Monday, June 1, 2009

Shifting TV Gears

The excited voice of Mike Joy was prominent in the Monday Sprint Cup Series highlights of both NASCAR Now and This Week in NASCAR. It may well be the last time viewers hear Joy until the end of the season TV review shows. NASCAR on Fox has left the building.

In its place, the gang from TNT will combine with SPEED to cover the next six Sprint Cup Series weekends. SPEED will handle the practice and qualifying while TNT will cover the races. One signal that the gears are shifting in TV land appeared Monday on Twitter.

Kyle Petty, the TNT color analyst, announced that he will be riding his motorcycle to all six of the TNT races. While this might not normally get a lot of attention, Petty added that his motorcycle also has a sidecar. In that sidecar, driving to all the TNT races, will be SPEED's Rutledge Wood.

Add a video camera, throw-in meeting NASCAR fans along the way and this little three-wheeled summer drive might make for some fun times and great publicity for TNT. Petty and Rutledge are all over Twitter and there is no doubt that service will play a key role in this project. There will be more information about this litte escapade coming during the week.

Last week we discussed TNT's RaceBuddy online application. Just announced is that PRN's Jim Noble will be the pit reporter working exclusively for the Internet audience. RaceBuddy is free to all broadband computer users. Click here for the story.

Monday saw Ricky Craven anchor the panel of NASCAR Now with Allen Bestwick as the host. Although Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer were also on the show, it was once again Craven offering the timely and thoughtful comments. The race reviews were solid, but Craven also took a moment to back-up fellow broadcaster Mike Joy.

In the Nationwide and CWTS highlights, the video showed Kyle Busch making his now famous runs from the media after the races where he does not win. Just like Joy on the Fox telecast, Craven said it was time for the younger Busch to grow-up. Unlike Joy, Craven expounded on his statement and drove home the point.

Craven's concern was the fact that Busch left Joey Logano standing on pit road being interviewed on national TV while firmly believing he caused teammate Busch to lose the race. Dave Burns of ESPN put Logano on the spot and it was clear the young driver was deeply upset. In fact, one moment of Busch's time on TV would have explained that Busch had a tire going down and Logano had nothing to do with the real problem. Sometimes, it's not all about you.

Craven has emerged this season as a force in the studio for ESPN. His appearances on the Sunday preview and Monday review shows have changed the entire dynamic of those programs. In late July, ESPN will add a Sunday night one-hour version of NASCAR Now. Putting Craven in a position to appear on all three shows would be a strong move.

Later Monday evening, it was Chad Knaus on This Week In NASCAR joining Michael Waltrip and host Steve Byrnes. This was a unique show, as Knaus won at Dover and Waltrip's driver David Reutimann won the week before in Charlotte. The irony was that a rain-delayed Monday race had cancelled TWIN on the week MWR finally won.

This trio is the right one for this show and once again the combination of information and fun worked well. Knaus really settled-in to this series once he figured out that Waltrip was basically harmless. That is a concept that Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers and Dave Despain have never grasped. Byrnes and Knaus enjoy kidding Waltrip even as he continues his stream of consciousness rambling about everything and anything under the sun.

This show has allowed viewers a peek inside the mind of the top crew chief in the sport and it has been well worth it. Knaus gets it, whether he is talking technical about a track or describing why he made changes on his race car at the last event. Fellow panelist Biffle is a great guy, but having two drivers on the show normally results in two versions of the very same commentary.

On this Monday Waltrip begged for a plane ride to Texas, took a shot at Helio Castroneves by talking about his off-shore accounts and sang a song by the Eagles. All this while wearing running shoes and quarter socks. If SPEED can talk Knaus into appearing regularly, things will only get better for fans of TWIN.

One final media note. Clint Bowyer's former girlfriend and professional model Athena Barber will be joining the cast of 3 Wide Life next month as a correspondent and segment host. This show already includes former NASCAR bad boy Shane Hmiel and local Charlotte area entertainment reporter Brittney Cason. The 3 Wide Life website has the list of stations and regional sports networks where the series is carried.

TDP welcomes your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Ziggy said...

Although I'm a huge Mikey fan I just wish he would not interupt Chad's thought process. Just when you think you'll be hearing some interesting details from Chad up pops MW with some crazy comment.

Otherwise it's a fast 60 minute show.

Anonymous said...

I know Brad Daugherty used to be a famous basketball player. I know he is from North Carolina and is a longtime fan of the sport. I also know that he owns racing teams.

