Monday, August 24, 2009

The Alternate Version Of TWIN

Let's face it. Chad Knaus can offer more NASCAR information in five minutes than Michael Waltrip can offer in an hour. That's what crew chiefs do. There's no self-promotion and no goofing around. Just lots of data.

Knaus is now a TV veteran who stands-up for himself on the air and that changes This Week in NASCAR on SPEED every time he appears. It changes it for the better.

This week, Michael Waltrip opened the show with a rant about his Twitter account and how fans could message him as the show aired at 8PM. Seeing as the program was taped at 4PM, this was going to be interesting. Unfortunately, at 8:20PM Waltrip was Tweeting that he was still not home yet and probably needed time management classes. So much for that experiment.

Knaus was delivering information at lightning speed and it was apparent that he was still fired-up about the Bristol weekend. He offered analysis of the action on the track and then detailed his own team's ill-fated pitstop that took the #48 out of contention for the win.

"I think a track like Bristol is what separates the good spotters from the bad spotters," said Knaus. He followed-up with an explanation of how different the Bristol Motor Speedway is from any other track on the circuit and how the pressure on the spotters is extreme.

This yin-and-yang of Waltrip and Knaus makes this show work. The same thing cannot be said for Greg Biffle on this program. The two drivers simply do not click, while crew chief Knaus can look at Waltrip and understand his role on this TV series. Knaus gets it.

At 8:30PM, halfway through the show, there were no new Tweets from Waltrip. The Sprint Cup Series highlights had been done and the discussion of Kyle Busch had included Waltrip's opinion that the hot tempered Busch had turned over a new leaf and was going in a new direction.

"Not a lot of people know this, but he hugged me," said Waltrip while Byrnes and Knaus collapsed in laughter.

Unfortunately, TWIN chose not to include video highlights from the Whelen Modified race on Wednesday. The Camping World Trucks were included, along with a small soundbite from Ron Hornaday after he failed to win his 6th race in a row.

There were some problems in the Nationwide Series race involving a rookie driver, but TWIN moved quickly past the accident caused by this young man who took out the leader of the race. That leader just happened to be named Kyle Busch. This issue was buried by the media faster than Bill Weber's departure from TNT.

Knaus offered a great preview of the night race in Atlanta by referencing the fact that rain delays had forced teams to race there at night before. Waltrip made sure to promote ticket sales on the heels of Kenny Wallace offering on Twitter that Atlanta would be losing a race next season to make way for Kentucky on the schedule.

"Garage Pass" was a new feature unveiled this week on the program. On the subject of racing at Bristol, Knaus appreciated the new track surface and suggested it would grow on fans. Waltrip reminded viewers that Mark Martin's one thousandth start was a great example of exactly the type of racer Martin has been for many years. Tough, fair and once again he almost won.

This type of fast-paced conversation is something Allen Bestwick has done quite well on the Monday version of NASCAR Now for ESPN. TWIN's new feature finally got the panel out of the highlight grind and let them address topics in a rapid-fire manner. "See, that's breaking it down," said Byrnes when Knaus and Waltrip were done. Byrnes was right, this new feature worked.

Waltrip eventually sent some short Twitter messages around 8:50PM including one to country music star Blake Shelton that urged him to think with his dipstick. The personality differences between Waltrip and Knaus continue to make this combination work on TV. The Felix and Oscar of NASCAR make TV fun and that is exactly what a highlight show like this needs and what ESPN has never grasped.

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.


David said...

Only caught the last 15 though I did find Mikey's commentary on Denny confusing, also the fact no one defended Denny which is something AB would do in Byrnes' role. Garage Pass seemed disjointed and confusing but its the first week for it so I'll let it go.

Also, Mikey made a remark about not talking about him punching Lake Speed. Something I mentioned last week on here. So I wonder, did Mikey finally find TDP or did someone remind him between last week and this? Liked Chad's deferment to Mikey about fuel additives. Made me laugh.

d said...

Great show tonight! I thouroughly enjoyed it... laughter is a good thing! I have missed the Chad & Mikey combo.... Infortainment..... informative + entertainment.... Is any reporter going to have the guts to go ask Kyle about "the hug"??? LOL
Keep TWIN coming...enjoying it again!

Daly Planet Editor said...


Can't you just see Jamie Little confronting KB about it in Montreal?


Jimbacca said...

Kyle, we heard about the hug. How did that hug make you feel?

David said...

For Jamie to ask that question, she would have to acknowledge the existence of SPEED Channel. Unlikely from ESPN personnel

lol jimbacca that is what she'd ask though!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Too funny!

Debby said...

