Monday, June 30, 2008

Michael Waltrip Gets His TV Groove Back

Kenny Schrader used to put Michael Waltrip in his place on Monday nights by saying to him that Inside NEXTEL Cup was "Mikey's show." This comment used to come right after Schrader had ended another one of Waltrip's often hilarious stream of consciousness rants. Where INC was concerned, Schrader was the enforcer.

Once SPEED reconfigured the program into This Week in NASCAR, one of the biggest changes was that Kenny Schrader had left the building. Now, it was going to be up to Steve Byrnes, Greg Biffle or Chad Knaus to figure out how to handle Waltrip. That is no easy task.

Daly Planet readers skewered the new program when it started and many continue to yearn for the old days. On the other hand, it has been fun to watch Byrnes and company actually develop a new TV show from the ground-up.

This Monday night Byrnes knew that he was holding a winning hand. The format of TWIN calls for a preview of the upcoming race first and this week it was Daytona. Looking across the NASCAR Media Group studio set, Byrnes saw Waltrip and Biffle as his panelists for the program. That would be a jackpot.

Even better than the success that both panelists enjoyed at Daytona would be the fact that Biffle had just signed a contract extension with Roush Fenway and Waltrip has finished second in Loudon. Both drivers were in very good moods.

From the start, Waltrip was excited and animated and had the look of the "Mikey of old" that fans have come to enjoy. He was talking way too long for the Producer as usual and it was fun to watch. Biffle was comfortable with Waltrip and enjoyed his preview information about Daytona, including the very personal stories and memories.

Finally, the NMG production staff is beginning to understand that it is the conversation and not the pre-produced features that the fans are coming to see. This program was clearly the best example of that so far this season. Waltrip was on a roll, Biffle was having fun and Byrnes was directing traffic and getting out of the way.

When Waltrip has his game-face on things like background pictures on the set, hello's to Kenny Wallace and smacking his fellow panelist all come into play. This is the reason people watch the show. Teetering on the edge of control has always been the allure. From the shaking head of Allen Bestwick to the gritted teeth of Dave Despain, veteran fans remember the effects of the "Waltrip tornado" on the show.

Hidden behind the jokes and stories this week was perhaps the best presentation of both a preview and a review that this new show has done. The perspective of these two panelists worked very well in the comfortable and casual setting that SPEED provides. In terms of Daytona, both Waltrip and Biffle combined for a sparkling preview. There is no substitute for first-hand experience.

Where Loudon was concerned, Waltrip hung tough to his theory that rain had nothing to do with his good finish while admitting that race car drivers do think a little bit differently than others. TNT's Bill Weber might refer to that as "strategery."

Watching this show continue to evolve and understanding that it is being "built" will allow for a little better perspective than continuing to be driven nuts by the backwards format or the ridiculous video features inserted in the closing segments.

Even a cameo appearance by T. Taylor Warren from his NASCAR Confidential profile did not have a natural place in this conversation-driven program. Re-purposed video is an issue that has been raised before with this program.

It is hard to believe that This Week In NASCAR did not contain highlights and soundbites from the Nationwide and Truck Series races of the past weekend. Tony Stewart and Johnny Benson were perhaps bigger stories this week than the goofy SPEED videos of drunken monkeys and Kenny Wallace being loud...again.

Balancing the good content against the bad format will keep hardcore fans returning, but there has to be some agreement on including all of the NASCAR action from the previous week. The Whelen Modifieds had a fantastic finish at Loudon that should have made this show.

Now that the on-air talent seem to be comfortable with each other, it is time to hammer-out a new format so fans can understand that this program will keep them updated on everything happening in the sport on a regular basis.

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SophiaZ123 said...

Thanks for reminding me where I saw the reused video. Loved the story but it interrupted the flow big time.

I can do without the SPEED channel video reviews, too. Woulda rather seen the Truck and NW races mentioned. Nobody mentioned Kyle B not racing in the trucks after Hornadays mini rant a couple weeks ago but I digress.

I must say I admit, Mikey was in fun form tonight with the producer telling him to hush and other stuff. Oh, like the send in for the 55 picture, lol.

I still loved how when he was looking up at Kurt as he stood on his car after his win was announced..when asked what he said to Kurt Mikey quipped "that his zipper was down." I woulda given anything to have Schrader there beside him to follow that one!

It was a fun show for sure...but yea, they need to start listening to the fans about some issues. Still, it's obvious they were having fun and I DID like that there was more talking the LAST 30 minutes. Now if they could just redo the first 30 minutes, and put the show in sequence, bring back KS, they may have a hit on their hands.

