Sunday, June 29, 2008

Drunk Monkeys And Technical Problems Headline "RaceDay" On SPEED

There has perhaps never been an edition of RaceDay on SPEED like the one from New Hampshire on Sunday morning.

Among other things, it featured a forty minute satellite failure that knocked the entire program off-the-air. Once things got back on-track, the wackiness included a monkey drinking beer, a front row fan flipping-off Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace talking St. Louis Cardinals baseball.

All that makes one wonder if host John Roberts will soon have his own personal sponsor...Motrin.

The theme of the program was supposed to revolve around Jimmy Spencer being honored for his past success in the NASCAR Modified Series. As this story from the Concord Monitor will attest, Spencer has not learned a lot since his retirement from driving. His view of the NASCAR world continues to be quite often fueled by personal anger.

While the Producer tries to make light of Spencer's brawling past and difficult viewpoints, the rest of the program continues to be a treat for fans. Driver interviews, news from the garage and pre-recorded features fly-by a a rapid clip. Even for a two hour program, the pace of RaceDay never slows.

At the core of this success is Roberts. He has been a steady hand ever since joining the SPEED team and has grown the RaceDay franchise from the start. Sometimes, it seems that Roberts is present on almost every SPEED program coming from the NASCAR tracks. Let's hope he gets paid by the show.

Kenny Wallace returned to RaceDay after a weekend off, and things were very different from the thoughtful comments the previous week of Hermie Sadler. Wallace is going through a period of change where he is deciding whether to continue his NASCAR driving career or focus on the TV world, where he certainly has a future.

Fans have not seen Wallace integrated into other SPEED programs like qualifying and practice sessions. He does not appear on Tradin' Paint as the media guest and does not ever join the Trackside panel. That is certainly curious.

Keep in mind that Wallace was a member of the old Inside Winston Cup Racing show back on SPEED and has also participated in many other TV shows over the years. Sometimes, his interpersonal skills and NASCAR knowledge are clearly on display. This is often the case on Victory Lane, where Wallace asks good questions of the guests and is clearly the most informed member of that panel.

As a regular member of the crew, reporter Wendy Venturini this week interviewed both Richard Petty and the new CEO of Petty Enterprises who is named David Zucker. It was very interesting that she did not interview them together. Something is just not quite right in this Petty deal, and this week the Real Deal missed the bulls eye.

SPEED's technical troubles began at 11AM when the signal ended from New Hampshire in the middle of the Jimmy Spencer modified feature. John Roberts spoke by phone to viewers explaining the problem and SPEED filled forty minutes with stand-by programming. Give the network credit, everyone kept their cool and when the signal was restored SPEED allowed the show to go thirty minutes longer than scheduled.

Roberts tried his best to direct the rest of the show into some kind of order, but when the program was stopped because a NASCAR fan's pet monkey in the audience was drinking a beer, you just knew it was hopeless.

The capper was Jimmy Spencer delicately saying that the Red Sox sucked. As usual, Spencer mis-spoke while trying to make another racing analogy. What he meant was the Red Sox sucked before their new ownership arrived. After the groans and boos rose from the audience, it was Kenny Wallace pointing-out that one fan in the front row had flipped Spencer off after the Red Sox comment.

Wallace went on to point out that it was actually his St. Louis Cardinals that had won more World Series even as Roberts voice was heard in the background pleading with the analysts to return to NASCAR at some point.

We have often said that RaceDay has something for everyone. If your choice of "something" includes drunk monkeys, obscene gestures, satellite failures and major league baseball, then the program for NHMS was right up your alley.

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Kyle said...

John Roberts makes Race Day viewable. He corrals the "kids" and directs traffic adding in his own opinions along the way. He is the best of all the "talent" on Speed.

Kenny pointing out the drunk monkey, and the fan flipping the bird to Jimmy (go fan!!!) makes the viewer at home feel part of the show. Its not suit and tie ESPNland its Speed. Let your hair down and have a laugh or two.

Jimmy Spencer, as my mom used to say, if you cant say something nice......

