Saturday, August 30, 2008

ESPN's Silence Is Golden

Apparently, silence is golden at ESPN when unplanned NASCAR issues suddenly pop-up. Heading into the California weekend for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series, there are still a couple of TV-related issues on the table that sit unresolved.

In Michigan, Tim Brewer told ESPN viewers that Tony Stewart was directly involved in "magnet-gate" with the Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series teams. Subsequently, the Gibbs team members involved were identified and the drivers were cleared.

Despite several national media appearances on both ESPN and Sirius, Brewer refused to address his comments. An apology to Stewart on ESPN never happened.

Saturday night in Bristol, TN the ESPN Producer tried to raise the excitement level of the Sprint Cup race under a red flag by playing-back Clint Bowyer's now infamous "worst driver" comment about Michael Waltrip.

NASCAR's largest TV partner made sure to include the part where Bowyer dumps on NAPA for returning to MWR for 2009. That had to make the ESPN Ad Sales department go into group cardiac arrest. Keep an eye on the number of NAPA ads in Sunday's broadcast.

This recorded audio play-back happened several minutes after ESPN interviewed Casey Mears who explained how the accident occurred. Mears said Waltrip was not involved and apologized to the teams affected.

After running the Bowyer audio all weekend on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, NASCAR Now and posting it on, many thought Monday would produce cooler heads.

The one hour edition of NASCAR Now is led by Allen Bestwick, who had worked alongside Waltrip for many years on SPEED Channel. Certainly, Bestwick would be able to put the issue to rest.

Instead, Bestwick avoided the topic for the entire program. Coming back from a commercial, NASCAR Now played an edited highlight from the weekend and there it was again. Nice and loud and just as out-of-context as it had been originally. Again from Bestwick, there was silence.

Finally, Saturday night brought another Earnhardt Jr. interview reminiscent of Mike Massaro grilling Junior after he fell out of Chase contention last season. This time, it was pit reporter Shannon Spake.

Everyone watching ESPN had seen Junior jump the start and never recover from the resulting penalty. Racing furiously all night long, he never got his lap back and finished 18th.

Whipped and embarrassed, Junior was perched on the back of his transporter looking just like a man who made a very stupid mistake and paid the price. Spake bent over to Junior and asked "...the last couple of races you seem to have fallen off a little bit, what do you think has changed?"

If Tony Stewart was on the receiving end of that question, we would probably still be talking about his answer. When Junior stuttered, Spake asked if it was a problem with the car set-ups or possibly the tracks? This had "big moment" potential.

Earnhardt took a very deep breath and politely told Spake there were probably other drivers that she should be interviewing rather than the 18th place finisher who was one lap down. That answer might put Junior on the short list for the next Nobel Peace Prize.

Squinting up at Spake, Junior did say that he "appreciated her pointing that out" about the team's lackluster performance. It was obvious to everyone but Spake that one very public error at the start had cost Junior a possible top five finish.

This footage was replayed on Monday's NASCAR Now. Although it made no sense and Spake's questions were ill-informed, Mike Massaro jumped-in without prompting to say he believed Spake's questions were fair.

Fans do not have to think very hard to remember Massaro pressing an upset and tired Earnhardt with repeated questions about his failure to make The Chase last season. No matter what Junior said, it was not enough for ESPN.

The media walks a very fine line with the drivers. Access is unprecedented in NASCAR for the TV network covering the race. When an ESPN reporter shows up, all interviews stop and all TV and other media step back. ESPN paid a lot for the exclusive live rights to the races and they get everything first.

In Bristol, ESPN avoided Tony Stewart like the plague. On Monday, Bestwick avoided the Waltrip issue completely. This weekend in California, it should be interesting to see if Spake avoids Junior.

There are twelve races remaining in the Sprint Cup Series schedule for 2008. Waltrip, Stewart and Earnhardt have already been on the receiving end of negative ESPN coverage in just the last couple of weeks.

In California, ESPN will once again be on-hand only for the races. SPEED will handle practice and qualifying for both series. The drivers will not have to deal with the ESPN pit reporters until race day.

It will be interesting to see how the three drivers mentioned above will treat ESPN if they are interviewed before or after the race. Despite the network's silence, there is bound to be some lingering bad feelings when unfounded rumors, incorrect statements and ridiculous questions are littered in ESPN's recent NASCAR history.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. 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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Brian said...

Won't do much for Mikey because ESPN has only interviewed him once or twice in 2007, and none this year I believe.

ESPN is so unprofessional with almost everything they do with NASCAR. I really just want to throw my remote right at Shannon Spake,or Mike Massaro when they asked the STUPIDEST questions EVER, just to make them mad.

