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.

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


Newracefan said...

Come on JD you left out the best part. Chad busting on Michael with the old sway bar issue. Michael rolled with it and I just about fell on the floor laughing.
I have moved on with the backwards issue. Not that I wouldn't be happy with a switch around.
I'm not sure why they did the TS piece but watching Chad try to keep a straight face talking about how different Tony is and we all know his demeanor was not the only part of the discussion we did not hear was hysterical. Chad and Michael are the funniest combination with this show, not that I don't like Greg but Chsd cracks me up. As to the wanting their scanner chatter to make it on to TV I will say it is usually not the driver who comes out with a lot of the zingers it's the spotter's and crew chiefs and I am not sure it's not just a way to keep the driver from getting frustrated, unfocused, or just not on their game for much of them.

Anonymous said...

With this format why not just go ahead and call it "Next week in Nascar"?? I mean my God at least the name will match the format!!!

Renata said...

I think they're on to something. Michael and Chad are becoming TWIN's version of the 'Odd Couple,' and it's producing some great comedy moments, not to mention some information thrown in along the way.

On the Tony Stewart piece, I'm fairly certain that it was featured because the Prelude is on Wednesday.

SophiaZ123 said...

I will never watch this show the first 30 minutesfor the reasons mentioned, but after I tuned in with about 20 minutes to go, I caught the line about the sway bar and LAUGHED OUT LOUD as Mikey's response. He could've taken that a number of ways but I agree, these two are great.

Honestly if SPEED wants a great show, GIVE IT TO THESE GUYS and let them talk for 30 minutes. Hello, these guys could sit and read email questions and discuss the race on their own and be fun in a 'different format.'

What a waste these guys are gelling in such an irritating show.

I also loved the ]Tony looks/talks so much different now' (and the LOOK on Chad's face was PRICELESS!!)

A few minutes of great fun still can not fix a limping show. Or as mentioned here and I suggested months ago...MOVE the show to Thursday night, and call it NEXT week in Nascar but NWIN makes a bad acronym.

the Odd Couple is one of my favorite old movies and I loved the tv show as well.


Thanks for the write up JD..wish you were producer/director.

P.S. Favorite line from Odd Couple movie Oscar (matthau) ranting on Felix (Jack Lemmon) " I hate that you always leave me little notes everywhere.

Oscar, we're out of milk. I went to the store.

It took me 10 minutes to figure out what F.U. stood for!" (Felix Unger)

..that was a racy joke back in the 60's :-0
now back to JD's column talk.

Tracy said...

We Tivo TWIN and skip the first 25 minutes. Agree about the swaybar jab. What a hoot!

They need to put up a translation of the scanner comments. Can't hear them clearly enough. Annoying.

If they need to fill time, let Chad and MW loose. Didn't need the early Tony video. Waste of time

It's a shame Speed can't admit it's wrong about the format. Thank heavens for Tivo.

Wisconsin Steve said...

If Speed is not going to change the format of TWIN, then maybe they should change the day on which it airs. A show focusing on a preview of the next race would be a lot more relevant on Wednesday or Thursday than on Monday.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The Odd Couple...that is perfect!

I wonder if that makes Steve Byrnes into Murray the Cop?


Amy/HarpAmy in FL said...

I am commenting here without being able to watch the first airing so I tread on thin ice here. But I will say that from what I have seen of Mikey and Chad this year, dare I say that they are an even better pairing than Mikey and Kenny Schrader. I loved the Schrader/Waltrip pairing but Waltrip/Knaus is definitely on an even par if not better.

I plan on watching the midnight reair if I can stay awake for the entire show. Man, gotta hate when work cuts into my Monday Mikey fix. But alas, I love what I do and that is free-lance harping on my harp.

Love the columns JD. BTW, did I miss a TWIN colum last week? Just wondering.?.

AMS fan said...

