Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday's NASCAR TV A Study In Opposites


By the time Monday rolled around, most NASCAR fans had seen the Southern 500 highlights many times. Still, both NASCAR Now on ESPN2 and This Week In NASCAR on SPEED had to rehash the Saturday night race.

Luckily, host Allen Bestwick had a solid trio of panelists in Ed Hinton, Ricky Craven and Mike Wallace. After the highlights, Bestwick welcomed Mark Martin to the program via a liveshot from his race shop in Florida. In a great move, Bestwick allowed all the panelists to interview Martin and once again it made all the difference.

Mike Wallace has a long history with Martin and referenced their old racing days in the Midwest. Craven asked Martin about his new found enthusiasm for racing. Hinton politely asked how Martin shed the black cloud that has been above his head for years. It was clear that Martin loved this interview and never stopped smiling.

Bestwick led the panel into the Jeremy Mayfield drug suspension topic with the disclaimer that Mayfield had declined to be included in the show. The details of the suspension were reviewed and then things got interesting.

Each panelist had a point to make and they certainly did. Wallace told Bestwick that the teams do not have a list of banned substances that would cause a positive test. Hinton called for NASCAR to be both more specific and transparent. His point was that a blanket suspension without a specific drug listed caused untold problems.

Hinton's assertion was that a prescription mistakenly used for something like an injury or illness should not be lumped-in with the suggestion of illegal drug use of substances like cocaine or heroin. That point was hammered home.

Craven has been a wonderful surprise this season and he continued to emerge as one of the top NASCAR TV analysts. His theme was that Mayfield is an adult and is responsible for informing NASCAR of any medications he may have been taking before a race. Once again, Craven used his own point of reference to hold Mayfield accountable for his own actions without suggesting an addiction problem may be present.

This was an outstanding discussion of a sensitive topic and served to let several different viewpoints air. Shortly after the show, NASCAR AP reporter Jenna Fryer sent this note on Twitter:

"Contrary to popular opinion, NASCAR indeed DOES have a list of banned substances it provided all teams in December."

Even after the good start by the NASCAR Now team, Fryer's message almost guarantees that the Mayfield topic will continue unabated in the media. TDP will keep you informed as to what happens with this issue.

Steve Byrnes hosted This Week In NASCAR on SPEED later on Monday. This show was taped before a live audience and the results were rather interesting. Even panelist Michael Waltrip commented that the studio audience seemed to be only mildly interested in the show. He tried to get them fired-up, without results.

The panel also included Greg Biffle and Chad Knaus. Their perspectives added to the program because both teams were involved in compelling stories on Saturday night. Of course, the program kicked-off with Waltrip's big car fire and lots of "Ricky Bobby" jokes.

As usual, the show contained the outstanding features edited by The NASCAR Media Group. Byrnes kept everyone in line and having a live studio audience present certainly affected the dynamic on the set. This was the second show to our memory where all three panelists were present and it worked out far better than the last.

SPEED and NMG cooperate on this program where content is concerned. It was clear from the start that the Mayfield issue was not going to be addressed and it was not. Producers maintain that this is a highlights program and not a news show. The topic was clearly known to all present on the panel, but the production team chose to avoid it.

Two Monday NASCAR TV shows and two very different approaches to the same topic. Did you watch both shows? What do you feel are the pros and cons of dealing with this issue? Let us know what you liked and did not like about each program.

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

Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked the fact the Ricky stated he had called the drug liaison number provided by NASCAR to check on his taking Claritin.

I feel sorry for Claritin. They are getting all kinds of bad press from people thinking that is what Jeremy took. II'm glad Ricky cleared that up.

PammH said...

Sorry-I can't compare the 2 until Tuesdays. My hart belongs to DWTS on Monday! But I did tape NN, because I just had to see what these particular panelists had to say. Wow, do ya think Cousin Carl's car is gonna be blank for a bunch of races after this?? Talk about "bad press" in spades! I agree, the racers don't even know what items are banned...that is SOOOO wrong in many, many ways. But I'm I surprised? Nope & EH said it best, after Mike didn't understand nepotism..too funny. JM's career is OVER-because Nascar is the end all, be all. End of story...

