Monday, August 18, 2008

Waltrip Gets The Monkey Off His Back

Apparently, all it took to help Michael Waltrip break into the top twenty in a race was a fuzzy monkey. Starting-off This Week In NASCAR on SPEED, Waltrip shared the story of a fan giving him a stuffed animal for good luck. He put it in the car at MIS and the rest is history.

As host Steve Byrnes would say, "you can't make this stuff up." Waltrip's stuffed animal story set just the right tone for Byrnes and Chad Knaus to jump into the details of the weekend at MIS.

Kudos to TWIN for including Marcos Ambrose and Dave Blaney in the MIS Sprint Cup Series highlights. Byrnes also questioned Waltrip about why Carl Edwards was not penalized for clearly throwing a water bottle onto the backstretch. Another part of the race ignored by the ESPN TV crew at the time.

Knaus was clear and open about the incident involving Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. It has been a tough year for both teams, and Knaus added his behind-the-scenes info about what this incident meant for the Hendrick drivers.

Highlights continued and Waltrip and Knaus were now in high gear. The success of this show is the ability of Knaus to completely ignore the Waltrip hi-jinks and continue on with his technically specific explanations. Knaus filled viewers in on why the cars were purposefully so loose even as Waltrip showed-off his new shoes.

Knaus told viewers that he was watching Trackpass on the final lap when Johnson made contact with the 28 car and spun through the infield. How is that for some good TV information? Johnson's crew chief watching exactly what the fans are watching.

The Nationwide Series got a good mention this week, but the highlights were much too short. Waltrip was forceful in talking about the clean air issue at MIS and the fact that it made all the difference. Knaus backed it up by saying the lines of the drivers through the corners made getting clean air sometimes impossible.

"Magnet-gate" was up next for a topic and it was Waltrip who surprisingly jumped-in and indicted Gibbs Racing for having a pre-meditated plan of action. Waltrip admitted that he had experienced the same thing, but that the size and specific depth of the magnets made it clear things had been planned in advance. Waltrip stopped well short of suggesting senior management was involved, but certainly the Gibbs engine shop or crew chiefs were put on the hot seat.

It was time to look at Bristol, and Knaus called it "an amazing little racetrack." Waltrip got teased a bit about his incredible crash that will live forever on YouTube. Knaus talked about the drivers lifting each lap and the fact that the motors are not particularly stressed on this track.

Wrapping-up the Bristol conversation, Waltrip talked about just how easy it is to miss the correct pit stall in Bristol because of the tiny track and the pit lane rules. Highlights of the spring race worked well to help viewers remember exactly how the newly-paved track has resulted in very different racing.

Byrnes finished the show with some email questions and this segment really showed-off the incredible relationship that Waltrip and Knaus have been enjoying on this show. After Knaus told viewers that the numbers on the roofs of the cars were oriented to the infield because that is where the manual scoring is done, Waltrip calmly told him he was wrong.

Not that Waltrip knew he was wrong, but because he knew it would drive Knaus completely nuts. Even as Waltrip answered the next question, Knaus was still fretting and asked again how he could be wrong? When Knaus blurted out that he personally had never scored, Waltrip had achieved his goal and the chaos began.

Give Steve Byrnes credit for keeping things somewhat under control and guiding this show off the air with its dignity almost intact. Since February, this TV series has done a compete about-face and is now a solid viewing choice for NASCAR fans every week. Waltrip and Knaus truly are NASCAR TV's odd couple.

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Jessica said...

"Sometimes you just have to spank the monkey." Honestly Michael, I almost choked on my Coke;)

Daly Planet Editor said...

That would be...cable TV.

TexasRaceLady said...

jessica, I lost a perfectly good glass of iced tea at that remark. ROTFL

Another hilarious, surprisingly informative show.

I've gotten to really like Chad Knaus.

WTG, guys. Keep it up.

Vicky D said...

Michael was on top of his game tonight, as well as Chad enjoyed them both immensely. Mikey even mentioned that when Dave Blaney came back on the track after the repair of his crashed car - it had duct tape on the roof. Why couldn't the guys in the booth tell us that, or even show us?

PammH said...

jessica-ya took the words rite out of my mouth!! I almost peed my pants & Chad's reaction was priceless!! Great show tonite. I am soooo happy Speed finally listened to the viewers-it's must see TV again.

