Monday, August 4, 2008

Michael Waltrip Puts On His TV "Rally Cap"


It certainly is a common saying that racing mixes the highs and the lows on a very regular basis. Michael Waltrip has seen both over the last several seasons. After driving his ailing car quietly into the garage early in the race at Pocono, it was clear that this season was not going to be a high point for Waltrip.

Monday was going to bring a new series of challenges, but none perhaps would be more public than Waltrip driving to The NASCAR Media Group studios in Charlotte to tape another edition of This Week In NASCAR.

Host Steve Byrnes would be talking with Waltrip and fellow panelist Chad Knaus. Byrnes has quietly exerted his influence over this program and shaped a brand new Monday night show for SPEED. This week, he put his enthusiasm in high gear to help Waltrip get out of his funk and have some fun with Knaus.

Sure enough, Waltrip said right-up-front that he was having a tough day. After the customary opening chat, Byrnes teased Waltrip about being late for the show and then confirmed for both Waltrip and viewers that it would be the Pocono highlights first on the agenda. Finally, it looks like TWIN has put the horse before the cart at last.

The interaction between Knaus and Waltrip was once again outstanding. Knaus helped the viewers at home to understand many of the technical aspects of the Pocono race, including the calls he made to bring Jimmie Johnson home with a good finish. Meanwhile, Waltrip returned to adding to the Knaus comments and then harassing Knaus about talking too much. Things were back to normal.

Waltrip got into full fun mode when talking about the Nationwide Series race in Montreal. Once again professing to be one-eighth Canadian, Waltrip was pumped about the first time for NASCAR on rain tires in a points race. Knaus was confused about the number of cars that seemed unprepared for the rain. Little did he know there were many teams that were unprepared for a lot more than that.

Once again this week, the transition from the race review to the race preview seemed natural and well-timed. Soundbites from many drivers about Watkins Glen set the table for Waltrip's great memory of being shown the classic road course by veteran racer Willy T. Ribbs.

The video features used in this show really helped to put both Pocono and Watkins Glen in great perspective. During all the transitions this show has undergone in 2008, the one constant has been the outstanding editing of features like Scanner Chatter and the race previews.

Byrnes has always been good at holding the company line and he delivers all the promos that SPEED mandates must appear inside this program. One missing element this week was the email questions from viewers appearing in the middle of the show. Byrnes held them until the end, which eliminated the Sprint Cup questions being raised during the Cup section of the show.

One surprising moment was the outstanding extra feature on the resurgence of the #18 team with Kyle Busch. This was perhaps the best feature this program has aired all season long. More content like this will go a long way in keeping this TV series on a roll.

Credit goes to Michael Waltrip for putting his weekend issues aside and making this episode of TWIN another interesting TV adventure. Chad Knaus and Steve Byrnes have combined to become an effective team in making Monday nights on SPEED fun again.

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

53 comments:

Kyle said...

This show is getting its grove back.
Its FUN, without being distracted by the backwards thing they had going in the first part of the season.

Who would have thought that MW and CK would interact so well. Still think this is the best pairing on any nascar related show out there.

What was with the bomb shell in the last 10 seconds of the show about MWR having major announcement about sponsorship next year.... HMMMMM.

Lou, from NY said...

What a pleasure it was to watch TWIN for the second time in two weeks in proper order. After complaining all season about the backwards format, Thank you for correcting it. Much easier to enjoy the show.

The ride in the caddy with Willy T. Ribbs was a nice trip down memory lane. Also the air gun answer with the air tank back pack was just to funny to hear him tell it.

Did you catch MW say at the end of the show that at the company picnic tomorrow he is announcing some sponsorship stuff for next year?

Thank you for a good show..

Dot said...

Really good show tonight. Thank you SPEED for changing the format.
Mikey was in a much better mood even at the beginning than I thought he would be.

I'm with Chad about teams not having their rain equipment. I would think NASCAR would mandate those items, or they couldn't go back out. Maybe at WG they will, to prevent those collisions during the cautions.

Matt said...