Anonymous said...

So far, I have not heard one driver that is afraid or unhappy with the testing from Aegis Labs. Kevin Harvick really worded it strongly. No driver wants someone on drugs to be driving.

The only ones I seen unhappy with NASCAR are reporters and bloggers.

Even Elliot Sadler said that every driver has Dr Black's cell number.

If you want a clean sport, you cannot care who gets caught dirty.

I cannot understand why Jeremy does not clear this up if he's clean. His silence is deafening.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:51PM,

Is that the same silence we heard from the TWIN panel?

JD

Sophia said...

I only caught part of NN and posted elsewhere here my comments. I agreed with most of what Ed Hinton said and I was surprised there is NOT a list of banned substances. To hear it was Tweeted that there was one, adds to the confusion.

I was ok with TWIN NOT bringing it up and enjoyed the show.(too much extrapolating since we don't KNOW the drugs unlike the truck driver busted with Heroin at Kings Island last year) And the lack of details bugs me..we always know what is is in OTHER SPORTS. Don't they care about confidentiality? Of course nobody should be on a track under the influence of too much kava kave even? (OTC herb extract that is suppose to calm nerves)


NOT A FAN OF THE AUDIENCE. to have them clapping in and out of each commercial break got old FAST and was just annoying. And they clapped too long OVER STEVE's talking.sigh.

TWIN guys have a great time on their own and I enjoy the energy they have.

Hopefully next week it will be a quiet studio audience.

I TRULY enjoy the 3 panel PLUS Steve Byrnes but will take whatever I can get on Monday nights. :)

It was interesting hearing how Mikey got nervous during the fire due to things being affected in his car. Mercy, that looked frightening. Indeed, glad the COT gives him more head room to get out quickly.

Anonymous said...

Anyone realize how stupid NASCAR looks with this test?? Within hours the Media knew what Manny Ramirez tested positive for and now we still do not know and it is speculated. Privacy is the bond that keeps the family business of NASCAR still showing they are not a mainstream sport but a local oddity..

Anonymous said...

If there is a list then Wallace needs to take a hike! A current driver this year not knowing there is a list of banned stuff or as a TV panelist, he loses any shred of integrity in either role.

Matt said...

There is a list, but it is for Crew Members ONLY! Jenna said so in her AP article. One would assume that the drivers would have to adhere to that list, but is there more a driver can't take?

Dot said...

I watched TWIN. I'm glad they didn't bring it up. They have the same story we do. They can't choose sides. It would just be speculation. As it is here and everywhere else.

TWIN was good tonight with the three plus Steve. When I first heard the applause, I thought it was a sound effect. I prefer the boys by themselves.

@ dear Sophia, the audience was there because it's Allstar Week. One and done.

NN is better suited (groan) for the Jeremy story. It's got the perfect format for this topic.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's reasonable to expect NASCAR to provide an exact list. They do provide guidelines, like no booze. They cannot start listing beer, white wine, red wine, vodka, etc.

Besides booze, they cannot take amphetamies, barbituates, benzodiazepines, and opiates. They don't list each drug in the big categories. So, if my Dr wants me to take codeine, I call Dr Black and he says "no, codeine is an opiate." It's legal, but impairs the mind.

There are new drugs on the market daily, and so associations have learned that the chemist are ahead of the rest, so lists cannot be updated fast enough.

My husband was a police officer, and they learned long ago, to not have laws that listed specific drug names in order to arrest drivers. There were always drugs that had not been named and yet impaired driving. So laws were changed to charge and arrest drivers with driving under the influence, period.

Of course going to court was a whole different thing, but for that moment, you got an impaired driver off the streets. And that's what NASCAR has to do. Get that impaired driver off the track. What happens after that is another thing. (Probation, theraphy, etc)

bevo said...

