Sunday, July 5, 2009

Craven And Knaus Headline Monday Night

Update: Please feel free to post your comments on the Monday night TV shows on this post. Both the ESPN and SPEED shows addressed the same topics...they even used the same highlight piece!

After the fireworks of Saturday night, it will be up to the two Monday NASCAR TV shows to deal with the aftermath.

While the stars of Saturday were Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch, it will be ESPN's Ricky Craven and SPEED's Chad Knaus that will be the focus of Monday night's NASCAR TV.

Craven is up first at 5PM ET with NASCAR Now on ESPN2. The program will repeat at midnight. Allen Bestwick will be hosting and the other two panelists will be Randy LaJoie and reporter David Newton.

This should be an outstanding mix of personalities. Craven continues to be the top studio analyst of this season and ESPN is using him constantly. He worked with Nicole Manske on Saturday morning to kick-off the Coke Zero 400 preview shows and picked Kyle Busch to win. His style fits in completely with the ESPN culture.

Newton on the program should also be a huge bonus. He has been at the front of the Jeremy Mayfield saga since it started. He was the only ESPN reporter on NASCAR Now the day Mayfield won his temporary injunction. Hopefully, Newton will come with the information about Mayfield's team possibly heading for Chicago.

Randy LaJoie keeps the mood just light enough with his jokes and personality. He serves the same purpose as Kenny Schrader used to on SPEED. His view of things from a "common man" perspective is usually interesting and often humorous.

Bestwick has been tinkering with his control issues on this program for the past several weeks. Sometimes asking "agree or disagree" questions of his panelists is just not working. TV viewers need three complete opinions on an issue. It should be interesting to see if Bestwick introduces a topic and then steps back this week.

The Monday "roundtable" show should be focusing on a core group as the seventeen ESPN/ABC races approach. Craven has put himself first on the list, but the other two seats are up in the air. Ray Evernham is hot and cold, but seems to be the ESPN pick to fill the crew chief chair.

It may well be the combination of Marty Smith, Ryan McGee and Newton that fill the journalist chair down the stretch. While Mike Massaro has moved to a weekday hosting assignment, he is certainly missed on the Monday show.

Over on SPEED at 8PM, Chad Knaus is the new kid in town. In his first season on This Week in NASCAR, Knaus has gone from being intimidated to being amused by regular panelist Michael Waltrip's antics. That is a good thing. Another good thing is that TWIN also repeats at 9PM Pacific for West Coast viewers.

What Knaus brings to the panel is the perspective that had been lacking for many years and that is a crew chief's view. During his appearances, Knaus has been wonderful in relaying hardcore racing information to viewers between Waltrip singing, interrupting and promoting his causes. Knaus has grown into a very important part of this TV series.

Byrnes and company will be able to use their advantage of talking with two personalities that were actually involved in the racing. While ESPN depends on observations, SPEED can focus on the first-hand accounts of the two panelists.

Tuesday, Waltrip will be making an announcement about the future of MWR. SPEED has actually decided to carry it live at noon although that is not reflected on the website or at the MWR site. Should Waltip step aside from racing, it will be interesting to see if he returns to this program series for 2010.

Fans may have been talking about the new restart rules, Jeremy Mayfield and the Daytona finish but there are also other things on the TV agenda. ESPN televised a Nationwide Series race on Friday night and there were several good storylines to discuss.

Both programs have done a good job this season of including the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series in the highlights. This year more than ever before, that decision means a lot to the teams and sponsors.

TDP welcomes your comments on the two Monday shows. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

I've reached the conclusion that it is not a coincidence that the drivers that seem to work well with ESPN on the Monday roundtable are all out of the same fabric as AB. They have shared experiences in the old Busch North series and the Modifieds.

That may be how Steve Park, from Long Island, was added to the mix--ESPN found a formula that works in Bristol, CT.

Richard in N.C. said...

Ricky Craven's writing is just as good as his on camera performance. I continue to be impressed with him. I do think Tim Brewer has made a marked improvement this year and I have enjoyed seeing him on N-Now. I do believe Brewer is inclined to shoot more from the hip and is not quite as analytical as Ray E., who I also enjoy and almost always learn something from.

Anonymous said...

Well it will be neat to see how TWIN will get around NOT talking about Stewart. It seems that the studio will fall down if they give him any good press. But we can listen to MIKEY rattle on about stuff even the other two has no idea what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Im glad im not the only one to notice lack of stewat comments. infact the whole bit could have (or should) have been writen by me. thanks

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Glad to see that the ESPN show will not have Evernham this week, maybe I'll actually watch.

Anonymous said...

LaJoie seems wholly unprepared on the air - like he just walks in and answers what is asked of him. When that works, you get all the authenticity of his personality. But this is television, and that on-the-fly approach really doesn't seem to work very often. He needs to prepare for a show like this. It isn't an interview; he is a panelist, and there is a difference.