This show was hilarious again. From MW being 1/8 Canadian again to Chad talking too much to flying pit crew members, I really enjoyed the show.

Newracefan said...

Fantastic show,I'm still laughing. The continuation of the correct order tells me that Speed values and listens to us fans. I was glad to see that despite Mikey not believing he could bring his "A game" they still put together a fun show. His admission of a counsellor/ shrink still has me wondering if it was a oops or intentional (IMO Mikey is a lot smarter than many give him credit for, much of is behavior is a sthick that was probably deveolped to deal with an over-achieving elder brother). I as interested to hear Chad's comments about the NW race, I bet we would have heard the same thing for AP if he was there. I'll be all over Jayski tomorrow for MWR info, perhaps that why he was able to bring that A game after all

Vicky D said...

I thought it was a great show and I was actually surprised that MW was up to his old kicks and didn't seem upset about leaving the race yesterday after 10 laps. Thank you Speed for going back to the old format.

TexasRaceLady said...

What a delightful show. Full of fun and information.

As kyle said, this show is getting its groove back.

Well done, guys.

1 1/2 thumbs up. :-)

Ziggy said...

Well being a veteran of the last 10+ years of the Mikey-Speed Monday shows I too will admit that this show finally found it's groove. The great convserations between CK & MW made the 1st 30 minutes fly by with each giving the other a jab or too. (Chad & the sway comment to name one). Chad's analytical comments against Mikey's "off the wall" words make good TV. Hoping the SPEED Exec's agree.

PammH said...

Steve got them to listen to us about the bkwards crap!!! I AM sooo Thilled!! It was a funny show, btw.

Richard in N.C. said...

Maybe, hopefully the change in order is permanent since I saw an ad on SPEED last night or this morning that advertised TWIN as a review and preview.

glenc1 said...

Okay, so now I'm *completely* confused about the NW cars--is all that rain equipment mandated, like we've read, or not? Clearly, we saw some cars without wipers. So how does that happen if they're required? Either it hasn't been properly explained, or, as Chad suggested, the teams are very unprepared (and how would they pass inspection if not?)

As far as the quality of the show--very good. Good banter between Chad & Mike, the joking about the sway bar & all. I suspect Mikey didn't 'slip' about the counselor--lots of sports figures talk to them to improve performance/deal with issues, learn to 'focus' or whatever (not everyone can put in a koi pond). I don't think he 'slipped' last week when he confirmed what we already knew about his marital split. Maybe that's part of his 'counseling...' to let it go. Anyways, I appreciated that he was trying to brush off his bad weekend.

speedangel said...

It was a good show. The flow is definitely back.

The coversations during the emails might have been the best part between the chiding about how Mikey came across certain pieces of info to the flying tire changer comment (I hope Mikey's "counselor" is on retainer). Chad & Steve's reactions were great to see.

I like TexasRaceLady will give 1 and 1/2 thumbs up.

Tracy said...

Have to admit, I wasn't expecting Pocono to get a first-off review. Eating crow here. Big improvement. Knaus is great, still wish Shrader hung around if only now and then, but I'm back to watching the show if this keeps up.

No more Tivo and fast forward, yeah!

Sophia said...

Glen I never heard Mikey address personal issues.... He did bring up Buffy's name in passing but that was it.

But on with the show.

I thought tonight was HILARIOUS...mikey going on about nodding off about Chad taking too long to explain things..and the why they don't use cordless drills...

How much influence DID Steve B have in reversing the backaspirin nonsense we have been griping about?

Anyway, JD, I really feel SPEED FINALLY listened.

Once again the show flowed and the look on Mikey's face when Steve said they were going with the review and then the preview seem to genuinely delight Michael. You think THEY hated the backwards format as well?

Anyway, it's fun to no longer be 'distracted' and annoyed but to just finally enjoy Monday nights again...love the combo of CK and MW..should be mandatory every week. Love the scanner chatter.

Great job!!

I'll add two thumbs up to TRL one and a half thumbs!!

p.s. Get Kenny on as a guest soon!!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Everyone has been on the same page about the program format and your comments over the last several months played a nice role in keeping that issue alive.

