Monday, July 20, 2009

SPEED Tolerates Fifteen Minutes Of Darrell Waltrip

All the pieces were in place for some TV fun and fireworks. SPEED's Wind Tunnel on a Sunday night when both the Sprint Cup Series and the IRL were parked was a golden opportunity for some good discussion of motorsports topics.

Host Dave Despain was joined by SPEED's Robin Miller, who among other things is a great catalyst for conversation with his good questions and strong opinions.

NASCAR on Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip was a guest who has been quite popular in his Wind Tunnel appearances. Since SPEED lacks any other type of TV program where this type of conversation about NASCAR is allowed, Waltrip was the perfect guest to match wits with Despain and Miller.

Prior to the show, SPEED ran one hour of TV programming that featured policemen who drive big trucks to catch car thieves. Jacked was a series that already ran once on another national cable TV network. After Wind Tunnel, SPEED aired an hour of PINKS All Out. Finding a drag racer who does not know exactly what his car runs is impossible. It is the mission of PINKS to hide this fact at all cost.

Apparently, no thought was given to expanding the one hour of Wind Tunnel on this night. While Despain continues to take calls online after 10PM, SPEED returns to the lifestyle programming for which it is now infamous.

This idea of expanding the show had merit the moment that Dave Despain told Darrell Waltrip his two segments were done and the program had to move along. "Is the show over?" asked Waltrip after his fifteen minutes. "You mean the show's over?"

Those words may have been repeated by NASCAR fans who had tuned-in for a NASCAR TV fix on this Sunday from someone who was trying very hard to deliver just that. In a flash, Waltrip was shuffled off the show. In many ways, it was a statement of the situation SPEED finds itself in every single day.

Looking fresh and sounding up-to-date on NASCAR topics, Waltrip was candid in his brief remarks on several subjects. Where Jeremy Mayfield is concerned, Waltrip repeated the words said several times on this blog. "You have to follow the money," remarked Waltrip. "His career is ruined, so what would you say he would probably want? He would probably want a settlement. Maybe they will pay him to go away."

After a question from Robin Miller, Waltrip repeated an answer he gave during the Fox portion of the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has too many distractions and needs to limit his outside activities. "I believe his confidence is not there...he needs to just focus on driving that race car and you might see a difference."

"The COT is an old guy car," said Waltrip. He was talking about the success of Mark Martin this season. "It drives like a car from back in the 80's. This thing (COT) takes experience, it takes patience, you have to wait on this car. The young guys just don't like to wait on it."

"Look at Joey Logano," continued Waltrip. "He can go over in the Nationwide Series and run away with it. He gets in the Cup car and he is lost."

Perhaps the most surprising comments of the evening came from Waltrip on the subject of Kyle Busch. This season, like the last one, Waltrip was the champion of this driver during the Fox portion of the Sprint Cup Series. Apparently, those feelings have now changed and Waltrip did not mince words.

"He's a man in the car," said Waltrip of Busch. "But he is a brat outside the car. Somebody has to to get their arms around this kid. Even when he drove the #5 car and he made the Chase he fell flat on his face. You've got to have composure, you've got to be able to control your emotions."

After briefly addressing the potential Indy 500 participation of some current NASCAR drivers, Waltrip was done for the night. Miller and Despain are certainly open-wheel oriented guys, but Waltrip cut through the IRL clutter and was the star of the show.

More and more each passing day, the only location for long-form conversation about NASCAR is Sirius Satellite Radio. TV has dropped the ball completely. The marching orders of SPEED on the weekend are clearly competition-oriented. ESPN's NASCAR Now allows Ricky Craven brief comments on selected topics, but there is no real conversation in that tightly controlled environment.

The basic problem is that Sirius serves around 18 million subscribers while SPEED is available in 78 million homes. So, fifteen minutes of Darrell Waltrip may be the only candid conversation about NASCAR topics on SPEED for a very long time. At least it was interesting.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. 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.

To see the picture of a slightly younger Darrell Waltrip full-size, just click on it.


TexasRaceLady said...