:) some of us still miss Kenny...sigh

Kyle said...

They waited a whole 3 minutes to talk about next weeks race.

But!!! Michaels Spank the monkey comment had me about crying I was laughing so hard. How Steve kept a straight face I will never know.

Love how Mikey dropped a bomb on the producer about making the #55 picture the picture of the week and how the producer fixed it before the end of the show allowing you to enter for the #2 or #55 Good on the fly job. (even if he does run a backwards show)

As always, drop the backwards, drop the video features, let the guys talk.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

JD and Soph123, thank you for the review. For the first time in a long time I will watch the reair tomorrow morning, I mean the whole hour, not just the last half hour, lol.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

still do not like the format though. And so far I will not move on that.

Newracefan said...

Mikey was on a roll and he was entitled to it with the finish he had. I though Greg was a little quiet but that may just have been Mikey roll related. I didn't laugh as much as when Chad is there but it was still a fun show. The video clip was a total was of time, the piece itself was interesting but it didn't belong there (not to mention I had seen it before). Cover NW and trucks. Given up on the backwards it is what is.

SophiaZ123 said...

I haven't been able to put on the BGP as mikey would say and let of of the format either, Lou but it WAS fun tonight.

I would've loved to have seen Chad's face, too at some of Mikey's comments. Agree about the producer throwing together the promo for the 55 car. if I did NOT HATE SPEED's website so much, I would send in for the picture but I did not write the address down.

If ONLY MW would deliver it in person but I doubt he gets to Ohio much.

lol, just thinking about some of the comments. Actually I have it set to watch the repeat as I got distracted during the show with some house stuff.

Anonymous said...

I still don't like this inverted format ok I'll quit whining now.
Mikey was a hoot and a half tonight. I loved the bit about email for the 55 picture behind Steve. The look on Gregs face was priceless.
I loved the preview of the race coming up at Daytona.
I would love to know - how does Steve keep up with Mikey when hes so, well, Mikey. I mean Steve kept his composure really well I missed parts I was laughing so hard.

Renata said...

The show is definitely coming together as time moves forward. A lot of it is probably coming from getting more time together, and some of it is probably that Mikey and Greg are doing much better on-track than they were last year. That has to count for some of it too.

JD you're right, having Mikey and Greg on set to talk about Daytona was a winning hand. I loved hearing them preview this week's race, and speak about their experiences and feelings for that track.

On something Jo brought up, maybe Steve picked up some pointers from his Trackside buddy DW on how to deal with Mikey when he's being classic Mikey.

I'm still in the mindset that they should take that 'Where In The World Is Ken Schrader' piece they did for the SPEED Report and incorporate it into TWIN. Not only would it keep Kenny on the show, even if just in a limited capacity, but it would also give some publicity to grassroots racing.

dannyboy said...

Dittoes to everybody who posted above.

Loved this show, and yes, as a 10 year viewer of the "Mikey Show" it was indeed vintage Mike.

The part where he gave a shout out to Kenny Wallace also showed his warm heart, one of the reasons I love watching him. (And I'm a happily married man of over 30 years ;-)

I do wish the Biff would've piped up a bit more, but I think he knew Mike was on a well-deserved roll.

Congrats to both of them!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the first 45 minuets of the show, but the recycled Daytona photographer segment (which was a good story, he first time or two, earlier this year), was an example of material that shouldn't have taken the place of current racing coverage--like the Nationwide or Truck race.

But it was good to see Mikey in top form and I loved the fact that he coerced the producer into making the 55 photo available, too.

Anonymous said...

Grat show, did anyone catch the comment about Mikey asking if the word wreckedum was allowed on the air? Love him or dislike him, having MWR be successful is good for the whole sport of Nascar. Missed seeing the Nationwide and Truck report,maybe they ran out of time. Great show and thanks for giving the fans the opportunity to get the 55 picture that I noticed as soon as the show started,and congrats Kurt for your win.

Anonymous said...

MW actually used the word "SQOZE" (squeezed).

He cracks me up.

I think the haircut is bringing him some much needed MOJO on and off the track.

BTW - As a MW fan I watched/listened to the entire race on RaceView and his car was good enough to hold 2nd if not win (barring lap downer R Gordon screwing it up). He's know had good cars at MIS, Infineon and Loudon.


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Deborah said...

Michael was hysterical last night for sure! Greg and Steve rolled with it and seemed to have fun too which made for a really great show. It's so true that nights like this when the discussion flows in a relaxed way and the jokes fly is why fans keep watching!