Change comes slow to TV, but when it gets done things are really different. This is a very good example.

JD

Sophia said...

Thanks JD!!

Now if they would only put on NPerf before this show, Monday's would be perfect since time slot roulette is a bear. Missed last weekend. :( I need to make this site my home page to remind me on weekends, lol.

Thanks for allowing us to sound off JD. I sooooo appreciate this place and the work you continue to do and add, to help this place grow.

:)

Brian said...

That was awesome, this thing is back! Steve, Michael, and Chad definitely have something special going on here. The best episodes are when Chad is on with Michael and Steve. Definitely enjoying this show! Man, it's come a long way!

SearsPointer said...

One welcome omission that hasn't been mentioned yet? No more thinly disguised promos of the "hey look how wacky our Speed hosts were this weekend, hahaha!" kind. Give me a feature on the #18 any day that - why do I need to see funny moments from the weekend when the TWIN panel is supposed to provide exactly the same thing?

The #18 feature was nice. TWIN actually started out the season with similar segments, like the Jeff Gordon retrospective early in the year.

Sophia said...

sears

You are right!! I did not miss that stupid segment at all,

Indeed, instead of some old footage seen a lot, I enjoyed hearing about a team that had a long dry spell and is now getting it's due.

I watched the rerun as I worked on a website and Mikey and Chad are FUN together and Steve can finally relax and be very amusing as host.

The comments about doing the review first were great!! When told the review was first and Mikey said "I just love this show I don't care what you all say".

Hmmm. Suppose Mikey reads this site?? I am a huge Mikey fan so, "Hi Mikey or Steve" if you are reading.

(Sophia waving as she logs off ~~~)

Anonymous said...

The show is getting much better than it was at the beginning of the season. It would be nice to have Kenny Schrader as the third person. What was the comment at the end about Chad should bring his pajamas? I sure do wonder about Mikey sometimes!!!

Anonymous said...

Tonight was delightful. I'm so glad I hung in there while they pulled this show together. Considering where they started this season, I really didn't expect it could become this much fun or that I would look forward to Monday nights again. Chad and Michael have fantastic chemistry, and Steve has relaxed and become very fun himself.

I only wish that we could have that third panelist occasionally so we could have Chad every week and still see Biffle (or Schrader?!) sometimes. But I guess that's just being greedy. :)

Big gold stars all around! And special thanks to JD and this blog for keeping the format problems front and center until they were addressed.

Lisa Hogan said...

I tuned in and stayed because of the format change. I was able to watch most of the show last night and really enjoyed it.

The show caused true laughter from this viewer.

Still don't like the inside jokes about football.

All in all, I agree 1 1/2 thumbs up!

Thanks, SPEED

glenc1 said...

I'd like to think JD's blog really does have an influence and we knew people were listening...does seem like they are! I do miss Kenny S a lot though.

Sophia, I was talking about last week--didn't bring it up before beccause it's a 'personal' gossipy issue, but he's the one who said it on 'national TV'...just made me take notice. Steve called Pocono the 'honeymoon capital of the world' and Mike said he wanted to take his 'next' honeymoon there. Steve said 'that's sad', and Mikey agreed. Brief but telling exchange since we already know they sold the house and are living apart. Anyways, it *is* sad, and he's obviously dealing with a lot of stuff. Last night Chad's comment about 'both of you' was pretty funny too...you almost get the feeling Chad was trying to cheer him up. Not sure we'd have had that from the Biff, but they've been better too. I am curious about the 'announcement' today if there is one.

Anon 2:32--he said 'jams' and then later he said 'jammies'. I think he meant jams, as in 'shorts' for the picnic...at least I hope so, lol.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a great show all around.

I loved it when Steve and Mikey went off on some tangent and Chad decided that he was going to get the show back on track and just started talking.

Although they do need to quit the mentioning of Notre Dame highlights 2-3 times per show.

Anonymous said...

