Monday, May 4, 2009

New TV Series Called "My Name Is Kyle"

It was the week after Michael Waltrip made his interesting cameo appearance on My Name Is Earl. On this Monday, another personality dominated the NASCAR TV talk-shows. My Name Is Kyle was the title of this series.

While Kyle Petty was riding his motorcycle and across the country and sending pictures to Twitter users, Kyle Busch was dominating both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races in Richmond. That got a lot of folks talking.

Waltrip joined host Steve Byrnes and panelist Chad Knaus for a version of This Week in NASCAR that covered a lot of bases. Unlike some other TV types, Waltrip is firmly on the Kyle Busch bandwagon and essentially voiced the view that the current dominance of Busch in the sport is historic in nature.

Knaus continues to provide the level-headed analysis on this program that one might expect from a crew chief. It was clear from the start of the show that he was upset by the equipment failure Saturday night on his car. Knaus was upfront in saying a brake line was placed incorrectly in the shop and was torn by the suspension when the racing began.

The vibe on this program is different with Knaus present. Last week, Waltrip constantly spoke overtop of Greg Biffle and many TDP readers noticed. This week, Knaus coolly waited for Waltrip's jokes and comments before offering his own remarks.

Perhaps, Biffle can take a cue from this when all three panel members join Steve Byrnes and a live audience for next week's show. That is All-Star week and nothing causes more hysteria at SPEED than the build-up to that network's high-profile Sprint Cup event.

Just imagine giving Waltrip a live audience packed with all kinds of dignitaries, sponsors and NASCAR types. Adding Darlington highlights and an All-Star preview should put that show over the top.

TWIN continues to work with two panelists on most programs and the combination of having two drivers on the show really isn't clicking this season. Whether it is the occasional presence of Knaus or Waltrip's inability to respect Biffle, the two-driver combination lacks the punch and fun of the Waltrip/Knaus team.

Byrnes has done a good job keeping the show on track since it started in 2008. Now, the formula is familiar and all Byrnes has to do is keep Waltrip semi-focused and get in all the sales features. For someone used to dealing with Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds almost every weekend on Trackside, this Monday studio assignment is a piece of cake.

Each week, Waltrip correctly points out the value of the footage gathered by the NASCAR Media Group and edited into tremendous features. The two or three minutes shown in TWIN really begs the question of why there is no program series on SPEED using this content. Perhaps, Waltrip's persistence may pay off in 2010.

Over at ESPN, the NASCAR Now bunch was a new mix of Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie and reporter Angelique Chengelis. Host Allen Bestwick did his best to breathe some life into the group, but this combination did not click.

Chengelis is a hardcore NASCAR reporter who has been outstanding on the all-journalist editions of this show, but was out of place with LaJoie and Craven. Right now, Craven is probably the best studio analyst on TV. He also knows how to deal with LaJoie's sense of humor and sometimes crude remarks.

Unfortunately, Craven and Chengelis did not mix. Each had their own views, stated them and moved-on to the next topic. Bestwick kept the pace quick, but eventually Chengelis began to ask Craven questions herself. It was the reporter in her.

Since ESPN continues to keep a tight lid on any actual discussion of the sport, nothing came of the comments and Bestwick returned to the script. Without a Mike Massaro, Ray Everham or Marty Smith to mix things up with Craven, Monday's NASCAR Now just zooms-by harmlessly and leaves no lasting quotes or moments.

It is clear, however, that ESPN knows it has hit on a goldmine with Craven. His studio appearances on the Sprint Cup Series morning preview show have changed the entire dynamic of the program. When given the opportunity to interview guests, his thoughtful questions raise the level of conversation. It should be interesting to see how the network continues to use Craven for the rest of the season.

If the younger Busch brother wins at Darlington, it could mean another Monday episode of My Name Is Kyle. Ironically, on this show Waltrip gets a leading role.

Thanks to Getty Images for the photo, click on it to see it full-size.

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.

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


Anonymous said...

