Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Choices Face ESPN And SPEED

Two storylines ran through the NASCAR media on Saturday night. The All-Star festivities were in full swing when Jeremy Mayfield was spotted at the Lowe's Motor Speedway watching the action from a hospitality trailer.

As the action unfolded on the track resulting in the first win for Tony Stewart with his new team, Jeremy Mayfield was talking to the media and recording himself doing it.

By the time the infield media center closed late Saturday night, there had been almost as many stories and Internet posts dedicated to Mayfield as there were to Stewart. You can see from the comments on the TDP Mayfield column that fans feel strongly about this issue.

Now, two production teams at two different TV networks are preparing their one-hour Monday versions of a NASCAR preview/review show. ESPN is prepping NASCAR Now for 5PM and the NASCAR Media Group is getting This Week in NASCAR ready for 8PM on SPEED.

ESPN has been jumping right into the Mayfield issue from the beginning with Marty Smith and David Newton taking the lead. On this Monday, it will be Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie and Ray Evernham in the studio with host Allen Bestwick.

It was hoped that Mayfield would have come out with an official statement that would have put this issue to rest before the weekend. Unfortunately, not only did that not happen but he spoke to several members of the NASCAR media who then filed updated stories on his comments. It only made the situation worse for Mayfield and NASCAR.

TWIN avoided this issue entirely last week, but there is no doubt that Chad Knaus and Michael Waltrip have viewpoints on how the new NASCAR drug policy is playing out. Both are licensed by NASCAR and participate in exactly the same random testing program that snagged Mayfield and several others this season.

The decision to address this issue has to be made a little tougher given that TWIN is actually produced by NASCAR's own in-house TV company. Mayfield's continuing assertions that he is in the dark about what substance caused the problems has been directly refuted by NASCAR from the start.

Looking at this issue strictly from an official NASCAR standpoint, Mayfield is perhaps not even worthy of more media exposure. He agreed to participate in the new program, returned a positive test on two samples and then was simply suspended.

It should be very interesting once again to watch the two Monday NASCAR shows and then compare the way these two very different TV teams approach this issue. TDP will offer a new column for your comments after both shows air. In the meantime, please feel free to offer your opinion on whether Mayfield deserves air time on Monday.

To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to drop by The Daly Planet.


eaglesoars said...

JD I really do not think Jeremy deserves anymore air time. He needs to get on with the program or get his court case filed if he feels he actually has a good case.
IMHO Jeremy is singlehandedly building his own career coffin dealing with this situation the way he is.
However this is very similar to how he handled controversy at Penski and Evernham, manipulating the media, and they let him.

red said...

won't be able to watch either show but if NN intends to discuss the mayfield case in depth, i feel very strongly that evernham should not be on the panel. his relationship with mayfield is significantly different than either craven's or la joie's and it is not unbiased.

this is the one time i would urge NN to ask evernham to sit this one out and maybe add smith or newton to the panel. better yet, drop la joie this week and add both smith and newton. they can discuss the mayfield case as well as comment on smoke's first win as an owner. while i respect him greatly, i don't think la joie is as well qualified to do either.

TWIN should just focus on the all-star event and not even pretend to discuss the mayfield case. hard nascar topics are not something that show seems intended to handle and there's no sense in changing that dynamic. if i were able to watch TWIN, i'd rather hear from chad about his driver's seemingly inability to keep the format of the race straight in his mind! that was some funny audio!

but . . .what do i know? i won't be watching either show so take my advice for what's it's worth!

Daly Planet Editor said...

red, it's DVR time! I hoped someone would bring up the Ray issue. It should be a very interesting Monday.

red said...

jd, still no dvr in my world. don't know why i'm dragging my feet on this one -- maybe when the youngest goes to college in september, i'll give comcast a call!

in some regards, i am a technological luddite: i can manhandle the technology just fine on a daily basis but there are times that i just don't want to have it around. i suspect the dvr reluctance is part of that. if i can't make time or don't have the abiity to watch it live, well, so be it. "that was good enough for us when i was a kid". . . or something!

Dot said...

Neither show should discuss it. They know about as much as we do. Until all the facts come out, what can they say?

Sophia said...

Well I just pontificated on this on the Mayfield thread, lost my long post (lucky you folks! :) )and added another thought, and I am just so tired of this story.

Unless I see detailed documentation on my tv screen with a pointer stick, with NASCAR, Drug testing company, and Mayfield in the room, explaining specificities on what went wrong and drugs A&B failed test 1 & 2, I have grown weary.

