Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wheeler Saga Will Affect SPEED On Thursday

One day after the bombshell dropped that Humpy Wheeler was "retiring" from LMS, it is going to be a very interesting Thursday on SPEED.

That NASCAR TV partner has a full line-up of live programming from LMS, beginning with a one hour version of NASCAR Live at Noon Eastern Time. John Roberts will be hosting the show, with Bob Dillner and Hermie Sadler reporting from the garage area. This will be the first time SPEED has been on-the-air since the announcement and fans can expect a very big recap of the situation. No doubt SPEED will be interviewing some key people involved and getting reactions from others.

On the track at 1PM will be the Nationwide Series for practice. This live session will be hosted by Steve Byrnes with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond alongside. Down in the garage will be Krista Voda and Dick Berggren. Reactions from these five NASCAR TV veterans to the Wheeler news should be very interesting.

Another version of NASCAR Live is on at 2:30PM. Roberts returns to host with Dillner reporting. This time they will be joined by Randy Pemberton. It should be worth the wait to hear the veteran Pemberton chime-in on the Wheeler subject. Pemberton has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind and is a good guest on Tradin' Paint.

Next up is Sprint Cup practice at 3PM. This will be the first time that viewers will see Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip on-the-air since the Wheeler press conference. It should be interesting to see how they approach this subject, and if it becomes the real focus of this televised practice session. Larry McReynolds, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum round-out the TV crew for this telecast.

There will be a break in the live action at 4:30PM that SPEED will fill with a re-air of the last NASCAR Confidential show. Then, the network will return live with Go or Go Home at 5:30PM. The usual on-air crew of John Roberts, Bob Dillner and Hermie Sadler will handle this show that looks at the teams outside the Top 35.

At 6PM it will be "happy hour" for the Nationwide Series. This final practice will be covered by Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. Handling the reporting duties from the garage will be Krista Voda and Dick Berggren.

Capping-off the NASCAR TV day will be Sprint Cup qualifying at 7PM. The full NASCAR on Fox on-air crew will be returning for this live session. Mike Joy will be handling the play-by-play duties with Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds as the analysts. Reporting will be Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum.

For the qualifying session the Hollywood Hotel will be closed. Instead, it will be Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond down at the cut-a-way car so Hammond has access to all the various examples of topics that will be talked about at LMS. Bumpstops, crab walking cars, splitters and springs are sure to be on the agenda.

SPEED will no doubt play a big part in relaying the lastest in the on-going headline story of one of the most well-known personalities in NASCAR suddenly leaving the sport. The challenge of integrating the coverage of the on-track activities with the off-track bombshell of Wheeler's departure should be fascinating to watch.

This post will serve to host your comments about Thursday's NASCAR programming on SPEED. To add your opinion, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

Heard an interview with Mr. Wheeler today, and obviously from what he said, this is a forced retirement.

Unfortunately precious time this Memorial Day Weekend will be devoted to this issue with the predictable pc comments about Mr. Wheeler when I would much rather hear about the Nascar personalities who are former military. Those who received medals such as purple hearts, etc.

They are much more deserving of tv time this one and only weekend than Mr. Wheeler who appears to me to be a man who will take advantage of every tv opportunity in the coming weeks to discuss his "retirement".

Rick said...

I agree. Everything I've read sounds like he was fired so why waste time on it. Maybe this topic is a big deal to the insiders, but not to me. I wish they would do more interviews every weekend anyway with drivers or crew guys. This is a big racing weekend. I want to hear racing news and not DW droning on and on about some guy retiring.

SophiaZ123 said...

Well, I am beginning to think more and more i shall be turning off the tv AFTER the Indy 500 and perhaps taping the 600 race.

I am no mood to hear "THIS" as the big story this weekend, either.

But of course, the media will jump on it like they do any other story THEY DEEM HUGE.

Yes, it's a big story for racing promoters but I don't want it to overshadow what this weekend is about, either.

Anonymous said...

Under the weather, my b*tt ... this story is HUGE. Try soaking up some NASCAR lore for a change. The speculation from various directions is going to be can't-miss TV.

Anonymous said...

Somehow it seems the "Wheeler Saga" might be tied into the stories of SMI buying Kentucky Speedway and maybe moving a current SMI 2nd date to them.

glenc1 said...

I wondered about the Kentucky thing too...interesting timing.

