Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TV Shows Point To Goodyear For Great Sonoma Race

The Monday TV shows were full of smiling faces for the first time in a very long time. No one had to talk about another boring COT race. No one had to explain NASCAR's drug policy or the start-and-park problem. Sonoma had single-handedly turned the momentum of the sport around in one day.

Now, it was going to be up to ESPN and SPEED to recap the race and send the fans toward the next weekend with a good feeling. Allen Bestwick led Ricky Craven, Mike Wallace and Ray Evernham into this discussion on NASCAR Now.

Bestwick keeps a quick pace and this week the show had no guest. It was up to the four guys in the studio to work their way through all the topics. Evernham was excited for his former driver Kasey Kahne and it showed. Evernham also did a good job of explaining the very different road course strategy that Kahne's crew used to win in a stand-alone segment with Bestwick.

Craven continues to be the top studio analyst this season and once again he set the tone for the panel. Wallace provides the good humor and Evernham the strategy, but it is Craven who continues to offer the best perspective. One of his topics after Sonoma was winning.

"There obviously needs to be more emphasis put on winning," said Craven about The Chase for the Championship standings. He was reacting to JP Montoya and others admitting that they were points racing at Sonoma. Craven wanted to encourage more drivers to run like Kyle Busch and always go for the win.

"I would take the top twelve drivers who won a race and that would be my Chase," continued Craven. "You have to put the emphasis on winning. Fans loved the last ten laps of the All-Star race. Give them what they want."

Where the good Sonoma racing was concerned, Craven credited Goodyear for bringing a tire that stayed consistent and allowed for hard racing.

Steve Byrnes referenced some of Craven's ESPN comments on SPEED's This Week in NASCAR program later on Monday. Byrnes is a good historian and wanted fans to understand just how special and important having NASCAR's top series visit New England really was. It is their Daytona 500.

Byrnes was joined by Michael Waltrip who had done TV work for SPEED in Milwaukee and not traveled to Sonoma. Waltrip was still bothered by the Sunday comments of TNT's Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach that fuel mileage would come into play at the road course. Waltrip had finally watched a Sprint Cup Series race on TV and now he had some opinions to express.

Sunday on Twitter Waltrip had typed "TV people don't always get it. The only way fuel mileage becomes a factor is if the caution comes out during the round of last pit stops. If there isn't a caution during that time (about 5 laps) the fuel thing I've heard for the last 3 hrs. don't matter. Get it?"

"It's a race," Twittered Waltrip. "They (TV folks) make a very small part of what might happen the biggest story. Percentage wise, its not a story."

On Monday's TWIN he continued to vent. "I would rather have a fast car with bad fuel mileage than a slow car that can go a long ways," he said. "Going into the race that is all I heard about watching on TV, fuel mileage. Chances are, you are not going to get bitten."

Those were some rather interesting comments about the TNT crew from someone who works in the same capacity on the Camping World Truck Series for SPEED.

Chad Knaus was on the expert panel this week and he was the perfect person to fill in the gaps left by Waltrip's TV viewing. Knaus and his detail-oriented comments really helped many aspects of the actual racing to be explained. Knaus also backed-up Craven's comments that the Goodyear tire was a key factor in the good racing.

Knaus endured some good-natured ribbing about his driver Jimmie Johnson making contact with several cars during the race. That brought-up a good conversation about the crew chiefs having to keep their options open, even on a long road course.

Both TWIN and NASCAR Now took the time to show Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series highlights which is a great decision. This year, both of these series need as much TV help as possible to get through the season. Hopefully, this practice will continue.

Since Bestwick and Byrnes took over their respective TV shows, Mondays have become a fascinating exercise in watching basically the same highlights and information be offered to NASCAR fans in two very different ways.

Next Monday, the NASCAR Now roundtable will welcome former Cup driver and New England native Steve Park as a panelist. He will be joined by Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer. Unfortunately, the original airing of the show will be at midnight due to tennis from Wimbledon. TWIN returns at 8PM with Greg Biffle joining Steve Byrnes and Michael Waltrip.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. Just click the comments button below to add your opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


sunnydoozer said...

Several cars? Embillishing a bit, there TDP?

Dot said...

I enjoyed both shows tonight. I watched NN via DVR. I really liked all the love Marcos got on NN. I didn't like the Carl & Kyle Show reference though. They must quit saying that.

What happened to Boris today? And next week? Not that I miss him or anything.

stricklinfan82 said...

I have to respectfully disagree with Michael Waltrip's thoughts that everyone makes too big a deal of fuel mileage at the road course races.

On Sunday every single crew chief other than Scott Speed's used the "play the race backwards, pit as soon as your window opens to hopefully catch a caution" strategy. That's every single crew chief but one, and I still don't know what that one was thinking. He apparently wasn't watching the Glen last year when Dale Jr. got burned by Tony Jr. being the only crew chief that didn't play that game, or he just wanted to get that unsponsored car some TV time, I don't know.

To me that certainly made fuel mileage THE story of this race and makes it the story of every NASCAR road course race.

To completely ignore the whole field playing that same backwards fuel mileage game because you think a caution "probably won't come out during that window" would be incredibly irresponsible by the TV networks, and every crew chief but one certainly agreed on Sunday.

