Sunday, June 29, 2008

Monday Night Match-Up: Waltrip/Biffle vs. Jarrett/Evernham

On the heels of the chaos that was the Sprint Cup race from Loudon, both SPEED and ESPN are poised to offer one hour Monday wrap-up shows.

This Week In NASCAR continues to find its way in this first season. Steve Byrnes hosts the program with a group of rotating panelists. This week SPEED hit on a good combination with Michael Waltrip and Greg Biffle.

Waltrip is coming off a surprisingly good finish at Loudon and Biffle has just re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing. These are two of the top stories of the weekend and they land right in the network's lap.

It should be refreshing to hear the perspectives of both drivers on the Sprint Cup race and then their comments on both the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series events. Biffle raced in the Nationwide Series on Saturday and Waltrip is a commentator for SPEED on the Truck Series.

Debate continues to rage about why SPEED is sticking with the preview before review program format, and certainly this weekend is a good example of just how good things might work if that decision was reversed. Having Waltrip and Biffle get all the info and commentary about Loudon right out on the table would be a strong start to the show.

SPEED and the NASCAR Media Group that produces the program have been slowly clearing the clutter out to allow the panelists to talk and interact a lot more. As veteran fans know, this is the key to a personality-driven TV series like this one. This Week in NASCAR airs at 8PM Eastern Time Monday night.

Allen Bestwick continues his ironman performance for ESPN this season as he returns to host the "roundtable" version of NASCAR Now. This hour has proven to be a clear winner for ESPN with a continually changing cast of three panelists.

This week signals the return of Dale Jarrett to the show and he brings along his fellow ESPN Loudon commentator Ray Evernham. Semi-regular panelist Mike Massaro rounds-out the group and has brought a steady presence to the show when he is in attendance. Massaro often flies under-the-radar, but knows his NASCAR.

Jarrett is fresh after an extended vacation and is about to jump into the grind that will keep him hopping all the way to the Homestead race weekend in November. As he returns to NASCAR Now, he brings the kind of veteran presence that really lifts the show to a new level.

Just like his father, Jarrett gives-off a professional vibe that comes wrapped in a smiling personality. Keeping racing and life in perspective, Jarrett has proven to be exactly what ESPN needed to overcome the issues last year with Rusty Wallace.

Fans may also remember that this Monday show last season was a disaster. It is a bit ironic that for this Loudon review and Daytona preview edition ESPN may have assembled the strongest studio line-up since it began NASCAR coverage in 2007. NASCAR Now is on-the-air at 6PM Eastern Time on Monday.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers in advance of these shows. There will be a full column up on Monday shortly after these two programs air. To add your comments now, 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 and thank for taking the time to stop by.


Newracefan said...

Mikey should be in rare form and Greg with another Speeding penalty.sounds like a fun TWIN. DJ is always an asset and although many don't like Ray I am OK with his presence. JD do you think Andy will have a smaller or no role at the races to make way for Ray? You seemed to hint at that and I for one will be disappointed if that is true.

Daly Planet Editor said...


ESPN says they are just using Ray as a "utility player" right now in a variety of roles in the studio and at the track.

The network always plays its cards very close to the chest. We may not know the answer to your question until next February in Daytona.


Anonymous said...

I think that AB, Jarett and Ray are a winning ticket.

Diane said...

I much prefer Andy to Ray. In my opinion Andy is the best commentator for the NASCAR coverage.

I'm glad NASCAR Now and TWIN are on at different times on Monday. I enjoy them both.

D said...

Question here.... Why do you always have to title the column like its a competition? Why does it have to be one? The Shows are on at different times and I watch them both for different reasons... You can enjoy them both, I do...
Just do it every week.....

Anonymous said...

I Really missed Rusty on the broadcast saturday.He is great to listen to. The others are ok.Hope he comes back soon.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Only on Sunday and Monday do the NASCAR TV partners originate shows that compete with each other.

On Sundays we now have three of them going at it, while on Monday only SPEED and ESPN compete in the same length program with the same content for exactly the same viewers.

Trust me, in TV terms it is a shootout. Tuesday through Saturday there is nothing like it.

As you may have read in our previous coverage of these two shows, each network completely re-vamped the program for 2008.

This shows the importance each puts on capturing the Monday audience. Even more interesting is that for both SPEED and ESPN this is the only NASCAR program they offer on Monday evenings.

Thanks for your question.


Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Identifying Allen B as ESPN's ironman is somewhat of an understatement. I don't recall his having missed a race or a Monday N-Now yet this year.

Do you have any information or thoughts on when he might get a break and who would then fill in for him Sat. thru Monday?

I would have thought he would have taken a week or 2 off while TNT is attempting to cover Cup. Thanks.

SophiaZ123 said...

HORRIBLE 'CAMERA WORK' on video, halfway thru N Now. Dang..that looking -thru- a- dirty- window- Photo -Chop- deal was horrible when showing Casey Mears, Stewart and others. MTV type video at it's worst. Sorry, just show me the real faces and not dirty animated special effects.

Lisa Hogan said...

So far-
I do not like Massaro playing co-host and asking questions.

SophiaZ123 said...


I am not wild about this change with Massaro either. I missed the first few minutes of the show. Is Massaro an 'official' co-host now? Or is he just asking a lot of questions? I think I missed something.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about the Monday NASCAR Now show on ESPN2.


Anonymous said...

OK JD I know you like Ray on the show, I cannot stand him. He is like a wet blanket. Andy has more "personality" I guess. I hope they keep Andy and give a smaller role to Ray.
As far as AB goes - whats above an ironman? AB is there, always ready to go, informed and seems happy to be talkin racin.
Is Massaro a cohost or a guest?
Couldn't tell - it wasn't bad mind you - I just wondered. And DJ seems well rested & on his marks
A really good show this week.
I liked Shannons update as well.
Kinda tied it all together for us.

Anonymous said...

This is the 1 thing about TWIN that drives me nuts!!! Going back and forth -We got a dab of Mikey his win Greg and then we go to Pres. Reagan then we are current and in the middle of talking about now - we get video of 59 Daytona HELP!!! Its so disjointed.
Please start with the immediate past race, go anywhere anytime then next race.
Quit bouncing!

SophiaZ123 said...


TWIN was kind of a ping pong ball wasn't it? I actually tried watching from the beginning but had trouble focusing myself !!

I did enjoy Michael's answer when asked what he said to Kurt Busch after the race as he stood on his car, LMAO.

I love DAYTONA but the part on the photographer was once again REHASHED from another show I saw months ago. Interesting but they need to call it re-used video bits!?

This show is never going to catch on with old bits and disjointed backa@@ wards stuff.

Sigh. Re N Now..I enjoyed the show ok, but I still have not seen the question Massaro co-host now? Why was he talking so much more than normal tonight? I hope AB is not leaving soon. Just curious??

jack said...

I watched NN tonight, I thought is was awful. They kept showing the video of Jr getting hit by Jamie, when they were supposed to be talking about Kurt's pit strategy. They must of showed it 5 or 6 times, I didn't quite understand that, other than it's "Jr". Sorry, I turned it off half way through.

Watched TWIN, thought it was a good show. MW is always good for a good laugh. Greg talked about his 1st win at Daytona, I had forgotten about that, it was fun to hear his story. These guys look like they are having a good time, it's a good show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about TWIN on SPEED from Monday night. Thanks.