Sunday, July 6, 2008

Monday Night Match-Up: Waltrip/Knaus vs. Evernham/Said

There have been few things more interesting this year than watching the two new Monday night NASCAR TV shows. Now, halfway through the season, both programs are really coming into their own. This Monday, after the action from Daytona, both shows are going to be put to the test for very different reasons.

NASCAR Now is up first on ESPN2 at 5:30PM for one hour. Host Allen Bestwick will be joined by the very interesting panel of Ray Evernham, Boris Said and Marty Smith. This returns the show to its original make-up of one driver, one crew chief and one reporter.

Smith and Bestwick are the only two on the panel not currently involved financially in a Sprint Cup Series team. So, Bestwick as the host and Smith as the reporter are going to be put to the test. While Evernham has been subtle in his team references, Said has often been over-the-top.

After all the controversy and the rough driving in the Daytona Cup Series race, it should be interesting to hear both Said and Evernham try to analyze it now as TV personalities. ESPN is walking a fine line with two active owners as analysts for the very series in which they participate.

It should be noted that both Said and Evernham have individually been on the "roundtable" edition of NASCAR Now before. This time, with no Dale Jarrett or Andy Petree present, they are going to be challenged to drop any loyalty issues and simply analyze.

SPEED continues to work with host Steve Byrnes to make the first season of This Week In NASCAR a success. It has been a tough road, but the last few programs have been picking-up steam and the fans have responded. The key to the momentum change has been Michael Waltrip having fun again.

Waltrip seems to have discovered that he can be himself with both rotating panelists Chad Knaus and Greg Biffle. This week, it will be Knaus in the "Mikey zone."

This "odd couple" has drawn comparisons to Oscar Madison and Felix Unger with the buttoned-up Knaus rolling his eyes as Waltrip models his latest footwear or discusses haircuts, cellphones or pajamas. Knaus cannot help always being the "in control" crew chief with the latest technical information. Fans of NASCAR Performance know that all too well.

This contrast in styles has let Byrnes develop his hosting style for this program, which has to be much different than Trackside. There are no screaming fans and there are not six people on the panel. Byrnes roll is to toss-out topics and get out of the way.

With all the chaos of Daytona in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races, perhaps SPEED will relent and not make viewers wait thirty minutes for highlights and race analysis. It is quite likely, however, that a preview of Chicagoland Speedway will be up first.

Last week, TWIN kept a pre-recorded feature that viewers had seen months before and dropped the Nationwide and Truck Series highlights. Hopefully, that mistake will not happen again, especially with SPEED being the home of the Craftsman Trucks.

Both of these NASCAR TV programs air once for the East Coast, and then they match-up head-to-head for a 9PM Pacific Time Zone airing. Since they are both seeking the same set of fans, it is always fascinating to see the two very different approaches to the same topics and highlights. After each program, there will be a column on The Daly Planet for your comments.

Please feel free to add your comments about the episodes so far this season to this post. To add your opinion, just 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. Thanks again for stopping by.


AMS fan said...

This should be a couple of exciting shows. The previously aired segments have no place in these weekly "review" programs. My only problem with Nascar Now is the inconsistant air times. ESPN does have a "Classic" channel, which I know a lot of customers do not get, that could show the re-air at a specific time. The constant late starts has to give DVR's fits. DVR recording is not as simple as setting for 2 hours starting at ?
It's a big enough pain for us DVD or VHS users trying to guess when to start recording. If ESPN would choose to classify the replay as a classic, shift it and have a definite start time, that would be so helpful. (Just a crazy thought)
As for TWIN, two more try's to get it right or no more for me. Review then Preview, that makes sense. Get done with the past, then hype the future.
Happy Racin' to all!!!

SophiaZ123 said...

Love the photo.

Not holding my breath on the sequence of TWIN. I could've sworn on WT tonight that Despain emphasized the "review of next week's race" when he did the promo for TWIN.


Need to play the Odd Couple theme song backwards in your heads.:)

Anonymous said...

Is Said still employed as a consultant/part time Nationwide driver for GEM? Can't quite remember if that relationship is over or not. I always found that odd because of his simultaneous alliance with Roush and Ford

TexasRaceLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TexasRaceLady said...

Had to delete my previous post because I couldn't edit.

*school-teacher mode*
"Byrnes roll is to toss-out topics and get out of the way."

Tsk, tsk, JD --- it should read
"Byrnes's role ...."
*exit school-teacher mode*

I'm looking forward to both shows. I love Marty Smith. And, if Boris and Ray can keep the team owner from showing, it should be a good show.

TWIN with Mikey and Chad is getting better each week. Watching the button-downed Chad loosening up and letting his personality out has made the show fun to watch.

red said...

Nascar Now has become one of my "try really hard to watch this every week" shows, along w/Nascar Performance. I can only devote so much time on weeknights to nascar shows and on monday nights, i have chosen NN. the first two shows of TWIN i watched were so disjointed and confusing that i decided to not tune in again and just sit on my hands when jd would post about the two shows.

the only part of TWIN that might make me go back into the fray and watch an show or two is chad knaus. i am gaining more respect for him the more i watch him. he has a strong tv presence, great way of explaining without dumbing down and i sincerely appreciate the fact that he loks directly into the camera when speaking on Nascar Performance.