That was a great show --- as long as it lasted.

Just as DW was getting good, they shut him up.

A magic opportunity was missed. Sad.

Sophia said...

So true this column and about SPEED.

The best darn show they have and it's ALWAYS a rush job. Tonight could've easily gone longer.

I guess SPEED giving WT EXTRA online is there way of giving us more. Sure but what about folks that want to watch on TV or don't have broadband?

Robin Miller's comment on Paul Tracy seeing replay late Sunday of Helio and his crash, was priceless. Can't remember if that was on TV or the Online extra. Miller was the best I'd seen just ENJOYING chatting with Dave. If only they could've had a couple of beers for the online show. :)

p.s. my word veri is
CHEAT! LOL. these things have been a scream lately.

Jimbacca said...

I would rather see 2 hours of WT on sunday then VL. Despain is under utilized to put it mildly. There are enough recap shows to make up for them.

That typed..
I really wish DW was like this all the time. Everytime he is just DW I remember why I like to hear him talk. Does fox just have him so clipped he's not allowed to be jaws? Honestly I could handle DW being DW all the time whenever he was on TV if he's like he is on WT.
It is a shame they cut it short. Just too much info to handle in just two short segments. If you put robin miller, Despain and DW on I could easily sit through 2 hours. They are just being honest and no PC bs messing up the message.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Just take a moment to think of the topics that were not covered.

This could have been a wonderful TV night for NASCAR fans. Instead, oh well...


Jimbacca said...

I know JD real shame. Just too much packed into this. WT is like an ADD child show. Coming at you full speed then boom right turn to next topic. The nascar segment was basically 20 pounds of .. into a 5 pound bag. If they could have expanded it would have been just incredible. 3 straight shooting people talking is just awesome to watch.

Richard in N.C. said...

As much as I gripe about the now-reduced Windy Tunnel, what really gripes me is when it goes into hibernation for 8 to 10 weeks after the so-called end of racing season. W-Tunnel reruns would be far superior to the recycled cast-offs of others.

Lesley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...


Just drop me an email when you have a moment and I will be happy to review that issue.



Dot said...

Finally got to watch DW on WT.

I wish it would have been only DW on the show. And I really wish the Extra WT would have been all about DW. I didn't appreciate Robin asking DW questions. Ruined the flow. I do like Robin, just not tonight.

I don't agree with him about NASCAR paying JM to go away. We've discussed that already.

I wonder if DW has always felt that way about Weed. Was Hill behind that bromance when FOX was on the air? I can't see DW changing his mind in 2 months. Weed was the same back then.

DW has good ideas about JR. Maybe Rick should try them. Couldn't hurt at this point. The rest of his season is in test mode anyway.

If Dave reads TDP because JD made the list, have DW back on all by himself. Please?

Lesley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RobFromCanada said...

I dropped Speed from my cable package some months became too irrelevent...the programming is horrid..who in thier right mind wants to watch a show about tow truck drivers?..heck..just hang off an overpass during rush hour and you get open air programming of that daily..soooo..unfortunately..i no longer get to watch the only remaining watchable show on speed...that being wind tunnel..
One of my local sports networks..TSN..carries espn's nascar show on occasion..but theres no rhyme or reason to thier its basically when they need to fill a time slot.
I agree..its an old mans car..its big..heavy..unbalanced....sorta like allison's mid 70's t-bird..ya gotta actually drive it..the drivers got all spoiled with thier lazy mans cars.
unfortunately..the cot is also just a horrid spec car with no
The cot is spossed to be about safety right?..well..thats the chassis..the cage..etc..the body shouldnt why cant they allow stock looking manufacture bodies over the spec the very fords would look almost like getting sick of rooting for a set of headlight stickers :(

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GinaV24 said...

Wind Tunnel (and VL when my favorite driver wins) are about the only time I put the tuner onto Speed Channel these days. Wow -- what happened to the cheerleading that DW was so famous for regarding Busch and Jr? Amazing - but I so wish that DW would talk like this during the Fox broadcasts, then I wouldn't be so daggone annoyed with him most of the time. I preferred WT when it was 2 hours long -- but gotta get over to the Pinks show -- JD, any idea what the ratings are for these shows? I personally don't know of any fans who are watching.

eaglesoars said...


