Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kenny Schrader's Toe Back In The TV Water

When the Inside Sprint Cup Racing show was cancelled, SPEED launched a new version of the Monday TV series and called it This Week In NASCAR.

While older fans may remember Eli Gold hosting a show of the same name on the now defunct Prime Network, the new SPEED show looked rather familiar.

Host Steve Byrnes used the same studio and sat across from a panel that was once again anchored by Michael Waltrip. One thing, however, was very different. Kenny Schrader was gone. Although he continued to be involved with the ARCA race telecasts, his colorful personality was missing from Monday nights on SPEED.

It was the dry wit and experience of Schrader that provided a balance on the Monday show for many years. Whether it was Michael Waltrip acting-up, Brian Vickers talking over his head or Dave Despain just being grumpy, a well-placed word or two from Schrader could restore order quickly.

Shortly after the new series was launched, TDP lamented Schrader's lack of involvement. Click here to read that column and the comments. We were told Schrader was pretty much done with TV and off to race regionally and concentrate on his ownership of several properties. Well, that was then and this is now.

Once again this Sunday, Dave Despain welcomed Schrader to the Wind Tunnel show. It was not as a guest, but as a network analyst. Schrader has been popping-up on Wind Tunnel and The SPEED Report on a semi-regular basis.

The Sunday interview was with Denny Hamlin and Despain stepped aside several times to let Schrader ask questions. Without a doubt, the same vibe was in the air as Schrader kept the conversation light but focused on key issues. He drew the best responses of the evening from Hamlin.

All of this leads to a single question. Will we be seeing Schrader reprise his role and step into This Week In NASCAR on Monday nights? This week, all three of the current panelists will be on a special All-Star program taped at the SPEED studios in front of a live audience.

The regular episodes feature only two panelists, with Greg Biffle and Chad Knaus rotating in the second seat. This leaves Byrnes to often deal with two very different opinions and not the type of spontaneous conversation that made the original program click.

Fans know that ESPN has discovered this secret on the Monday version of NASCAR Now. After struggling in the original format, the one hour program was changed into a discussion with three panelists and a host. Success quickly followed.

Perhaps, the second half of the season might bring an appearance or two by Schrader on This Week In NASCAR . It might be interesting to see how that dynamic would play out with Byrnes and company. Schrader's unique perspective may be just what the program needs to move it to the next level.

As they say, sometimes everything old is new again.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion on this topic. This is family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Jack from PA said...

I've always thought that Schrader just has that personality to make everyone stop what they're doing and listen to him. He has a sense of humor that I think most fans love, myself included. I met him at Pocono many years ago when I was an elementary school student, and he seemed like a real nice guy, very down to earth.

I'd like to see him come to TWIN to be a panelist. Seems that lately Mikey is getting a little out of control, and neither Steve or Chad or even Greg know how to control him. This is something Schrader knows very well, having done it on the Inside Winston/Nextel Cup shows with Allen Bestwick as host.

Hopefully, Schrader's guest appearances on The SPEED Report and Wind Tunnel are a sign of things to come.

Andrew S. said...

Hey JD, there is a story on Bob Dillner's website about Speed airing several World of Outlaw races this season both in the Late Model and Sprint divisions and Ken is going to be the analyst for the Late Model races, the first of which aired on Friday. There are 3 more taped races airing May 30, July 25 and Aug 15 with a live show from Lowe's Motor Speedway on Nov 7.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Andrew, I appreciate that information and thank you. SPEED updates me each week and we try to stay with a NASCAR theme here at TDP.

However, if they would bring back a version of Thursday Night Thunder, we may open the gates a little wider!


Jack from PA said...

Thursday Night Thunder would be pretty sweet to see again! I'm all for it.

Lesley said...

Schraders the best Nascar Rep out there!! Him and Mikey are the best thing since Martin and Lewis!!Put them together and I laugh my *** off...

Sophia said...

I enjoyed Kenny IMMENSELY on WT but I am not holding my breath.

It was either here or on another message board the cutbacks to TWIN were $$ related i was told. Thus only two panelist+host.

I don't know if ANY of you listen to Wind Tunnel EXTRA from 10-10:30 online. Aside from the HORRIBLE constantly rotating camera (what's up with that?) it's a fabulous commercial free show. Tonight I just caught the last 12 minutes or so.

A guy called in to say how much he enjoyed Varsha and Miller filling in for Despain last week and how he missed 4 nights a week of WT. OR if Dave didn't want to do it, why doesn't SPEED give the job to Robin Miller or SOMEBODY instead of those lousy primetime shows on SPEED?

Despain was diplomatic in his answer but said the lifestyle shows DREW BIG RATINGS and nobody wants to listen to an old man like himself or Robin Miller in primetime. :( Thus the same would go for Schrader, one could guess.

Sad but true. And if budgets are an issue, I don't look for Kenny to be back with Mikey but that would be DIVINE.

I have enjoyed his 3 recent visits to WT for SURE.

But $$ speak and sadly, people are watching PINKS and that other junk over substance like talkin about REAL RACING! So as long as people watch FAKE REALITY SHOWS ALL the networks shall continue to crank it out.

Anonymous said...

I would think that Schrader is doing what will help his TV career the most...analyst on the World of Outlaw series. To me it is much better to hear him doing this, rather than sitting in on the panel of a highlight show. the show is just such "old news" by the time it airs on Monday night.

50 yr. fan said...

It would be great to see Schrader
on TWIN. It would tone down MW and
add lots of humor. I would also
like to see him replace MW in the
booth on the Camping World trucks.
It would get rid of a lot of the
rah-rah from Waltrip and Parsons
for Toyota.

Anonymous said...

Man, if I had known Schrader was going to be on WT, I would have recorded it. He has too much knowledge and personality not to be a regular on a show.

Mary, Richmond, VA

Tracy D said...

Shrader is the real deal - with a wonderful sense of humor to boot. Miss him terribly on TWIN, but it did occur to me, maybe he's had enough of reining in Mikey. After all, he's had to do the job for a long time. Their repartee was wonderful, but I'm happy to Shrader wherever he pops up.

I thought his answer to Despain about M.Martin's ability to win races over the age of 50 was telling.

I'm happy to listen to Shrader wherever,whenever. Gimme more!

John in SC said...

Schrader said "my spotter came on the radio and said, wreck in turn two!" So I did.

Anonymous said...

I love it when Schrader is on, he does ARCA races too! I know he loves to race and he's good at that but he has a career on tv too.

Penny said...

I agree 100 % with 50 yr. fan. Love Schrader in the booth. Don't watch much of TWIN cause I can't stand MW's ranting and raving all the time. Always watched Inside Winston Cup cause Shrader knew how to step in and quiet MW down. If i know Kenny is going to be on a program I don't miss it.
Please bring Kenny Schrader back.

Anonymous said...

but I like the old men. Bring back Waltrip and Schrader.

Anonymous said...

And Kenny is doing a great job, too! :) It's great to see and hear him again.
I also enjoyed Dave's references to last week's intro to his show; Robin as a scruffy stock car fan, complete with his Jr. jacket, which did not go to Goodwill after their trip around Lowe's :), and Bob Varsha as the more elan and preppy open wheel fan. :)