I'll give 1 more example, when Mike Massaro asked Mike Ford (Denny Hamlin's crew chief), if the 4 fresh tires they put on would be an advantage to them at Bristol.

The look on Mike Ford's face was priceless, because he pitted on the same exact sequence as everyone else and had the same tires.

I don't care what anyone says ESPN is HORRIBLE. They've made some gains, but the stupid things they do far outweigh them... no doubt.

I have DirecTV, so DirecTV Hot Pass might be essential next year when I can get some more money.

Newracefan said...

I believe ESPN works under the idea that if you ignore it long enought it will go away. Unfortunately that means we won't hear from Tony, Mikey or JR on Sunday, guess I'll listen to MRN. I was surprised at the choices made for NN on Monday using the Bowyer and Spake bits was a mistake in my opinion, Bowyers could have been edited and then clarified (didn't happen) and JR should have been dumped. I wonder if AB had a choice or was forced to use them.

OBTW JD do you know something about NAPA ads on ESPN or are you just speculating?

Sophia said...

((simple digression: I always use Google and the headings at the VERY top of each page have INTERMITTENTLY been coming up in Spanish (and a friend from their work site? anybody noticing this? It's at the top of this and other Google blogs SOMETIMES, other times ENGLISH..(but blog ITSELF is in English) am tired of it and have switch to Yahoo which keeps things English. Been happening for days)

Back to the topic...

I so agree with what brian and NRFan said...
I must say I WAS ENJOYING the Monday one hour NASCAR NOW show but after their repeated use of the Clint soundbite and Jr interview I am so over that show.

AND will stick with TWIN. SPEED/Fox can honk me off but I complained with others and they FINALLY FIXED TWIN.

and again MW haters, it was the over playing AND the fact they left the NAPA SPONSOR name in the clip I found offensive.

I LOVE JR and he indeed, made a rookie mistake on the start of the race and nobody felt worse then he did. SPAKE just made me cringe...much like the MASSARO interview with Jr from last season.

It reminds me again of Red's use of the word "Intrude" in another post.

ESPN LOVES to intrude and go over that line MOST NASCAR reporters know that they should not cross. Yes, we love to hear emotions, yes we should hear the scanner but only when used properly.

It's all very sad this has become such a huge issue.

I am one of the few still hacked off over the COT issues still happening (STUPID wing causing MORE blind spots, wrecks, among other complaints ---yes I know it's all about "safety" just like NASCAR says it's all about FANS and FAMILY.
ESPN has the gift, much like the tabloid tv shows where if they said it on the air and it was

a. wrong
b. out of context
c. announced prematurely.

It never happened.

Oh, and I do not like the CA track and might skip the race this weekend. I hope Wind Tunnel is on.
...True, ESPN will not miss my little ol' tv dial NOT WATCHING their show...but...

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. NASCAR is the only sport in the world where people expect reporters to not push drivers for answers when they do bad. I've never understood the kid gloves that people expect drivers to be treated with. They're the face of their teams and they're paid handsomely for that. When they fail, they should answer to all the people wearing their number. If this were any other sport, the loser always gets the same question, "What happened?" Yet when we ask Junior a question about his last few weeks, you think he's justified for being snarky and saying "Thanks for pointing that out." Yeah Junior, only point out your successes, and never your failures. The fact is, short of his lucky win this year, the guy has been a failure and has not lived up to his name. I think it's perfectly reasonable for the face of NASCAR and its most popular driver gets pushed as to why his performance doesn't live up to the attention he gets.

Anonymous said...

OUCH! a failure, thats a little harsh.

Richard in N.C. said...

I am a Dale, Jr. fan and while Shannon's questions were poor, I thought Dale, Jr.'s answers were hilarious - and not the least bit snarky. I wonder what A-Rod's response would have been last night if a reporter had cornered him coming out of the tunnel from the dugout with "Can you explain why you choked again?"

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm reporter x from ESPN here today to talk to Driver of the Y car. Problem is ESPN is going to run out of Drivers to talk to before the contract is up. Or, should I say the Drivers are not going to talk to ESPN. 4 down, 39 to go. Maybe this will result in them talking about the "other" drivers in the race.

NASCAR will have to step in at some point soon. NASCAR has always been about bringing the "positive" side to light and not dwell on the negitive side.

Knowing AB, he was told not to bring up the Boyer comments. It is not like AB to avoid any issue.

I am sure NAPA has already pulled back some AD space on ESPN.