Honestly what have you been watching go around the track for the past 20 years if not just manufacturers decals? You're not really going to say that that banana shaped wedge car looked like production cars are you?

While this car sure ain't perfect symmetrically it comes a whole lot closer to production cars than they've run recently.

Times and economy have changed drastically over the past 40 years when manufacturers built cars to race. They've found they can't afford to do that because car designs that will race good won't sell in the open market.
You think the auto industry is in dire straights now think what it would be if they were spending 100's of millions a year just t keep redesigning cars that would race good but not sell and the constant cat and mouse of each manufacture complaining because one manufacturehad an advantage over the other. Remember that in the not to distant past and everyone kept tweaking what they had more and more so it was not even close to a car. These cars have been 100% hand built in shop, no manufacturer parts for years anyway, they have been constructor cars.
NASCAR and the manufactures actually worked together to create the COT, because if something wasn't done to help equalize them the manufacturers would be completely gone. Then what would we be running? The teams wouldn't be able bear the total cost.

IMHO I think we should go to the molded bodies like CASCAR manufactured and used. That would drastically cut costs for teams and level the playing field.

Anonymous said...

I was so disappointed that DW was cut off after such a brief time. He had interesting things to say and an ensuing discussion among the three would have been fabulous. I love NASCAR but it isn't often that there an opportunity for such honesty and unscripted dialogue on air. SPEED used to be my favorite but only Sirius now provides such a forum.

50 yr. fan said...

Wind Tunnel was great with the
intermix of the three guys, but
'ole DW proved me right about being
a chameleon. I guess the "Irritator" and "Junebug" love fest is over until February.

Garry said...

It's obvious that SPEED is going the way of MTV. Nothing but reality t.v. Jacked? Unique Thugs? Er, I mean Whips, Wrecked? None of these shows have anything to do with motorsports. I miss the TNN days of Midweek ARCA racing, or World of Outlaws, or Busch North, East, or Winston West. SPEED has an opportunity to either prove that they are a motorsports network, or become a clown sister to MTV. Looks like they chose the latter...

Anonymous said...

My biggest gripe about Speed is that they opt for original programming instead of actual races and coverage of motorsports itself.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

The email for TDP has been on the main page since February of 2007.

Any off-topic, derogatory or hateful comment will be deleted.

Let's focus on DW and Wind Tunnel for these comments. Thanks.


MRM4 said...

I, too, would like to know the ratings of shows like Pinks, Wrecked, and these other crappy shows. I never turn over to Speed during the middle of the week. I know what will be on there.

DW's appearance last night was great. He didn't hold back. He needs to do the same on the Fox broadcasts. Maybe some reporter will ask him about that some day.

Kevin said...

If my memory is correct, wasn't Wind Tunnel on 4 nights a week when it first started? Those were the good ol' days of SPEED. Then they shrunk it down to a 2-hour block on Sundays, which was still pretty good. 1 hour just isn't enough time for what is arguably SPEED's best show. I think the best idea would be to have a 1 or 2-hour show on Sundays plus a second 1-hour show on another night, maybe Thursday.

P.S. I don't know what's going on with a few of these posts that have been deleted, but I can tell you that I e-mailed John Daly for something several months ago and his reply was both very fast and very courteous.

Anonymous said...

SPEED has lost its way. It has become irrelevant to people who enjoy..well, speedy things. Like racing, for example.

I couldn't care less about 90% of what it runs these days. WT is worthwhile, as are the Truck races.
The Daytona history specials (like, for example, the one Despain hosted last time) are very good.

But that's about it. A reality shows about tow-truck drivers? Come on, how many cable nets (wisely) passed on this one before SPEED bought it?

The pseudo-infomercials like "Unique Whips" are worse yet.

