Monday, March 9, 2009

"This Week In NASCAR" Back On Track


It's been a bumpy road this season for the Monday night NASCAR show on SPEED. The second year of This Week In NASCAR was supposed to be an easy assignment. The show had ended last season on a high note with a good dynamic among the panelists and the new host was fitting right in.

Rather than staying in the dingy and cramped studios of The NASCAR Media Group, the show was moved to the brand new High Definition SPEED studios in north Charlotte. Instead of an improvement, it was almost a disaster.

In the weeks that followed, improvements had to be made to everything from the studio set to the make-up. Problems with a bad audio mix continued to dog the show and last week the blasting music overpowered the talent and many of the good comments could not be heard.

Let's give credit where credit is due. This week, SPEED and NMG seemed to solve the problems and let the attention go back to the comments of the "expert panel." Michael Waltrip and Greg Biffle were on the show Monday with Steve Byrnes hosting.

This was a key show because of the coming "off-week." Next Monday there will be no highlights and commentary. Instead, NASCAR Hall of Fame Director Winston Kelly will be the guest as he previews the opening of the Charlotte facility. From the bricks in front of the building to the new attractions, Kelly should have some good information.

Waltrip, Biffle and Byrnes are old hands at this "TV stuff" now and it showed on Monday night. A good review of the Sprint Cup Series race included observations from both drivers about their personal struggles in Atlanta and amazement at the accomplishments of Kurt Busch.

That was a perfect transition into the memorable Camping World Truck Series race where Kurt's younger brother Kyle turned in a dazzling performance. Featuring the CWTS highlights after every race has been a welcome addition to the program.

Nothing has changed this series more than the great decision to put the race reviews first and the preview at the end. This show offered a solid video feature on the history of the Bristol Motor Speedway and then allowed all three announcers to reflect on their personal memories of the racing over the seasons.

As usual, the edited features from The NASCAR Media Group, who produces the show, continued to sparkle. Bringing in all of the video and audio sources available to NMG after a racing weekend make for an eclectic mix of the different TV and radio networks covering the sport. Topping that blend off with the "scanner chatter" from the team radios has made for a solid feature since the show began.

There certainly are a lot of in-show sponsored elements for Byrnes to handle, but that pays the bills and he has begun to make his transitions to these elements smoother. Nothing, however, could make the giant GEICO sign on the set more obvious.

It must have been nice for the cast and TV crew to put a clean show in the can from the new studios that was solid from start to finish. SPEED HD continues to expand nationwide and now that the kinks are out, things are looking good.

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Thanks again for stopping by The Daly Planet.

16 comments:

Grover said...

What I still don't understand about this show is the totally baffling audio problems. After last week you'd think they would have put some work into it.

The audio levels were all over the place in the first half of the show. Not nearly as bad as last week, but still very inconsistent.

I like The Biff, but Chad and Mikey are so right for each other.

Lesley said...

I rest my case JD!! Speed has no audio pros at work!!The motocross was bad, but the road race on friday night was very very bad!!Lets bring It to there attention If we can!!

Anonymous said...

Audio troubles

and this show misses schrader and benson and bestwick

d said...

Great show! Enjoyed every aspect of it... Didn't notice any audio problems at all this week.

Anonymous said...

sounded good to me.

Deborah said...

The audio sounded fine to me. I like Benson, Schrader and Bestwick and loved the old INC but TWiN isn't that show and it's time that some let go of the past. It may not be to everyone's taste but I think TWiN has significantly improved since it first started and now that the panel seems comfortable they usually have a lot of interesting things to say each week, plus of course they're funny and entertaining as well.

I think the panel did a good job of explaining how most of the teams with the exception of the #2 were struggling with handling issues during the race and why. Without having watched the show last night I probably wouldn't have known about some of the issues related to tire testing, how the tires that Goodyear developed for the test were great but then it was terrible this past weekend and part of that might have been related to them testing the tires when it was 38 degrees out but last weekend it was 70 degrees in Atlanta. I think they did a good job of showing some of the challenges that Goodyear faces. Greg's comments about his teammate not giving him an inch like he expected were also interesting. Overall, a very solid show imo with good insight from both Michael and Greg.

Anonymous said...

When Biffle talks I listen, when Mikey talks I mute,

Reedsgran said...

Deborah, I agree with everything you said.

Vicky D said...

I thought the show was pretty good and I didn't notice any problems with the audio. I liked when Mikey talked about being on My Name is Earl he was extremely excited about a talking part on the tv show. I also enjoyed Biffle's segment with his dad.

Dot said...

I didn't notice anything wrong with the audio either. Is this an HD thing? Surround sound thing? If so, I'm not upgrading.

I enjoy TWIN. It's the only thing that makes Monday a good day of the week.

Anonymous said...

The audio is just awful.

The music is so loud, it completely covers the studio mikes.

I don't understand why this keeps happening, week after week.

Obviously, someone in the control room is hearing something different than what we get at home.

darbar said...

Why in God's name do networks all feel the necessity to stick music whenever they show highlights of sporting events? It doesn't make it more interesting or hip and young. All it does is drown out spoken words from the show panelists. I've complained for a long time that some audio idiot, whether it's on The Today Show or TWIN, plays music as some sort of cool techno thing. Why can't their video and commentary be enough. While they did calm down the music on this week's show, it's still annoying.

This whole cool music stuff has been ruining shows like First Take and Sportscenter for a long time, and despite complaints, they still stuff this pooh down our throats. If they don't have faith in their in studio talent, then hire new people.

Anonymous said...

There's no life to this program. Biff is always knowledgeable and clear in his explanations. Mikey wanders all over the place and talks and interrupts WAY too much. Sometimes he seems to ignore Biff altogether. The program is too formal, at least for me. We know what happened in the race; what we need from these guys is the interesting stuff that happens around the race. I'd rather listen to an hour of race talk between crew chiefs and drivers. Now THAT'S interesting! No audio problems for me.

Photojosh said...

I know TWiN isn't INC. But I sure do miss Schrader. He was a perfect foil to Mikey's antics and the three person panel always seemed better then the two person one to me.

But I will agree that TWiN has gotten much better.

50 yr. fan said...

I'm glad to see other folks comment
on the audio morons. The truck race seemed more concerned with picking up the passing engine sounds than listening to the announcers. As noted before, I've
learned to mute their blasting
commercials.

Newracefan said...

No audio problems for me but then no HD either. Steve's makeup was a little too dark but other than that it was much better. I enjoyed the show; Biff and Mikey did well considering how bad of a day they had Sunday. The piece with Biff and his Dad was fun but I am wondering if it is new or very old, I seem to remember something with them before but I'm not sure. I love it when Chad is there but the Biff has gotten much much better over the last few years. Anyone notice that Mikey seems to have gotten some of Aric's hair product he was talking to him about when he was on TWIN. Not a dig I think it looks good.