I think we heard more from Greg on his taped piece from Bristol than we do when he is live! Was waiting for Mikey to run up behind him and grab the mike. I've seen Greg on other shows and he is very animated & knowledgeable, however...Mikey has other plans. Chad can hold his own. It was a fun show tonight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Deb, very good point about Greg.

Sophia said...

caught parts of the show and laughed out loud...will catch the re-air if I can find it.

TW is re-arranging all stations the 25th. Speed repeats at 12 midnight so I have my new guide handy. Hope we still get it for now.

I did find it a time waster the early Twitter talk and Mikey keeps dropping the ball on that plan...sigh. :)

Dot said...

@ JD, Jimbacca & David, I haven't seen TWIN yet. I just had to tell you guys that you're killing me.

West Coast Diane said...

Mikey started out irritating me, then seemed to settle least for show went on.

I give the credit to Chad Knaus. Wish he could be on every week. more time...why the music over everything? I just don't get it (although they didn't do it with Truck or NW highlights).

Side note: NW highlight of last lap...whoa...JP was calling it and excited, DJ & AP monotone. Dr. need to do that for the whole race!

West Coast Diane said...

Why nothing on NN? Steve Addington interview and discussion afterwards was great. That is inside info that is interesting. Would like more of that!

TexasRaceLady said...

I enjoyed Chad and Mikey tonight.

Particularly liked Chad bringing up the real "first night race" at Atlanta.

I was there through all the rain and fog delays. If I remember, the race ended sometime around midnight. Exhausting.

Anonymous said...

I used to like Michael Waltrip's sense of humor and fun. But now he is like a little kid all hopped up on candy (or worse) and out of control. It isn't entertaining, it's annoying.

Waltrip was great when he let his personality shine through when talking about racing. These days he simply thinks his personality is the whole deal and only gives up that. Terrible.

Anonymous said...

What the hell was that show tonite!?! The Michael Waltrip show!?! This network has lost total control of MW and it's getting very aggravating. How do you let the intro of your show start with Waltrip talking about "hey tweet me while we're on and we'll answer your questions live" and then he couldn't even give his twitter address correctly. Byrnes is supposed to be the moderator, but he can't do his job anymore because he thinks his buddy, MW, is soooo funny. I used to like this show, but that guy with the famous last name has turned me off totally. Then to boot, I have to put up with him when I'm trying to watch the truck races. His ego has gotten completely out of hand.

I never really like Chad, but I can tolerate him on this program because he shows a different side of himself...but that being said, I may just have to stop watching. I just can't handle the comedy duo of Byrnes & Waltrip anymore. I'll stick with "Nascar Now" - I do like Alan Bestwick and how he runs that show. I wish he could also call the sprint cup races, he would be good with Petree and Jarrett.

Sorry for the rant, but I for one did not appreciate TWIN tonite, and probably won't watch anymore. And that upsets me, because I used to really like this show...but no more. Get rid of MW and I may watch again.

Sophia said...

I loved Twin tonight...except for the stupid Twitter waste of time earlier.

They gave us MORE TALKING the last 30 minutes and less video junk.

Was it me or did there seem to be more talking period tonight. I liked the Garage Pass addition...I've been clamoring for more talk here as have others and tonight they delivered.

Love this trio and it would be great if they could have this much talking this week. When Biffle is on, Steve just needs to bring some rolled up for him and one for Biff to swipe at Mikey to hush and let Greg speak. :)

I enjoyed this show more than most Twin in WEEKS.

Thanks for hearing the fans and adding more conversation tonight.

See ESPN..that's all we want...a little love to give us what we ask for...less canned video and tonight was a good start!


Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie said...

I like the way Knaus looks up to you as a viewer. When he is speaking and looking at you he makes you feel like he is talking just to you.

I do think the sound is to low during the show. I always have to lower the volume during the commercial and have to turn it up when the show starts again.

Dean said...

MW is what makes TWIN different from the rest of the NASCAR shows. I've only been a fan for three years, so take it for what it's worth, but I thoroughly enjoy his presence and humor.

Anne M said...

Was it my imagination, or did that dumb "In Focus" video segment get dumped in favor of the new Garage Pass? Hallelujah! More talk! And the talk has got to be less expensive anyway (especially with MW in the room),

JD, I absolutely agree with your great comments about what Chad brings to the show. I really do like Biffle, but this show just works better when it's Chad and Michael. It's been a while since we saw him, and by tonight I felt like I was starved for a good Chad/MW chat. But then Michael immediately started into his rambling about Twitter. Ack. Thank goodness we did get some funny interaction later on.

Actually, one of my favorite moments was hearing from Chad how he took a "break" Friday night and watched the Nationwide race for a while from the photographers' stand. I thought it was a good little glimpse into the passion these guys have for what they do.