The thing that makes the difference with Craven is that it is clear he has worked a lot on his broadcasting skills, specifically making sure that he turns and addresses the camera very directly (whereas LaJoie just kinda answers the question to the host, to the camera, sometimes even while looking down at the table like it was a regular bull-session. Craven also has full control of his body language, which sounds like something minor, but it gives him an aura of being a genuine broadcaster in addition to having his first-hand knowledge of the sport. If he has an on-air or broadcasting coach, the guy deserves a raise, because just like a driver hitting his marks on the track, Craven is hitting his marks as a broadcaster, not just being a driver on TV.

As for TWIN - I'm drinking the Kyle Busch kool-aid so I can't complain too much. No one wants to say it but the kid just drives old school. Some people will call some of the moves he made on the track reckless, foolishly aggressive, etc.... but I think they are so much fun to watch and he just has a driving style that you could pick out even if all the cars were blank. Chalking up an insane number of wins of the last 15 months helps, too. I know that Jr Nation fans hate hearing this, but Busch reminds me more of Dale SR than any driver I have seen in the modern era.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comment! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No one wants to say it but the kid just drives old school.

Are you kidding?

Everyone says it. Just listen to Sirius NASCAR radio. They're in love with him.

I don't find his driving to be as calculating at Dale Senior's driving. I think Kyle is sloppy and impetuous. And when is his car isn't perfect, he complains and doesn't do well.

Now there's something "no one wants to say," whether on Tv or radio.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Let's try to keep things on topic please. The Monday TV shows talked about Kyle, that is why he is mentioned in this column.



TexasRaceLady said...

I keep missing NASCAR Now because I just don't think about it at 4PM.

I really enjoyed TWIN tonight, unlike last week. Chad just seems to have "the Look" that can get Mikey back to the program.

I nearly fell out of my chair at Chad's "beating around the bush" comment.

The Darlington history lesson was enjoyable. So happy to hear the red/white stripes are coming back.

Mikey seemed more in control this week and that made the difference -- at least, to me.

Tracy D said...

I'm a huge Ricky Craven fan. The guy is just plain good at it. When he discussed (with Massaro on NN, I think) how it was hard to get back in the car and drive in the middle of the pack at Talladega after his horrific crash, I gave him huge props for honesty. He exudes that honest, common sense aura. Nothing silly.

That said, I shut down NN after fifteen, twenty minutes. I was bored, bored, bored. TWIN, on the other hand, entertained and amused. I don't mind Mikey's paean to Shrub, because Knaus joined in and said how much he enjoyed watching him drive. After seeing him pass Gordon on the outside to take the lead in Richmond, all I can say is, wow.

TWIN beat NN this week, hands down.

Sophia said...

I enjoyed tonights show as well and loved Chad's 'beat around the bush comment' :)

I AM weary of all KYLE ALL THE TIME but as somebody once said, we do not recognize history being made when we are living in it (I am speaking of life in genereal, not just NASCAR history) yea, stats prove Kyle is a good driver..but he also has won in GREAT CARS.

I have been told Dale Sr could do well in so so cars and that's the difference. Not that I watched NASCAR then.

I never watch ESPN. Don't care for their tactics and even though I liked the Monday night show, on too early and too lazy to tape it for later.

Dot said...

It was a crazy panel on NN. Ricky Craven should be on every Monday. I like Randy but, he's more SPEED than NN. I liken it to white collar (suits) and blue collar (shirt/pants). He's more blue collar. Nothing wrong with that. I did get a chuckle out of the Ed Hinton interview. He wasn't wearing a suit. Why was Angelique there? She's better with other reporters on the panel.

I always love TWIN even if Mikey gets out of hand. I prefer Chad over Biff.

@ dear Sophia, I liked the history comment. Never thought of that.

The SDDD love fest has to stop. I'm waiting to hear "Kyle Busch and the NASCAR Sprint CUP Series" from the announcers. I agree he is a spectacular driver. If he just wasn't such an......

Lesley said...

JD.. With all do respect..Can we keep the focus of conversation on the drivers and Teams Involved In the Racing...I really dont care about whos doing what, covering this sport on any network!! This is a great Site you have!!Lets keep It Intresting...Thankyou!!

