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 SPEEDtv.com 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.