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.
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