Daly Planet Editor said...

anon 7:49PM,

Um...he jumped the start and we all saw it. Did you miss that part?

I think most of us understood why he finished 18th because we had watched the very good ESPN coverage. That is exactly why Shannon's question was ridiculous.

I will let your Junior comments stand, but that is not for this blog. It could have been any driver.

If ESPN wants to ruin the access that TV currently has to drivers, just keep this up. There is no obligation for a driver to speak to a reporter when they are stressed or upset. They can simply take a couple of minutes, shower and then talk before they leave.

What NASCAR fans have always counted-on is the ability of the pit reporters to be trusted by the drivers who in turn give them the most open access to professional athletes in all of sports.

As I said in my column, its a fine line.


Phathead said...

does anyone have the video of the interview with Jr? I missed it

Anonymous said...

Jr finished 18th. He was totally correct that other drivers, those who finished in the top 10, should have been the ones Spake interviewed.
Everyone complains that it's "all Jr, all the time", but when he IS interviewed, and doesn't wish to be, you complain that Jr is being a jerk and she should have answered the really silly questions, from the forever silly and totally unprofessional Spake--BTW, I guess the only prerequisite for being a female pit reporter is your looks and not your knowledge. You guys cannot have it both ways--either you see Jr or ESPN ignores him.

I'm going to get a list of drivers that ESPN hasn't hacked off, to see who we will be hearing from in the next 12 weeks. I bet that list will become shorter and shorter as the bozos from ESPN alienate more drivers each week.

Sophia said...

Anon 8.40

Loved your post.:)

Jr NEVER asks for the media obsession nor the hate speech. :(

I look forward to your list.;-0

Anonymous said...

Sophia, I wouldn't say it's "hate speech." You constantly rework ESPNs name to call it ESPU or ESPeeN. Isn't that showing hate towards ESPN?

Anyway, John, I wasn't trying to be too harsh on Junior. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Junior, because of his name, whether he wanted it or not, was picked by fans and the networks to be the face of NASCAR. Unfortunately, no matter how he does, the drivers who finish ahead of him or behind him aren't going to get the same coverage. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it's just the way it is.

If I can give a "stick and ball" example, Tiger Woods and A-Rod as figures are almost above their sports. No matter what any other Yankee does, win or lose, A-Rod always has to explain how his game went. Tiger is pushed so hard by TV that they have to deal with the hand they've dealt themselves because he's hurt. It's comical to hear the networks try to say, "We know we tell you Tiger is way ahead of everyone else, but trust us, whoever wins this week, the win is still legitimate. Then when Tiger comes back, we'll start ignoring everyone again."

So Junior, like it or not, will always get the big coverage. He's the A-Rod/Tiger of his sport.

Erik said...

Out of fear of banishment, I will refain from making a comment.

Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So how long before the drivers dump ESPN.

This is not the first time ESPN has hacked off a group of drivers,

What many fail to undertsand and it's been stated before, What other sport does the participant have a microphone shoved in their face immediately following the event.

In stick and ball, the players coaches, ball boys etc all go behind closed doors for a few minutes before opening the locker room doors to the press.

Most times tempers are calmed and emotions are in check, not always.

A-Rod may have to explain why he struck out with 2 outs, the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in a one run game but, he won't have to do it as he's walking back to the dugout.

Prince Fielder and Manny Parra can push and shove each other in the dugout and have it all over sportscenter but, they didn't have to face the press to explain why they were acting like a couple of 9year olds. The manager made them unavailable to the press after the game.

Imagine that happening in NASCAR.

Oh wait, we may yet get to see that this season.

Imagine the coverage on sportscenter when drivers, crew chiefs, owners, tire changers, floor sweepers etc, find themselves unavailable, with not much to say or flat out refuse reporters after a race.

Fines/suspensions be damned, someone will gladly pick up the tab for them. I know NAPA may at this point.

NASCAR may have a problem simmering on the stove here.

Dave at the Milwauke Mile

Mastt said...

I think you are all going off the deep end with this. Tim Brewer's opinion on how the magnet gate event could have happened was just that-an opinion. He didn't have any first-hand knowledge nor did he claim to, he just said there was no way IN HIS MIND it could have happened without the drivers knowledge. He was wrong, wasn't the first time, won't be the last. He doesn't have to make a public apology or beg for Tony Stewart's forgiveness.

As for the Bowyer deal, what about all these interviews we see where drivers call out the guy who wrecked them and it's repeated over and over? For goodness sake, I saw Ward Burton's interview from 2002/3 calling out Jr for wrecking him. Just because it was on the radio and not into a live mic on TV means it should never see the light of day? That's a double standard. I hope you are all this upset when a driver does an interview and unfairly attacks a driver.