Newracefan said...

Fantastic show, loved Mikey having Darby on speed dial, guess he had to leave a message. Poor Chad he really got his cage rattled but I think he is right (I seem to remember that same explaination from somewhere). I also think Steve's comment about MIS on TV doesn't do it justice was a subtle nod to us poor fans who had to sit thru that mess Sunday. Chad and Trackpass, who knew.

Spank the monkey Chad was speachless and I was ROTFL.

Rockin Rich said...

Well, one statement really got to me. So, I am gong to jump in with an opinion on the content, not the TV production. JD, delete it if you wish, (I am no longer a virgin anyway; I received my first dreaded Removed by a blog administrator last week).

1) I didn't see the show;
2) I do not like Mr. M. Waltrip for reasons beyond the scope of this diatribe, (and allowed subject matter of this blog).

How can Mr. Waltrip have the arrogance to "indict" Joe Gibbs Racing for their "preplanned" actions? If there ever was a preplanned effort to cheat it was done by his team with the intake manifold & fuel doctoring at Daytona in February, 2007. That 1½ year old transgression has never been close to explained, or responsibility accounted for.

Just as importantly, how can the others not call him to task for ragging on JGR? Again, I didn't see the show, so there may have been something said I am not aware of. I think it would have been credible for anyone else but Mr. Waltrip to get into that subject.

I think the man is seriously "judgment challenged"! There certainly are many behavior instances in his recent past to justify that statement. Again, those are beyond the scope of this blog.

End of diatribe!

Anonymous said...

The Spank the monkey almost caused me to faint I snapped my head around so hard!
And Chad kept a straight face when Mikey chose to discuss his feet behind his head theme. It was as if Chad is never phased by him!

Kudos to Steve for being able to speak in English by the end of the show!
Speaking in a little kid voice now,

Pst... didja' hear ? Mikey gots new shoes!!

Anonymous said...

Rockin Rich - I think your point was valid because it is definitely TV related. What Speed allows Waltrip to say or what Waltrip decides to say himself is important because of his history.

Speed probably has an obligation to either mention Waltrip's past incident or to ask for his perspective on it and not judge like he did.

I didn't have as much a problem with it as you did, but I think you do bring up a valid point TV-wise.

Jasper said...

Too bad you missed the show, rockin rich, you missed a good show. I don't understand how you can comment on the show if you didn't watch it.

Anyhow, the boys are having fun again. I agree, it's "a must see TV". I love the "odd couple" of NASCAR, keep up the good work!

Sophia said...

I gotta say, I like Biffle but they REALLY need to have Chad on every chance they get. His ability to be nonplussed at some of Mikey's comments are priceless.

His fretting over the numbers on the roof was obvious. I would like a follow up on that story.

VERY INTERESTING about Blaney's roof having duct tape and Mikey's comment about you had a big hit/wreck if there is duct tape holding the roof on.

I never heard or read about that stuff ANYWHERE.

It's like I thought the whole Blaney wreck was a mirage...Phantom Blaney!!

Good to have this show in it's proper order again but if they are going to NOT have Chad be on, I highly SUGGEST Schrader to fill in, instead of Biffle. nothin' against Greg. . .


p.s. I thought Mikey was fair in his comments to JGR as he said he KNEW what it was like as an owner to be in that position when something goes wrong...that could have been interpreted a LOT of ways but I did not see it as a malicious comment by Waltrip AT ALL. Sometimes you have to see the show to judge words in text (body language, tone of voice, look in the eye, etc)

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

Mikey was very open on his comment about JGR in the fact that he said that as an owner and what happened to him in 2007 that he really feels for Joe and JD and can empathize. He did not put the blame on Joe or JD but in someone in their employ as he knows that that can happen.

I hope that the above makes sense.


I am afraid that I have some crow to eat from some emails earlier today. I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Matt said...

When Knaus blurted "I don't know, I've never scored".. I about died laughing.

Great show.. the odd couple works.

Dot said...

This is the TWIN I know and love. Keep it up SPEED.

I too, like Chad. I learn so much when he's on. Whether it's about the 48 team or someone else.