Being a owner/driver was a choice MW made and it doesn't always go the way you want it to, but he is a true class act with his contributions to the show last night after a disaster with his engine at Pocono. I am so impressed, that guy is a walking PR machine for his company and Nascar, and his sense of humor I am sure helps keep him sane in the tough business he is in. Great job Chad and Steve, laughter is the best medicine. I did not like Chad before this show and I am seeing a side of him that I didn't know existed. Great great show.

Lisa Hogan said...

Forgot to mention one interesting exchange. Mikey mentioned the weight distribution on the #48 and Chad’s head snapped around and he said, “How did you know that?”, then Mikey playing coy, then Chad mentioning the sway bar incident and Mikey’s comeback. Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

I thought that last night's TWIN was the best of the season even though it was obvious that Mikey's been under a lot of stress lately.

kbaskins said...

Great show! Things flow so much better with the new format. Quite honestly I'm astonished that it makes that much of a difference. I thought the old format was dumb, but I didn't realize that it made the show almost unwatchable for me. Seriously, I didn't know I was so uncomfortable with the old format. Weird.

And I've never really liked Chad. He works for a team that I don't like, and he always comes across as quite uptight. But he's been so much fun over the last several weeks that I'm actually starting to really like the guy. Now that you've heard that confession, I'm going to have to kill you all. Sorry. :-)

What a huge improvement over the first shows. I missed quite a few shows because I just couldn't be bothered to watch after the disappointing first month. Now TWIN is back on my must-watch list.

--KarenB

Anonymous said...

I realy feel that if it wasn't for Steve Byrnes this show would have a completely different feel. He has such a knack for bringing out the best in the guys. It appeared Mikey wasn't having a very good day, but Steve knew exactly how to pull him out of his funk and make a great show.

Also, great reaction shots of the guys makes for an entertaining watch.

Thanks Steve and TWIN for a much improved show.

Lou, from NY said...

To me it is amazing how just a change in formant can generate the 28 or so comments before this one. And happy for it, for the continued sucess of the show.

Just needed to add to my earlier comment, that in my critical comments the first 20 or so shows I had always mentioned that I FF thru the commercials. (NOTE to sponsor). But for the last two shows I even watched the commericals.

I do hope that this will be a change that we will see for the rest of the season.

To who ever was responsible for the change in format that we have been noting, Thank You.

Sophia said...

Duh, Glen. YES, I remember those comments and his 'next honeymoon comments'... THAT I got...I guess I thought you heard things differently like he addressed the divorce specifically...but yea, i had heard months ago they were living separately.

The boy has had a very rough year...but the fact he can indeed put on his game face and be so funny...least for the show, and have the last two weeks be the best the show has been THIS SEASON?? Says a lot.
The entire set seems relaxed with the format change... and I don't think it's just 'our annoyance' as a viewer going away, the guys seem to be laughing more.

Sophia said...

after I responded to Glen's comments, read the rest. So many (KarenB for one) have been fun and even LOL funny!!)

So many of us have all felt the SAME DAMITOL way about this show's earlier format.

It truly has been a fun show and today this blog of comments, a fun read.

When is the last show you had so many happy campers, JD.

I hope the guys on TWIN see these uplifting remarks. They have earned them. :-)

Gymmie said...

@sophia--I wouldn't be surprised if he does. I know everyone reads Jayski...I found out about Jayski from one of the drivers mentioning it on IWC. They joked that's how the teams knew if they were still employed. We have a Yahoo group that I know he reads or has his spies read because when messages are taken to him he always seems to know about it *giggle*

It definitely was a nice segment on the #18. Always good to see Peter Rabbit :).

Bill B said...

I just wanted to add to the chorus of cheers for them putting the recap of Sunday's race back at the beginning of the show. That's what we all tune in for. That's what we all want to see. Besides we have trackside, qualifying, three practices, race day, and the pre-race show to get prepped for the next race.
Now if they could just get someone in the line-up that doesn't toe the NASCAR line so much. Michael and Byrnes won't bite the hand that feeds and Knauss and Biffle are too politically correct and polite to call a spade a spade.

speedangel said...

I don't know how many of you have been to NASCAR.com today, but if you enjoyed Mikey's demo of 'heel-toe' in his socks earlier this season, you might want to see the bonus clip. He repeated the demo, this time barefoot. I don't think words can adequately describe this.