As anonymous@10:35 wrote no company or organization lists specific drugs by name. It would be impossible to continually add new ones, instead they are put into categories. Anyone who is subject to random testing knows these broad categories. The statement by Mike Wallace is at best ignorant or at worst intentionally deceptive. If he doesn't know something as basic as that about his job he doesn't need to be on a national platform as an expert.

The problem with his statement is that it clouds an already murky situation. Some fans will only hear that and add it to their list of perceived wrongs in this case.

Anonymous said...

I can see how they might avoid Mayfield on TWIN. It -is- a clips show, and a fun living-room-type one at that. The Mayfield topic would have been an odd fit between, say, Radio Active and next week's preview. Given the extra time, I would rather see more trucks or Nationwide highlights than this particular panel discuss a news topic like this.

Meanwhile, I felt the Nascar Now gang got kinda sidetracked with discussions of cold medicine in the Mayfield topic. Do any of those panelists really believe NASCAR would yank Mayfield's career out from under him over an issue of cold medicine? The point was well taken that NASCAR should release more details, if possible -- but still, there was virtually no serious discussion of what is likely the case, that Mayfield was banned for a substance that was not a technicality, but a major infraction. The best part of the NASCAR Now coverage was the clips they showed of the drivers -- and not a single one of them stood up for Mayfield one bit. Kevin Harvick almost seemed excited that someone was caught. They all support NASCAR in this ordeal, and so do I.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have not seen where either Ramirez or MLB disclosed what prohibited substance was found in the tests. It appears to still be anonymous sources.

Sophia said...

@dot

Yea I knew the audience was full the all stars but they did not seem to care one whit did they? I just didn't want the producer getting ideas this SHOULD be regular deal.

Like YOU I prefer having the guys to myself.

well, y'all know what I mean!!

:-)

Anonymous said...

Richard, didn't Manny admit he was taking female fertility drugs? I know that's what everyone has been chuckling about.

I can understand why TWIN did not touch the Mayfield subject. TWIN is a race recap show and not a news program. It's also become a lighthearted, comical program, so discussing anything of importance doesn't seem to work.

Anonymous said...

bevo, you are so right. I just bet that MLB did not have female hormones on the list of banned substances. But the labs know that it can be used to hide uses of other drugs.

The Internet has a wealth of sites that claim to know what to take to "beat a drug test". So labs have to look for those things too. I'm a retired teacher and for years my students would talk about ways to beat drug detection. Most were urban myths, but many swore by them.

So like in Manny's place, the lab has to wonder why this macho guy, has an elevated amount of female hormones.

Bryan said...

I don't know when they tape NN, but Dr. Black was quoted as saying,"a combination of an over the counter drug taken with a prescription drug could not cause the positive we took action on."

Anonymous said...

"So far, I have not heard one driver that is afraid or unhappy with the testing from Aegis Labs. Kevin Harvick really worded it strongly. No driver wants someone on drugs to be driving.

The only ones I seen unhappy with NASCAR are reporters and bloggers."
-------------

I noticed that too. The drivers shown on NASCAR Now interviewed as after the race - J. Gordon, J. Johnson, Newman, and Harvick, didn't appear the slightest bit upset or concerned about the NASCAR drug testing process. Perhaps that shows there are some drivers -maybe most drivers- who take the responsibility of knowing what they ingest more seriously than others.

I was a little disappointed in Hinton today, though I normally like him. He basically spent the time ranting about NASCAR dictatorship and came off looking like a stereotypical conspiracy theorist you would find on a radio shock jock sports talk show more than a TV analyst. He also seemed like he dismissed Craven's (who was excellent) mentioning that drivers could call the medical liaison at anytime to check a drug. Hinton kind of replied that people like Craven and Jeff Gordon might be that conscientious, but others might not. But based on the interviews we saw of the current drivers right before that, they are all taking it seriously. Hinton's views made it kind of seem like "real drivers" wouldn't concern themselves with calling NASCAR and asking to take some medicine. So he seemed a little out of touch with what's actually going on with the drivers, who seem to be OK with doing just that.