Does anybody watch this crap? Or is it so cheap for SPEED to run these shows that they don't care if the audience is tiny?

Why not change the name of the network to "Whatever Automobile-Related Shows We Want to Run," since it has very little to do with SPEED anymore?

Anonymous said...

I, too, would like to know the ratings for shows such as "Jacked", "Wrecked", "Pinks", etc. I can't imagine anyone actually watching them. "Wind Tunnel" is by far the best show on Speed and is one of the best shows on TV, period. DW was good Sunday night. I wish he was that good on Sunday afternoons on Fox.


darkon said...

The best NASCAR show SPEED ever had Pit Bull with Mike Mulhern, Marty Smith and the late David Poole. Nothing will ever beat that in thier views and critques of NASCAR. Too bad it was cancelled way too soon. I think NASCAR couldn't take it in my opinion.

As far as DW, there was a race this year on FOX that was rained delayed and DW talked about Carl Long's absurd penalty. He took NASCAR to task on the penalty and fine for an independent team and getting an engine from a reputable builder and so on. He defended Carl Long and questioned NASCAR's actions. That was the DW that I love. That is the side that rarely comes out on the FOX broadcasts. I want that DW on TV all the time.

Anonymous said...

Wow people...MTV used to play videos,CourtTV showed trials and Speedtv races and people walked 5 miles to school. Times change and we get older deal with it. I also have to believe that all channels are in the business to make money, so the hows that run make more money than ones from the past.

Lesley said...

I think Nascar would do well to add DW to there Staff,along side Helton and Pemberton.. He would ad a much needed voice of reason..(Carl Long for example)
Also,How much longer are we going to have put up with PINKS on speed!!Enough already!!

allisong said...

Just can't go along with you on DW being the star of this show. He is such an "any way the winds are blowing" kind of guy. So the COT is now an "old man's car" now that Mark Martin is winning a lot? Seems to me that a year ago, when the younger guys like Kyle and Carl were winning a lot, well then he says it was because they were young and didn't have to re-learn anything like the older guys had to.

As for his Mayfield opinion, he was trying so hard to come up with something "folksy" and memorable to say, he comes out with "follow the money"?? For a moment there, it was sounding like he was coming off on Jeremy's side with the accusations against NASCAR, and I think he realized that. Suddenly, he was stumbling over his analogy until he could come up with "Jeremy wants money to go away."

Sorry you were disappointed, JD, but for me, it was about 15 minutes too much.

J.J. said...

I dunno, 15 minutes of DW is about all I can handle (and I once worked for the guy)...

DW, said it's easier for a Cup driver to go to Indy and do well (citing the example of Tony Stewart as one), but harder for an Indy driver to come to stock cars and do well... Ummm... I dunno DW, when did that ever happen? Name one stock car driver who did well in Indy cars? Stewart? Umm... Indy first. Robbie Gordon? Umm... Indy first. Andretti (Mario or John) Indy first. Foyt? Umm... well, you get the idea.. In fact, indy drivers do do well in stock cars, they've won Daytona, Riverside, etc. etc. etc. No Nascar driver has ever won anything in an Indy car...

Maybe Indy isn't that easy after all, DW.

And as for the rest of his comments, especially about Mayfield, Waltrip and Mayfield have a history (not a good one), so it's tough for old DW to be objective.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR needs a Robin Miller - someone who tweaks the noses of the powers to be.
I hate it when I agree DW, but his comments about Junior, Kyle Busch and Jeremy Mayfield where right on. I especially agree with his comment about the new double file restarts - the pass around cars are the key. I never understood why teams should be penalized (placed in front of the leader on restarts but still on the lead lap) because just by pure happen stance they pitted just before a caution flag.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Like he said, that whole wave around issue is going to be something that changes a lot down the stretch.

It's like a double super-duper lucky dog free pass!


Anonymous said...

Just wait until next year when NASCAR launches its own channel similar to NFL, NHL, and'll see NASCAR pull its support of SPEED and even more race coverage will dwindle from this once great bastion on racing... maybe they can start putting sponsor logos on the tow trucks????