I know links don't work here, but you can copy/paste:
http://www.nascar.com/video/cup/2008/08/05/cup.wat.twin.speed.nascar/index.html?MostPopular

Anonymous said...

Diane said:

Traveling so late commenting. Haven't seen the show yet (Tivo in motorhome...real camping).

First, thank you JD.

However, SPEED should be the one profusely thanking you. In the world before the internet how many people would have sent a letter or called to complain or offer suggestions. The result, ratings are low, show gets canceled, tv execs wonder why.

Also, when will all the TV execs realize NASCAR fans are not a bunch of bumpkins who like goofy bits and inane antics. We love racing and want to see and hear all we can about racing, drivers, teams, etc.

Regarding previous comment about changing views on Chad Knaus. If we could get shows...NASCAR Confidental, Beyond the Wheel, etc. on a regular basis featuring different teams and the people who are a part them, (all teams and not just most popular!); the inner workings of NASCAR; different tracks; I believe it would only make the sport more popular. Most people are nice (except Kyle B...LOL) and many have interesting lives, backgrounds which give you a new perspective. May not change your allegiance, but may have a kinder view of people, issues, etc.

I, for one, can't wait to watch this weeks show. The original show was my favorite and I couldn't wait to watch. Prior to these changes, I DVR'd, but rarely would watch or just FF to segments getting positive comments on this site.

SPEED, you owe JD a major thank you for this site!!

Diane

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't SPEED replay TWIN at a better time on Tuesday's? Replay it on Tuesday afternoon!!!

Sophia said...

Diane

great post.

SPEED Angel

THANKS for the heads up on the TWIN video. FUNNY! The look on Chad's face..priceless..and Steve's

LMAO...oh, my. Folks without internet SHOULD be able to see this on TV.

I think Mikey has EDS due to his ability to put foot behind head. (Flexible joint and muscle condition) great stuff about money in shoe comments, too.

Oh my!!

Sophia said...

hmmm..blogger shortened my name...weird..but cool

speedangel said...

I feel the need to say that I am in no way affiliated with Speed Channel. Speedangel is just one of my nicknames.

Jo said...

It was a really good show & I'm so glad they finally got the order right & its permanent Review then preview.

I had to laugh @Chad being mystified by ALL the teams not being prepared because they are Pros.

All in all great show guys

Anonymous said...

GREAT link to the "exclusive TWIN content" at NASCAR.com! I watched it twice. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I had given up on TWIN. Quit watching a couple months ago. However, last night I stumbled across it and found it to be most refreshing!

Kudos to SPEED for the format change! I agree with some of the posters that there is room for a third reviewer - maybe on a rotating basis?

It looks like once again I will plan on tuning in on Monday nights.

DB1

Karen said...

Go to nascar.com. Click on videos at the top. TWIN extra right on that page. Boy, he's got big feet. But then at 6'5", I guess that's to be expected.

Rockin Rich said...

Disclaimer: I didn't watch the show, (TV usually goes off after the evening news).

OK JD; here's a "project" for you. I expect you are bored sitting around with nothing to do except be at your computer watching for the "nasties", and zapping them as soon as they post, (yeah, right!). Kind of like playing Pacman isn't it? Isn'tTV & Internet fun??

With all this positive feedback to Speed for trying the change almost all of your readers have been requesting, do you suppose they are seeing a significant increase in viewership for TWIN? The operative word here is significant. After all, the bottom line for them has to be viewership. That, obviously, is how they sell more advertising, and maybe at a higher price.

If you could determine if this is so, (or not), I think it would very interesting to your readers. Plus, it may send a message about how your forum can not only be a positive influencer for your readers, but also one for Speed's,(or any TV partner's) bottom line. That might even help your bottom line in some way??

What do you think? Worth your time to research?

Daly Planet Editor said...

rich,

SPEED's PR group has been good in releasing the ratings info for live events, so I will ask them about TWIN.

While the comments section is what most folks see, my email reflects the direct connection between the programs and announcers that are involved in NASCAR and the power of the reader comments.