Finally, I saw nothing wrong with Shannon's interview. It is a fact that Jr's car was bad all wkend, and has been off the pace this summer compared to April and May. It is a valid question to ask and she should be entitled to some sort of answer whether Jr wants to answer or not.

Dot said...

Okay, which is it? Did Bowyer make the comment after JUST getting hit as the ESPN replayed showed, or while at a dead stop during the red flag? I keep reading conflicting comments.

I don't think ESPN will bring it up again this weekend as now they have The Carl & Kyle Show.

Daly Planet Editor said...


If only it were that simple. Brewer said Stewart did it and the drivers had to be involved.

I don't see how the Bowyer thing is a double standard. It was recorded, discussed and then used knowing that Mears had already explained what happened. It made absolutely no sense. It was used simply because ESPN had it.

Spake's question was ridiculous. We had all just watched him jump the start. His car ran fine. To suggest it was set-ups or his car when America saw the guy make a mistake is beyond naive. I even wondered if she knew what happened before she asked that question?


Even the ESPN guys want to know what your personal issues are. If you have an opinion, say it. If you are going to pretend that you work for ESPN and are hired to somehow defend them, forget it.

They did an outstanding job bouncing back from a bad Friday and had great Saturday night coverage of the Sprint Cup race. That is reflected in my recent column.

This article deals with the little odds-and-ends that start to stack-up this time of the year when tempers get tight.

If a media member wants continued access to drivers, then they need to keep the air clear. California should be interesting.


Anonymous said...

Here's an idea that should have been standard proceedure since televising NASCAR races began . Interview the top finishers . ONLY . If Gordon or JR. finishes out of the top five , they don't get a post race interview . Whether they are a big name or popular driver shouldn't matter . Give the top placed drivers their due for a change . Believe me , we'll all manage to survive if we don't hear from our particular hero driver until after the top five have been given their chance to express their thoughts on the race .

Anonymous said...

For a long time, I have been suspicious of Tim Brewer. No one can argue his accomplishments 20-30 years ago, but time has passed him by. I've seen him embarrass himself by not really knowing what a Borescope is and Rusty had to correct him when Tim didn't know that the Chevy SB-2 was replaced by the R07. Even when it appears that he knows what he's talking about,his explanations are often lacking. Espn takes every opportunity to hype something totally out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

The conflicting part about this issue is that yes we would like to hear driver comments as soon as possible after the race, but if the drivers do not trust the reporters, they are going to give very plain, vanilla answers or avoid speaking to ESPN altogether.

I can't imagine that would be what the network with TV coverage wants from the competitors, but they seem to keep shooting themselves in the foot.

What's interesting is that usually the network coverage won't ask the hard questions because they just like getting facetime with the top coaches and athletes that are participating (whether it be basketball, football, etc.). If a sideline reporter asks a demeaning or somewhat negative question of a coach at halftime, they risk having the coach fire back at them and walk away on live television. Usually it's the local or city journalists who will ask the tougher questions because they can behind-the-scenes in interview sessions.

Anyways, the major point is, if you can get better quotes and comments from Speed, MRN, online news sites, etc. then it would simply be a waste of time to believe that the network covering the sport will get much of anything from the participants.

I can't imagine that would be what ESPN wants, but they seem to damage their credibility with most of their decisions simply because they like pushing the envolope and stirring up controversy.

Anonymous said...

What's really sad is the fact that many of us, who have been fans for more than just the last ten years, really thought that ESPN's coverage would mirror that of the pre-FOX/NBC/TNT/FX days. Sadly, it has not.

Todays ESPN reporters and analysts, try to create news where there isn't any and build fires in places where they should be left alone.

Anonymous said...

This is an engaging subject and for the most part opinions are well put.
For ESPN's part, I believe that they suffer the myopia of unencumbered success which, for any historian of sports television, harkens back to the arrogance exhibited by BBC Sports (when they were a government monopoly in the 1960's-1980)) and ABC Sports in this country during the 1970's.
ESPN has production people in place with no recollection of television before cable, or any awareness of the hundreds of startup channels in the states that launched but failed since 1977. Much like the present day NY Yankess, ESPN assumes that they are the best, that they cannot fail, and so any loss must be attributable to some abberation rather than introspection.
They seem to believe that "more is better"- more announcers, more analysts (regardeless of credentials) more pit "reporters", more graphics, more gimmicks ('daft'trackker?)more commercial breaks.......all at the expensive of the coverage of the event at hand.
Perhaps ESPN has become such a bureaucratic morass that one hand knows not what the other is doing.
If so, those two hands will soon be hiding in empty pockets!!