That said, I'm still bothered by the preview of the race to come being one of the first things and taking up so much time. I also don't have any use for the videos I've already seen before. Both of those things are why I continue to record the show instead of watching live so I can fast-forward though most everything that isn't the panel talking.

But overall, I enjoyed watching and laughing along with Michael, Greg and Steve. Fun show!

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Lou,Kingston,NY said...

For the first time in a long time, I watched ALL of the show. Not just the last half hour. The studio lighting did look dim again. Just hate how we went to Daytona in just 3 minutes. MW is on for the show, he is charged up. His sucess on the track is brought to the show in other commentary in each segment. He even had Greg laughing. Liked the "I have 2 Daytona wins and 700 plus losses". MW even gave a shout out to the producer and Kenny W in the same comment. I do feel that some of the canned video segments we can do without and use that time for more in depth conversation from our esteemed panel. Agree with others who posted about the picture of the week, that ranks up there with the answer to the fuel guage question from last week. Good commentary form Greg and MW on the Daytona 500. It is comments like those that we can only get from those who have been there done that. Yes, I did catch the wreckdum comment, only from MW and NAPA can we get "the good stuff". Like the mention of the #7 from MW that he races with passion. Had to listen close to catch that one. Good anaylsis from the panel on the #42 and #18 deal. Overall I did enjoy the show. Comment to SPEED, as usual I did watch the show based on reader comments to this blog. Please drop the preview before the review.

Lisa Hogan said...

I tuned in last night because Mikey had a good weekend. I thought he would be in top form.

The show was on the TV; but, I was in and out of the room for most of the first half.

I enjoyed Biffle and Mikey. Byrnes is getting better at using his "inside voice" in the studio.

There is a big empty space without Schrader.

I still don't understand the backward format and the use of filler in this show.

Anonymous said...

My very first Nascar race was Daytona 2001 when Mikey won. He became my favorite driver, even on that tragic day. I just LOVE to watch Mikey on SpeedTV. I hope MWR becomes very successful financially. I also hope SpeedTV keeps Mikey in front of the camera for a very long time. If they keep this format on this show, and move the upcoming race preview to the end of the show, they will have a solid hit. I liked the interplay between Schrader and Mikey, but Chad and Biffle add to the show, too.

Anonymous said...

I had a real problem with the show last night. I like Mikey, but he was getting on my nerves. Sometimes it is just a little too much. And what is it with the sexual/dirty little inuendos. So childish. The "packaged" pieces look like someone just went searching for anything with reference to the next race. No rhyme or reason. I actually just FF'd through first part. The NH race was so crazy and with 88/26 and 18/42 issues as well as all the strategies that determined the results I was ready to go to hear the views of those that were there. But no, lets talk about a race I'm not even thinking about. Also, agree with comments about NW and Truck races. Lets hear about races, not set pieces. It's "This Week in Nascar" not "The Past Year/Years and other Stuff in Nascar"!! What was once a favorite is just an after thought now. Don't care if I watch or not. NN is way more informative and entertaining.


Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Good Afternoon,
Annon 1227pm, this date, thank you. SPEED take notice. We like your show. As a viewer from speedvision days to the current SPEED days. I am a long time fan who is or maybe one of many who do not watch the sixty minutes of your show on a regular basis. And currently only watch the last half hour unless reader comments sway me otherwise. It does amaze me how the companies who put up commericals in the first half hour put up with this. I think this is a NASCAR TV related issue. But if you want fans who have been with the sport for years and hardcore at that to continue to tune in on Monday evening, then I would hope you will consider changing the current format you have. As I posted earlier, I enjoyed TWIN. Just need to tweak it a little more. Mr. Daly, just curious. Do the ratings say otherwise? If you can find out, ok. If not I understand. Thanks

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dannyboy said...


If it's OK to do this, on last night's TWIN, Steve advised viewers to go to to view bonus content of Mikey demonstrating heel-and-toe driving in his socks. Hilarious!

And shades of Allen Bestwick, it left Chad just shaking his head ;-)

Daly Planet Editor said...

The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. I think you can make your point without being mean or hateful. This blog is read by a lot of the TV folks, so why not make your comment really count?


Lou,Kingston,NY said...

Thank you JD

Daly Planet Editor said...
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SophiaZ123 said...


LOVE your idea about Kenny Schrader. Instead of wasting out time with re hashed video (even if it is interesting it does not fit in this show) it would at least keep him on the show, so to speak, even if by proxy via video.

I watched the repeat and caught the comments about the 7 car driving with passion..did not hear that the first time.

