Thursday, January 29, 2009

DW Responds To "Trackside" Comments

Kudos to Darrell Waltrip for taking the time to respond to the comments that were accidentally aired on Trackside last week where he worried that the California race the week after Daytona might be "a ghost town."

Here is an excerpt:

You might have seen or heard about last week's Trackside show on SPEED when a private off-camera conversation between myself, Hammond and driver Rick Crawford aired by accident. It's unfortunate that it happened. I stand by what I said in that conversation. I have concerns about what is going to happen with the fields after Daytona.

Click here to read DW's entire column on that topic and several others.

It is great that he took the time to include this content in his blog. Hopefully, this type of open and honest conversation about the sport might migrate from being held off-camera to being presented to the fans in regular NASCAR TV programming.

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Anonymous said...

With DW pointing out 3.4 million to finish last in each race, I don't think we need to worry about short-fields. Show up with car and skeleton crew..couple laps of practice..q-lap..couple parade laps..done. Make a good living starting and parking. You could do it with a motorhome and open-trailer, if you did not care what others thought!

Tracy D said...

But "one and done" doesn't make for good racing, and that's what fans pay a lot of money to see.

At least DW stood by what he said. Good for him.

On another note, last night's Preseason Thunder took a dip into the "all is not rosy" pool. Bless Steve Byrnes for doing so. But how in the heck does Jamie McMurray think that having drivers help sell tickets will aid the fans? Byrnes should have asked him, but I know he didn't have time because of that stupid "60" Second segment with Biffle.

And on a third note, I think Evernham has laid to rest any questions about his involvement with Petty Motorsports (or whatever GEM is now)in his interview with Scene Daily online. His responses went far beyond what he gave Raygan Swan, and I, for one, wish him well and understand much more clearly his position. Helping a child with Aspberger's Syndrome is a full time job, even though he didn't say so.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I think what Steve did last night was great. Hope to see more of that when SPEED moves to Daytona next week.


Dot said...

I'm glad DW acknowledged the private conversation we overheard. I like it when people have the attitude of "yeah, I said it".

Regarding having the drivers get more fans in the stands, it goes beyond them. Hotels and restaurants near the tracks need to step up and offer lower prices. It really irks me when room rates triple just because it's race weekend. Yes, Las Vegas I'm talking about you.

Vicky D said...

I am glad DW defended his comment to Rick and didn't deny he ever said it. Another thing not necessarily about Nascar but about stock car racing, I read where ReMax will not be sponsoring the ARCA series after this year. Hope it doesn't hurt that series. I've missed all the Nascar shows this week so can't comment on any of them.

bevo said...

Good for DW standing by his comments, all we ask for is honesty.

Unknown said...

DW - Honest about his comments???

What else could he say, he was CAUGHT on camera!!!

They are ALL "Yes Men" for NASCAR, no matter how bad Brian France is running the sport into the ground, they ALL keep kissing NASCAR butt!

majorshouse said...

I was happy to see DW stadning by him comments too and it is refreshing to see it and would like to see more of it in the days to follow.

Anonymous said...

With DW pointing out 3.4 million to finish last in each race, I don't think we need to worry about short-fields. Show up with car and skeleton crew..couple laps of practice..q-lap..couple parade laps..done. Make a good living starting and parking. You could do it with a motorhome and open-trailer, if you did not care what others thought!

Too bad it isn't quite that easy or cheap to "just show up."

Anonymous said...

I have about had it with all the negativity out there. It is high time Brian France steps up to the plate and lays the smack down on anyone who ends up scaring away sponsors due to damaging comments about the state of the truck series and NASCAR as a whole.

That should go for the most junior member of the press which NASCAR grants access to the tracks, up to some very beloved members of the NASCAR community.

NASCAR needs to have complete and absolute control over the public perception of the economic challanges it may be facing, and take enforement actions against any individual that is determined to go against the will of NASCAR.

If this all means we won't hear "Boogity Boogity Boogity" as the green flag drops at Daytona, it wouldn't bother me a bit. I only care about the fate of NASCAR and the teams trying very hard to land sponsorship dollars in this economy.

The people that make that job searching for sponsorship dollars even harder need to be delt with swiftly and harshly.

Anonymous said...

Manny being Manny, DW being DW.What's the difference. When I first heard about this my first reaction was, much ado about nothing.DW has many times blurted things out without thinking, so what! Any fan who is even somewhat paying attention already knows about the tough times ahead, we don't need DW to tell us. I let my race tickets go after many years as I have been more negatively affected than many race teams.What will happen when an on air person really says something controversial.

Vince said...

Anon @ 1:22

"NASCAR needs to have complete and absolute control over the public perception of the economic challanges it may be facing, and take enforement actions against any individual that is determined to go against the will of NASCAR."