Bray Kroter

ri88girl said...

To me it has always been an 'us' SPEED vs. 'them' ESPN.

The broadcastors and reporters from SPEED FOX TNT really seem a part of the sport itself; almost like the traveling NASCAR officials etc. They are included in the NASCAR 'family'.

These networks clearly have NASCAR's best interests at heart and are a part of the fabric of the sport. Like all familys they take potshots, over step and overstate etc, but there is the sense that if the indians attack they will be helping to circle the wagons.

ESPN does not project this same sense. Not to the fan and not the the particapents. How can they walk a line they don't even see?

glenc1 said...

I still don't have a problem with Shannon pressing Jr, or with Junior's response (I'm still thinking they should try a date, lol.) It was hysterical. Anyways, her questions were wrong (I'd assume the producers have discussed this with her...and maybe it watching it back she realizes how it sounded...) but that doesn't mean she shouldn't be interviewing him, as some have suggested. As one anon pointed out, he's Tiger, he's A-Rod, he's your star. That's just how sports work. If they'd ignored him, much of the Junior nation would be complaining that they were dissing him. In any case, reporters have a job to do, and a guy having a bad night is not an excuse to not interview him. That their questions and approach could be more honest and considerate goes along with that though. I'm sure some would argue they're not paid to be considerate, but it goes to having a positive future relationship with your subject. I do wonder if these reporters sometimes have off air moments where they talk about this stuff with the subject(remembering some of Mike Mulhern's comments about he & Tony after the recorder incident.)

But JD, you make the statement "Brewer refused to address his comments"...I would only ask, did anyone ask him to (other than us)? "Refused" would seem to be a reply to something, rather than just ignoring it. Perhaps just my interpretation of it. In any case, I do think it should have been addressed (since he went out on a limb with a direct accusation and Tony reacted to it...) Did Tony ask him to? (I never heard the exact text of Tony's show.)

Finally--we focus so much on ESPN, I just have to say...when Brett Favre got off that plane in Green Bay, there were a *whole* lot of press around. They weren't all from ESPN. For that matter, nor are they on NASCAR broadcasts. I guess I'm just thinking that they're not the only ones guilty here of sensational reporting, they're just the network we focus on. Nothing wrong with that as they're (currently) the full time sports network & that's their 'job', but just something to keep it in perspective.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the interviews of drivers by ESPN reporters, if memory serves me correctly, the top 5 finishers in any race HAVE to be available for an interview. However, there is no obligation on the part of the TV crew to take advantage of that rule - as we've all witnessed.

As for the rest of the contenders, doesn't the owner have the final say as to whether his driver will be available or not? In other words, if Jr. doesn't wish to be interviewed, but his owner says he will, does Jr. really have a choice?

I would love it if the drivers could respond exactly as they wish to - much like Tony Stewart has done in the past. Tony wasn't my favorite driver, but I sure respected him for speaking his mind no matter who asked. And I would love to hear more drivers point out how stupid some of the questions are.

ESPN hasn't made any points with me this season. Their silence isn't golden - it shouts with their inadequacies!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

JD doesn't need a reaction from ESPN. The fans are doing it nicely by finding other means with which to monitor the races. JD just reiterates what most of us diehard fans are thinking. IMO of course....

Anonymous said...

I'm no big fan of Shannon Spake,but there was absolutely nothing wrong with her questions for Junior. Everybody treats Junior with kid gloves. Why didn't she ask him what he was doing when the green flag dropped at the start of the race that ruined his evening? This year, it's been all Kyle, Carl and Kasey. The 88 Team clearly isn't getting it done. If they don't improve,the questions Spake asked will look trivial!

chase said...

JD: I'm absolutely amazed that ESPN allows Brewer's remarks to play on and on and on without any apology from Brewer who uttered those words. And the Mikey issue and Jr's remarks to that dolt Spake - but, regarding the latter, Jr's answer was spot on and cheers to him! ESPN obviously will never take responsibility for anything: their content, the tired Dr. Punch, not allowing AB to take something other than the 'party line', Brewer's incredible stupidity, Massaro's inane questions (as evidenced by Brian's post), ad nauseum. I think the drivers can help by not being so readily available to these incompetent reporters who ask such curious and inane questions. I, for one, will not be watching the Cally race which I have always considered incredibly boring. I've just about had it with ESPN - either step up to the plate and take responsibility or continue to watch your ratings go further down in the dumpster - I hope NAPA only runs one commercial this weekend - let the sponsors speak for the disgruntled viewers - since ESPN isn't listening to us - that will get 'em - right where it hurts the most - in their pockets. Will NASCAR step up and do something? Probably not given their past track record since Brian took over. Woe to us! Thanks JD!!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey glen,

Let's get back on track a little bit. This has nothing to do with Earnhardt or the ability of a reporter to interview him.