I agree the backwards of the show IS THE MAIN IRRITANT. AND the PREVIEW IS WAY TOO LONG. We have back in the day on SPEED to see old race clips. Why did we see so much about that? I love photography and appreciated the clip but it was used during DAYTONA weeks. Leave out so much canned video and leave more room for talking.

It's the spirit that came out last night that reminded us of INC but a third panelist is SORELY missing..should've had Chad on with Biff and Mikey.

Get rid of the Filler. Lou, if only they would listen to the fans (NASCAR and SPEED) but I agree with the sponsors comment for the show in the first 30 minutes, too.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Ever since SPEED announced it would be sending exclusive video over to I have been trying to find it on that site.

It is not even listed in the 50 newests videos list and cannot be searched by title or driver.

That website needs to admit it is in trouble and get its act together quickly. What a mess.


dannyboy said...

Sorry, the link got cut off; I don't understand the technicals.

That NASCAR site is an example of hideously overdone web programming. Unless you have a 52" monitor (sarcasm), you're not even going to see much of the content.

I went to "NASCAR dot com", and in the search box I typed "this week in nascar" and the first result or "hit" was the June 24th clip mentioned by Steve.

Hope you all get a chance to view it, it's something I never thought I'd see on the "new" show.

SophiaZ123 said...


Thank you SO MUCH for the links to the Mikey sock driving feature!

I wonder why SPEEDS TWIN is on I could never find it before (and I won't repeat the mess on's messy site !)

It was very amusing and I wish they would put this ON THE TV was interesting.

Also loved the forklift comment.

Karen said...

Yes, dannyboy, thanks. That was hysterical. May check others out.

SophiaZ123 said...

another thing on the bonus stuff..If they let TWIN return to that stuff, lots of conversation about the race, driving technique and a little digression now and then, the show would be vintage INC.

I loved Chad's saying no way he could follow Mikey's comments. Steve B was obviously having a good time. LOVE that trio.

Thanks so much again, Dannyboy. Your directions on how to find this gem were the bread crumbs I had sorely needed!

Off to water flowers and feed the birds/squirrels, and 'munks.

Hope everybody can see that video link. :)

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

I know it is not TV related and is on the internet. But thanks JD for letting dannyboy post that. It was good and enjoyed it.

Geez said...

talking about Nationwide and truck highlights, anyone remember in 2003 when they had two shows? Inside Winston Cup Racing and and Inside NBS for the Busch series. It was AB, Randy LaJoie and Hank Parker Junior.

It only ran that one season.

Lisa Hogan said...

I remember. I watched both.

Renata said...

It's not my original idea so I can't take credit for it, but thanks anyway :)

I agree that the clips aren't easy to search. The link posted earlier didn't work for me, but I found that when you go to the 'Videos' section on and use the video search for 'Find A Race' you can find the TWIN clips.

The clip above was under LENOX Industrial Tools - Loudon because it was the race they previewed on that show. So, if they stay consistent, the clip from this week's show should be under Coke Zero 400 - Daytona .

Thanks for bringing up the clip.

I remember Inside NBS too.

Dot said...

To Sophia @ 1:51pm & 2:34pm, ditto.

Here's my take on Mikey. He is very much in tune with his 12 year old self. Last nights comments proved it. Monkey spank and wrecked'em, indeed.

Anonymous said...

This show has become irrelevant.The preview running first still makes no sense to me and takes up way too time.The canned video features have to go as well.Finally,anyone looking for actual information about the past race will sorely disappointed.They don't spend enough time reviewing the race and even when they do show highlights they don't even tell you what lap they're on.

dannyboy said...

Glad so many found my post about the TWIN content on helpful.

That was a HOOT!

Karen said...
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Lou,Kingston,NY said...

It is stuff like this that makes this blog a pleasure to read and comment to. We all want to enjoy our NASCAR experience to the best level. Thank you for the info. Yes, we did enjoy it. Oh, almost forgot. Yeh, you too JD for letting this happen. (JD, the man who makes this happen. With his untiring efforts, such an "esteemed"(twice in one day) person). Work nights, time for sleep. Til Saturday night enjoy all.

dannyboy said...

Lou, Kingston NY,

As a born and raised fellow New Yorker exiled to the west coast, I am happy to prove that NY-ers are not always cold and unfriendly;-)

I just want to add to your comments about the wonderful environment provided to us here by JD.

I have been a member of the Speed and NASCAR boards since the 90s, and of late they just don't interest me, for reasons I'm sure you're all familiar with.

Here we have a forum which is propelled by the thoughts of a professional "insider" and are able to discuss same in an open and freewheeling atmosphere.

Thanks again, John,

Dan in San Diego