Ray Everham -- how does a guy who knows so much about winning be so milquetoast on the air? His analysis rarely ventures beyond the generic and his diplomacy keeps him from ever expressing a strong opinion on anything. I'm sure he has strong opinions on a variety of issues, but he seems reluctant to let it out on the air.

Rickey Craven has become totally polished and an excellent on-air personality. Now maybe if he could come off his own prep and loosen up a bit, he'd be the total package. I see him as the host of his own show or as a leading on-air personality (maybe a play-by-play man for a major network) at some point down the road.

I'm starting to like Mike Wallace on that show a lot more. He can be candid. Marty Smith I kinda like because he does bring info from the garage... but in my opinion his reputation has been completely sullied by his lack of reporting on the Mayfield story (if not his outright buddy-buddy routine with Mayfield at Lowe's) and so I don't like hearing from him as much lately.

I'd like to see more Ed Hinton on the show. I don't agree with him much, but he cuts loose.

And finally - how could I forget - one of NASCAR Now's all time BEST panelists: JENNA FRYER. Why hasn't this stellar AP reporter been on NASCAR Now more often? They used her quite a bit last year and she was great. She has opinions, she has the real first-hand info, she has reporter bonafides that Marty Smith could only hope for, and she has a sharp tongue. I love her and wish they would bring her in every week.

Sophia said...

I am also a major Tony Stewart fan and will not wash my TS Tshirt I had on Sat when he won Saturday night! He also won a couple weeks ago in a white T shirt I have. Maybe I will wear BOTH shirts for next laundered, one not. :)

Also I am getting an 8wk old rescue kitten today I am naming "Stewart"..after Tony and actor Jimmy...NOT stuartlittle movie character, Kitten is smoky gray with white feet. Nik might be "Smoke" just like TS if he is fast to run around house after I get him adjusted to other cats.He will stay separated until accepted by others.

TS better get some love tonight oN TWIN but I don't remember them not mentioning him before unless I am missing something in some of the posts?

Glad Knaus is on with Mikey and Steve.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:05AM,

NASCAR Now hosts "reporters roundtable" shows when the Sprint Cup Series has an off week. That is when you see non-ESPN employees on the program.

Unlike last year where tons of different characters came into the studio, Mondays have become about the ESPN NASCAR personalities.

Everyone from Kenny Wallace to Bill Elliott used to guest on the show, but now it has become more focused on a driver, crew chief and journalist.

When they lost Mike Massaro to his hosting duties, the show took a hit. Craven, Evernham and Massaro presented a very good panel.

Look for Craven and a lot more of Evernham. Third seat? No clue.


Newracefan said...

TWIN should be interesting JJ came in second and poor Reut and Mikey got crashed (I am sure Mikey thought the out come would be much better, I certainly did):(

NN Ricky Craven is fantastic and I for one would be happy to see him every week. Ray may become more opinionated as he gets further away from that ownership hat, he is at his best when he goes all crew chief on us. Just keep him away from the cut away car, that is NOT why I watch this show, I watch Nascar Performance for that info or practice not NN. Marty is always welcome but I get why he doesn't want to go up there every Monday. This should be a fun Monday night.

I will have the DVR running Tuesday to see what Mikey has to say, granted I am not sure why he rates but way to go Speed for acknowledging a guy who has been there with you from the beginning

MRM4 said...

Some of these shows do hate to give Stewart any praise. It would be interesting to see how the Fox broadcast would have gone had they called Saturday's race instead of TNT. Maybe I need to check out TWIN tonight

The Loose Wheel said...

If you've ever listened to Ray on SIRIUS you know he can let it all hang out there. I feel like its a comfort thing for Ray on TV. He is still finding the boundaries to what he can or can't say, or can or can't do. Once he does he will prove dynamic indeed.

I dunno, SIRIUS is nice because you aren't limited to what you can talk about and many times they go off on tangents which is fun. Ray on TWIN would be really cool.

Vicky D said...

I like the group on Nascar Now. One show several months ago just had Mike Massaro in the studio and Randy LaJoie offsite and it worked really well. If I recall, Mike didn't stumble over any words a complaint of mine about him. Also, I think Randy finds out background stuff that no one else does maybe just by listening to the guys in the shop that he knows so well or even probably worked for him at one time. I also like Ricky but sometimes he comes across maybe a little too slick.

Karen said...

Randy LaJoie doesn't appeal to me in the least. He is very unprepared and it shows.

Anonymous said...

It feels like David Newton is on his own island. He seemed detached from the group at the beginning, adding a sentence or two.

Ricky and Randy work very well together. I think Ray Evernham or Marty Smith should end up in the third seat.

I don't like the way highlights were organized (so far). We spend 5 minutes replaying the last lap crash, then 10 seconds of Martin's spin, 10 seconds of Casey Mears' spin & Newton says Dale Jr. is done in the Chase. There could be so much more discussion, but those topics were just skimmed.