Anonymous said...

I agree,NN just didn't click last night. Twin was only slightly better. I'm just so tired of listening to Waltrip. Love him or hate him,Kyle just gets it done!

Aven said...

Sophia, Kyle just doesn't just win in great cars, he wins in all kinds of cars and trucks. He drives vehicles of several different owners with different crews. He gets everything a car has to give. Kyle is similar to Dale Sr. in that he has a burning deesire to win. Dale Sr. was more calculating in that he planned his actions trhat frequently included spinning or wrecking cars that got in his way. l He was the best at knowing just when and where to tap a car to pass it. Kyle takes his opportunities as he finds them.

I watched the Kentucky Derby Saturday and was reminded of Kyle Busch. The jockey took a little horse that had no chance of winning from last place to winning by cutting through the field where nobody should have been able to go.

Anonymous said...

My problem with NN and ESPN in general is the constant shuffling of hosts, guests, analysts. There isn't any consistency. I always go back to the example of when Sportscenter was at it's peak. You could always count on Keith O. and Dan P. every night. Now you get a mishmosh of personalities that I could care less about, including NN.

SPEED has a constant rotation of the same guys, I know what I'm in for before I tune in. You know that it will be Steve, Mikey, Chad or Biff with the very rare sub if one of the 3 can't make it.

glenc1 said...

Lesley--not sure I understand your comments--this blog is *about* who covers what and on what network....not about the drivers and the teams.

I enjoyed both shows--I hadn't really thought about the lack of chemistry between Craven & Chengelis--but I was working on some other things during the show so I can't say I'd have noticed. I enjoyed the discussions though, and I agree, Ricky is getting better every week at the broadcasting. Lajoie is kind of the scruffy cousin, but I like him and the contrast between them all. Switching them out makes it more interesting to me.

TWIN was fun, and yes, I agree, Mikey not as overbearing this week. I just wish Chad would talk more; I don't always agree but he's smart & I like to hear his ideas.

It's hard to watch these shows after a Shrub win, but they do the best with what they have...on the broadcasting end, I find it ridiculous that the analysts want to make us like him--shoving him down our throats never works. Sometimes they act as if we're stupid because don't think he's a good driver...when really, we don't *care* how good he is, many who don't like him feel that way because they seem him as overbearingly arrogant--and winning isn't going to help that. It might not be a bad thing for this sport to have a 'bad guy', but it would be better in a rivalry situation (in terms of interest.) But I do wonder if people are so turned off that they stop watching these analysis shows on weeks when he wins.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I think they should stick to a set panel as much as possible on NN. Mike Massaro and Ricky Craven make a great team and I think they should be teamed together as much as possible. Since it is on 5 or 6 times a week, I realize that you have to give someone the night off, but that pairing seems to be the 'A' team and everyone else is subbing in as needed.

As for This Week in Nascar, all I can say is that I'm glad its on premium cable and not many people watch it. I know that there are people who like Mike Waltrip, but there are a lot more that don't. Pretending that he matters doesn't mean that he does. I find it amusing that people say the show couldn't survive without him, but nobody provides quantitative data that proves this is true.

Anonymous said...

The difference between TWIN and NN is that NN tries to analyze and pick apart everything like NASCAR is inside of a petrie dish.

They look at the results of the experiment and discuss it and try to analyze how that happened. No fun, just the facts Mam.

TWIN, looks at the race and basically have fun with it.

Can you imagine NN running "radioactive"?

That comment by shrubby about either NASCAR does something about it or he will was great!

To me, watching NN is like watching Face the Nation. Everyone in suits, assigned seating and no straying from the script.

TWIN, more like a night at the improv. "Here's the theme, now run with it". Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Whether you are a fan of Kyle Busch or not (my glass of Kool-Aid is still full) he sure has made Sunday's alot more interesting.

I have to throw this in as well,

As far as the comments about his driving style compared to Sr's.

Maybe some are too young to remember, Sr. wrecked more cars and PO'd more people in his first couple of years of Cup racing because he was young, reckless, driven to prove himself and impetuous.