I think some don't understand the significance of what Humpy does/did. HE was the one who brought the 'salute the troops' aspect to the Charlotte race--from paratroopers to patriotic tributes, that was all Humpy. He understood his audience and what all of that, on Memorial Day weekend, meant to them. He's a master promoter and the heart of the Speedway. I've heard Junior talk about how he loved that race as a kid, getting to see the schoolbus racing and whatnot. He was a friend to a lot of the drivers and teams over the years...and with Bruton putting his son in the position...yes, I want to know more about the story.

As for hearing about the military connections, I'm sure we'll hear some stories...hard to believe so many condemning coverage that hasn't even happened yet. And let's not forget, this is a *sporting event*--it's not a Memorial Day ceremony (and isn't even ON that day...) But it will be *Humpy* who brings that aspect to the day for the fans. Frankly, I would expect that the military people who are seeing it around the world would prefer to have their minds taken OFF what they are doing and have something entertaining for a change. There will be enough 'somber' on Monday, where it ought to be, without other distractions like sports going on and giving that day its proper attention.

red said...

glenc1 said: "There will be enough 'somber' on Monday, where it ought to be, without other distractions like sports going on and giving that day its proper attention."

agreed except that i would appreciate the invocation mentioning the significance of the day. our nephew just became a civilian yesterday after two tours in iraq and four years with the Marines. it would be disappointing if the invocation did not highlight the service of young men and women like him throughout the years.

but i agree: the race track is about racing and i know that service men and women DO greatly appreciate any opportunity which gives them a chance to relax and enjoy civilian pleasures!

as for the humpy story: as with the firing of jimmy elledge by chip ganassi and doug richert by dei, humpy's "resignation" is a significant and evolving story. humpy is a gigantic part of the history of our sport, a history that is generally ignored. i look forward to the discussions about humpy, his unique marketing style and everything he has contributed to the sport.

glenc1 said...

red...glad to hear your nephew is home. I can't even recall an invocation that hasn't mentioned the troops, but it is certainly important and I'm sure will be included. I think they have showed the troops watching from overseas sometimes (if I'm not mixing it up with another sport); and hopefully they will do that again.

And yes, the 'as the crew chief turns' saga will add yet another element of news for the weekend. It's the stories that keep us watching the non-racing coverage.

Anonymous said...

Humpy Wheeler has been as much a member of this sport as Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, David Pearson, the Frances or anyone else. I do not know what is going on with that senile old man who owns SMI but this certainly proves he has lost it.

Jeff Thompson a.k.a. prof pi said...

Interesting to note the earlier fan comments; living in Charlotte and being in the racing business I'd say that if not for Humpy Wheeler NASCAR would still be a small time, strictly Southern fringe sport. No one outside of rural NC dirt tracks would ever have heard of Dale Earnhardt, or any of the other "icons" of the business. Two people essentially created the NASCAR effect: Bill France, Sr., and Humpy Wheeler. The fact that there is a 600 Race this Memorial Day weekend is almost due entirely to Wheeler. The sport, the industry, all of racing will miss Wheeler more than anyone yet realizes.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments. Nothing more to say than that.


Geez said...

I think with all the information out there about Humpy's retirement, they have to at least ask a few questions.

It is my understanding that retiring was Hunpy's idea, but the timing wasn't. It's an interesting story. He is huge in this sport.

SophiaZ123 said...

I am NOT disputing the history and legacy Humpy has with the sport I just hate to see him become a non stop story...of course he they want to show interviews on Race Day and other shows I GET that and I think we will hear lots more about this in weeks to come.

But I am confused as to whether this is a forced 'retirement' ..sounds like it from some soundbites I read on Jayski, or what.

also a certain other big shot is rumored to have bought a track that may surprise many and THEN the focus will be on that guy.

My point is, what about the problems with the cars not racing like MANY would like to see (I don't care what Brian France says as he is VERY out of touch imo)

In other words, all these big owners/promoters talk is a distraction of much of the disenchantment of fans and NASCAR.

How is the gas pricing affecting travel and the cost of a race. Will folks start to resent the races if gas gets to 7.00 a gallon? When there was a true shortage, I read NASCAR shortened races in the 1970', I dunno where I was going with this.

I would just like to see the 500 and 600 scheduled again to see the drivers make the double dip. But I know that's not possible.

I am glad Humpy has made the sport bigger than it used to be and I was a HUGE fan of the one and only Humpy Show.

But I think the timing of this story is unfortunate just because the way some shows (that will remain nameless) could hype this up endlessly.

And let's face it...sometimes things we love become things we are weary of if promoted endlessly...thus my skipping the watching of the ALL STAR RACe

Sorry to go on...I can't seem to make my point.


glenc1 said...

