Monday, July 14, 2008
"This Week In NASCAR" Has A Restrictor Plate
It has taken host Steve Byrnes and the NASCAR Media Group production team a while to get This Week In NASCAR running on all eight cylinders. Now, the TV series is humming along but somehow can't win the race. One quick check of the TV engine reveals the problem. TWIN has its own restrictor plate.
Monday's date was July 14th. The day of the Brickyard 400 is July 27th. Several minutes after panelists Chad Knaus and Michael Waltrip were completely fired-up and talking about the Chicagoland race, the restrictor plate was once again slapped-on another episode of this TV series. It was time to talk about the Brickyard.
The voice in the earpieces of the announcers told them the news. "So, what's happening at Indy?" said Waltrip jokingly. "Let's look ahead," answered Byrnes after he stopped laughing. It seems that the only people not getting this joke are the SPEED Channel executives. The format of this show is killing it.
There was Chad Knaus, brilliant crew chief of Jimmie Johnson. His driver had fought back all race long and almost pulled-off the win, only to be topped by the incredible outside run of Kyle Busch. Knaus had a story to tell and TWIN finally had a contending team member on the set. It would have to wait.
Waltrip and Knaus began a professional preview of Indy just as they have done so many times for other tracks as they are forced to offer a static preview first. Complete with edited video features and soundbites, this portion of the show lasts for thirty minutes in a world where uninterested viewers have surfed-on in just seconds.
Byrnes and Waltrip continued the laughter as they now introduced a preview of the Craftsman Truck Series at Kentucky, which will be carried on SPEED. The NASCAR Media Group knows how to put on a show and all the video and sound is outstanding. The problem is viewers had yet to see or hear about the Cup Series action.
The hard thing for the panelists to do is get back the level of excitement that began the program. Byrnes encouraged Waltrip and Knaus to come back up through the gear box as rapidly as possible. He did this with the good humor that has come to be Byrnes trademark in this series.
Once the highlights finally got underway, the magic that Waltrip and Knaus have found began to work once again. These two have discovered how to interact and that this new on-air relationship works for both of them. They now have open and flowing conversation without Byrnes prompting them with questions. He simply "directs traffic."
Dave Despain continues to stop by with his pre-recorded commentary and is usually interesting. His views on Tony Stewart's recent moves were thought-provoking and contained the bitter sharp edge we have come to expect from Despain.
Recently, the panel has begun to have fun with viewer questions. It will be interesting to see if TWIN allows fans to send voice or video questions soon to add a new level of fan interaction. Byrnes also confirmed next week's TWIN will be taped this week.
Once again, this group has begun to mesh and viewers have begun to return to Monday nights on SPEED. Perhaps, once the restrictor plate is lifted we will all find out just how fast this TV engine really runs.
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