Since I missed the opportunity you gave us to make overall comments on the show last time, I'm going to do it now. I hope that's okay. I love the show, particularly when Chad is on. I don't go to it for "news", because I can get that from Nascar Now. For me, TWIN is about fun and about getting insight and inside stories of the race from guys who participated. Also, although Michael drives me crazy, and I'll probably continue to complain about him sometimes, I would miss him if I didn't get my weekly dose of him. He really does make the show. Steve can be hilarious, and I like his chemistry with both Michael and Chad, but I wish he would do a better job of keeping Michael from interrupting. And since that's probably a lost cause, I want him to come back to Chad or Biffle when Michael has interrupted them so they can finish their thought. That's all I ask. Um, except that I also want them to turn the music down and keep the video segments to a minimum so we can listen to the guys talk. Is that too much to ask? :) But again, I really want to emphasize that I love the show and I would be sad to see things change too much. And thanks to you, JD, for giving us the opportunity to talk about it all!

Lesley said...

A few years back I did not want my Son to watch TWIN and MW for what seemed like obvious reasons to me!But over time Mikey has grown on us all! I dont think NASCAR would be the same without him!Whos to judge!!I think I was mistaken!!

Anonymous said...

After years of never missing the show with ever changing names, I've given up on it. I tried last night, but after 6-7 minutes of Twitter nonsense from the worst driver in Nascar, I changed the channel. The Karma is terrible with Byrnes,Biffle and Waltrip. They just don't mesh. Bestwick would be a fabulous host.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, I've not watched this show for months but came across it last night.
There is no chemistry at all any more. The original show with Bestwick, Benson, Schrader and Waltrip was a perfect storm. Schrader was the perfect foil to Mike, Bestwick the straight man, and Johnny the quiet professor.

When Fox boneheads killed the cast, they killed the show. Knauss has potential, but Byrnes is NO BESTWICK and never will be.


Bray Kroter

Daly Planet Editor said...

Diane, I thought NN was solid as usual and Bestwick now has a format that he follows to the letter.

The suits and ties and being in Connecticut still do not match the sport at all, but I understand it is the network dress code.

As you mentioned with Steve, TWIN sure does miss having a guest and they sure could use a little dose of Kenny Schrader.


Anonymous said...

This does not work. M. Waltrip ruins any show with his dopey act. I can't believe you don't see that . get rid of him or cancel this show.

50 yr. fan said...

J.D. You hit the nail on the head.
The BSPN dress code kills the
presentation whether NN or the
actual race. I don't see the
need for stuffed shirts when there
is no one in the racing world wearing a tie. Well, other than the
other corporate imposters B.France and M. Helton.

Charlie, you can always count on
SPEED and the blasting commercials.
I'm always ready with the channel change button.

Kyle fan! said...

This DOES work. BEST show in the current racing world!

Why did they not ask Chad about the "passing for lap led points" issue with Mark? I like to see Chad squirm..

Anonymous said...

It's not what they are wearing, it's what they say. That NN crew is great, TWIN, because of one person is stupid.

DL said...

Liked the Garage Pass addition. I just figured out my purpose for watching MW, it's to needle Chad. Ok so I don't like the guy but he's a great fit for TWIN. But other than painful quips, I'm not sure why MW is still there, except as a promotional vehicle perhaps? I'd like to try a TWIN with Steve, Chad and Biff as the actual NASCAR driver, with remote report from MW and see if the studio comic relief attempt is really needed.

Mindy said...

I loved the show last night - it was FUN!! Michael makes the show period! There is great chemistry with Michael, Chad and Steve. I laughed and I learned something too, TWiN is my family's Monday night show. I hope they come back for next year - Please don't change a thing, it's a great post-racing show.

peggyann said...

TWIN, under various names, has been the Mikey Waltrip show for years. I'm guessing that this year will be the last, with him not driving full time anymore, so he's probably saying and doing whatever he wants. I'm a fan of his, but I'll admit to some strange things lately. But even stranger is that the volume on the show (but not the commercials) has been really low the past couple of weeks. Now if they could just do that with Jimmy Spencer....

Jim said...


I, too, was disappointed that they did not cover the Chase Austin incident with Kyle. It's like they did not want to offend anyone in the diversity program. And speaking of Austin, I could not believe that he did not take responsibility for causing that crash. BK, on the other hand, took 100% responsibility for wrecking Allgier.

Vicky D said...

Peggy, we had issues the last few weeks with TWIN's audio, we have to turn it up for the show, then get blasted out of the room when the commericals come on. Surely Speed is aware of the problem. Like the show last night except Mikey kept on repeating his twitter addres and kept on and on about it. Anyway Chad did a nice job.