But can someone tell me why, oh why, is this man considered an analyst? His so-called analysis is so shallow, that he comes across more like an over enthusiastic newbie fan rather than someone who really knows what he is talking about. The other panelists (not just on NASCAR Now but on ESPN's pre-race and other NASCAR-releated broadcasts) are able to meld their personal experiences with precise observation and create interesting commentary. Meanwhile, everytime the camera cuts to Brad he gets all excited, and raises his voice, and sometimes flails his limbs around -- but it is all bluster because he really doesn't add very much.

Tim Brewer made a joke about even a blind bird getting some feed every now and again at the top of the show when Brad was crowing about his Jimmie Johnson pre-race pick. It was a friendly gag, and everyone had a good laugh -- but you couldn't help think that the inspiration for the joke was Brewer sitting there thinking that this know-nothing was crowing on about how he can pick winners while the two panelists who are real racers were sitting their politely listening. I mean, it was funny because it was true, right?

Anonymous said...

You are 100% right about Ricky Craven anchoring the show. He is becoming even more polished than Bestwick.

One thing I've noticed is that the NASCAR Now panelists all have a stack of papers in front of them, but of course none of them ever really look at them. I've always wondered if they are just a prop. But I tell you what, I bet the papers in front of Craven have a lot of info on them. He is the only guy who seems prepared. I am sure there is a pre-race meeting where they go over the topics and order of things they will cover. Craven is the only guy who looks like he got that info ahead of time, sat down and really thought about the segments in question and issues, formulated his thoughts, made them concise, and then got them just right before he was even asked the question. The other guys look like they just show up to talk NASCAR, which is fine - but there is no on-air polish. And if I am wrong and Craven is giving these answers off-the-cuff, it's all the more impressive.

He seems to have the organization, clarity, vocabulary, experience, knowledge, and temperment to not only one day be a great color analyst like most drivers, but a great play-by-play announcer.

Matt said...

I actually thouhgt Brewer was somewhat impressive tonight. While I HATE his Tech Center reports, when given the chance to sit in the analyst's chair, he's pretty decent.

I would love to see Craven in the booth for a Nationwide race or two. His spot-on commentary and willingness to take on tough topics would be a welcome addition.

Sophia said...

I only heard bits and pieces of NN as I had the tv on in the kitchen while making a quick dinner.

I MISSED the best comment about Kyle Busch needing to GROW UP or man up to losing. Geez, much like Earnhardt can't help the media always on him, neither can the hyped Logano. I TRULY felt for that young man when I saw the post race interview, thinking he not only wrecked Kyle but was probably going to get "WHAT FOR" from the arrogant, self absorbed shrub.

THIS is why it's hard to appreciate KB. He thinks the world revolves around him. This is not his first year at the rodeo and he should be able to take it like a man when he loses. I am sorry about poor widdle old Kyle. He hogs all three series to get the spotlight. I am sick of him ruining my enjoyment of the truck races.

Man. I know a NASCAR fan of 20 years and he said he has disliked many drivers over the years but NEVER with the powerful disdain he has for Kyle Busch. Just looking at his demeanor gets his hackles up and I have felt that way for a long time. Glad it's not just me.

TWIN, I was distracted and missed some good bits that made Chad laugh out loud and will catch the repeat. But like we've said before, I enjoy Mikey but JUST ONCE, let Chad FINISH his story??

Had I known Chad was going to be on I might've emailed to ask him to finish his story last week about the time he got in a race car. I saw Biff listed as the guest on Twin but then got an email that Biffle's radio show would not be online tonight due to testing, so wondered if he would leave this AM and miss Twin. (never heard his radio show as the time I signed up they had traffic problems, yet I still got the email so that was ok)

I enjoy TWIN but they really need to keep a pair of socks handy so Chad can put them in Mikey's mouth until CHAD can FINISH a complete thought. :)

I'm just sayin' . .

Dot said...

I usually watch TWIN via DVR. Tonight I'm watching live. When did SPEED Rip start? I glanced over at the TV when I heard Rick Allen, saw the graphic and thought I read SPEED R.I.P.. I thought it died!!! Anyway, I like that racing blurb.

I thought Biff was on. So glad Chad is on instead. I so like him. Mikey does need to let him finish his stories. Mikey was funny as usual. Double file @ Pocono, shhhhhh.

Can't wait to see NN. I too, like Ricky. He's pretty insightful considering he hasn't driven a COT. But, I guess driving is driving.

I agree with Anon 10:37 about Brad. I like him but I have wondered why he's there myself. It makes sense if he's offering an owners viewpoint, other than that I or any other Planeteer could sit at the round table.

I can't wait to see Kyle Petty. He was wonderful on RD & VL. Jimmy needs to watch out. KP's at the track anyway, isn't he?. Will he still do N Smarts?