I totally agree Evernham does NOT belong in this discussion. Shame on ESPN for scheduling him on this show.

Twin, they stick with the lighter side mostly and it's just a fun show to watch and get racing facts. I don't expect them to discuss this after all the yammering.

Personally, I am tired of my own yappin' on the subject ( STILL Irked FFox crashed on me, but I DO use the older 2. something version out of instead of 3.0) I am now using Opera to see how it works..newer laptop.

Much like the Carl wreck stole the thunder of who won that Dega race, I want to see Tony Stewart get some attention this week. He is worthy and is maturing as a car owner.

Mayfield lost me when he burst into Lowes with alleged "spontaneous" camera crew on site.

I don't want to believe he did drugs and a family member with good sources claims Mayfield does not even drink let alone do drugs, so if that's indeed true, WHY JEREMY??

Daly Planet Editor said...

Dot, because it is news even if he is a part-timer. That is the big debate TV producers always have, what to include and what to exclude. Imagine if this had been a top 20 driver?

Sofia, big battle between just reporting the facts and getting angry that Mayfield is not doing what many want him to do.

In the news biz, they call it staying at arm's length.

Richard in N.C. said...

I find NASCAR Now much better when they have a crew chief on - so either Evernham or Andy Petree needs to be there from a race discussion standpoint.
Unless there is something new, I don't think the Mayfield issue deserves much attention, but it does seem to be the biggest story in Cup right now. I would be interested in their having Marty Smith on so he could talk about the reaction he has received from others in the garage to his talking with Jeremy since I'm sure he's probably heard questions or comments from many in the garage.

Anonymous said...

my guess
espn covers stewart and mayfield
so does speed but not with balance
chad will hit it - michael will want to be it
poor mikey

Anonymous said...

Well, I just have 2 words on NASCAR and Drug Testing: TIM RICHMOND............

Anonymous said...

From Marty Smith's Twitter:Makes a mean school lunch... All Mayfield all the time today. Will appear on NASCAR Now at 5p ET with the latest on that situation.
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck
Guess this answers the question as to whether NASCAR Now will cover Mayfield.

Unknown said...

I don't know who Anon at 6:13 was, but I am glad I at least one other person in my Richmond corner.

I think if someone asked NASCAR this loaded question, it would at least make them squirm.

fbu1 said...

"It was hoped that Mayfield would have come out with an official statement that would have put this issue to rest before the weekend. Unfortunately, not only did that not happen but he spoke to several members of the NASCAR media who then filed updated stories on his comments. It only made the situation worse for Mayfield and NASCAR."

This is right out of the Mayfield playbook: deflect blame, create doubt by innuendo, whisper rumors in selected circumstances, question the motives of critics, be the victim.

A full disclosure news conference, including a request for NASCAR to release the test results, would settle the issue. Don't hold your breath.

Dot said...

JD, How can either show discuss this? They can't pick sides. I've tried real hard not to bag on either NASCAR or Jeremy.

Anyone involved with NASCAR cannot speak against them. They have to say how great the drug testing program is. Which it is. However, what if the substance in question is something innocuous? Maybe that's Jeremy's point when he said he doesn't need rehab.

I'll say it again, maybe the zero tolerance needs to be reviewed.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just have 2 words on NASCAR and Drug Testing: TIM RICHMOND............

I have 2 more words for you...Aaron Fike

Lets see if you can connect the dots....

Secret's Exposed said...

As a matter of FACT, the producer's and ENG crew's on-site Saturday night for the ALL-STAR race, for the SPEED Report and other shows, where told by their superior's, not to get any quotes from Jeremy knowing he was there, and available to the media, and also knowing ESPN was doing so for their NASCAR coverage.

elena, chicago said...

When Jeremy get more time, it starts to look like the Maury P show. Anything from him belongs at TMZ or Extra.

What shows could do is how they handle subjects that are sometime hard for all fans to understand. Like the cut-away car where they show how a loose or tight car is adjusted, or the track bar adjstments, etc.

They could deal with the issue of drug testing and how it is collected at most labs. One of the best explanations came from on of the readers of this site--Matt.

They could also explain the process like Diandra Leslie-Pelecky did in Stock Car Science.

NN would be doing a service to the many who think drug testing is like the home kits you test for pregnancy or urine diabetic testing.

None of these options need to offer bias on one side or the other. The could just be informative. We pretty much know opinions out there, rehashing them does not offer view service.

diane said...