Interesting bit about Tryson leaving in the middle of the race because of Tim Brewer (from that other network). Who knew? And I watched that race. Maybe I forgot. Or, was ESPN broadcasting it? hee hee

I love it when Mikey is being Mikey. Spank the monkey and blew a seal, he's killing me. I can't wait to see after TWIN on

Anonymous said...

I think it would have been credible for anyone else but Mr. Waltrip to get into that subject.
Given the number of teams caught cheating in recent years, I don't know how you can say that,

Anonymous said...

I thought that last night's show was funny and moved along. I like Mikey and I'm a huge supporter of Chad Knaus. They replayed radio communications of the Michigan race at the end of the show. At the end of the race, there was a restart with Carl in front,David Reagan second and Kyle third. Carl radio'd Reagan and asked if he could hold up Kyle after the restart. TWICE Reagan said he'd do what he could to block Kyle. After TWIN played this exchange, Chad stated that things really weren't what we all just heard??? To me, this was an attempt on Chad's part to be politically correct. He said team mates never purposely block competitors.Then they moved on to "Magnetgate" and Mikey said that Owners don't know when illegal things are done to the cars. Maybe. All in all, a good show.

majors house said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deborah said...

Because of what happened with Michael's team in 2007 he is probably the best person in the garage area to give an opinion regarding a team being caught for a major infraction like JGR was. I get the sense that some dislike Michael so much that anything he says is wrong or inappropriate to them but regardless of the degree of success he's had on the track Michael is a driver and now an owner who has been involved in the Cup Series for nearly 25 years. Everyone loves him on this show for hysterical comments like "spank the monkey" but he is also on the show because whether the audience agrees or disagrees he has opinions to offer on the sport backed up by a lot of knowledge and experience. Beyond that as someone pointed out above me, with how many teams have been busted for cheating, Speed would have a hard time finding someone whose team has a completely unblemished track record in regards to cheating to comment. Personally, I would prefer to hear from someone who has been where J.D. and Joe Gibbs are and knows what they're going through.

Anonymous said...

Great show, it's entertaining, and informative and for those who don't care for Mikey or Chad than don't watch it, and its especially stupid to comment on a show you did not even see. This world needs humor, so folks just chill out. Hey going to one race this year and its Bristol, praying for the rain God's to keep it dry.

Anonymous said...

He said team mates never purposely block competitors.

Luckily, most race fans know better that this.

glenc1 said...

I can't believe no one mentioned the 'Malachi Crunch'....I laughed all through the show thinking about that. At the same time I'm thinking there are generations wondering, 'what the heck is he talking about?'

I'm just guessing, but I think Chad was right about the numbers. People just changed where they scored from in later years. But Michael did give him fits, didn't he?

As for the JGR situation, while not a huge Mikey fan, I found Michael's comments intresting--whether what HIS team did in the past was planned or not is irrelevent, that doesn't mean JGR didn't do that this time, and it sounds like they did (to what level I have no idea, but if JD knew he's a heck of an actor). Frankly, I think anyone who would do something like that probably would *not* tell the boss. I thought it was a good point that no one else had made yet.

But I disagree that 'everyone' loves Michael on the show. Not everyone, as we've heard.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe that Childress said that JGR should get their butts kicked for cheating.I'll apologize in advance if I have this wrong,but wasn't Harvick involved in an embarrassing mess during Speed Weeks a few years ago? My foggy memory says that Childress hired a top engine builder from JGR who they later fired in the middle of a controversary during the Twin 150's where Harvick's engine was "sucking air". They had spacers at the bottom of the bolt holes in the heads that allowed the bolts holding the intake manifold on to bottom out before the intake gaqskets seated allowing the engine to suck more air than the restrictor plate would pass. This new engine builder got fired because he discovered the illegal engine and objected to it. Childress was quoted a saying that 'everyone cheats'. The fired engine builder filed a lawsuit for wrongful dismisal. This incident was widely reported at the time. Perhaps others here have a better memory than I do.

Anonymous said...

A couple of comments. Having watched the sport for over 40 years, I don't believe the numbers on the roof are turned the way the are due to scoring in the old days. At that time, the scoring stands weren't high enough to see the roof of the car. Instead, it was done so that on banked tracks the numbers could be easily read in the corners. The scorers just read the numbers on the side of the car as they came by.