JD you missed the truely important unanswerd question of the day. Did the Drunken Monkey know kung fu?

Anonymous said...

JD, I wasn't able to watch or record the show today but your description reminds me of old state fair pictures where they staged real train wrecks for the entertainment of fairgoers. As long as no one gets hurt it sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...


Slight correction
Kenny Wallace was aregular participant in the old Inside Winston Cup on SPEEDVISION, not Speed

Speed was just a misfired synapse in a Fox-o philes alcohol addled brain back in those days

Newracefan said...

RaceDay handled the technical glitches well, the Monkey not so much. Why a race fan would bring a monkey to the track is actually the biggest question, I won't even get into the posibility of giving it beer. I've seen dogs at Dover and I couldn't understand that one either. Speed showed the monkey with a mike at the end of VL (rearview mirror piece) that part was funny. I wish Wendy could get back to walking the grid on RaceDay it's one of the best parts. I wonder how long the prerace will be for ESPN, I assume they will not go head to head this year so we may not see it again until next season :(

Anonymous said...

I was most curious about the ending. At first I thought it was a gag. But just before the sign-off JR looked a little bit exasperated.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about 9:29 post, I was thinking "Victory Lane".

SophiaZ123 said...

The ENDING to VL deserves mention. It was hilarious..taking down the signs, turning out the lights and Herman waving as he left the stage and extending his arm to keep waving as he left, LOL. Fun night for those guys and then JR talking as they cut away. I LOVE live tv shows..wish they would repeat it on Monday nights.

And it's the same panel as RD so it almost fist the column.

Daly Planet Editor said...

No problem. Victory Lane on SPEED was moved indoors right behind the temporary celebration station for Kurt Busch.

After Busch finished the hat dance, the workers started to take apart the set in the background despite the fact that SPEED was taping a show.

By the final segment, only bare walls and floor was behind the three chairs for Roberts, Spencer and Wallace.

At the close, the SPEED Producer had the work crew come-in and move the announcers out of the area. After the type of day that the network and the sport had, it was only fitting.


Anonymous said...

Jimmy gets tongue tied often, not a big deal. as for his history in times he is more a homer than he is objective. i prefer the plain spoken Jimmy. as for the monkey i was suprised it was not wearing a napa suite a calling mikey his daddy...Kenny is getting better. when is focused on the matter at hand he is a enlighting commentator... however,he'll never subplant the kim as the coolest wallace of all.
robert is cool under fire... Ps: the ole jimmy would have cold cocked that moron rsox fan

Anonymous said...

SPEED needs to get the rednecks out of the production truck and actually staff it with professionals. Showing the monkey was a disgrace. NASCAR should ban them from the track for a week.

cvt said...

"Something is just not quite right in this Petty deal"

This is the understatement of the month.After listening to Richard Petty, I am afraid there are going to be some very (unpleasantly) surprised people in the not-so-distant future.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Something is not being said and I wish a media member or two would get to the bottom of it. Never seen the King acting like this...never.


Anonymous said...

I was disappointed we didn't get to see the entire Jimmy Spencer tribute.


Ann_Ominous said...

I woke up late, turned on the tv to Race Day and saw Back In The Day instead. Double checked the programming on my TiVo which did say that Race Day was suppose to be on. If there was some sort of crawl explaining what had happened, my sleepy eyes missed it.

So I turned on my computer wondering if something terrible had happened to cancel the race. No big headline on Went over to jayski and got the answer lol!!

The drinking monkey apalled me, but for a different reason. Doesn't take much beer to kill an animal that small!! The monkey's owner was lucky that they cancelled the elephants due to PeTA's planned protest. If those PeTA fanatics had see the monkey drinking beer......

Anonymous said...

The Monkey never took a sip on the air,
it was referred to, but never seen.

cvt said...


"Something is not being said and I wish a media member or two would get to the bottom of it."

That assumes there's a member of the media that understands how private equity firms operate.

Not trying to denigrate their intelligence, just outside their bailiwick.