Anonymous said...

"Hinton's assertion was that a prescription mistakenly used for something like an injury or illness should not be lumped-in with the suggestion of illegal drug use of substances like cocaine or heroin."
-----------------
Just a thought: prescription drugs like Oxycontin (used for pain) can be just as bad - and people can behave just as badly on them - as cocaine or heroin if misused or abused. So if it comes out that Mayfield was indeed taking a prescription drug and flagged for it for some reason, I wouldn't immediately dismiss it as no big deal.

bevo said...

He also seemed like he dismissed Craven's (who was excellent) mentioning that drivers could call the medical liaison at anytime to check a drug. Hinton kind of replied that people like Craven and Jeff Gordon might be that conscientious, but others might not.Better believe if I'm making the kind of money drivers make I'm going to be extra conscientious about anything that potentially threatens that livelihood.

Richard in N.C. said...

All I've seen Manny quoting as saying is that he was taking a medication prescribed by a doctor. I have seen and heard in several places that sources said it was a female fertility drug.

Anonymous said...

Jayski is reporting that Mike Wallace is one of the potential candidates to sub for Jeremy. I wonder if he knew this before his apprearance on NN. So who can we trust?

Anonymous said...

TWIN is not an issue-oriented show.

It is a fun, lightweight program.

I would have been surprised if they'd addressed Mayfield's problem.

Anonymous said...

You said the "TWIN" says that it is a highlight show. They were lucky to get any highlights in between promos and plugs for the All-Star race and related Speed TV shows. It seemed to be 50 minutes of plugs and 10 minutes of highlights. I can watch most of The O'Reilly Factor and still not misss any highlights.

Deborah said...

I would have been interested in hearing what the TWiN panel had to say about the Mayfield situation but I can understand why they didn't discuss it - as others have said that kind of a discussion doesn't really fit with the format of the show. Given that we don't know all the facts about Mayfield I think it would also have put them in a bad position where they would have to speculate and that's not too great when they're talking about such a serious topic that involves someone they all know well.

I'm curious about the live audience that TWiN taped in front of. Where did these find these people? It seemed like they were lacking in enthusiasm and I found myself wondering if they were actually fans or just random people that SPEED asked to be a part of the audience. Perhaps it was just something about the way they taped the show but I seem to remember when they've done shows in front of a live audience previously those in the audience seemed to be more excited to be there.

Bryan said...

I like TWIN because it sticks to racing. I'm glad TWIN didn't reference Mayfield's mishap. Heck, we don't even know what the substance is yet so why sit there and bash the guy and/or NASCAR's drug policies. ESPN, as we all know, is a well-fueled drama machine. I guess that is great for ratings, but for most race fans, they just want to see the highlights of the race and additional coverage that FOX and the other networks usually miss out on. NN is getting better, much improvement from last year, but the "feel good, good ol' boy" attitude that TWIN brings is just what I need before I watch Jack Bauer save the U.S.

glenc1 said...

I agree with those saying they're two different types of shows...NN is the right forum for this discussion, I don't really think TWIN is.

As for people blaming NASCAR for not releasing the info, once again, they CAN'T. We have laws protecting people's privacy, folks. Other sports may have part of their union agreements that they are allowed to release that info (or not). As sad as it makes me, Jeremy's silence (which IS his choice) is making it not look good for him. But, as others have pointed out, he has other legal options that he could be weighing. Also, just because this hasn't happened before doesn't mean it can't...although I'd guess it's highly unlikely. But other *experts* have said that all other major pro sports have lists because they have unions to protect the athletes. Without saying I think he's smart about this, it also occurs to me that Mayfield may have been burning the candle at boths ends trying to keep this enterprise going. That could lead to a lot of things.

Anonymous said...