We all saw Junior jump the start, so Spake's questions were from outer space. A problem with the tracks? Yea, his problem was he jumped the start.

A problem with his set-up? He raced hard all night long, never got in trouble and wound-up 18th because he was never the lucky dog. Look like a set-up problem to you?

The point is that sometimes things are obvious and her interview with him had to focus on something. Are those the questions you would ask him at that time?

As for Brewer, look for a media member to ask him this weekend if he still believes Stewart placed the magnetic spacer in the Gibbs car. Maybe only the media can get him to man-up and deal with issues.

I have no comment on Bestwick except to say that he sat beside Michael Waltrip and shared Mondays with him for many years. To watch him duck this issue and then have the audio clip played back in Bestwick's own show was disappointing.


Anonymous said...

This site isn't the sole critic of ESPN, so for anyone to single it out is sorely mistaken.

Case in point: ESPN's Chris Mortenson reported that Kurt Warner would start for the Cardinals over Matt Leinhart, even though no such decision had been made. Even the Cardinals coach kept saying after the fact that Leinhart was still the starter. This is the 3rd or 4th time Mortenson has done something like this...and it reminds me of David Newton's Wednesday articles which said what Truex and Newman were going to do.

It ends up as hit or miss for ESPN. If they get the rumor correct a few weeks later, they look great. But in some of these cases, they are not playing off of direct facts and speculating as if something is true.

Similar to Tim Brewer's comments, even though he was way off and had no factual basis, ESPN never seems to "man up" when they make mistakes and carry on in the same fashion moving forward. Not a very credible way of doing things, I'd say.

bowlalpo said...

I'd bet that Mikey and NAPA have already filmed a new commercial extolling the virtues of the auto parts chain, but with Mikey sarcastically saying near the end, "but why take my word for it, seeing I'm the worst driver in the history of NASCAR?

"See for yourself...there are over 200(?) NAPA stores nationwide, and they'll be happy to help bad...and good drivers in and out of NASCAR."

The anonymous Mr. Kroter 8:39am has it properly pegged...ESPN is full of themselves and feel they are above everything they say, do and put on the air solely because they are the worldwide leader.

glenc1 said...

JD, I already have said her questions were poor and she should have asked about the start (although I think that was yesterday or before--I just didn't want to repeat myself too much). But some of the readers' (not you) comments suggest it should be hands off if a driver looks tired or upset or whatever. But I also think some of her questioning *was* relevent; just like those who question Gordon being 'off'--off *for him* which would be good for most. Expectations were high for the 88. It was just that she was ignoring the elephant.

I never saw the first half of NN--for that matter, I miss it altogether a lot now if it's on at 5. I wish they hadn't done that. But we agree that someone should put Brewer on the spot.

glenc1 said...

just a follow up--Shannon's questions followed the first go around with reporters, right, after he'd sat down? So had they already asked *the* question and it would have been pointless to repeat? Just wondering. She might have not wanted him to answer a question he already did, if that makes sense? Just trying to put this in the context of how it unfolded. I've only seen the clip, not anythink before....

Anonymous said...

John, can you please share with the class what you did when you worked at ESPN and why you no longer work there. Also please explain what makes you qualified to be such a media critic. I'm just curious.

Geez said...

Here is my take. Back when ESPN was the only one doing NASCAR races, there coverage was the best. When NBC took over, they banned ESPN reporters from the track.

All we got to see of NASCAR on ESPN was Mike Massaro (to his credit) skulking around helipads and parking lots interviewing driver's for show's like RPM Tonight.

Then they forgot NASCAR completely.
People left, new people came on board and it was stick and ball 24/7. Their most popular show's were confrontational sports talk show's.

When it became apparent to them that NASCAR was the place to be, They applied the same approach to it. They added a dash of racing people and a whole bunch of folks from Bristol and tried to make NASCAR Now into a Mike and Mike or a Jim Rome is burning. Almost mockingly.

Give me confrontation, give me conflict. That's all they knew. Luckily they made some changes and thing's are a bit better. But I still think that the folks in Bristol are calling the shots and what you hear people like Shannon ask are fresh from her earpiece.