A little OT. Rick H looked a little puffy on VL last night. Is he OK?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Saying Mikey, is basically harmless on TV is a stretch. My take would be extremely lightweight, & fake.
Unfortunately for 42 other drivers, he's anything but harmless on the track. This clown needs to go.......but please not to TV.


majorshouse said...

I love seeing Ricky Craven on tv and wonder why he is not the play by play announcer because he is so polished and knows his stuff and having him with DJ and Andy would be one awesome crew. I definitely love his comment about KB needing to grow up because I have felt the same way for a while about baby brat. I cannot pull for him because of his horribly arrogant and hateful attitude.
I watched a little of TWIN and jsut could not stomach the supidity of MW and think like older brother DW, he needs to leave tv.

Vicky D said...

Nascar Now & TWIN last night were great. I liked Craven's comment of Busch and leaving Logano alone on pit road. There was more about those 2 than the eventual winner. They don't need Biffle on TWIN but maybe another person who can rein in MW would do fine. Maybe Schrader back.

Anonymous said...

"Biffle is a great guy, but having two drivers on the show normally results in two versions of the very same commentary."

I don't know if that's entirely fair. I'm thinking particularly about Biffle's comments after last fall's Talledega race. He was quite outspoken about the yellow line controversy and his comments proved to be prophetic. Look, I enjoy Mikey but a lot of time he's just too busy waving his NASCAR pompoms to offer that kind of criticism.

Also, I like Brad Daughtery. I'm fairly new to NASCAR watching, and sometimes, the world of racing announcers, show hosts, analysts and reporters seems so insular. I love that Daughtery is an NBA guy -- he has a wider frame of reference than just racing (think drug-testing issue) and, I think, he has a way of being able to appeal to fans like me who can get tired of the same old lineup of ex-crew chiefs/drivers/tire-changers etc.

Anonymous said...

This is why I watch these shows, That point by Ricky Craven about Kyle Busch leaving Joey Logano hanging on pit road was right on. Logano acted like a man and Bush like a spoiled little boy. This comment needed to be made and as usual Craven hit the nail right on the head. Mike Joy took a shot at this issue and did a pretty good job, but Craven's right on the money comments show why he should be used more. In my mind he continues to give by far the best and most thoughtful commentary on the toughest issues.

jamie in nc said...

i enjoy three wide life. it would be nice if they had higher quality cameras. but i can live with that. the main thing that irks me about the show is how britney cason 'flirts' with the camera. you're hott. we know it. do the read straight.

Anonymous said...

Imagine this, Mike Joy and Ricky Craven in the FOX booth next year.That is what FOX should do. I know DW and Larry drive away viewers because they drive me away. Craven on the other hand, as shown in this last show is smart, knowledgeable, witty. Everything you need in the booth. No agenda's either.This is my wish and I know it would help ratings.There are some people who are just good, and he's one of them. Unlike DW who is loved and hated, people really warm up to Ricky, a very underused asset.

Anonymous said...

As painful as it can be some time, I always watch NN and Twin.I used to be critical of Brad,but he's come a long way. I'm very tired of Petty and Mikey having listened to Kyle for years on 'Paint'. Mikey just needs to go away. Every week, his rookie teamates make him look bad, and every week he wastes our time on Twin making excuses for his poor performance. Last night,Twin had a more serious tone to it with a minimum of nonsense. Biffle,too has come a long way. Two drivers on Twin is not a problem for me,but I'm not sure Kenny S. is the answer. I'm not here to carry water for Kyle Busch, but some of the fans amuse me. I don't know how many of the fans ever played Sports or drove a race car, but its usually not a lot of fun to be in the locker room of a team that has just lost. Kyle doesn't like losing,but doesn't lash out at people or run his mouth on TV. The Kyle haters have a poor memory. Just look at the endless stunts Tony Stewart has pulled (and has been penalized for) in the last few years. He took a swing at a photographer, there was an incident with a couple of fans. He went off on a tirade in front of the cameras about Elliot Sadler and David Guililand saying some really vile things. Routinely, he too was 'unavailable for comment' after poor finishes. I'm not picking on Tony,there are others. I just don't recall the fans or media dumping on him.Even Earnhardt Sr disappeared after a poor finish.Biffle punted his teamate Edwards out of the way Sunday. Rousch drivers are constantly beating on each other but I don't recall people wondering if explanations or apologies were made. My point is, treat all the drivers the same.

Zieke said...

Thanks Anon. 9:48. You said it all for me. I've been railing on the Waldrips for yrs. and just when I think they can't get any worse, they DO. Altho I like Petty and Wally, Craven and Mike Joy doing a race might be quite good...

