sudden SHE is getting all of this face time while the veterans that have been there for years get stuck doing the grunt work.
Ah, to have a pretty face...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:40PM,

If you Google Ms. Venturini, you will find that your statement is off-base.

She is one of the most experienced TV personalities on SPEED, a college educated professional who has been working both behind and in-front of the scenes for years.

Her website, will give you some background as well.


Anonymous said...

Thanks a million for the writeup on this show, JD.

Wendy is a consummate pro, and I never find myself wondering if her questions are fed to her by a producer in her earpiece like some other ill-fated SPEED reporters of the past.

Though I usually don't care for this type of feature on race day, and espcially dislike them during a prerace show, this program positioning seems well-suited to get at least my own eyeballs on it.

Looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Wendy Venturni's work and realize that she is one of your favorites, but I have to make one comment. Her wardrobe needs to be toned down a bit. She always looks like she is off for a night of clubbing right after she finishes interviewing people in the studio. Her huge earrings, sleeveless outfits, and heavy makeup are distracting. She is an intelligent, beautiful woman but these things take away from her work. Please do not take this the wrong way as I truly do enjoy her interviews and think she is very talented.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:28,

I think each female on-air talent goes through a period where they discover what works best for them.

Krista Voda and Wendy Venturini dress completely different, but both are effective in delivering their information on-camera.

As Venturini continues to build her resume of new programs and a higher-profile, I believe you will continue to see change and growth in several different areas.


Vince said...

Oh, oh. Here we go with the Annon wardrobe PC police again. Give it a rest already. Wendy's a great reporter with a long family history in the sport. She can report in jeans and a t-shirt for all I care. Keep up the good work Wendy.

Vince in Mich.

PammH said...

As an older female, I can tell ya that I wanted to tell Wendy more than once that the BLUE EYESHADOW was abit overdone!! I have just seen the opening of this show & someone has given her this info!! Can't wait to watch this show...:)

Newracefan said...

If the only negative for Wendy is her make up she's doing pretty good. I remember from the off season blog that Wendy does her own at the track, perhaps the lighting is not that great in some of those ladies rooms.

Now back to the real subject. I'm enjoying the show so far. A friend at work use to watch Buzzy race when he ran in the northeast and says he was a well respected nice guy. It's good to see how much David takes after him.

Anonymous said...

Standing Ovation for the Hometown Heroes special !!!

I can't say how much of a pleasure it was to see such a program.


Plus it was nice to see something other than the "normal" SPEED TV NASCAR programs that have turned into a TV circus.

Wendy was presented perfectly for that special and it showed a side of these drivers that we normally dont get to see - BUT SHOULD !!

The NASCAR garage is full of great stories and nobody seems to take the initiative to produce them for TV. Let's see more !!

By the way, this show was SO GOOD that I didn't even notice Wendy's make-up or attire... now thats good TV.

Newracefan said...

Loved the show, great mix of drivers. Wendy does a fantastic job with this type of inside look, I wish she could do a 30 min show (or even 60 but that might just be a little greedy) every week. Hey how about showing it every Monday with TWIN. It was Real Deal on steroids and in a good way. Go Wendy!

Geeze said...

This show was a grand slam. I can't think of anything else to say right now.

Tracy D said...

What a lovely program. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I love Wendy and her reporting. She's awesome! Need more of her.

Sophia said...

Loved this show! It was fantastic that she did not focus on 'the most talked about drivers' that are yapped about every week.

I LOVED seeing Schrader featured!!

Well done and I liked getting to see the human, non-racing side of the drivers.

Speed should really do this on some sort of quarterly basis and for GOD's SAKE PROMOTE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Had it not been for JD, i would not have known or remember this show or the special WT was on. SPEED is so busy hyping the "ALL STAR RACE" that I saw NO PROMOS for these shows..and I do not watch SPEED during the week.

Thanks for giving us insight and a reminder of the shows this week on SPEED that I NEVER would have known about JD!!

(I remember Despain mentioning his special on WT last week but not this past sunday.)

Anyway, great show tonight.

Anonymous said...

This was a really great show. The production was very well done, and Wendy just solidified her place in Nascar TV. She's incredibly talented and did a wonderful job with the entire production. I was especially touched by Matt Kenseth's father, who got very choked up during Wendy's interview. All in all, this has been the best of the All Star Week shows.

Glenn said...

WONDERFUL! Best show of the week. I think Wendy is just a classy gal livin' in a male dominated world. Great work,

Karen said...

Got choked up with the first segment on Reut and his dad Buzzie. Excellent show.

Karen said...

Also find David Ragan a well-spoken, polite young guy. His dad was very handsome in his 20's-30's. Think David will turn out that way.

As for Brian Vickers, I knew he had a penchant for reading. I bet he walks or flies around with a couple, three books in his duffel bag. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. for extra credit or tutoring in geometry, WOW. Heard he's extremely smart.

It just amazes me that these 21-,22-,23-year-old young men look and talk with such great ease in front of a camera. I sure didn't sound like that when I was 21.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:38AM,

Would you drop me an email when you get a chance at please? Thanks.


Lou said...

He who waits is lost. Oh, yes, did not record. Now have to wait for the 5:00PM reair. Thanks for the great comments. Looking fwd to the show. Thanks to all. Oh yea, JD a thanks to you for this blog.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed John Roberts, Steve Byrnes and Krista on All Star special tues. and wed. Very well done, fun, and informative.

Everyone on here is always complaining there isn't a weeknight NASCAR show. They provide one and now there is no mention. How are we ever going to get what we want if there is no mention?

Wendy's show was OK, but it was a little to canned and formulaic for me. Been there, seen it. I think it used to be called NASCAR 360.

Anonymous said...


Saw only part of the show, but what I saw made me regret I didn't tape it.

Hope SPEED re-airs it..

And I missed Schrader!!!

Oh, no!

Eric - The Maine PC Doc said...

Wendy is awesome!!! Anything she does I want to watch. Hope they do replay this - soon - since I missed it!!!

Anonymous said...

This show was awesome! For anyone to say "been there, seen it" has no clue. It was nothing like NASCAR 360. That was a reality show.
This show is a reason why I wish SPEED would sell DVD's of some of their shows. This was a can't miss. And yes thanks to JD for talking about it. SPEED never promotes stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
. . . And yes thanks to JD for talking about it. SPEED never promotes stuff like this.

May 15, 2008 4:51 PM

hey jd? any idea why that is? maybe you could tap some of your sources and ask?