AS far as the Clint Boyer clip, nothing but another run at controversy. There was no other reason for it. Old habits die hard.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:19PM,

Be happy to help you. Just drop me an email at to see how this site came about or search my name and Insider Racing News for a recent article.

We have been publishing a new column or two daily since feb. of 2007 and watching the NASCAR TV partners. As we like to say, it sure has been interesting.


Richard in N.C. said...

Bray Kroter- Spot on. Super.

Mulhern has never admitted in his writings that he was the reporter who had the run-in with Tony - but his writing seems to have become more negative toward NASCAR ever since.

Anonymous said...

I actually prefer ESPN coverage to either Fox/Speed. ESPN has greater professionalism than Speed/Fox and takes the sport very seriously where with Fox/Speed the coverage is jokes, light, feel good moments with DW, Roberts, Wendy etc.

Lisa Hogan said...

JD-Something that I have been wondering about since last season:

Does ESPN award "chug points" each time their anons post on this site?

Matt Carey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...


I get a lot of email from ESPN folks who go nuts about that stuff.

They like the brand of sports TV that they produce and kind of enjoy pushing the buttons of the folks that we are prone to take very seriously. It makes for a fun conversation.

The ESPN PR guys have helped me every step along the way with emails and access to information. I can email and get an answer very quickly.

I think we can all continue to enjoy the many positive changes that were made during the off-season that are paying off in spades.

You know NASCAR, between the drivers, officials and the media there is always going to be something to debate on almost a daily basis.

One of the most interesting things for ESPN is that the NASCAR Now guys are in CT, the announcers live all over the place and the PR guys are in Celebration, FL over near Disney.

It makes for a lot of conference calls and emails to get things coordinated on their end.


Daly Planet Editor said...


Could you drop me a line please at

I just need to review with you our policy for website listings in the comments section.

Thank you, JD

haus20 said...

Anonymous said...
I actually prefer ESPN coverage to either Fox/Speed. ESPN has greater professionalism than Speed/Fox and takes the sport very seriously where with Fox/Speed the coverage is jokes, light, feel good moments with DW, Roberts, Wendy etc.

August 28, 2008 3:06 PM

Anon, could you give an example of the professionalism you are referring to? I just don't see it.

Would you be refering to the professionalism of the Tim Brewer and his accusations, or the professionalism of various run-ins between Massaro, Spake & Little and various drivers? Could it be the professionalism exhibited by Dr. Punch's excitement as he calls the race? I mean throws it to commercial?

Apart from Alan Bestwick instead of Chris Myers, I can't think of one ESPN talent that I would trade for any of the Fox Team.

It is also interesting that I don't recall any Fox or Speed run-ins with drivers over the past few years, however both TNT and ESPN reporters have had problems. i.e. Marty Smith, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Tim Brewer.

Anonymous said...

Disney should've hired Marty Snider for Shannon Spake's job ... LOL Oh wait, Marty was in Beijing interviewing Jason Lezak, the US relay swimmer that won the Gold Medal for the men's 4x100 IM relay using a move that would've made Dale Sr proud ... He used "The Draft" off the competitor to his right to catch up to & pass him to win ...

ESPN should NEVER have hired Shannon Spake and Jamie Little ... They've been horrible all of the time that they have been on tv ... and not just this year or last year ... Sometimes, hiring a female to be a pit reporter just does NOT work out ... Hire the women that can do the job & are respected in the garages (Wendy Venturini, Krista Voda, Lindsay Czarniak, Beccy Gordon) ...

What would be hilarious is IF someone would tape Ron Capps (in his NAPA firesuit) at this weekend's NHRA race making a comment about Bowyer being "the worst driver in NASCAR" whilst showing video of Bowyer in one of the Pro Stock cars from the grand opening celebration last week at Charlotte's new dragstrip ... and then ESPN could air it ...

Richard in N.C. said...

In my view what makes ESPN's flubs worse is their frequently demonstrated ability to do better.

aginn said...

can hardly believe that anyone thinks that the interviewers or commentators have the right to treat any driver with a total lack of respect let alone calling them cheats without proof, ala stewart/magnetgate. would you put up with someone coming into your place of business and treating you like dirt? i thought not.

Daly Planet Editor said...

All these comments and no love for the Tremeloes....tough crowd!


Tracy said...

Haus 20 - wasn't there a brouhaha with John Dillner and Jeff Burton over Dillner's assertion that Childress was cheating somehow with tires? I remember Burton being royally ticked off in some interview.

Karen said...

Daly Planet Editor said...

All these comments and no love for the Tremeloes....tough crowd!

Never heard of them. Sorry. Will google.