SophiaZ123...I'd be lying if I said I totally got where you were coming from. But the frustration you express, that I totally understand. I may not be at that point, but I think that has built up over time for a lot of people as *some*...not the media tend to jump on the hot story--but that's just the nature of reporting.

I've always been interested in the business end of sports, in the endless stories that can be told about the behind the scenes activity...kind of a big roving soap opera.

I am also interested in the racing more than anything--but I don't think we can speculate on what we don't know yet. If there are issues, I'm sure there will be *some* coverage. I've been a critic of the fact that the reporters/analysts are so 'in bed' with NASCAR that our coverage isn't always objective (the hesitation to criticize NASCAR.)

But the type of race that the All Star is, we never had a chance to see long runs and how the cars handle after that. I expect we won't see the best racing in history based on the midsize tracks we've been to. The issues of where the bodies hang, the passing, the hard tires, etc---with hours and hours of coverage, I still have a feeling they'll have plenty of time to talk about ALL these things and still have some time to cover Humpy's departure.

Vince in West Mich. said...

Having grown up in NC, I can tell you Humpy IS Charlotte Motor Speedway (I refuse to call it by it's corporate name). Bruton owns it, but it wouldn't be the speedway it is today without Humpy. Humpy is the one that started the salute to the troops for the Memorial Day race weekend among other things. And as a Vet I appreciate that.

I agree with a previous poster. Bill France Sr. and Humpy were two of a kind. Both the best in the business at promoting. We'd have a much different NASCAR today if Humpy wasn't involved in it. I believe NASCAR would still be a regional sport in the SE if it wasn't for Humpy.

So yes, I expect to hear a lot about Humpy this weekend and we should. It's a major story. Besides, if DW and the boys weren't blathering on about Humpy they'd have to blather on about something else anyway. Probably Kyle Busch and him being the next coming of Dale Sr. Please don't get me started on that one.......

Those of you who don't think Humpy had a major say in the direction and growth of NASCAR had better study your NASCAR history.


SophiaZ123 said...

Let's see, blathering on about Kyle B or a guy with YEARS of history behind him that helped grow the sport.

Methinks I got my priorities in order.

Yea, I'd rather hear about Humpy over KB but I DO hope we see the racing improve.

I also appreciate those that do not call Charlotte by the corporate name...there has been much corporate influence in all sports to change names of tracks, stadiums and such and though that might be a small gripe in the grand scheme of things, I think it's sad.

Also, I did not want to give the impression in my first post that things need to be somber and sad this weekend. Perspective.

Also, if Humpy is 'retiring' why cant SOMEBODY see this as a chance to make more shows with him? I take it he will have more time?

Get Tony Stewart and Red Farmer on the next show. :-) No matter what HW's official or non offical title becomes, I find it baffling so few thought his pilot worthy of some follow up shows.

There is much more huge news breaking today and I wonder what it all means.

Not to mention 7.00 gal gas rumored soon and even 'rumors' of $12 a gallon. Ouch.

also does somebody have a link of the interview they say of Humpy? all I got were the remarks on Jayski including the update that sure sounds like a forced retirement.

Say what you want but that's always a sad sign of the times but an increasingly common one in ALL WALKS of life.

Lisa Hogan said...

When I first read of Humpy retiring, I was sad. I have always enjoyed Humpy.

Next when the "forced retirement" news started filtering out, I was mad.

Maybe he will go over to the "enemy" and see what he can do for the California track. :)

GinaV24 said...

I will miss Humpy very much since his efforts as PT Barnum type for promoting has provided a lot of fun at Charlotte over the years. I'd like to hear what the "real" story is since it was obvious that he hadn't planned to leave just yet.

Richard in N.C. said...

I believe the significance of Humpy's leaving - IF he was forced out - is huge.
He was more than the general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was also President and chief operating officer of SMI, a public company that owns the tracks in Texas, Atlanta, New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Sonoma. I'm not sure whether Smith personally or SMI now owns the old N. Wilkesboro track.

If he were to end up in the France camp, the implications for NASCAR could be huge.

When Smith was threatening to move the Charlotte track, I recall Humpy being very quiet - and Smith ended up essentially ringing 60 to 80 million dollars out of Concord, NC and the county to not move the track.

Anonymous said...

I actually don't think they will talk about Wheeler that much on the telecast. Why? Because it seems like an "inside story". If you read all of the coverage, you come away with the feeling that there is a version of the story that everyone in and around NASCAR knows, but no one is willing to report. So instead, everyone is peddling the official line, and dancing around the truth in any kind of public forum, lest they offend others still in power. At least, that's the impression I get. So my guess is they'll mention Wheeler is leaving, DW will tell a 20 second story about what a great man and great guy he was to him personally, then that will be it.