Nascar Now needs to do one of two things regarding the discussion of Mayfield. Either they remove Evernham from the set during the discussion and ask him nothing about it during the show. Or option number two, fully disclose that the reason Mayfield was booted from Evernham's team was that he exposed Evernham's extramarital affair with Crocker and then have Evernham in on the discussion. I don't think they will go for option two. So he shouldn't be part of this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Who better than Evernham to comment on the type of person, and tactics Mayfield will use when he is caught in a situation he can't handle. Let Evernham say whatever he wants on NN. He is the most qualified of the bunch to comment on it.

Glenn said...

I do wonder how Ray will do with the JM mess.
Question for all if I may. If out of line JD, please delete.
I'm fairly new to NASCAR, 4th season, so all I know is hearsay.
I understand that Tim Richmond was suspended for refusing to submit to a drug test. Refusing or failing a drug test arrives at the same penality, but there is a huge difference in each situation.
If this is the case then, IMHO, there is no comparison beween JM and TR.
Thanks for your help.

West Coast Diane said...

Not sure if we will make next stop in time for NN (Oklahoma Turnpike, next stop, Carthage, MO). If not, will check this blog. I agree with some of the posters. How about a segment with just the facts about drug testing, independent of JM. It would appear that many are totally unaware of how drug tests are done and what happens with a positive result. Then maybe cover the JM timeline vs drug testing procedure, just to clarify the facts. Also, like many, I am tired of hearing/reading info that appears to be totally unfounded. Also tire of the NASCAR conspiracy stuff. If so, stop watching/listening/reading anything about NASCAR. Why aggravate yourself. Not healthy. IMHO :-)

Anonymous said...


Dot said...

JM on NN now.

Why didn't he tell the testers that he had or is taking a medication?

Dot said...

Handled very well by Ray.

elena, chicago said...

Wow is Ray a class act! Not a hint of hatred or animosity.

Sophia said...

Wow! Ray was great with his input and obviously does not hold a grudge. Indeed what he said added to the topic in a balanced fashion.

I know my next door neighbor ran into him at a car show last year or so and said Ray struck up a conversation with HIM and chatted 20 minutes. Just as down to earth as he could be.

I am not sure I liked this round table group...I mean they are ok..I just would've picked others...I am reminded why I do not watch this show much except for newsworthy stuff. I prefer the same familiar faces as opposed to NNow round table roulette with differing guest speakers. :)

Unknown said...

Good job on the JM coverage.

Here's my beef. I seem to remember a race, that was called the Sprint Showdown, being run immediately before the All-Star race where the 1st and 2nd place finishers transferred to the All-Star race. As far as I recall, there was no mention of the race, the finishers, or the winner of the "fan" vote mentioned on NN. There were 35 cars in that race, some of them sporting MAJOR sponsors, all of whom have fans. Why no mention at all? At the very least Sam Hornish, Jr. (who transferred himself into his 2nd All-Star race in 2 years), Jamie McMurray (who gained around 30 positions during the race), and Joey Logano should have been mentioned.

eaglesoars said...

I thought NN did a great job and just as I suspected Ray is far to classy to have handled it any other way.
On JM's part I see him handling this exactly the same way he has handle every other confrontation he has had with team owners, always pointing fingers and accusing others but never once standing up and taking responsibility for his own actions.

I like the NN now shows far better than anything SPEED has to offer and really look forward to the Monday roundtables but I do like them best when Allen rather than Mike hosts them

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for your comments on the Monday "NASCAR Now" show on ESPN2.



Robert Upchurch said...

Disclaimer: I haven't seen either show...they will be waiting on the DVR when I get home tonight, but I want to respond to the questions raised in JD's original story.

Sure, it is a great story about Smoke's first win for his team, but the Mayfield story is the important one and it should be discussed.

I have never been a fan of Mayfield, and I thought he was loony for calling out Evernham like he suicide. But I don't think he's getting a fair shake from NASCAR on this, and the whole issue has pointed out some serious flaws in NASCAR's drug policy. Nothing as bad as their shameful handling of Tim Richmond's case, but they have a lot to answer to.

And I think Mayfield handled this weekend well. He paid for a ticket and brought a camera crew to document anything that may have happened to him while he was there. He didn't say too much, but attempted to state his case carefully if not completely. It seems like a plan devised by a very good lawyer.

I think NASCAR isn't going to like how this plays out no matter what eventually happens to Mayfield. It certainly is intriguing. And I'm eager to hear more from Marty on this story...I think he has become one of the best reporters on the NASCAR beat.