Richard in N.C. said...

Oh, JD, is the intro picture from your colection of 78 albums or did you find on the net?

glenc1 said...

I was just coming to post thanks to JD cause now that song is *stuck* in my head...arghhhhhh (and no, I do not have the record...)

Karen said...

Oh, those Tremeloes! They also did Do You Love Me, but the Contours did it much better. Shake it, shake it now.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Newracefan said...

I was trying to ignore the fact that I am old enough to remember the song. Silence is golden, golden but my eyes still see......

Karen said...

nrf said ...

I was trying to ignore the fact that I am old enough to remember the song.

You and me both.

darbar said...

I refuse to comment on my knowledge of the aforementioned singing group due to the fact that my age is a highly kept secret, and if it should be revealed, this blog may have to be destroyed, by order of the FBI.

Newracefan said...

Oh come on darbar I was only 8, how bad could it be. (I googled them to find out when it was a hit, 1967 because I certainly didn't remember)

Vicky D said...

Well, you have to be older to remember the Tremeloes which I do. Great music but it also means I'm older too!

Adam T. Martin said...

I may be in the minority that actually appreciates Shannon for her work in the pits despite her quirks.

I prefer her over Marty Snider.

haus20 said...

tracy, you may be right, I don't remember. It doesn't jump out at me, but I have been wrong before.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the magnet allegations are the reason ESPN never did an interview with Tony Stewart after Bristol, despite his Top 10 finish.

When ESPN first did post-race interviews, I thought they just didn't get to Tony because of time... but ever since Bristol the network has been showing all the interviews they got, including ones that did not make the original broadcast, and Stewart was not interviewed.

Editor, do you know if ESPN snubbed him on purpose or if Tony wasn't available?

Newracefan said...

Dillner was in the dog house with RCR last year. Something about tires and a way to keep the pressures from building up, and RCR ordering hundreds of wheels. Don't remember any other specifics.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I was going to play the 45 rpm single but I couldn't find any of those plastic insert thingys...

Everyone like me who started with Chris Berman at ESPN has kept the tie between music and sports strong.

They just go together.


Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up. Just refresh your browser or click on the TDP logo at the top of the page.



Anonymous said...

If ESPN wants to be the "serious" sports network, thne it needs to learn that being 'journalists" means a lot more than slamming drivers.

It also means checking the facts first, before you spout off on them, and admitting when you disseminated incorrect information to your audience.

Otherwise, you're not journalists at all.

You're just loudmouths that think controversy is good, even when you generated it all by yourself.

Anonymous said...

I hope that ESPN captures the same kind of action that saw Edwards point a fist in Kenseths general direction, when he does the same to kyle for calling him MR ED..This time he may not hold back!!

Erik said...

I find it highly unprofessional and a huge conflict of interest for members of the media to be best buddies with the drivers. It destroys any hint of objectivity that a professional journalist can have.

I want to see reporters humiliate or belittle a driver as they see fit. And the driver should stop acting like a sissy, man up, and take it.

The days of the NASCAR media only asking softball questions in fear of offending the teams or NASCAR needs to fade away into history.

Tim Brewer has every right to speak his mind. If he feels that the most likely scenario was a driver must have had an active role in the cheating, he should be able to speak his mind without needing to apologize.

Newracefan said...

NN had Mikey on the show Fri night at MN, just watched my DVR version now. Ryan actually brought up the Bowyer mess, confirmed the wreck wa not his fault, fed Mikey a basic question and let him take it from there. Mikey's answer was great, consider the source and I've won 2 500s and an All Star Race, not a hall of fame career but..... very nicely done

Daly Planet Editor said...


That would mean that Brewer would have the same obligation to man-up and apoligize when he was totally and completely wrong.

He did not suggest, he made a statement and attached Tony Stewart's name to it.

Maybe Brewer will man-up and show us this weekend at California just how the Gibbs team snuck a spacer on the throttle cable long after the drivers had departed the two cars.

Just a guess that might not happen.


Richard in N.C. said...

I thought a reporter's objective was supposed to be to get the truth- not to humiliate or belittle an interviewee. In return, I would like to see reporters called and belittled when they ask stupid or insulting questions.

Zieke said...

Poor ESPN. They thought this was going to be a piece of cake when they got back into NASCAR. Looks like they were wrong. Too bad they could'nt have hired "ol DW to go along with Brewer, At least the "has beens " could have been together. Too bad these people don't care about the quality of their job. They just want to run their mouths with constant drivel.
At least Bowyer found something truthful to say. With the equipment MWR has Mikey should be ashamed to get behind the wheel.