Anonymous said...

Humpy has already said that he has talked to NASCAR about doing some "consulting" work for them.
Don't be surprised to see him involved with some of the tracks they own!

Vince in West Mich. said...

Good point Richard, about Humpy possibly going to work for NASCAR and the France's. Brad D. brought that up on NN the other night. It'll be interesting to see what his future plans are. Going to TV or to NASCAR's corporate world. I'm sure he'll do good at either.

Anonymous said...

And the broadcast crew is avoiding mentioning the situation at any cost.

As a veiwer, I'd appreciate some reporting.

Anonymous said...

Can you fricking people make up your minds!!!! First it was "I don't want it to be the story of the weekend" now it is "we need to investigate this!" Speed has already covered it in NASCAR Live at noon by saying he is retiring. Humpy nor Bruton isn't speaking so what else more can they say?

Richard in N.C. said...

Yesterday's "BusinessWire" quotes Humpy as saying "I will resume the 'Humpy Show' on SPEED Channel..."
Also, coincidentally SMI announced today that it is buying the KY Speedway, which has been involved in antitrust litigation with NASCAR and Intl Speedway Corp.
The plot thickens.

SophiaZ123 said...

Richard in NC

The SPARTA thing has been HUGE news in the SW Ohio/tri state area for a couple days now.

A couple years ago some said NASCAR would NEVER buy this track...jerry carrol was a big cry baby, and no legit gripe..yada yada..other attorneys were on local tv and radio saying meetings DID HAPPEN that said JC did things and was promised a Cup race...then the Humpy thing broke and now Smith buying Sparta.

What the heck is going on?

But for many fans in this part of the country that can still afford the races, they are THRILLED for Ky.

So I wonder when this will make TV SPEED news.

TexasRaceLady said...

I may be waaaay out in left field here, but ........

Since Humpy is/was such an intregral part of SMI, could it be that he and Bruton had a disagreement over the purchase of Kentucky? And, the possibility of moving a NH date to that track --- or even moving the fall Charlotte date, since that race rarely sells out?

I also find it "odd" that perhaps Bruton's son is first in line for the Charlotte position.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could follow qualifying on SPEED and also pull up NASCAR.COM still have all the info it can give you. I really don't care for this tape delayed qualifying.

Alex said...

Regarding an earlier comment, I want to expand on the unwillingness to criticize as a general problem holding back the sport and its TV coverage in the credibility department...

It seems as though on TV that those commentating on the race or about goings-on in the sport are, for the most part, very hesitant to criticize the sanctioning body or its drivers because of the perception that the sport can't have any negativity in order to reach a broader audience. The only place to hear these sort of objective discussions are on talk radio, but save for a few stations in specific racing markets, it's tough to find that sort of content.

stricklinfan82 said...

Fantastic day of coverage. First of all, what a treat to have cameras covering all the on-track action on a Thursday! The practice coverage was kept simple and without the full-screen interruptions from the pit wagon and cut-away-car, so that was a very welcomed change.

And qualifying was absolutely outstanding. Fox's invention of the TiVo style format to covering qualifying at Rockingham in 2001 was the very best innovation in TV coverage of NASCAR I have seen since the creation of the modern-day network TV contracts. I know some don't like it but I absolutely love the TiVo format and hope to see it continued throughout the TNT and ESPN production trucks' coverage of qualifying. Seeing all 48 cars qualify in their entirety is well worth the slight tape-delay from where I sit. It was also nice to have the Byrnes-Hammond segments either split-screened with on-track qualifying or just audio only.

Also, major kudos to Mike Joy for keeping us informed of the go-or-go-home situation. After every "star car" he updated who the bubble drivers were and the order they were in. If we're not going to get an on-screen lap tracker for just the go-or-go-homers this is certainly the next best thing. I certainly hope Bill Weber and Dr. Punch are up to the challenge of matching Joy's tremendous job of keeping the viewers at home informed about who's in, who's out, and who's on the bubble. From where I sit he couldn't have done his job any better than he did so two thumbs up for Mr. Joy!

SophiaZ123 said...


I can't believe what a BLOND I am...all day. I was tired. even read this blog and never THOUGHT to turn on the tv.

Even planted some tiny impatiens this evening so i could have "all day tomorrow to watch speed"....still it did not click until I read STFans review of the day.

I am so upset.

Can you say out to lunch?

Dumber than a box of hammers?