Dot said...

I liked the panel today on NN. I agree with Anon 5:25 about David Newton. Maybe TV makes him nervous that's why he does print. As long as Boris isn't on, I'm happy.

phiI also agree with Anon about the race coverage. Didn't we have that same issue w/TWIN? I understand why they would show the finish first this week but, they should show it in order.

Will comment later on TWIN.

Anonymous said...

Michael Waltrip IS the reason I watch TWIN faithfully each Monday night. I miss Allen Bestwick but Steve Byrnes is a good fit for the panel and Chad & Greg Biffle are good choices too.
The ESPN show is too disjointed for me, and although AB is there, I refuse to watch anything with Ray Evernham. I know they were trying to recreate the old Inside Nextel Cup (IWC) but it would be impossible to do without Michael and Schrader.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I thought Chad took control and was the most outspoken I have ever seen him on this show.

He did not stop talking when MW tried to interrupt and kept making his point until he got it across.

This may be a moment for this series, but one thing is for sure. Knaus needs to be a regular, regardless of Biffle's status.

Knaus has the info, MW has the entertainment and Byrnes directs traffic...nice combo for TV.


Dot said...

TWIN talked about Tony a lot tonight. Mikey even defended his "move of the race". TWIN always cracks me up. I know it would never be the same without Mikey. I honestly think he'll still be on it. I'm hoping anyway.

I just re-read my earlier comment. No idea how "phil" got there. I gotta quit drunk commenting, lol.

@ JD 11:02, ditto.

The Loose Wheel said...

TWIN was funny tonight.

Really enjoyed it.

Mikey really had a good comment about Tony running the perfect last lap and setting his move up by blocking Denny and splitting those two up.

Chad really fits on this show quite well which surprises me but in a good way.

Speedcouch said...

I thoroughly enjoyed NASCAR Now last night! Ricky Craven continues to impress me with his insights. I particularly liked when he described how you can "feel" when a car pulls out from behind you at a plate track because of the change in the air. This is the kind of insight we'll never get from has-beens like Waltrip. I also really enjoyed the question Allen posed about how fans felt about the wreck Saturday night.

I'm with all of the guys on the panel that it truly frightened me. It's sad that so many people voting at ESPN said "loved it." They need to separate their hatred of Kyle Busch from their opinions. Wonder how they'd have felt if their favorite was the one getting bounced around like a pinball at 180 mph?

The Monday night show remains the best (and only) "talk" show I watch these days. There is no screamming KW or Spencer and no obnoxious fans trying to get on TV - just plain talk by guys who are articulate and intelligent.

Speedcouch said...

I didn't realize much of this thread was about "Michael" Waltrip when making my comments about NN. When I spoke about lack of insights from "Waltrip," I meant Darrell. Just comparing him in the booth to what a fabulous job Ricky Craven would do on a race broadcast. Not that we'll ever get rid of DW, but I can dream...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting observation about Marty Smith and his Jeremy Mayfield coverage. I actually was surprised that he wasn't outside the courthouse at the Mayfield trial. I work in television at the local level, so it's not in NASCAR. I wonder if Marty has anything to do with whether he's at the track or at any events? A lot of times it's a producer's decison. Marty is a great reporter. I personally don't like Jenna Fryer at all. I think she's terrible on television, and her stories are always focused on NASCAR's side of things. Maybe we should ask Marty (or JD???) about whether Marty or someone else made these decisions before you judge his work. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I thought TWIN was great last night.

I loved CK true emotions showing through when he said if he had more time he would scan KyB.

Mikey saying the 14 was holding cervix was a riot.

Dannyboy said...

I don't know what prompted the remarks that TWIN won't talk about Tony. What's up with that?

Michael couldn't stop raving about Tony's last lap moves!

Sorry if there was too much giggling [snork].

Newracefan said...

I laughed so much during TWIN I kept having to back up the DVR because I wanted to hear every word. I would pay money for the part they didn't show on TV, every time they came back from commercial they were laughing. It was a fantastic show. Yes I caught the back hurting retiring comment, I also like the idea of Chad and Steve conspiring to try and get Mikey to spill some of the info.

NN wasn't bad either and I found it interesting that they had post crash interviews from several drivers that we never saw on TNT, what's up with that (middle of the race crashes). Newton's comment regarding Kyle's lack of post race comment spoke volumes. Ricky's insight just impresses me more and more each day.I appreciated the Mayfield info which belonged on NN, it doesn't belong on TWIN IMO. I liked the comparing of Jeremy's issue with a driver that has had a head injury, I'm not sure Ricky knew how he wanted to handle it but he stepped up, how can you not respect the guy.

Andrew S. said...

Randy LaJoie keeps the mood just light enough with his jokes and personality. He serves the same purpose as Kenny Schrader used to on SPEED. His view of things from a "common man" perspective is usually interesting and often humorous.

Why use an imitator when the real thing is available???