Monday, December 8, 2008

Truck Series Banquet Closes A Strong Season For SPEED (Updated)


Rick Allen and Krista Voda set a classy tone for the Truck Series banquet on SPEED Monday night. These two are veteran hosts of this event and that was apparent in their easy banter with the crowd despite the formal attire.

After introducing the head table that included champion Johnny Benson's two children, comedian Tom Papa tried a little something new. He augmented his routine with footage and interviews shot at a Truck Series race. It was a nice idea, but a little bit of a tough sell right at the top of the show.

Just like the Nationwide Series event, this edited banquet TV show was fast-paced. It was a bittersweet moment for Johnny Benson as he accepted the Most Popular Driver award. Fans know all too well that Benson will probably not return to NASCAR in 2009 and this was a strong final testament to his appeal to the fans.

Colin Braun was next to pick-up his Rookie Of The Year award and he did so with good humor and a polished presence for a youngster. It was a scripted speech, but it was clear that fans would be seeing a lot more of this driver in the future.

The TV program shifted gears over to the "talk show" setting for the Top Ten driver awards as it has in the past. Voda and Allen both asked questions of each driver and it was clear they were well-prepared. Allen Bestwick and Shannon Spake were also successful with this format during the Nationwide Series banquet.

Once again, the folks at the NASCAR Media Group put together great highlights for each driver as they were introduced. The fact that this show was edited and post-produced allowed things to be tightened-up and the program to keep a quick pace.

While this TV format is shorter, it certainly is better than the scripted monotony of the Sprint Cup Series function. During that evening, even the Master of Ceremonies reads the Teleprompter all night long. Letting the owners and sponsors be mentioned during the highlights is a great idea.

The debate is always going to rage whether to include the comedy and musical acts in the TV show or allow the drivers more time to talk. During John McLaughlin's musical performance the non-points awards were highlighted in brief snippets. It seems the editors and producer tried to strike the best balance possible within the timeslot.

The video tribute to Craftsman was well-produced. The parade of drivers speaking about what Craftsman has meant to them was impressive. NASCAR President Mike Helton appeared at the end to present Craftsman's top executive with an award of thanks. It was a classy move.

As the driver interviews moved to the Top Five, host Rick Allen was strangely eating dessert at his desk while Krista Voda spoke with driver Matt Crafton. Update: Rick was eating it courtesy of Crafton, who was following-up on a joke from the 2007 banquet. Thanks to the SPEED gang for the update. Some drivers answered questions that had nothing to do with racing and focused on life away from the track. It was an interesting mix.

As the introductions started of the championship team, it was back to the Teleprompter for crew chief Trip Bruce. While he said all the right things, it would have been nice to have some conversation to go with the scripted remarks.

Needless to say, when Bill Davis stood to accept his award as the winning owner it was a memorable moment. He also read his remarks, but they were well-written and heartfelt. It certainly is a shame that his racing future is in jeopardy.

Mike Helton did the honors of speaking on behalf of NASCAR. He handled the rings given to both Benson and his wife with dignified words under the circumstances. Benson moved to the podium and delivered exactly what fans expected.

Benson's words were outstanding and reflected the personality that race fans have come to enjoy. Humble and thankful, Benson made his way through his list of thank you's and walked away as the series champion.

SPEED is not going to please all the fans with this abbreviated banquet coverage, but NASCAR seems to have hit on a TV format for the Truck and Nationwide Series. This was a fast-paced ninety minutes that was well-edited and accomplished the goal of allowing the series to present itself in a professional manner and close the season with an emotional speech from Benson.

Fans who would like to see Johhny Benson's championship image above full-size to save as a wallpaper can just click directly on the picture and let it load full-screen. Then, right click to save in the location of your choice. Thanks to the NASCAR PR group for this official image.

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14 comments:

AMS fan said...

I felt the tension between the Davis' and Johnny all the way here in GA.
The show was ok.
The show was a little to scripted and looked like most everyone was very uncomfortable.
I think it was as good as it could have been. The only two people that looked comfortable to me were Mike Helton and Wayne Auton.
It would have been nice if MRN had carried it also.
As for Johnny, I believe Moody told us today that it was official that Johnny and Tripp would be at Red Horse Racing in 2009.
I don't think the banquets are made for the fans, and I'm good with it. The banquet is to celebrate the season among the teams and the sport.
I am thankful for the ability to see inside such a special occasion.

Brendan said...

Johnny officially in the #1 truck next year, so he is returning.

http://www.jayski.com/cts/ctsnews.htm

Johnny Benson, who had previously announced he would leave Bill Davis Racing at the end of the 2008 season, will drive the #1 truck as a teammate with David Starr for Red Horse Racing, team co-owner Tom DeLoach confirmed Monday. Trip Bruce, Benson's crew chief, also has joined the team. As far as sponsorship, DeLoach said that sponsors are still being courted. Benson has won titles in the Nationwide and Truck and has 274 career Cup starts.(SceneDaily.com)(12-8-2008)

Dot said...

