Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Petty On A Long Road To Michigan For TNT

Trip number one is over and trip number two is in-progress. Kyle Petty is making good on his promise to ride his motorcycle to all six of the TNT races. These pics show Petty and his sidekick SPEED's Rutledge Wood leaving from North Carolina for Michigan, stopping for gas along the way and finally being located by some NASCAR fans using Twitter.

Petty has pushed the new media envelope this season like never before where NASCAR on TV is concerned. He first documented his most recent charity ride and now is aggressively pouring time and effort into pumping-up the NASCAR on TNT races.

It only takes a couple of minutes to sign-up for Twitter and for NASCAR fans it certainly seems to be worth it. All it does is offer updates from the folks you choose to follow. No spam, no email and nothing you don't control. It is free and there are tons of NASCAR drivers, tracks and websites (like TDP) who post information, story links and pictures. Click here for a great list.

With all the tough economic times and sad stories like Johnny Benson and Jeremy Mayfield, the Petty summer travels are a nice positive change of pace. Dubbed "The Ponytail Express" by Kyle, this is first-hand proof that someone in the media is putting themselves out there for the fans to see.

The TNT guys are calling Happy Hour practice on Saturday and then handling the Sprint Cup TV duties on Sunday. In addition, Petty and Wood continue to tape the NASCAR Smarts trivia show that essentially replaced the Tradin' Paint series on SPEED.

Even with his weekly opinion show gone, Petty is zooming ahead by skipping right by the media, his producer and even the NASCAR brass. Before, during and after the time he is on TV, Petty is actively commenting, taking pictures and asking questions of the fans directly.

This past weekend, Petty snapped pictures of everyone from Larry McReynolds to Mike Helton during the pre-race show and then asked for questions from the fans during the commercial breaks. During the race, fans would ask about issues like "mystery cautions" and "phantom debris." Petty piped right-up and asked his fellow announcers and the producer why the caution flag waved. How is that for service?

At Michigan, TNT is going to have Detroit native Kid Rock stop-by the pre-race show. Also, Richard Childress and Clint Bowyer will appear as guests. Fox's Darrell Waltrip will be featured on the Pride of NASCAR series while reporter Lindsay Czarniak goes into Race Control to find out how they figure out the new double-wide restart order.

Ralph Sheheen drew the lucky card and gets a personal tour of Jack Roush's private garage. Roush is all about cars and this is going to be a great peek into his personal car collection. Finally, Wally Dallenbach gets to explain MIS when he is superimposed over race footage in the new version of Wally's World.

Once the race is over, the TV crew and the NASCAR teams will be rushing for the airport to get home as soon as possible. For Petty and Wood, they will be staring at a pending trip to Sonoma, CA and then a return trip all the way to Loudon, NH.

Maybe like Alicia and Barbara above, you might wave hello or stop and say hi if you spot this crazy pair zooming by as they follow the NASCAR trail for the next couple of weeks. It's just nice to have some of the focus back on the fun side of NASCAR and the free spirits that still exist in the sport.

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Sophia said...

WOW! That will be one long ride to Calif. Can't wait for those updates. Already been fun reading and seeing pics along the way.

Anonymous said...

Oh man Rutledge is going to regret going on this trip. Anyone who has ever ridden in one of these things knows how excruciating it can be to ride one for any serious length of time. I can see why they picked it -- it makes for a great visual, plus the sidecar has a sort-of goofy image that plays in with Rutledge's normal clown routine. But whoever planned this has obviously never ridden in one, because Rutledge is going to experience numbness, back pain, and leg cramping unlike anything he has ever experienced. I really wonder if after a few weeks he'll just jump in the car for the b-roll shots. I gotta give him an A for effort if he really sticks with it. OUCH.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just one thing...there is no car. No support vehicles, TV trucks...nothing.

Just two guys driving to six races in a motorcycle with a sidecar and meeting NASCAR fans along the way.

That's why I really like it.


PammH said...

I have tweeted Rut twice now to stop in my work town to have lunch!
Hope they would make my day!!!

SonicAD said...

Yeah I really like this. I'm also glad to see SPEED and TNT continue to work together really well on their coverage. They're truly partners in covering NASCAR, even if TNT is just there for a short period of the year and is part of a completely different corporation. I wish there could be this level of cooperation between ESPN and SPEED.

Unknown said...

JD- There has to be a support vehicle for at least part of the trip. If there isn't, who is taking video of them driving down the road or Rut getting into his rain gear under an overpass on the way to Pocono? I'm sure that most of the ride is solo, but someone has to be there to take video.

I am enjoying following their trips. Thanks to Kyle and Rutledge for twittering their adventures. I'm bummed that they won't be passing through my way on any of the trips.

Daly Planet Editor said...


As I mentioned in the original article on this issue, a TNT camera crew is meeting them near the track when they shoot a feature for the pre-race show.

On the way to Pocono, Kyle stopped at the Martin Guitar company.

The rest of the time it is just the video from the "lipstick cam" that is attached to the motorcycle.

I pushed the TNT guys to see if this was fake and they were clear that this was Kyle's idea and he was doing it all.

Should be interesting to see if it catches on like the charity ride.


Anonymous said...

I for one am glad to see Kyle make the most of his 'retirement' from racing. Too bad we don't get to see what TNT could do for more than six races.

The Track Girl said...

I am so going to try to catch him as he comes to California!

Alan Bedalien Truhern said...

Once again, I have to say that the FUN is back in NASCAR for me! I have been a fan for 40 years (I'm 43, so what does that tell you), and each day that draws closer to the race, I get excited! God Bless Kyle Petty, and kudos to Rutt for going the distance. On a side note, it's too bad Kyle doesn't work with his dad behind the scenes, and purchase outright Petty Enterprises. I'd hate to think that dinner with the folks is a bummer experience.
And NASCAR? Please allow TNT to cover the rest of the year when ESPN calls in sick on their coverage. Cough, cough...

majorshouse said...

I am glad to also see fun coming back into NASCAR. I think what Kyle is doing is great and wish that TNT could cover the racing all year long because after what i saw from Pocono, the rest of their season should be fun.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea and adds some fun. I wish there was more coverage of this and maybe the next few trips could have a support vehicle and a camera for more coverage.I hope FOX watches this carefully as TNT has really done their homework as to what fans really want.The Waltrip brothers constant spewing and poor attempts at humor are not fun, obviously TNT knows FUN and DRAMA.