Richard in N.C. said...

JJ, as I recall in the early 1970's Donnie Allison & Cale Y. both raced in the Indy 500 a couple of times and were respectable. And the open-wheel guys who've won in NASCAR ( AJ, Mario, and Dan Gurney) are only some of the greatest drivers of all time - just ask AJ.

Seems like a lot of people have had issues in the past with JM. I did find DW's follow the money remark to be intriguing, whatever he had in mind.

Anonymous said...

I liked the idea of the 100th Indy 500 be under the lights on Sat. nite, so Nascar drivers could try it. Dave did not think that Nascar would allow it...but I think that Nascar, with ratings down, would be happy to let their drivers race in Indy...and hopefully bring some of the open-wheel fans to Nascar.
I see the problem being all of the weekends in May that Indy takes up for practice and qualifying. Nascar drivers have to be racing.

midasmicah said...

I'm getting to the point where I don't watch SPEED much anymore. Don't look for much nas$car on this channel. It's not there. What you do get is way too much pinks and pinks all out. Add wrecked (in the crash lane)Hey, let's watchy big block Thursday. Not!!!! The only programs I watch on The speed channel are the truck channel and sprint cup practice and qualifying (when it doesn't get rained out). I love Dave Despain, but the Waltrip fiasco showed me the reason I don't stand in line to watch these programs. speed is more interested in catering to the 18-24 (or younger) age group. That leaves the older age groups hung out to dry. Stop me if I'm making too much sense here. Omne thing you've got to remeber. The Speed channel is owned and operated by Fox. 'nuff said.

Dannyboy said...

THANKS JD for the succinct evisceration of PINKS, a show that I despise almost as much as I like PASS TIME, create by the same Rich Christiansen. Go figure.

All I can say about last night's WT is: MORE MILLER! MORE DW! MORE WIND TUNNEL, for that matter! Boy we didn't know how good we had it when it was WT Mon-Thurs and TWIN with DD on Mondays. I like Steve B but you almost can't have too much Dave.

Just a side note: on Saturday afternoon ESPN radio in San Diego had a network sports variety news program and the host did a phone interview with Allen Bestwick. She asked him about Jeremy Mayfield and to my great disappointment Allen kinda skirted the meat of the issue and said he was tired of hearing about it. Then just as the host was asking him to expand on that, the local affiliate cut in for the Angels pre-game show in mid-sentence. Wotta drag!

Sophia said...

Since so many others seem to be so disenchanted with SPEED these days, I remember my snarky comment a few months back that I'd like to repeat here. Remove the first letter and THAT'S all that's left on this station 97% of the time.

It's CRIMINAL so many people all over the internet WANT MORE WIND TUNNEL and sPEED thinks adding 30 minutes Extra online should appease everybody. Granted it's FABULOUS not having commercials but it should be offered to folks with television. And Dave's already in studio, two or three hours would be fabulous.

Zieke said...

Looks like Speed was running out of content so they called up "Mr. Over the Hill". Dave & Robin are so good on that show. Why ruin it with a bunch of blather from Waltrip? That comment of his about Logano is so far off base, it isn't funny. Has Waltrip checked where Joey is in the points? And he is just a rookie. He will be a better driver than 'ol DW ever was. And as far as Jeremy is concerned, maybe they should pay Waltrip to go away. You can tell that Robin actually substantiates his reports before the broadcast. You can call him a windbag, but at least he knows which way it is blowing. Dale JR. Sure like him, but he needs to find some people he can communicate with to get his cars right. And Kyle, what a driver! Some day down the road, the Busch Family will be great ambassadors for racing, just like Tony Stewart.

Anonymous said...

Speed lost its way when it changed from Speedvision to Speed. It started with a focus on Nascar, almost exclusively to the detriment of other motor sports programming. The NascarTV concept failed to work because it was overload and by that point they had given up on most of the other forms of motor sports that made Speedvision such an enjoyable network. Unfortunately, it seems the days of complete motor sports coverage are over on the network are we are limited to racing on weekends only.