Monday, May 18, 2009
"This Week In NASCAR" Sticks To Basics
The evolution of this season's new Monday night show on SPEED continued this week. Steve Byrnes hosted an hour of This Week In NASCAR that stuck to the basics for several different reasons.
Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus made up the expert panel. These two have settled into a comfortable relationship on the air. Knaus offers his analytical style of commentary and Waltrip does his best to offer opinions in support of the sport.
This week's review of the All-Star race gave both panelists an opportunity to provide a lot of what they do best. Knaus broke down the strategy and details that contributed to Stewart's ultimate win. Knaus always references his #48 car and team, but has done a good job of keeping things in perspective for the viewers.
Waltrip sang songs, emotionally talked about the history of NASCAR and generally had a good time. He has been doing exactly this same thing on Monday nights for a very long time. This season, even his over-the-top commercial plugs have become more humorous than annoying.
TWIN producers have allowed the panel to discuss off-track topics in the past, but have avoided the Jeremy Mayfield suspension completely. This program focused strictly on the review and preview elements mixed with the frequent sales features.
Right or wrong, this is the approach they have taken. It certainly suggests that Mayfield's name and part-time status played a role in this decision. Had the driver suspended been named Johnson or Waltrip, there is little doubt it would be a topic up for active discussion.
It seems that Walrip and Knaus are also content not to offer their opinions of the Mayfield issue on TV. This show stayed within the comfortable walls it has established over this season and offered a program full of good racing information mixed with some fun. Whether that is enough to please the NASCAR fans or not can only be determined by the viewers.
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