With regards to the cheating, I will paraphrase some folks from the old days. Richard Petty was asked about cheating one time when they were caught with an illegal radiator. His comment was that "it wasn't cheating, just a liberal interpretation of the rules." Another phrase from the old days, I think most attributed to Smokey Yunick and Junior Johnson, was that "if you're not cheating, your're not trying." Doesn't excuse it, especially now that the rules are so tight, but EVERY team is looking for an edge and is pushing the envelope and sometimes they go overboard. If they are not, they're not trying.

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

Considering that I became a serious Nascar fan and not just a casual fan back in 2004, what is a "malachi" crunch?

Sorry, John, if this is off topic and you need to remove it. I will understand. I just wanted some clarification.

glenc1 said...

since Chad mentioned it several times, we're probably doing a public service, lol. It's not a NASCAR reference, it's from the TV show Happy Days (probably before your time). The 'Malachi Brothers' had a patented 'crunch' move for the demolition derby they used on Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzie's 'girlfriend' at the time. You can probably google it, especially if 'Fonzie' doesn't ring a bell, lol.

Anon 9:51, there was also a sneaky fuel delivery issue with Todd Berrier/the 29 team back in 05 where he was suspended. Also a 'non race' issue, but cheating nevertheless. Pot, kettle, black.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic show, they had me in stiches from laughing so hard. Between spanking the monkey, blow a seal and not scoring I though I was watching a comedy central show!
Thank Speed for getting this show back on rails, it's a must see T.V. again and I'm sure not ever going to miss it again!

As for mickey commenting on JGR incident, I think he was dead on, he's talking for personal experience and can relate, thankls Mickey for being on the ball and being just in your comments!

As for "Welding Chad" I'm starting to like the guy!!!


Tracy said...

I'm such a dork. I had to google the meaning of "spank the monkey," and let me tell you, I was shocked. How can Mikey get away with saying stuff like that? Is it because it's cable?

Guess I've led a sheltered life.

Daly Planet Editor said...


They used to get away with a lot more than that. It should be interesting to see what direction the show takes now that things have settled into a groove.


Sophia said...

I remember the show Happy Days but did NOT remember the "Malachi Crunch" but remember Pinky Tuscadero.

Also HDays is where the term "Jumped the shark" comes from.

This show was so MUCH FUN I watched the repeat at midnight. I noticed after the numbers on the roof incident, as Mikey answered his email about the tires, you could hear Chad clearing his throat as he could NOT wait to ask Mikey if he had been wrong (He being Chad)

Nice to see the show back in the groove and the silent spots when all were speechless at times....


p.s. I was shocked they didn't bleep out the STM comment...wonder if a lady really even gave Mikey a little fuzzy monkey!?

RVG III said...

One other funny comment no one has mentioned: in the weather segment Mikey talks about the Canadian Low and the Mexican High. He delivered that line with that goofy grin he has.

Lou said...

Hi JD,

Another good show for the fourth week in a row. Mike and Chad, Yea, Odd couple. Enjoyed it.

Glad to see the order is correct for the fourth week in a row, looks like it is here to stay. Thanks to Steve B for letting us know he is in agreement w/us on that.

"Sometimes you just have to spank the monkey" . At times you just gotta love having TWIN on Direct TV/cable. Harmless but funny coming from MW.

From NN and TWIN I am glad I did not watch the race. Did other stuff. And reading in progress of the race.

Lou said...

also enjoyed the insight Chad gives us on the racing stuff

Deborah said...

Sophia, yes, a fan really did give Michael a monkey at Michigan - it was actually a little stuffed gorilla.

Bryan said...

I thought nobody could match up to Schrader, but Knaus is holding his own. (I liked Despain when he hosted it, but Byrnes is a good dude) Great show last night. Mikey is always hilarious!

D said...

Love the show this week... I laughed outloud many times... Michael has used the "blown a seal" line so many times over the years always with Shrader's reaction... it was funny to see Chad react.... I honestly never thought these two would work together but I LOVE the combo.... as for the comment from someone who didn't even watch the show about Michael's comments in regard to JGR, next time watch the show before you put someone down. He was very sincere in how bad he felt for JD and Joe Gibbs... he understood the position they were in. I felt he more than anyone could relate. I tivoed the show thinking about watching it again.... just in case I missed any comments...
Glad Speed cared enough to stick with the show even with all the negativity that surrounded it early this season....