This past weekend I had made up my mind Monday would my last TWIN unless a change was made. I still felt the same at 8:00 pm Monday. I've watched my recording and it's such a shame that the format makes no sense. I cannot convince myself that it does.
I have never been a fan of Chad. I respect his knowledge which is one of the best in the business. Mikey is nuts, and Chad is as serious as a Greg Biffle alternator. They were peanut butter and jelly tonite. The eariler "Odd Couple" comment is perfect. The 2 worked so well together tonight. They were even able to play off the others comments. Even when Chad about pulled Mikeys britches down and spanked him in public. {PRICELESS} It's rare when Mikey is speechless.
My fav was Chad "why are you touching me, quit touching me". As the few remaining loyal viewers know how much Mikey will sit up and poke at Chad so he can but in. In jest, Chad finally set Mikey straight. great
Well there were just to many good thing done on tonights show so I'll stop with those.
Chad trying to keep a straight face was pretty good also.
I really enjoyed the show, but I still got this one hangup. The format makes no sense and works on my nerves right down to the last one. (I know, sounds like a personal problem, it is)
So I think for the next 6 races I'll watch both Monday recap (loosly) shows. I've caught the other one a few times and it's growing on me. The one that I can get past that logical side of my brain, will be the only Monday recap (ha ha) show for me.
Nascar on FOX, I like your Nascar coverage far more than the others, I just can't get past this bassackwards show.
I hear all good things must come to an end, even in NASCAR.

ps: the hockey fans are gettin' their money's worth tonite, uh/O - it's morning now
guess I'll watch TWIN again, maybe it's better the second time

Anonymous said...

.Emmy's their ask just ,it believe don't you If .you for best what's know executives network TV .me to logical perfectly seems It ?backwards it's think you do Why .TWIN of format the about complaining keep others many so and JD why understand don't I

fan Michigan

Anonymous said...

Mikey and Chad are great together--now just give them a show format that makes sense, and we'll be all set.

dannyboy said...

Chad is getting very good at ribbing his co-panelist: after Chad chided Mikey on the swaybar, Michael's comeback was classic:

"I'm a couple swaybars short of a full rack."

Then after the review of the truck race, when Steve pointed out that Scott Speed had his toenails done after the race, Mike quipped, "Junior Johnson and Bud Moore are puking right about now..." After which he thought "I might try that" and Chad "poked" him with, "But first you have to win." Hilarious.

JD, I'm still thinking the ESPN scanner clips are better chosen, more in-context, and even possibly someone is tweaking the audio to make them more understandable.
Many good points here by others, but the #1 thing about this show is that it's bass-ackwards and "fan Michigan" said it best;-D

Dee said...

I never thought this combination would work, Chad and Mikey, but after a long day at work and having to deal with that BORING race on Sunday it was refreshing to watch this show. Format doesn't bother me, can't hear the scanner talk, so that is a waste. Great show, two unique personalities that work great together.

Ritchie said...

I agree that the chemistry on this show is getting better between Mr. Waltrip and Mr. Knaus.

If I ignore the layout of the show's segments, it wasn't that bad and I think I know why.

Having Michael Waltrip on a talk show is a lot like trotting a horse, you need to let him run, but with the reins pulled back slightly to keep his mouth under control. That is what the video clips do. They minimize the amount of time Mr. Waltrip has to talk and that helps to focus him.

I don't think that this show will ever live up to ESPN's NASCAR Now round-table episodes, but if they keep working, I'm sure they will find their stride.

Mr.galle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
glenc1 said...

those of you who skipped part one missed the comment of Chad's on letting them shift at Pocono again--when Mikey countered with his 'that's your opinion' I couldn't help but laugh, as if Chad knows less about that than Mikey...but at least Mike was polite. It was a pretty good show, and I haven't seen it in a few weeks. But I got to thinking--Alan B had a show some years back that was a 'TWIN', wasn't it? Maybe someone's mentioned it before--I think it was just a cover show of the week's highlights. We didn't have SPEED then, but they used to air it here on FSN in various time slots. Maybe this show is meant to be a combination of the two. The backwardsness doesn't bother me as much as some of you. I don't know why.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting used to the backwards format. I just turn the TV to SPEED as soon as Jeopardy is over (which is a few minutes before the hour). That way I don't miss the opening remarks about the previous race before they jump into the next race.

Also learning to accept that Ken Schrader is not a regular anymore. Chad Knaus is a welcome addition to the show.

Sophiaz123, your reference to The Odd Couple is hilarious. So glad you explained what F.U. meant.

Tracy said...

fan Michigan:
You're my hero.

Tracy said...

Wait, I could have been clearer!
fan Michigan:
.hero my You're.

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

Anon 10:54AM,

After you read the rules for posting on the right side of the main page, please come back and re-post.

Many of your points are very valid, they just need a little re-phrasing for this forum.



SophiaZ123 said...

Anon 9.53

That rant from Walter Matthau is hilarious.

OMG, I missed the comment about somebody getting their toenails done and mikey said Jr Johnson is puking somewhere right now! Wow...some classic stuff.

The swaybar was a good one as well.

On and to whomever wrote your message backwards, good job...It took me a minute to figure out your point. Well done.:-)

Renata said...