I just got done watching the banquet. I like the format, however not the commls after each driver. I know it was chopped up on purpose. They should have left out the entertainment and given more time to the drivers, imo. And why did Rick have to eat right then? Kinda tacky.

I'd like to see the Cup banquet use this format. It seems to put the drivers more at ease.

I agree with dear Sophia on the other CTS banquet post from earlier.

PS, I heard Eli Gold's voice. I wouldn't want to trade the Allen/Parsons Project, but I wish he was on TV.

Photojosh said...

I'm not sure if this will make it up, as it's not really a comment about the banquet itself.

But reports are just now out that Benson will be back in '09 to defend his title. Various outlets are reporting that he has signed with Red Horse Racing and will be team mates with David Starr and that his BRD crew chief Tri Bruce will be joining him there.

Not a "TV media" comment. But I thought it was worth mentioning as part of JD's story touched on Benson's popularity and the fact that he would not be back in '09. Now he will be.

Todd Crane said...

JD I missed it last night, is SPEED going to re-broadcast it? BTW...thanks for being first to note that the cup deal was NOT live!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for the updates about JB next season, but a sponsor needs to come along for that program to move forward. I certainly hope that happens.

I did not see a re-air of this program, but I will check with SPEED. If anyone sees a re-air listed, please note it here.

Thanks everyone,

JD

Anonymous said...

Now all racefans know what the original guys at SPEEDVISION knew all along. That Johnny Benson is a talented, humble, high class individual with integrity and a centrist appeal that resonates with Americans. SPEED Channel unceremoniously bounced him off their network for media darling and chick magnet (not) brian vickers.Now they've dumped Schrader.
WAY TO GO, JOHNNY BENSON!! PROOF THAT NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST

Anonymous said...

The show was already rebroadcast last night at 12am EST and is on again right now (8am EST). It will be on one last time:

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1:00PM-2:30 EST

Robyn said...

There will be one final re-air on Sunday at 1pm ET.

I only watched the beginning and I enjoyed what I saw. I thought that some of the interviews were way too short. I guess they flew by because I was enjoying them. Can't wait to see the rest of it later.

majorshouse said...

I too am really happy to hear that Benson will be back next season and hopefully they can acquire sponsorship really soon and think that Red Horse racing seems to be a quality outfit as well, and frankly I am happy to see him stay with Toyota.
I just wish that the Cup banquet was like the Nationwide and Truck series as well.

red said...

i wasn't able to catch the truck banquet last night and i chose to ignore the cup one so i guess that says something right there. i love the truck guys but honestly? i'm not certain i would have made time to watch the banquet if i'd had the opportunity. the banquets no longer hold my attention and frankly, i can watch only the pieces i choose to watch by taking advantage of all the internet resources available. once again, the internet has changed the way i interact with the sport.

that being said: i need to once again say thank you and congratulations to everyone at speed for THE best racing broadcasts all season! the entire truck series production team excelled at bringing us the cleanest, most interesting, most intelligent racing broadcasts of all 3 series. of all the networks and on-airs who currently cover the various nascar series, only the speed team has earned my respect and loyalty because of the way they handled the truck series.

and the truck teams ain't no slouches, either! maybe a great new year's resolution for all nascar fans is to watch more truck races in '09 and see why some of us believe it to be the BEST racing out there (well, except for dirt tracks for me but you know what i mean, right?!?)

Desmond said...

I prefer this format of informal conversation that I saw last night to the parade of speeches that the Cup banquet was. This celebration is about the drivers, the teams, and their seasons, and they should enjoy themselves.

Johnny Benson is class personified. Good luck to him next season in the #1 truck. How fitting!

The only complaint I have is that the 90 minutes was padded with too many commercials. At one time, there were ads every five minutes or so. The show should have been cut to an hour.

Gary said...

Interesting that Brian France did not present the Trophy, considering it was his idea, along with two or three others, to create the Truck Series in the first place.
I would rather have the banquets edited for time, and produced into a shorter version, than live, drawn out, and strained.Also, I'd lose the comedy and entertainment bit. Quit trying to be like the Academy Awards. Even they have been losing ratings.Sometimes the comedy gets lost on those who appear to be at the recieving end of a jab, and it creates awkward moments. (Watch Jay Mohr a couple of years ago try to joke with Brian France. )

Anonymous said...

I watched the Truck banquet last night. I agree they could have left out the entertainment; but otherwise, for a banquet, it was the best. That afternoon, I finally was able to watch the Cup banquet. Even though they did the replay in less time, the entertainment could have been left out. Why don't they just tape and cut like they do for the Nationwide and Truck Banquets. The question and answers work very well and cuts down on time. THe drivers say to much anyway and lot of it is inside jokes. Why couldn't all 12 drivers at the cup level be there, acknowledged, but not on stage. Also did anyone hear if Carl Edwards actually left the banquet early
ALso best of luck to Johnny Benson in his new ride; hopefully they can find sponsorship.