Dave in Milwaukee

cvt said...

One point that was made by Joe Gibbs after the race hasn't been explored by any journalist: how hard Kyle Busch works at refining his skills.Like most professions, the more of it you do,the better you usually get at it.Busch drives the Trucks series for free. He's taught himself how to run the high-line and get tremendous restarts by practicing them in Trucks and Nationwide equipment.

Knaus is a valuable commodity to any program he appears on. So much so, if I were Hendrick, I would restrict what he says, for fear he'd inadvertently give away valuable info.

Craven is serious about his new profession and continues to merit watching. Randy is a goofball who is to be enjoyed in small doses.

Chengelis could become quite good at these roundtables if she's invited to participate more frequently.

glenc1 said...

cvt, I think you have a point about Chengelis, or any of them for that matter... sometimes 'chemistry' takes time to develop, and with switching the panels, that doesn't happen. While the switching out doesn't bother me in general, that might be a side effect of doing things that way.

Unknown said...

Dave in Milwaukee said:
"Can you imagine NN running "radioactive"? "
NN does run it. They just introduce it as scanner chatter. In fact, if you watch/listen to the scanner features on both shows, it is almost identical, which I assume is because it is put together by NMG.

Anonymous said...

Most members of the media can be counted on to get on the latest hype bandwagon of any kind. They can do this because they have remarkably short memories and don't bother to look back.

Kyle Busch is winning again and looks impressive, so DW and many others are screaming "The greatest since....." or "greatest ever". Many members of the media did the same thing with KB last year. These same media people seem to forget that KB fell apart in the chase and was never heard from again.

By the end of last season, these same media people had their hype machines set up to sing the praises of Jimmie Johnson. They were all saying, "Incredible, three championships in a row, maybe the best driver in NASCAR history." Apparently JJ lost his driving ability during the off-season because the media has taken away his crown and bestowed it on KB.

I admire the ability of athletes, including NASCAR drivers, who can maintain a level of excellence over a long career and under difficult circumstances. For the media hypes and fans of KB who want to crown him, the present score is Dale SR/7 championships, Jimmie Johnson/3 championships in a row, KB/0 championships. We can toss in Jeff Gordon as well who has racked up 4 championships. During his hot streaks in those years, JG looked unbeatable. I remember hearing Mark Martin say that he wondered if anybody else would ever win again. The media hypes and fans of KB who want to crown him the greatest should get back to me when those numbers start to compare more favorably. Until then, a more accurate comparison is KB and Tim Richmond.

If you have to ask who Tim Richmond was, that makes my point. New fans of the sport may have an excuse, but media members shouldn't be writing/speaking this KB hype if they don't know enough about the sport to know Tim Richmond's place in it.

I am a fan of the sport as a whole, and I have always had a few favorite drivers to follow. Although I have never counted Dale SR, JG, JJ, or KB among my favorites, I respect their individual abilities and accomplishments. That's more than I can say for media members who hype the latest hot dog without perspective and a healthy respect for the past.

glenc1 said...

anon 10:28--I agree to a point--but in Kyle's defense (and obviously I said I don't like him), he didn't fall apart, the *team* did. But that would also indicate that the *team* helped get him there in the first place, and that (in my mind) is what the media seem to forget when they build up this hype. JGR, Toyota and the engineers also had a hand in his success. But it's not exciting to talk about engineers.'s not *just* the media who have complemented his driving, it has also been crew chiefs (someone mentioned Knaus) and other drivers. But the media needs to tone it down. There are a lot of guys having good seasons out there.

Anonymous said...

As for This Week in Nascar, all I can say is that I'm glad its on premium cable and not many people watch it. I know that there are people who like Mike Waltrip, but there are a lot more that don't.
It must really annoy you, then, that he's been doing this show for ten years.The "lot more" who don't like him aren't required to watch. Nor are they required to comment on the show, if it bothers them so much.

Anonymous said...

Most members of the media can be counted on to get on the latest hype bandwagon of any kind. They can do this because they have remarkably short memories and don't bother to look back.