All of the NASCAR TV partners have added me to their media contacts list, and this season TNT took care of me like gold. Guess they knew RaceBuddy was a winner.

The vast majority of the announcers check-in to see how the fans are reacting. Many of the show producers drop me a line in refrence to something coming up that they would like viewers to see.

Just like a good studio host, my role is to pick a topic, state my view and then get out of the way.

Since last season, the changes in TV coverage of this sport have been fantastic. While there are always issues to discuss, the second year of this new TV contract has proven to be a breath of fresh air. TWIN is certainly a good example of that.

JD

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

John,

Thank you for your recap. I unfortunately had a terrible migraine yesterday that put me in bed right after lunch until this morning and kept me from watching TWIN. I feel like I missed a great show.

I love the change in format. I also love Mikey and Chad. I wish that Mikey could somehow get Chad as his crew chief.

Thank you, SPEED, for listening to us fans and changing the format and for the pairing of Mikey and Chad and Steve. They have made the show so much fun.

Brian said...

Speaking of which, does anyone know what happened at Mikey's picnic? I haven't seen any sponsor announcements yet. I was really looking forward to it.

Deborah said...

I loved last night's show - Michael and Chad were terrific! But the best part was what wasn't on the actual show - the extra content on nascar.com was absolutely hysterical! Never thought I'd see Michael do that shifting demonstration in bare feet! I'm always amazed when I see him do that trick with putting his foot behind his head. I can do that too but you usually don't see men who are that flexible! At any rate, I really wasn't happy with this show, but recently it's really come together quite nicely - I barely fast-forwarded anything other than the commercials last night whereas earlier in the season it seemed like I was fast-forwarding through most of the show.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about the show's format: Do you think that they switched the format because of pressure from the principals, fans, and blogs like this one....

... or do you think they flipped the format because every time they return to a track for the second time, the pre-tapes pieces they use are unchanged, and thus people would see a first half repeat?

Rockin Rich said...

Re — DP Editor @4:16P on 8/5:

Thanks for taking the time to answer. I think it is good for your readers to know what is happening "behind the scenes" that we don't see.

I am impressed that you get the attention from the TV people that you stated. Given that not only the readers here, but you yourself have been highly critical at times of the TV performance, I think it is impressive that they respond so positively.

I am particularly impressed by the TNT 180° turn around, and their apparently good relationship with you. The criticism was pretty harsh last year. But, of course, their performance invited most of it. I too now wish that TNT covered more races. And that includes Bill Weber. I have been won over.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:37AM,

If you find another NASCAR TV blog out there, you make sure and email me the website address.

TV executives make their own decisions based on what is working and what is not working.

Sometimes, all we can do is point-out what is not working and let them find the solution.

Why they ultimately changed we will never know, the fact that they did makes it a positive for all of us.

JD

Anonymous said...

The show was good ...

Except the segment on the 18 team ... Sorry, but that team has had sooooo much press this year already that they do NOT need anymore ... Especially when JD Gibbs makes the comment about how they'd make personnel changes on the team if needed AND it's been documented that JJ Yeley repeatedly asked for changes to the team & Gibbs refused to make any (Yet, Gibbs dumped practically the whole 11 pit crew when Denny threw a hissy fit on tv) ...

That segment just poured more salt into the wounds of Yeley & his fans ... esp with the announcements of him getting benched for Watkins Glen and then canned to be replaced by another ex-JGR driver ...



The show should've covered more of the Nationwide race from Montreal ... as that was the BIG story of the weekend ... racing in the rain on tires of an undetermined age (made in 97 or 01 depending on who you ask) ... Throw in a road course ringer winning the race as well as Jacques & Sliced Bread both wrecking under the same caution and ESPN not having the video nor knowing WHO they ran into (Jacques ran into Hornaday & Logano ran into Garcia) as the pace car slowed down too much ...


They could've also played up Ron Fellows' comments / request to Dale Jr to let him drive the 5 car on Saturday at the Glen as a substitute for Jr ... in hopes that he could get back-to-back wins for JR Motorsports ...