Sunday, June 15, 2008

An All Wallace Monday On ESPN2

Rusty Wallace and his brother Mike spent Sunday at ESPN's headquarters in Connecticut. They appeared on NASCAR Now in the morning with Nicole Manske and then followed that up by helping ESPNEWS with the post-race analysis of MIS.

Monday night, brother Kenny will join the crew to make-up the three person panel that comprises the "roundtable" edition of NASCAR Now. Allen Bestwick hosts this fast-paced and very popular show that features a new line-up of panelists every week.

The program airs at 5:30PM Eastern, but in the past guests like the Wallace's have made appearances on First Take, ESPNEWS's The Hot List and ESPN Radio when they are in the building for NASCAR Now.

With this family not exactly known for their shy and quiet nature, it should be a rather raucous time to see this trio on-the-air. Kenny is well-known as the host of RaceDay and Victory Lane on SPEED. In ESPN's first season, this would have stopped the Wallace brothers show idea right in its tracks.

One of the most positive elements of this season's NASCAR coverage on ESPN has been the network's embracing of the multi-network concept for the good of the sport. Since February, there has been no problem mentioning SPEED or Fox or any of the other NASCAR media partners. In fact, many shows on SPEED and ESPN make a point to promote the other networks race offerings.

The brothers Wallace should be fun for Allen Bestwick. He has known this family for a long time and is currently in the middle of his best season on TV. Bestwick is the captain of this show, and his ideas and suggestions have resulted in a wonderful mix of NASCAR personalities parading through the set this season.

Bestwick has already made ESPN's position clear on the pending civil lawsuit against NASCAR. He and other ESPN announcers have carefully stated the known facts and then told viewers the network would follow-up when something new was known. This is not an issue for the Wallace gang, and certainly Bestwick will not offer it for discussion.

In each Monday show, there are usually two guests interviewed by satellite. One of them is often the winner of the Sunday race. If NASCAR Now can land Dale Earnhardt Jr. and let him be interviewed by the three Wallace brothers, the results could be memorable. A good suggestion for a second guest might be Mike's daughter Chrissy, who wants to make a Nationwide Series start as a driver this season and compete against dad.

Over on SPEED, it will be Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus who will be joining host Steve Byrnes for another edition of This Week in NASCAR. Waltrip and Knaus have just started to jell, and because of their very diverse personalities have a lot of potential on this program. Regardless of your feeling on the preview before review issue, the show has started to come along nicely. It airs at 8PM.

Both these shows should make for some good viewing as everyone continues to talk about Junior and his win. Certainly, there will be some more stories developing from the race before these shows get recorded for air on Monday. There will be columns about both shows posted here shortly after they finish airing.

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


Anonymous said...

I just hope that Kenny Wallace is a little more objective Monday than He and Spencer were on Victory Lane where they were peeing all over themselves about Junior's win. "Did you see him turning his engine off to save fuel?" "Did you see him down on the apron to make sure he got gas to the pickup?" Give me a break!

Andrew S. said...

I've said it before and I'm sure you are sick of hearing it but a TWIN without Schrader is like a day without sunshine. LOL

Vince said...

I'm skipping both shows tonight. I haven't watched TWIN, since the first couple of shows this year. Sorry, Steve Byrnes is a little too much of a Nascar shill for me. And Mikey (Mr. I'll sell anything for a buck) just plain makes me want to throw something at the TV.

As for NN, I'm not a fan of the Wallace clan either. Based on his comments, Rusty continues to not be objective and continues to hold a grudge against Jeff Gordon and against his former team mate, Ryan Newman. As for Mike Wallace, I find it ironic that his daughter is now racing and everything about a female racing is now OK with him. I remember a Busch race years ago when he had some very uncomplementary things to say about Shawna Robinson and women in general, racing in the Busch series. Things have changed now that his daughter is racing, I guess. As for Kenny Wallace, he's a little too over the top for me. Can we say Ritalin?

I'll find something else to do tonight.

Anonymous said...