I watched both shows,was disappointed in both, and thought that TWIN was really lame with its "live" audience. My problem with NN, was you'd think the host,the drivers and Hinton would have done a little research to determine if Nascar had given the drivers guidelines for the types of banned substances. You'd also think that they'd determine whether Mayfield's claim of an innocent interaction was possible. Mayfield's claim was almost immediately debunked by the Nascar testing people.If they did their homework, then you could have an intelligent debate. I've given up on Twin. Byrnes and Waltrip just waste our time with mindless banter. Ralph Shaheen did a much better job when he filled in for Byrnes. Waltrip needs to get out of the car and spare us the mindless excuses for his embarrassing results. Maybe Clint Bowyer had a point regarding his opinion of Mr Waltrip. I enjoyed Biffle trying to "perfume the pig" regarding his contact??? with his team mate (Even Stevie Wonder could see that there was contact). I think we'd all be shocked if we knew how much money these guys are paid to sit around and joke away an hour!

Anonymous said...

Can someone give a drug test to Michael Waltrip, find out what he is on, and then inject it into the hosts of NASCAR Now? Those guys on NASCAR Now look like they are a college professors and they sound like they are discussing final exam policies. Where is the enthusiasm? Where is the sense that this is a fun sport.

I am all for in-depth analysis over the light banter of TWIN, but it is just so dry and clinical on NASCAR Now that sometimes I feel more like I'm watching a corporate board meeting than a show about my favorite sport.

boyd said...

Liked the coverage on NN, but noticed that TWIN didn't even discuss it.
My racing friend said maybe they didn't touch it because of Mikey's accident driving home a few years ago. Wrecking then walking home, and not answering the door when the police come, has left many questions on his own choices unanswered.

Anonymous said...

My racing friend said maybe they didn't touch it because of Mikey's accident driving home a few years ago. Wrecking then walking home, and not answering the door when the police come, has left many questions on his own choices unanswered.

Your racing friend seems to be a conspirary theorist...or a Mikey-hater.

A simpler explanation is that TWIN isn't a hard-hitting issue-based show, it's goofy fun with highlights. They don't really address stories like Mayfield's on that show.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Clint Bowyer had a point regarding his opinion of Mr Waltrip.

If Waltrip wasn't sitting at 28th in points, that might make sense.

Anonymous said...

What may make sense is that Mikey is 28th in points,yet Rookies Reutimann is 15th and Ambrose is 20th in points. Mikey himself said at the end of last season that Napa reupped for only one year and that Mikey had to 'perform'....on the track.

Anonymous said...

Reutimann is NOT a rookie and 28th is far from being the "worst driver in NASCAR" as Bowyer said.

Ind14 said...

Whats with TWIN and Byrnes? It seems that they can't mention Tony Stewart or SHR. The man is in 2nd place in points and they pass over him like he dosen't exist. This has been going on for months and it is getting tiresome.

Newracefan said...

NN did a decent job with the Mayfield issue. I get where Mike Wallace is coming from; he is looking for a LIST Clartin yes, pseudophed no, Advil no, Asprin yes. As one poster said this will not happen, it categories and some catorgories can be contained in medication that would not necessarily be thought of as a problem. (hey it's a component in cold/allergy medicine that they make Meth out of). That said Ricky's point is well taken, in the position they are in ask before you put anything into your body but I can see where some won't or don't even think the medication could possibly be an issue. I believe Jeremy has finally talked to someone who is giving him advice he is better off NOT agruing with Nascar in the media until he gets a plan together or he will never be back. NN is where all this discussion belongs.

TWIN was a lot of fun, studio audience aside, and I am glad they didn't go there. I am sure Mikey and the boys have their thoughts and I respect that they did not want to share them, if they had I think we would have gotten about the same as we saw from Schrader on WT, unless of course Mikey tried to over explain in get in too deep.
This is a story that will continue to expand and the internet and NN is where I'll look for info and TWIN is where I'll look for fun.

glenc1 said...

Anon10:59...what you see as 'dry and clinical' I see as intelligent and professional, as real journalism *should* be. I find them to be both informative and interesting to watch when I want an informed opinion about something. TWIN is something else, obviously meant to be more jovial and less hard hitting. Forgot to mention earlier, I too found the audience rather distracting and strange, although I get that it was for All star week. I've seen it done on For Race Fans Only and their crowd was much better.

