Sunday, February 22, 2009
Does Anyone Miss "Tradin' Paint?"
Since the 2007 season one of the favorite topics here at TDP has been the SPEED TV series Tradin' Paint. This show has been the scene of some of the most memorable NASCAR TV moments in recent years.
Ray Dunlap was suspended from SPEED and forced to apologize after candid comments on this series. While guests like Mike Mulhern, Randy Pemberton and Humpy Wheeler took their turn in the "media" chair, it was the pairing of Kyle Petty and scenedaily.com's Bob Pockrass that provided real fireworks.
On one episode Pockrass dismissed the chances of Juan Montoya winning a race in 2008. Petty forcefully reminded him that racing luck plays a big role and in theory any driver could win on any Sunday. "Does that include you?" asked Pockrass.
Later in that same program, Pockrass basically disagreed with Petty on every topic from Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series to the future of the COT. Petty just lost it on national TV. He said the NASCAR print media was full of BS and that Pockrass owned his own smoke machine. The sole purpose of this device was for Pockrass to blow smoke up the rear-ends of NASCAR fans on a very regular basis.
Veteran journalists like David Poole, Holly Cain and Liz Clarke have negotiated their way through this program with style. One popular guest, however, has used her rather blunt style to become one of the most talked-about media members on the panel.
Jenna Fryer from the Associated Press pulls no punches when she talks about NASCAR. While that style may come across one way in print, it came across in a very different way on Tradin' Paint. Unfortunately, that did not sit well with Petty.
Veteran host John Roberts often did his best to keep things under control, but Fryer and Petty butted heads on a wide range of racing topics. Click here for a recap of one memorable episode.
"When does Jenna get to talk?" asked Fryer after Petty and Roberts dominated the conversation early in a show. "With the stuff you write, go ahead and talk," answered Petty. Kyle took every opportunity possible to advance the agenda that the NASCAR media often created stories just to satisfy their own needs.
This program was more than just fireworks, it was the only regular opportunity to see the print and Internet journalists who work the NASCAR beat on TV.
While ESPN2's NASCAR Now hosts several reporter versions of the Monday roundtable, Tradin' Paint came right from the track with the men and women of the media who had just left the garage area. The news was fresh and the perspectives were diverse.
This season, without explanation or discussion, SPEED cancelled Tradin' Paint . The unofficial whispers were that the show had "played itself out." Normally, that means that the episodes had lost their luster and were repetitive.
Now, the two NASCAR TV partners who supply almost all the news and interview content feature their own in-house cast of experts, analysts and reporters. ESPN and SPEED appear to be the Hatfields and McCoys. Two TV teams talking about the same subjects from the same tracks but never acknowledging the other exists.
SPEED has replaced Tradin' Paint with a game show called NASCAR Smarts. Click here for a brief review of the first episode. Petty and Rutledge Wood star in the show along with two fans chosen from the audience and Roberts hosting.
So, did you miss Tradin' Paint at Daytona and do you care that this TV series got cancelled? Does the Internet and shows like NASCAR Now and RaceDay make-up for the lack of independent conversation about NASCAR from media folks not employed by a TV network?
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Thank you and happy posting.