(and can we not get a set time for that show, please? and not on sunday mornings at 7:30? how about cutting the pre-race down by a mere 1/2 hour and putting NP in there so that it actually leads the race day programming? this show has earned its right to a set time when more fans can watch. and even if you're not a gear head, it's done so well that it's a pearl among swine on race day for me!)

SophiaZ123 said...


So true about Chad. I was not a fan before, he has won me over. I love NP show and though not a gear head, I love details of how things work. That show deserves a permanent time slot in primetime Why not before of after TWIN??

On TWIN he has become fun. I hope everybody saw the link with the socks demonstration last week with Mikey online...SPEED bonus show. They truly need to incorporate such bits into the SHOW and NOT make us SEARCH for it. is not easy to navigate and you need a map, a compass and search warrant to find anything.

Some very kind person (who's name escape's me now) told me how to find it.

It's a SPEED show but on

I will watch both tonight but will probably play jacks during the first 25 minutes of TWIN.


Anonymous said...

for some reason I remember only putting an apostrophe after the "s" when a word ends with an "s", as in "Byrnes' role".
Did that rule change at some point where now an "s" is added after the apostrophe?

Oh, and I look forward to hearing Chad talk about the issue where he asked JJ why he kept running a line out of the corner that was allowing other drivers to pass. I like the inside stuff.

Newracefan said...

These shows should be interesting, I wonder if Boris will speak to the fact that him being in the race it kept out either the 66 or the 96 both of whom were close to the top 35 and are now more behind. I know this is the way Nascar has always been but it kind of bugs me. I also really do not enjoy Boris in this role and if it wasn't for the fact that he was in the race I would say he should not be there. Ray I'm OK with and thankfully Marty is back because he is a hoot. TWIN should be interesting both Mikey and Jimmie got wrecked late and did not finish where they deserved (Jimmie actually finished a head of Mikey because his wreck was on the last lap and Jimmie got by him). I was a 48 fan before I really knew who Chad was and have become an even bigger fan.
Red, I like the idea of shortening RD (especially since they can't walk the grid anymore) and putting NP one right before but please make it a re-air cause I don't want to wait if I don't have too.

SophiaZ123 said...

p.s. Red I just caught your comment about NP before the race. Great suggestion. Especially since that 30 minute show NASCAR in a Hurry is ill timed imo.

That could be shown Monday night as well in a package with TWIN, and NP repeated. NP and maybe TP should be part of Monday nights show if they could give up repeats of U whips or pinks.


stricklinfan82 said...

for some reason I remember only putting an apostrophe after the "s" when a word ends with an "s", as in "Byrnes' role".
Did that rule change at some point where now an "s" is added after the apostrophe?

Actually I believe it was correct to put a 's after Byrnes. The s' thing only applies to plural words as best as I can remember.

The tire that belongs to the bus would be the bus's tire, whereas the parking lot designed for multiple buses would be the buses' parking lot.

But anyway....

I watched TWIN for the first time in a long time last week to hear from Mikey after his 2nd place finish and it was an enjoyable show once I fast-forwarded through the first 33 minutes of the show that were largely a waste of time.

Maybe they'll get the idea that this format doesn't make any sense some time before Homestead. It sure will be "interesting" TV on the day after the season finale if they spend the first 35 minutes previewing the Coors Shootout (formerly Bud Shootout) and put the guy that just won the Sprint Cup hours earlier on the backburner, LOL.

I'm not a big fan of Boris's on-air antics. It gets tiring hearing him throw NASCAR under the bus every time he doesn't qualify for a race and completely bash other drivers on the air any time they as much as touch him during a race. When he's on the air it usually turns into an "all about Boris show" where he spends the whole show telling us exactly how much money down to the exact dollar NASCAR or some driver cost him by doing what they did over the weekend. Or it turns into bashing NASCAR for the top 35 rule because Boris is a part-time team and it hurts him, or openly defending his boss Jack Roush any time he's at the center of a controversy like he was at Las Vegas. (I say Jack is his boss because he basically is in everything but name because of the 4-team limit; Boris gets all of his cars, engines, crew people, engineering help, notes, etc. from Jack last I knew.)

I just have a hunch he won't be quite as hard on himself for being the guy that was completely at fault for wrecking Joe Nemechek during Saturday's race... then again maybe he'll trash Joe and blame it on him even though it was clearly Boris's fault, who knows.

SophiaZ123 said...


Great POINT about TWIN after Homestead. Hmmmm


Daly Planet Editor said...

No idea yet from ESPN as to why Benson is on the set instead of Smith.

Benson was supposed to be on a while back, and was delayed by weather and missed the show.

If info becomes available about where Marty Smith went, we will pass it along.


Newracefan said...

Thanks JD you must have rad my mind I just got home, saw JB and decided to check with The Daly Planet

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about the Monday edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 for your comments.



Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about TWIN from Monday night for your comments.