Monday, October 27, 2008
Knaus Plays A NASCAR TV Doubleheader
Monday's NASCAR TV started at 5PM with the one hour "roundtable" version of ESPN2's NASCAR Now.
Allen Bestwick has been ESPN's ironman this season and he played host this week to Ray Evernham, Boris Said and Mike Massaro. While Carl Edwards winning in Atlanta was the first order of business, it was clear that the panel was itching to talk about the big decision made by Chad Knaus late in the race.
After the highlights were run, Bestwick welcomed Knaus to the program by satellite from Charlotte. His interview went well, and Knaus was able to review for Bestwick the decision-making process that helped him and Jimmie Johnson to wind-up with a second place finish in dramatic fashion.
As Knaus talked to Bestwick, there was something very familiar about his surroundings. While NASCAR Now has a bad habit of not identifying the location of the program's guests, this one was easy to figure out. The bright lighting and the red stripe on the wall behind Knaus told veteran NASCAR fans that someone was double-dipping on this Monday afternoon.
Knaus was comfortably sitting on SPEED's This Week In NASCAR set while doing a liveshot with NASCAR Now on ESPN2. That may be the ultimate in guest sharing. The only thing that could have made the Knaus appearance on ESPN2 more fun is if Michael Waltrip had made a surprise appearance.
Bestwick led a tight hour with good conversation, but this panel misses Ricky Craven and that is now very clear. Boris Said is a great guy, but he is not really active in the sport right now and is being asked to comment on issues with which he is not familiar.
The only blemish in this show was ESPN refusing to promote the fact that this week SPEED is stepping-in to covering the Nationwide Series practice and qualifying. Imagine, dumping the on-air promotion for your only exclusive NASCAR series because another network is helping with coverage. Talk about a bad decision at this time of the year.
Knaus then changed into his SPEED shirt and teamed with Michael Waltrip and host Steve Byrnes for This Week in NASCAR. The show is relaxed and this week Waltrip gave Knaus a lot of room to operate. Credit goes to Waltrip for taking a backseat this week and being an asset to the program with his experience.
Byrnes is still tasked with far too many sponsored features including the goofy Chase profile. This week the TWIN gang had a very informative discussion about the Atlanta race because two of the major stories were on the set.
Waltrip had taken the ESPN on ABC crew by surprise with his consistent charges up through the field on Sunday and it seemed that he may finally get a moment in the sunshine.
As fans have seen before with the high-riding veteran, a tangle with the wall ended his day. Byrnes and Knaus were supportive, but let Waltrip off the hook where his multiple late race incidents were concerned.
Tony Stewart's car chief was very briefly profiled in this program and then Stewart's miserable weekend in Atlanta was next. Once again, this strange feature forced both the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series highlights to be extremely brief. TWIN should have recapped the new sponsorship of the Truck Series by Camping World, given the fact that all the races are on SPEED.
Humpy Wheeler was along to talk about the huge track called Texas World Speedway that exists in College Station, TX. I had the pleasure of working on both ARCA and SCCA events at that track. It was amazing to see a structure that big in the middle of nowhere. Wheeler's insight continues to suggest a TV series for him in the future.
Monday proved to be a good day for NASCAR TV and a very good day for Chad Knaus. His professional profile is at an all-time high and his first season on TWIN has allowed him to show a part of his personality that most fans had not seen before.
Both shows will be back next week. Bestwick will have Evernham, Said and Massaro returning at 5PM ET. Byrnes will have Chad Knaus back next week but Waltrip is taking the night off. SPEED promises Waltrip's replacement will be a special guest, so your guess is as good as mine. DW anyone?
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. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.