Empty warehouse and windows are open? (between my ears) I need to find qualifying order..usually Jayski has it but if he does it's buried or my blond moment is turning into a 24 hr deal.

and WHY was everything today since the race is not until Sunday? Not that it helps me now.

and JD CLEARLY LABELED the run down for the day...



Daly Planet Editor said...

We have got to take up a collection and get you a cable TV DVR. Your entire perception of TV will change in a flash.

How far away is Christmas?


SophiaZ123 said...

Thanks JD but you still have to PROGRAM a head of time a DVR, correct? I called TW about one and said I need one that lets' you record if you FORGOT to record something, LOL. TW is going to get a DVR so if you come home and there is one minute left on the show, you can go back and rewind the entire thing.

I just saw who was on the pole for 600. Blech. Make my mood a little worse. &^%$#@!

Daly Planet Editor said...


It is not like a DVR. You just do the whole week in advance, or you can ask it to record all episodes of any show like NASCAR Now automatically.

Once you get one, you will almost never watch TV in real time again.

The best more commercials.


Kyle said...

Mike Joy during that Cup Practice today talked about Humpy's retirement. It was rather quick, and right after Sterling Marlin spin though the gras.

He said that one of the things Humpy will be doing is working on a TV show that will air this fall on Speed!!!! I hope hope hope that The Humpy Show makes a run.

P.S. it sure was neat to hear ol Marlin do a interview. Been a while since we have had the pleasure. I normally root for the #19, but guess we have to give the 40 a few shouts this weekend.

Daly Planet Editor said...


It was too bad that SPEED did some of its best work on a day with traditionally very few TV viewers.

The entire day was a great effort, and Rutledge Wood seems to be finally getting a handle on the fact that he can "talk" and not "act" on TV. His interview with Steven Wallace was a good start to his day.

That gang comes back for a big day on Saturday. I will post the info on that Friday evening.


Karen said...

Also heard during qualifying that Humpy will receive his current salary for ten years. So wonder what's really going on?

SophiaZ123 said...

I can't believe I missed such a great week day on SPEED..and I would've loved to see Marlin interviewed.

JD you need to post "D.A." alerts (Does not stand for District Attorney, if you catch my drift)maybe on your new board for tape/dvr reminders, lol.

It is too bad so many others missed SPEED on a Thursday.
I do hope it's true about the Humpy show on SPEED.
The more I read about his "retirement" and so called pay check, the more confused I become re: the "Rest of the story".

Anonymous said...

The timing of ALL the events (Humpy's "retirement & Ky bought) forces the media attention away from the Indy 500 and back onto NASCAR ...

It's NASCAR's way of showing that even with the reunification of open wheel racing, the stock cars still rule the roost ...

Humpy should go help Gillian at Cali ... He should force the stupid Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to NOT hold the Oscars on the SAME freakin' weekend as the NASCAR races ... The Oscars used to be in late March, but moved to late Feb to cause more problems for everybody ...

Daly Planet Editor said...


You can bet its ego and not money.

Maaybe the truth will come out this weekend when both guys are in the same place at the same time finally.


Anonymous said...

They are much more deserving of tv time this one and only weekend than Mr. Wheeler who appears to me to be a man who will take advantage of every tv opportunity in the coming weeks to discuss his "retirement"

Mr. Wheeler is a good man who has done a whole lot for this sport and is now being forced out of his job.

He made a major impact on NASCAR and I, for one, want to know why he's being kicked to the curb.

Anonymous said...

I want to hear racing news and not DW droning on and on about some guy retiring.

"Some guy?"

You ain't been a race fan very long, have you, son?

This is NOT just "some guy."

Rockin Rich said...

To Sohiaz123, (and anyone that cares):

Here is a link to Race Fan TV. This is the best racing related site I have found. It may help you to not miss the stuff you want to see.

I know that JD doesn't want links posted unless he has checked them out, but I believe this is one he knows about.

Here it is:

Hope this helps.

SophiaZ123 said...

Rockin Rich

You do rock!!! Thanks for the terrific racing tv guide web site. I just bookmarked it.


Anonymous said...

We need more "PORKERS" puken in garbage cans!
Real class!
This crap belongs on MTV.

Richard in N.C. said...

Based on past history, I think it very well could be that what Smith is after is bullying the France's into selling SMI either Darlington or Martinsville so he can close it and move the date or dates to other SMI tracks. That way, as he did with The Rock and N. Wikesboro, he not only gets an added date, but he also reduces the competition for Charlotte. As with Texas and The Rock, coincidentally there is litigation involved threatening Intl Motor Speedway. The threat to Darlington or Martinsville, in my view, would make a falling out between Humpy and Smith make more sense.