Newracefan said...

I rewatched some of TWIN just because it was worth the repeat and just as fun the second time, I may have to watch it a 3rd time. I think Chad was referring to Hotpass not Trackpass when talking abut what he was watching on the pit box because he related it to Jimmie having a camera in the car and Trackpass has nothing to do with in car cameras. He hesitated on the name so I think he just miss spoke.

Newracefan said...

Check out TWIN bonus coverage for why the numbers are that way on the car roof. I guess they really were talking to Darby while on the air. Kind of cool don't you think.

Anonymous said...

This was the best TWIN so far this year. They have really hit the mark the past few weeks and it is again on my "must watch all the way through" list.


Anonymous said...

Rockin Rich, seriously, you need to WATCH the show before you can make one comment on what happened because you got everything completely wrong. You don't post on the Topix board under the name Wallbanger do you? You sound just like that guy. Everything he posts is wrong.

Either way, Michael never degraded or judged JGR for their "cheating" at all. He just said, as others have corrected you on, that he UNDERSTANDS what they are going through. You are obviously not a fan of Michael and just wanted to degrade him in someway but wound up with egg on your face. I find it hilarious when people try to comment on something they know nothing about. Hey, while we are at it, since I didn't watch anything on ESPN, I am going to say that whatever anyone said on ANY of their shows was WRONG. They are liar and I don't see how they can say that stuff when they have ALL gone to jail. See how stupid that was? Nice huh?

Either way, good job to our Mikey fan buddy(we know who gave him the gorilla). It really helped. Good job.

Leslie Eaton said...

Well the Gorilla aka Monkey sure has gotten alot of press LOL
I am the Fan who got the Monkey and made sure delivery was acomplished and proud to be a Michael Waltrip Fan and I hope Michael keeps it in his car for every race!!!!!!!!!!!

Sophia said...

Thanks Diane and thanks to the person who gave Mikey the Gorilla..the boy needs a lesson in apes. :)

This THREAD makes me laugh just remembering the comments...shoulda taped last night. was a keeper. Off to find TWIN on

Will need breadcrumbs to get there but still not as bad as (YIKES!!)

Vicky D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sophia said...

OMG!! LOL..thanks for the heads up on the online TWIN blurb. The editor actually had to edit out Darby's email and number from Mikey's moving mouth, LMAO.

Hadn't seen them have to do that with Mikey in a couple years. Whew boy!


Vicky D said...

Leslie, thanks for finding that monkey for Mikey. I know he appreciates it and hopefully he'll have a bunch of top 20's from now on.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Thank you for the email and for stopping by. It is always fun to be involved in some NASCAR happenings and Mr. Waltrip certainly does have a way of making things happen.

Hope you liked the column and the comments, we have a rather diverse group here.


Newracefan said...

Leslie Your the man or women in this case but thanks for the gorilla/monkey it was fun to see Mikey fighting his way to the front at least in my mind anyway since we never saw it on ESPN

Rockin Rich said...

Well, I certainly seemed to have provided some fodder for conversation on this thread!

Okay, here is where I am with this:

• I disclosed that I didn't watch the show, and that I don't care for Mr. Waltrip. I said I was reacting to the statements that I read in JD's review of this week's TWIN.

• I agree that I probably shouldn't have voiced an opinion without seeing the the show. Apparently, I didn't "get" the whole "picture". I will be more circumspect in the future.

• That said, I am still not swayed to having a favorable opinion of Mr. Waltrip, his sponsor shilling antics, or the management of MWR. The operative word here is opinion.

Signed by a "blue ID'ed" contributor. Y'all know who I am. I am accountable for what I say publicly.

Anonymous said...

Your opinion of Mikey is nothing we really care about there Rich. We just wanted to make sure you knew what you were talking about. Plenty of fans don't like Mikey, and that's fine by us. Who cares. It's your opinion and you have a right to it. It's when you make comments about something you know nothing about that we have to correct. That's all. Nobody is trying to sway you into liking him. We just wanted to make sure you got the real truth behind the comments.

That's why you don't stick your foot in your mouth. Have a great day.

Lou said...

Just got around to watching TWIN on for 19Aug08. They did get with J.Darby on the roof number question. Good comeback.