Bestwick has already made ESPN's position clear on the pending civil lawsuit against NASCAR. He and other ESPN announcers have carefully stated the known facts and then told viewers the network would follow-up when something new was known. This is not an issue for the Wallace gang, and certainly Bestwick will not offer it for discussion.

Interesting viewpoint. Whether NASCAR's garage culture is racist or sexist is debatable, but one aspect of NASCAR which cannot be denied is the culture of nepotism and family connections.

Interesting that it's OK for this "family" culture to be on open and full display on NASCAR Now, along with the suggestion that the display of nepotism continue a generation level further with the inclusion of an interview with Chrissy Wallace.

In my opinion, such a closed-minded culture, where family connections are paramount and proudly paraded, would be more open to racism and sexism issues. It gives the impression that outsiders are not a welcome part of the "gang". In a way, it makes the official's claims more believeable.

The lawsuit is not only an issue for the Wallace "gang", it's an issue for NASCAR, its employees and the teams and drivers under its umbrella as a whole. Why not ask Rusty Wallace about why the (only) black driver in NASCAR, RWI's Chase Austin, has not run a race this year - because at the last minute the sponsor pulled him out of the car he's supposed to split with David Stremme? (Documented in an article on ESPN a couple months back; the sponsor decided Austin "didn't have enough experience" before his first race, after heavily promoting him in announcements late last season and early this season.)

And you think Rusty can't speak to racial issues and culture in NASCAR and the Nationwide series when he's one of the ones who tried to diversify and met a dead end?

Regarding NASCAR Now, it's one thing to interview the Manning brothers and father on Father's Day, as ESPN did yesterday. It was an interview about themselves, no news or commentary involved. It's quite another to have three brothers making up the guest panel commenting on all the weeks' news and race events in NASCAR - for no other reason than that they're well known "personalities", especially in the case of Kenny and Mike Wallace. Why are their opinions so valuable? Rusty is the only proven winning racer in that family. We're just supposed to accept the others because of their last name.

I find the easy acceptance of this culture of nepotism in NASCAR, which is constantly displayed on NASCAR TV programming (Sadlers, Waltrips, Wallaces) disturbing and disillusioning. That culture is part of an overall problem with NASCAR, where it's getting to the point we're beginning to avoid all NASCAR television except the actual races. Why watch when such careful self-censorship, lack of substantive NASCAR news coverage and open-minded viewpoints are on display with the TV partners? I won't be watching tonight.

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

Anon 11:57AM,

Well-written comment. There is no doubt the family connections are bothersome. As we have spoken about since 2007 here at The Daly Planet, the hiring of TV announcers who actively campaign cars and own teams makes it tough to take them at their word.

In your comment, you suggest that I said Rusty Wallace is incapable of commenting on the discrimination lawsuit.

What I said was that ESPN is not going to let any analyst other than Brad Daugherty comment on this issue. The reason is simple.

Daugherty was the co-founder of NASCAR's diversity council and is relevant to the conversation. Anyone other than Daugherty would simply be talking without knowing any facts. ESPN will not permit that.

Nothing was intended specifically at any of the Wallace brothers. I appreciate your comment on the issue.


Lisa Hogan said...

I will watch Nascar Now and see how it goes. I like the Wallace brothers. I’m just not sure that they will fit into the round table format.

NASCAR has been a family sport, in more ways than one, since the beginning. I followed my family into NASCAR. Children have followed their grandparents, parents and siblings into all areas of NASCAR. This doesn’t mean that newcomers aren’t welcome.

I might even tune into the second half of TWIN tonight to see what Mikey has to say about his slide through the grass yesterday. :)

As a side note: I have seen Chase Austin in a couple of races. My opinion is that this is yet another young driver being pushed up the ranks too soon.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about the delayed start of NASCAR Now.


Richard in N.C. said...

Following in the family business is at least as old as Abraham, who is before my time. I know 3rd generation attorneys and many 2nd generation doctors. NASCAR is run by the 3rd generation and Anheuser-Busch by the 4th. My cousin followed his father and my uncle, who followed my grandfather into farming. There is nothing evil about following your family into the same line of work - and doing so is as old as civilization, north, south, east, or west.