Every time someone's on a hot streak, they're the Best Ever...until they drop back to normal performance. Then, suddenly, everyone just looks the other way.

Love your Tim Richmond comparison.
It's right on the nose.

Craig said...

Last night's TWIN was one of the most entertaining (and educational) episode I've seen in a long, long time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deborah said...

Anon, at 10:48, those that don't like Michael seem to feel they are required to watch TWiN so they can complain about it afterwards. Though they'd never admit it, secretly I think these folks love watching just as much as Michael's fans do so they have more material to use to carry on about him - love him or hate him everyone seems to pay attention to Michael, which is probably one reason he's been on this show for so long. And for those who are going to respond by saying that you don't watch because of Michael, why are you commenting on this blog since you haven't watched to know how Michael is on the show?

I thought TWiN was really good last night. There's an excellent rapport between Chad and Michael, and I like hearing from both a driver/owner and a crew chief as it lends to different points-of-view. Chad's explanation about what happened to cause the brake issues was pretty interesting since HMS is usually an organization that doesn't make too many mistakes.

As for Kyle, I think he deserves all the kudos he's been getting on these shows and otherwise. Winning 50 races between Trucks, N'Wide and Cup and he's only 24 is a pretty big deal.

dungem said...

No one has mentioned Waltrip's story about racing at Darlington against Dale Sr., who pointed his hand out the window at MW because MW had cut him off. When Mike said he wanted to take a right at turn 3and head back to Kentucky, I laughed so hard the dog woke up. It's bits and pieces like that, the history Waltrip has in the sport, that help TWIN be different. Did you see Knaus laughing at the story? The rapport is good, and it's getting better for that show.

I agree with the poster who said that the changing panel on NN doesn't allow for that chemistry factor to kick in. The prior comparison to Face the Nation was dead on. I feel as if I should watch, but then again . . . who has time to waste?

And yes, I agree that Craven and Massaro have that chemistry. They're good together.

Did anyone see Kenny Shrader on Speed Report? YEAH!!

Anonymous said...

Deborah, Anon 10:28 was mostly commenting on the media hype on Kyle (note the photo above JD's blog) so I don't see anything out of line--it wasn't a blog on TWIN only.

As for Kyle--yeah, he proves a lot by beating up on underfunded teams, particularly in trucks. Again--he isn't doing that by himself, Toyota put a ton of effort into those engines and he's young and single and able to devote a lot of time to it. I'm still not that impressed. I think those commenting on the media hype have a point--there's always a 'flavor of the week' mentality.

Sophia said...


Excellent comments. saved me typing.


YES! That Dale Sr. comment, pointing at Mikey during a race and afraid Dale was gonna kick his $$$, had ME laughing out loud. I LOVE little stories like that. THIS is why I love TWIN. :)

Anonymous said...

Waltrip is the reason I simply can't watch TWIN. I can't watch any of the truck races for the same reason - waltrip is simply nauseating.

glenc1 said...

hey, slightly off topic but it aired during the broadcast...anyone notice the new BK commercial they showed during NN? The creepy King & the Star Trek thing...

Newracefan said...

Yes I thought NN was a little off and chemistry is a great explanation. I enjoy Ricky Craven and am glad ESPN has figured out they have a good thing. Ricky and Mike do work well together, Randy and Marty are pretty good too. DJ can work with anyone. I think part of what was missing was no crew chief, just having that mindset brings on an entirely new perspective. It was still OK to watch just not a WOW show this week.

TWIN was awesome, I LMAO through most of it. Chad does have that "look" for Mikey, would you want to mess with that man, and trust me Rick H has nothing to worry about Chad will give away nothing, I've seen him redirect conversations or flat out refuse to answer, I don't believe he does anything by accident. Revealing the team screwed up was OK he threw no individuals under the bus, but they know who they are and I don't think it will ever happen again.
Mikey's history lessons gives me insight into the sport that I do not have because I was not watching back then. Chad also likes the history of the sport and I think that is why he has come to respect Mikey (I do not think he always did), this IMHO is why Chad does better than the Biff in some cases, Biff is less impressed by the history and since he is another driver he can't pull off the "look" like Chad does.
Hopefully they will sit Chad next to Mikey to keep him in line next week or perhaps since they have dobe the 3 man once before they can get the balance better.