Anonymous said...

I love that Daughtery is an NBA guy

Funny, I prefer a NASCAR guy to talk NASCAR.

Would you like to see Larry Mac doing analysis at an NBA game?

Anonymous said...

Hey, y'all, TWiN is Michael's show.

He's been on it for ten years.

If you don't like it, don't watch.

But don't say he needs to be off it. Someone of us have been watching it for a long time and we like Michael.

Deborah said...

I agree with anon at 8:31, I'm puzzled by the comment about Biffle as I've thought that in the past when he's been on the show he's often offered up a different perspective from Michael's. Michael is an owner/driver, Biffle's just a driver and Chad's a crew chief - it seems to me that makes for diverse perspectives and opinions but it has to be expected that sometimes they're going to see things the same way too.

I thought TWiN was really good last night, and I enjoyed hearing both Michael and Chad talk about their respective team's wins. I also thought it was interesting that Michael openly said so strongly that two blown engines on the #55 in three races is unacceptable since they get their engines from TRD - have to wonder what kind of discussions there might be between MWR and TRD this week.

OSBORNK said...

"Hey, y'all, TWiN is Michael's show.

He's been on it for ten years.

If you don't like it, don't watch.

But don't say he needs to be off it. Someone of us have been watching it for a long time and we like Michael."

That's exactly what I did. Both Waltrips are big mouthed walking infomercials.

Tracy D said...

"Imagine this, Mike Joy and Ricky Craven in the FOX booth next year."

Wow, what a cool idea! I've been saying for ages that Craven is the Man. I really pay attention whenever he's on the screen.

TWIN was hilarious at the beginning. I think Mikey gives Chad a laugh he can use every time he's on the show. I too respect Biffle - the man tells it as he sees it, no punches pulled. Like Craven.

Why has there been no indepth discussion as to the issue of whether or not a prescription drug, legally obtained, can violate Nascar's drug rules? I know the court has ruled the parties involved in the Mayfield litigation have to keep quiet about the details, but the bigger issue needs to have some light on it.

Leave Mayfield out of the equation. Will using Adderall (or any other prescription drug that has amphetimines, etc.) kick you out of the sport? Is that why Jon Wood went off his ADHD prescription?

Sadie said...

I watch TWiN because of Michael Waltrip. He is the show. Chad, Steve & Greg are great too, but if Michael wasn't there, the show wouldn't be there either. Keep up the good work boys!!

Sorry, I don't watch the other show.

Dannyboy said...


Speaking of "two versions of the same commentary" - I happened to catch the last 35 minutes of NN after TWIN, and was dismayed to find that the Scanner features on NN and TWIN WERE VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL! What's up with that?

Also I am so "done with" those pre-produced segments by the NASCAR MEDIA GROUP. Yes, they do a good job editing and presenting them, but very little real information is conveyed. Sure, we're reminded who won the last few races at so-and-so track, but I thought the program was "THIS WEEK in NASCAR".
to me they are just time-fillers.

SOPHIA: I recall Chad DID finish his story about the time he drove a race car: he wrecked, and he said that was the last time he drove. Things happen fast on that show, and everyone talks over each other at times, not just Mikey. That is one reason I like the "wide shot" of the old IWC show - you can see what each person is saying and catch a lot more info. But modern TV directors/producers are too in love with "closeups" anymore. NN is a bit better on this than TWIN.

Finally, I too watch TWIN FOR MICHAEL WALTRIP. I'm a guy, and I don't have a "man-crush" on him. I find him cleverly insightful while hilariously entertaining, a combination that is apparently lost on some.

NASCAR NOW is a good show, but is trying to be too much like the stick-and-ball shows of the network. They are definitely finding themselves, and last night's show proved it. BTW, while it is obvious Brad Daugherty is on the show for "diversity", he also fits the stick-and-ball prototype that ESPN is pushing. Last night he made a great case defending Joey Logano against criticism of his interaction with the Shrub.


Sophia said...


SO AGREE about modern tv obsessed with CLOSE UPS. I missed the old show where the three sat closer together, too. BAD camera work on TWIN

majorshouse said...

I think that a crew of Mike Joy and Ricky Craven replacing DW would be totally awesome. Ricky is always well prepared and has no hidden agendas or is trying to hype or seel something and for that matter puts Ky "Baby Brat" Bush in his right ful place too. I am sick of hearing about Digger and KB and the announcers especially DW trying to give him the race at the drop of the green flag, that is fluffy entertainment and not good racing analysis and Mikey is just as bad as his older brother.

Steve said...