This isn't a place to debate Waltrip's driving ability, just his on air persona...last night I thought he was okay; sometimes he's just annoying. For some reason I'd like to see Chad sitting between Mike & Greg...if only so Mike can hit him on the arm.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Maybe Clint Bowyer had a point regarding his opinion of Mr Waltrip.

If Waltrip wasn't sitting at 28th in points, that might make sense.

May 12, 2009 2:07 PM

28th has no chance to make the chase..NAPA deserves better than what they are getting!

Sophia said...

I don't think it's fair to make a personal swipe at Waltrip due to his wreck from a year or so ago.

Richard in N.C. said...

It seems to me that Monday's N-Now demonstrated again that Hinton has a distinct bias and agenda - NASCAR is always wrong. Some of his comments Monday reminded me of comments Don Fehr made, before appearing in Congress, about why there should not have been drug testing in baseball - that is, the union could not trust MLB. No one on N-Now ever mentioned whether NASCAR in fact has any control over the drug testing arrangement at all, or whether Aegis is in complete control until it gives the results of its tests to NASCAR. My understanding is that Aegis is in control of all the aspects of testing for banned substances in NASCAR.

Many in the media are often willing to ignor privacy and legal issues in pursuit of a good story.

It is fascinating how differently the media is handling the stories of Manny Ramirez and Jeremy M. based on about the same amount of information from credible sources.

darbar said...

BTW, in case anyone is interested, JJ Yelley is taking the seat of Mayfield's car. Don't know who's taking over as owner as Jeremy has been suspended as both driver and owner.

Dot said...

@ darbar, Shana is going to be the interim owner.

tiamatsrevenge said...

What "NASCAR Now" could've done was gone to the website for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ... Then looked at their "Prohibited List" which is linked off the homepage ...

http://www.wada-ama.org/en/prohibitedlist.ch2


WADA is used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as the FIA (think F1) and FIM (think MotoGP) ...

I would presume that NASCAR's list for drivers / owners / crew is pretty similar ... especially for the drivers ... The site also lists drugs for "Theraputic Use Exemption" as in your doctor has prescribed a drug for a medical condition that you have ...

WADA's "Prohibited List" as well as the "Theraputic Use Exemption" would've given NASCAR Now a better jumping off point when discussing Aegis' findings and Jeremy's rebuttal ...

WADA also has a list of substances that are prohibited in specific sports ... and the sports include auto racing & motocycle racing ...



Dr Black is also the head of the "substance abuse" program for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) ... The WWE website DOES have a list of substances that they test for ...

Karen said...

tiamatsrevenge,

That was a very interesting read; the list being only about 3 percent of what I could understand. Diuretics and beta blockers are a banned substance. Of course, diuretics would be silly as you wouldn't get to 25 laps and have to stop for a bathroom break. And without a beta blocker, my heartrate would go up to 226 as it has in the past when I ate too much chocolate so I'd have no business being anywhere but the ER. Imagine being in a race with your heart beating 226. Heart attack waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

I have been tested randomly for 20 years now,i have been tested many times,I have taken many cold medications includeing claritin etc,I have also taken perscription medications,None of these have ever cause me to test posiative,Many people do not know that they only test for illeagle substances and have this testing down to a fine art,if you have a inconclusive test they either test you again,or do more extensive testing of that sample to determine exactly what the illeagle substance is,They have certain substances that they test for,they refine the test reseult is something comes back posiative so they know for sure there was no false posiative,,and thgat some other substance is not causeing a posiative result.they also have certain levels the substance has to exceed before it is a posiative result,these are usually high enough that someone would have to be abuseing something to result in a posiative reading,so if someone took something on the banned list and exceeded the limits,they most certianly did not belong on a race track ,thats what the test is designed for,reguardless of what the illeagle item was,NASCAR makes or breaks you,its there ballgame they make the rules,if you violate them ,your going to have to pick up your toys and go play elsewhere.