You're joking, right?!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:22--

A free press has only one obligation--and that is to tell the story that is seen without partiality. For so many years, the coverage of NASCAR in particular and racing in general has been 4 parts cheerleading to one part journalism. The mix is changing toward journalism. It is not quite there yet. Journalism (be it print, broadcast or on-line) isn't pretty, nor is it sometimes what people want to hear. Those sponsors you reference are best served if the sport they help fund is entertaining and accountable (to fans and sponsors).

NASCAR is of course a private organization and it can allow or deny coverage from media outlets, and grant or deny accreditation to whomever for whatever reasons it chooses. Limiting the message to its own outlet/s and "approved media" who regurgitate NASCAR's point of view word for word and try to pass that off as journalism does nothing for the perception of the sport in the mainstream. The mainstream is where most of the sponsorship dollars are found.

While I do not agree with any of the premises in your post, they are useful because they show how some people think.

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen for the past few years, it will take a long time for impartiality to invade the majority of the NASCAR press corps. It seems to me that there is a very substantial segment of the NASCAR press corps that feels (or whose editors feel) that negative articles on NASCAR sell - and,thus, a significant amount of what the mainstream press writes is negatively slanted toward NASCAR. For instance, the constant harping about the COT without any mention of its improved safety and the implication that the decline in race ratings after FOX is off is all NASCAR's fault rather than TNT or EESPN. I found the media response to the notorious mid-race switch by ABC to be fascinating - Lee Spencer and southern newspapers put the blame on NASCAR, while northern newspapers put the blame squarely where it should be, on ABC.

If NASCAR is muzzling the media, it is not doing nearly as effective a job as EESPN.

TexasRaceLady said...

Concerning the state of NASCAR -

If you subscribe to NASCAR Scene or NASCAR Illustrated, did you see the NASCAR calendar enclosed?

Did anyone notice that while both the Cup Series and N'wide Series were on the calendar --- the truck series was NOT ON THE CALENDAR?

Makes you go, "mmmmmmmm", doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Anon@1:22, that has to be sarcasm, right?

Anonymous said...

Anon@1:22: That was sarcasm right? Even a blind man can see the state of the economy is going to make for a very tough year for NASCAR, its fans, promoters, everyone. There are record numbers of people collecting unemployment right now, and the economy is shedding about a half million jobs a month. Any kind of cheerleading, nothing-to-see-here journalism is going to look like a complete joke at this point. You are going to see short fields, start-and-park teams, and acres of empty grandstands. The truck series will probably fold (only 26 confirmed entries for Daytona) and who knows about the Nascar regional series (Whelen modifieds, Camping World East and West, etc).

What would be cool, I think, would be for Nascar to loosen up the rules for the short track races to let local teams try and qualify. If field fillers are going to be the norm anyway, might as well let the little guy try and make the show. Speeds aren't as high, so allow cars that are safe enough as long as they fit the templates, without having to send a car to Nascar HQ to be certified.

Anonymous said...

Waltrip has never minced words in his entire career and it's refreshing to see that nothing has changed.

Antoher blog here suggests that the bad economy may pull NASCAR back to its roots in the south.

After all folks, for year NASCAR racing was seen as a souther only sport with only a handful of drivers coming from other parts of the country.

The NASCAR that I grew to love 50+ years ago no longer exists. Yes, safety has been improved but much of the lure has been removed from the sport.

Anonymous said...

Tracy, can't swear to it, but I think Jamie may have been referring to track owners requests to help them sell tickets by making the fans happy--doing appearances at the tracks during race weekends, for example. I think promoters know that that is one of the things that bring fans in. One could argue it benefits the *tracks* rather than the fans, but the truth is, that's what many fans expect and it will bring them in (a win-win situation, especially if it's tied in with special ticket packages, etc)...that's what NASCAR likes to claim sets them apart from other sports. And after all, if they don't sell tickets, there's no series....

I appreciated Steve's delving into this as well. Perhaps they'll be asking more drivers about these issues. I'm sure guys like Stewart & Waltrip, as owner-drivers, would have some very thoughtful comments about it in terms of sponsorships, etc. Even Junior had trouble getting one for his NW team.

And as for DW, I did appreciate him addressing the issue. He didn't go into a lot of detail about the 'California' issue, but I think he's right, it will be more like the old days. But taking your car to the track these days is a lot more complicated than it was. How many people in CA own a truck (or could buy one) that will meet NASCAR standards? Who has Cup cars that meet all the templates? You'd probably have to buy it on the East coast and haul it back, but like anon 1:22 number one said, it's not that easy or cheap. That's why I am curious to see what happens in week 2.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Dot--ITA with your comments. For years, Richmond's hotels didn't charge special event rates, but now they nearly all do. So we decided we couldn't afford to go anymore. Wonder if that will change now that their rooms aren't full?

And I keep seeing ads for Vegas offering great hotel rates--while it probably won't happen for race weekend, you have to believe they must be hurting too.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time & long, long ago, Dale Inman and Maurice P got in the 43 and drove it to Riverside for the race.