Probably. If it doesn't make Steve into the Cop, I don't see what other role he's in under that context.


I love that sequence about the note from the Odd Couple too. In addition to the movie and TV show, it was great as a play with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broaderick as well.

fan Michigan,

Thanks for the laugh, or should I say: laugh the for Thanks ;-)

Geez said...

I guess I don't understand the harping on the format at this late date.

They said upfront that the new show will be as much about the next race as the last one. It's a Monday show titled This Week In NASCAR.

I Didn't care for the order in which they did it at first, but I got used to it.

Dannyboy said...

GlenC: Re: Shifting at Pocono you said: "when Mikey countered with his 'that's your opinion' I couldn't help but laugh, as if Chad knows less about that than Mikey"

And Chad has driven how many laps at Pocono?

Nevertheless your point is well taken. If I'm not mistaken I seem to recall Mike making negative comments on the old show when NASCAR changed the shift rule a few years ago. He seems to have changed his opinion.

P.S. I've been to a couple races there, and despite what many say, I like the racing.

TexasRaceLady said...

I know I'm a bit late, but I didn't get to see the show until noon --- had to record it.

I can't add much except that I laughed myself into tears at the repartee between Chad and Michael. Keep it up, guys --- you're doing great! (Especially when Chad totally silenced Mikey -- ROTFL)

I, too, have moved on with the backwards issue, and have just decided to relax and enjoy.

J. D. said...

Uh, John, you have not acknowledged the obvious in your week's long issue about this show being backwards. What is the name of the show? THIS WEEK in NASCAR. Not LAST WEEK in NASCAR. From the beginning the format has lived up to the original name. Like it or not, that is what separates it from every other recap/review show on television.

Anonymous said...

Michael Waltrip, terrible on track performance, terrible off track performance.I tune in week after week but always stop watching because he offers nothing but stupidity. He really out to spend Monday nights improving his teams performance,although maybe he does more for his team by staying away. Some of the people who are outrunning him every week should embaress him, especially with all of the Toyota $, horsepower , and tech help he has.

Anonymous said...

I'm really starting to like Chad on TWIN. How come we didn't hear about Jr's splitter stuck under the wall during the race? I couldn't figure out why he wasn't back out on the track since his damage did not look bad. Nice to find out two days later.

We need to quit complaining about the backasswardness of TWIN. The suits won't change it until next season. They can't change it now, or they will have to admit that they messed up. Can't have that.

fan Michigan, clever too you're.

Coffee said...

I like the "backwards" programming myself! When the checkered flag drops, that race is over!
It's getting so bad I hardly watch the "victory lane" SPEED puts out--I just watched the race--why do I need highlights?
I MIGHT stay if they wanted to show some pit stops we missed or which drivers were running for cover(KB?) right after a race.
All of the shows use the same footage it seems to me, by Monday night it's time to move on.
Therefore it is a relief when they move on to the next race first, so I can move on or skip over the highlights and listen to the chatter among the guests.

Anne M said...

I'm enjoying your coverage of TWIN and I agree wholeheartedly with your criticisms of the format and your suggestions for improvement. I was a new NASCAR fan last year and never missed the old Inside NEXTEL Cup program -- in fact, many weeks it was better than the race. I really loved the race review as it helped me understand what I had seen (and missed) during the race. And I seem to be in the minority on this, but I liked Dave Despain. I appreciated the questions he asked and the discussions they prompted.

I don't really expect TWIN to ever take the place of INC for me, unless they drop the taped segments and focus on talking about the race, but it's much better than it was at the start. And while I desperately miss Ken Schrader and the 3-panelist format, I am a huge fan of Chad Knaus. Getting to see him on this as well as NASCAR Performance is a treat for me.

There are a couple of things I don't think you've mentioned. One is that the scanner segment is far inferior to the one on INC, both because the subtitles were really helpful and because INC didn't drown out the radio communications with loud music.

Also, this week for the first time Byrnes seemed to be prompting Knaus to talk about things he'd already discussed on NASCAR Performance. I don't mind this if it happens once in a while because it was interesting information, but they need to be careful not to lean on it too much -- there must be a lot of us who watch both shows, and the last thing they need is to make this show a rehash of something else.

I also would appreciate it if you would suggest the most productive way to provide feedback to SPEED on what I like and don't like about the new show. I can't imagine they don't know that they've taken away some of the best things about INC, but I guess I'd like to tell them anyway. If you've already done this, I apologize for missing it.

I'm looking forward to reading more from you on this show and others. Thanks!