Monday, June 2, 2008
The Best Backwards NASCAR Show On TV
SPEED executives answered criticisms from The Daly Planet in no uncertain terms. This Monday, it only took three minutes until the Pocono preview started on This Week In NASCAR. Apparently, the current program format is here to stay.
Host Steve Byrnes and panelists Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus tried their best to sell the excitement of Pocono, but veteran fans knew the truth. Even after a test, the potential for a single file COT parade existed once again.
The good part was that Waltrip and Knaus are now working very well together. They have sorted-out what topics each should address and are working to speak from their strengths on the show. Waltrip does not feel threatened by Knaus, and this duo should be able to continue to allow their working TV relationship to grow.
With most of the first thirty minutes of the program dedicated to Pocono, the momentum of the show is tough to keep very high. Even with good preview information, it was Dover and not Pocono that was on the minds of the fans who tuned-in to this TV program.
The Dover review gave Knaus a good opportunity to speak directly to the issue of the big wreck in the race. His point about limited sight lines and the speed of the laps made a lot more sense than explanations offered during the live telecast. Knaus added the item about Dale Earnhardt Junior getting his car's splitter stuck under the wall in the accident.
The show was now in full swing with Dover on the menu and all three men contributed to the fast-paced conversation. This is the fun part of the show that fans really like. Why it does not lead this program is anyone's guess.
The complete difference between Waltrip and Knaus makes their conversations interesting. The analytical Knaus is often put off his game by Waltrip's comments, but sometimes Knaus teaches Waltrip a thing or two about the very cars he drives.
Since the team radios have been used extensively on TV, it has become obvious that a lot of the things said during the race are said for one purpose. That purpose is to make it to shows like TWIN. The original TWIN feature showcasing the radios was fine, but now it often seems to be nothing short of campy. What a shame that PR and sponsors have now crept even into the team radio chatter.
It was never really mentioned why a feature appeared with old footage of Tony Stewart in his rookie season. Sometimes, things toward the end of this program just "show-up." There was no connection to Dover, Pocono or any other topic in the show. Rather than talk about issues in the NASCAR news, TWIN viewers saw old footage that made no sense at all. If Stewart was there because of his upcoming Eldora race, it was only mentioned in closing quickly by Waltrip.
With the personalities on this TV series starting to gel, it is time for SPEED to turn The NASCAR Media Group loose to open the format and encourage more of the give-and-take between Waltrip and Knaus. The potential for fun is there, but is it currently buried under pre-produced features and sponsored elements.
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