I absolutely hate watching that backwards fuel mileage game play out in every single road course race but unfortunately it's a reality that can't be ignored. That "rare yellow flag during the window" happened again on Sunday. Robby Gordon, Martin Truex, and John Andretti got burned. Had that yellow come out one lap earlier Tony Stewart and Marcos Ambrose would have been toast as well. A couple laps earlier and Kasey Kahne would have never had a prayer to win that race.

Karen said...

You could tell by the absolute heartbreak on Robbie Gordon's face, his fuel mileage strategy was ruined by that caution that "probably wouldn't come out."

Kenn Fong said...


When are the two Monday programs recorded? I was surprised that neither show talked about the reports from MikeMulhern.net and Sirius Satellite radio that RPM that Kasey Kahne will be driving the #9 Toyota as early as July 11 in Chicago. RPM and Dodge are negotiating settlement of an unpaid sponsorship debt, and once that amicable settlement is reached, the #9 will become a Toyota.

Of course I could have missed it.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Karen said...

That would be Robby Gordon.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Are you talking about the points racing issue? It was Bestwick that said Montoya and several others. I think he kind of knows what he is talking about.


Daly Planet Editor said...


ESPN has been very good this season with saying things when they are proven to be correct. It is one of the biggest changes in this show and has been a positive.

I think those issues will be addressed during the week with Massaro if and when the staff gets the facts.


Daly Planet Editor said...


Thanks, I was hoping someone would get that reference.


50 yr. fan said...

Said didn't have time to show up
as he is still apoligizing to
everyone he wrecked on Sunday.
Leave him off TV. He doesn't
have Cup credentials.

bryanh said...

If MW is so smart about road courses, why has he never won one. I think he is at 750+ races with 3 wins. He should Tivo his truck broadcasts, and look at his self serving, and sponsor plugs before he says its a race to TNT. He gets so off track sometimes, we don't know whats happening in the race.

BToS JD said...

NASCAR NOW - There are times during the panel discussion that I would prefer to actually see the panel members vice a multi-repeat of highlights from the race.

Panel shows are more effective when you can see facial expressions to go along with their comments.

One time the panel has a humorous discussion and with all evidently smiling and we're watching repeat race highlights.

Monday panel discussions on NASCAR NOW have become a favorite of mine; and this from a non ESPN fan!

Dot said...

@ 50 yr old fan, I didn't think of that. Too funny. And, I agree with you about his lack of credentials.

Zieke said...

Heh, Waltrip would rather have a fast car than a fuel mileage one. The only thing he could do with a fast car is make it a slow one!! Thank goodness he is'nt on TV any more than he is. Great job ,TNT, on the Sonoma race. I recommend you start your broadcasts with the Daytona 500.

dannyboy said...

Re "bryanh" comments about MW as an expert commentator:

Michael Waltrip has FOUR Cup wins, not three as you wrongly stated, and he is one of only EIGHT drivers who've won the Daytona 500 more than once.

At road courses he has THREE career top 5s and EIGHT top 10s, most of which were at Sonoma where he finished 4th just three years ago. I think he's more than qualified to comment on ANY NASCAR race.

I find his insights informative and entertaining, a combination that escapes most NASCAR expert commentators.

PS to JD: I checked ESPN2 from about 8pm until after midnight and didn't see NASCAR NOW because they were replaying the US Open.

Vicky D said...

I got the impression from NN that there was "anger" between some of the panelists. I think it was between Craven & Evernham. But Mike Wallace brought up a great point about Kyle Busch and I think it had to do with his attitude (again). Chad was on top of his game on TWIN but Mikey was a riot counting the shifts at Infineon. I enjoyed both shows.

Smiff_99 said...

Sorry TDP, but Steve Park's from New York....which isn't part of New England.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Smiff, no love for Long Island? Come on now!

Anonymous said...

Don't insult New England with Long Island!!!!! He says with a grin

Newracefan said...

I missed most of the racing this weekend so I was watching the replays without seeing the original. NN was informative and I really like the input from Ray and Ricky, Mike was OK and AB is the man. TWIN was hilarious and it's where I got my what went on with Jimmie fix since I did not have his scanner up until the last 5 laps. Glad I missed that he spun Reut I might have had some conflict of interest issues but Mikey busting on Chad was great. NN gave me the highlights TWIN gave me the fun.

cvt said...

When I watch the road course races on NASCAR tv, whether the pre-race or race itself, the broadcasters would have you believe the "road course ringers" were Michael Schumacher.

Enough already.

The Gordons and Stewart, Mark Martin and a few other regulars know how to drive road courses. JPM has won at Monaco, Monza(TWICE) and Silverstone.

Please,when we get to the Glen,give it a rest.

Unknown said...

Ricky Craven said what I've been complaining about for a long time. The Chase does nothing but promote points racing, and not real racing. Does anyone here think that if there was more to winning that Tony Stewart would have played follow the leader with Kasey? Heck no. He would have raced his butt off and tried to win outright. But instead of taking a chance of spinning out, Stewart just bided his time so as not to lose points for the Chase.

Dot said...

@ darbar, I agree with you.

Here's what the Emperor needs to do to liven things up. Get rid of the Chase, right now. Then, just when they're at the last 10 races, he says,"just kidding".

We'd get to see the drivers tear up the tracks and each other in the meantime.

Points racing has been going on for years. It's always been about consistency. Which isn't a bad thing, IMO. Just more so to get/stay in the top 12.

@ nrf, I watch both shows for the same reason you stated.

I also want to mention. I learned something by reading TDP. I Googled "New England". It does not include NY. All this time I thought it consisted of that entire corner of the country.