Anonymous said...

Nascar Now needs to drop the suits. Everyone looks so stiff and awkward. They must follow the script and their lines. There is no room for debate or discussion. It gets boring and awkward to watch. TWIN lets the panel have fun and relax, without suits and scripts. You want to hear what both panelists say. It is like comparing a party to a work conference.

Hotaru1787 said...

I too am sick of The SDDD Show. If it's not him, it's Junior's 'drama' or the 24/48. And on the rare instance someone else is mentioned, it quickly goes back to 'the usuals'

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's fair to say there's no debate on NN--classic debating is when you know what the question is and you prepare your answer, which is what they do. I don't know if each knows what the other is going to say in terms of preparing rebuttal, but they don't always agree and there is sometimes's just more formal than a free for all, which is sometimes what the panel shows end up like. I have no issue with them wearing suits either; they look more professional.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Do you guys think there is anything for ESPN to gain by moving NASCAR Now to the Charlotte area?


Dot said...

@ JD 5:43, Why would they do something that makes sense?

They could get more driver/CC/crew member stories. Maybe these guys could stop by for an in person interview.

What would it cost them to rent space for a show? Couldn't they borrow some space from someone? How much room do they need?

darbar said...

The only thing they might achieve by moving to Charlotte is access to drivers/owners/crew members. But they don't seem to have a problem with remote access to any of the above, so I don't see any real benefit.

Note to Leslie, this site is for talking about media and their coverage of racing. It's never been to discuss drivers and such. There are already numerous sites devoted to drivers and teams, but precious few to the media coverage of races.

dungem said...

For the life of me, I can't figure out why NN doesn't originate from the Charlotte area. It's a show about Nascar, for heaven's sake. They'd have a bigger gene pool, for one thing. That tele-video thing is so awkward and old-fashioned feeling. And phone calls to drivers, etc.? Have mercy, please. Antique.

If ESPN were serious about their coverage of Nascar, they'd have their studio where the weekday action is.

Richard in N.C. said...

I did enjoy NASCAR-Now but it was a little dry and very driver focused. Without Ray E. or Andy P., there seemed to me to be almost no real discussion of strategy.

Since I don't know the mechanics of booking guests, now I'm not sure how much EESPN would gain by being in Charlotte since you can now up-link from anywhere - but of course then N-Now would have an almost unlimited number of possibilities for where to originate from.

Anonymous said...

With all do respect..Can we keep the focus of conversation on the drivers and Teams Involved In the Racing...I really dont care about whos doing what, covering this sport on any network!!

But that is exactly what this site is about: TV and radio coverage issues. We talk about the good and the bad in NASCAR coverage here.

It isn't about the drivers or the teams. There are thousands of sites for that.

Anonymous said...

Interview by satellite are always more stilted and viewer- (and talent-) unfriendly than in-person interviews.

They aren't a good substitute for doing the segment in person and really ought to be used only when there's no other way to do them.

Having the show based in Charlotte would avoid the whole problem. Besides, in what other sport can you set up shop in ONE city and have just about everyone at your disposal?

Richard in N.C. said...

I did mean to add, however, that the world changes once the NASCAR museum is open and then NASCAR Now should definitely frequently, if not always, originate from Charlotte.

SallyB said...

I've gotten to the point that whatever show is on and the mandatory 'Kyle, maybe the best ever' interview comes on, I tune out. I'm also tired of the media hyping how much he has won at such a young age. Considering that, before Jeff Gordon hit the scene, driver weren't usually given an opportunity to drive a top level Cup car until they were 30 years old. Who knows how many wins some of the 'old timers' might have had if the 'youth movement' had happened 40 years ago?

Hotaru1787 said...

I caught SDDD interview on NN... and shut the show off.

Okay, can we talk 'bout something else?