So much I could say here but let me boil it down to one issue. TWiN may be "Mikey's show", but I'm really getting sick of his brown nosing of NASCAR. He couldn't wait to let Chad finish accurately and succinctly explaining about why Greg Biffle went a lap down at one point (when a caution flew during a set of green flag pitstops) and the 48 did not. Biffle was confused about it (understandable, his comments were recorded right after the race), but Mikey jumped all over him to say that "we" (drivers) should never question NASCAR's decisions. Never? Yep, that's right. NASCAR has never made a bad call.

Boy I wish I could've been a fly on the wall when NASCAR gave Mikey his tongue lashing a couple of years ago during "Fuel-gate". I wonder what he promised the "powers that be" so that he was allowed to run the Daytona 500 that year...the first for his fledgling operation?

Anonymous said...

What I'm going to be interested in seeing is whether the green flag racing and the commercials will be similar on TNT as it's been on Fox. Being somewhat strange, I just re-ran a few of the Fox races and did a calculation of how many green flag laps they showed and then how many laps they missed, on average, showing commercials. For the most part, Fox would show, on average, 6 to 8 laps of green flag racing and then they would cut away to commercial, missing, on average 10 to 12 laps of green flag racing. When you add it all up, fans are missing more than half of the green flag laps per race. No wonder why fans are not watching. Why watch and miss half the race????

PammH said...

I can't wait to see the TNT booth tackles the Carl Long situation. It's CRIMINAL that his punishment was upheld.

Dot said...

@ Anon 6:09, there was a article on Jayski about this same thing. More yellows have been thrown this season than in the past.

And we wonder why we don't see the "debris".

@ PammH, I so agree. I'm sending him a donation. I hope others will too.

Unknown said...

Anon 6:09

I have kept an unoficial running tally over the past few years. Fox has always been about every 8 laps go to commercials for about 10 laps, unless it is a big track like dega, daytona or the road courses then they go usually go every 5 to 7 laps and stay out for 3 or so.

Tnt has always been good for commercials every 6 -8 laps no matter what the situation is on the track, cept the last 20 or so then it is a toss up.

Espn is hard to guage because i really dont watch them. On the wide races it is on tv but I am not caring, on the cup races last year I did hot pass 2nd 1/2 of season and avoided espn like the plague and am probably going to do it again this year. There is something just wrong with their broadcast team. They burned me badly the 1st season with rusty and since then I just cant handle listening or watching them for more than a few minutes.

Newracefan said...

I will hold my thoughts on the Rutledge on TNT, I tend to FF through his Raceday pieces but he does occasionally not make me cringe.

Ricky Craven is a fantastic addition to NN he is the polar opposite to Mikey (I like Mikey), I would rather see him take Rusty's place than DW's or with the NW races along side Ray Evernham and Marty Reid (sp?). He was right on the money with the Kyle comment, I can live with him not always wanting to talk after not winning but come on that's your team mate you left hanging, get a grip already.

TWIN was halarious, I was so excited to see Chad especially after seeing the Dover race in person. Yes I noticed Mikey's shoes I swear he does it on purpose. Greg does a fine job and does give a little different perspective but the balance between the serious crew chief and the wacky driver just works for me. I swear it was Chad that joined in with Mikey for that Eagle's song.

OT Mayfield's lawsuit is now going to federal court, this is just getting messier and messier

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments folks! Here are some things I can clear up a bit.

In terms of Biffle and Waltrip I was speaking in TV terms. Certainly, they will have some different opinions on the same topics, but the difference in having a crew chief and a driver is obvious.

Two completely different perspectives on the same topic as we have seen from Chad and Michael.

When Brad Daugherty was brought aboard ESPN three years ago, the network wanted someone of color and they wanted a person with NASCAR connections.

Daugherty is a current owner in the Sprint Cup Series, a lifelong fan and a someone who has campaigned at regional NASCAR races for years without fanfare.

I am sure we will be hearing more on the Carl Long and Jeremy Mayfield issues. We will try to keep an eye on the media issues associated with those stories.


majorshouse said...

I am not really sure what to think about the Carl Long issue. I heard his interview on NN tonight and he is definitely hurting and wonder why the engine that he brought was not checked out before it left the shop. I thought that Mike Masero did a great job as always with that interview and the rest of the show.

Ken-Michigan said...

Would someone please raise their hand if they are looking forward to the Petty / Rutledge "sidecar" reports ??

You gotta be kidding !!!

I find it totally amazing what these networks will approve to go on the air.

Does Mrs Petty know this is happening?

Could this be some sort of "romance" reality series for TNT with Petty & Rutledge ??

It might end up pulling HUGE ratings !!

Anonymous said...

TWIN is the best NASCAR show on the block. Nothing even comes close.