KoHoSo said...

On the rare times now that I watch TWIN, I go into it hoping it will be one of the shows when I get to see a little spark of the IWC/INC days and that maybe, just maybe, I will want to start watching it every week again. I really do try to open my mind and let the current format take me along.

Before I continue, let me state that I have long been a Michael Waltrip defender here.

Everything Mikey had to say seemed so forced. I mean that in the sense that it seemed like he had spent all day thinking about everything that he wanted to say during the show and, even though it seemed like he wanted it to appear spontaneous, it all fell flat.

Sure, nobody goes into anything like TWIN these days and totally wings it. That being said, I believe that it is the over-production of the show that has forced Mikey into a mode (one that I have seen earlier in the year as well) where he feels that he has to rush, rush, rush, force force force far more than he did in the past.

There is no doubt that Knauss brings a lot to the show and he's actually turning me into a fan of his. Byrnes is a more than competent host who I believe would shine even more if he had the freedom that the show was given in the past.

However, it is apparent to me that the show ends up flopping on a pure entertainment level because of the same reason I have brought up here at least a couple of times this season -- there is no strong and proper foil for Mikey. Maybe Chad can develop into one but, for now, I find him to still be too business-like even though he has improved greatly in dealing with Mikey when he goes too far or becomes grumpy.

Even as a Mikey fan and defender, he is like cooking with salt -- add the right amount and it really brings out the other flavors in a dish...add too much and it drowns out everything else.

So, for me...sorry, Speed, but what I saw last night still doesn't make me want to return to making TWIN a regular part of my viewing routine.

JMO...nothing against anybody that enjoyed last night's show. I fully admit that I am still steamed that Speed "fixed" something that was never broken.

3KillerBs said...

I didn't get to see the show, but I don't think its especially noteworthy that they didn't make a big deal about a rookie making a mistake and causing a wreck.

Rookies make mistakes and cause wrecks fairly often. Sometimes those wrecks take out the leader and that's worth the 10 seconds of interest it gets before its dropped (30 seconds maybe if its Cup instead of Nationwide or trucks, 30 years if the rookie mistake takes out Jr.).

IMO "diversity" is pure bunk. The only color a rookie has is a bright, unripe green.

Austin's error took my favorite driver out of the lead but I can't get too made about that because green rookies do dumb stuff from time to time and that's racin'.

What I'm mad about and what I'd like to see more media attention to is the way Harvick got impatient, used his bumper, and took out innocent bystander Danny O'Quinn -- who was on his way to what could have been his first top 10 since Roush's marketing department fired him.

Havick could make suitable reparations by giving Danny a ride in some decent equipment for a few races.

Dannyboy said...

David (1st post):

As I mentioned to your last week post: Mikey never avoids an opportunity to smack himself in the head for past transgressions. When the subject of fuel addititves came up, he wryly pointed out, "no additives, I don't want to talk about additives. I also don't want to talk about me punching Lake Speed."

Once again, read his lips: He's poking fun at HIMSELF. Once again, read MY lips: He's been doing it for the entire history of the show.

I also noticed Chad cracking up at some of his Twitter antics, so he's obviously nowhere near as worked up as some viewers about MW's buffoonery. Chad was great tonight, and I really enjoyed the show. Also learned that MW's crash was caused by a LEFT rear tire cut, not any of the previous right side contact mistakenly blamed by other broadcasters. NASCAR NOW specifically got that wrong.

NN was indeed a solid show, and I was lucky being on the west coast, that ESPN delayed it until after the Tigers - Angels game and I was able to watch both shows in their entirey. I got home from work late and was just finishing dinner when TWIN came on at 9pm, then NN at 10:30 or so.

tom in dayton said...

This show is a HOOT!
It is and has been a must-watch show every time it is on.
We remember the older version of this show but it's gone and has been replaced by a slightly different but still enjoyable version.
Most of all, the current TWIN is fun to watch. MW's antics are both zany and unpredictable. Knaus is approaching the role of Ken Schrader and Biffle is growing in his role. Steve Byrnes is growing as well.
I'd say the glass is two-thirds full! Keep up the tweaks to improve an already-fun show...

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy TWIN when Chad is on. He brought up something that may belong in the Your Turn column regarding cautions.

He said that old Bristol cautions fell about every 25 laps, new Bristol about 50. I'm guessing that the teams keep track of this info for future reference. My burning question is, do the networks keep track of the cautions from prior races for comml placements? I know cautions are unpredictable, but there has to be some kind of pattern.

Mikey was too funny. As annoying as he can be sometimes, once in awhile he'll sneak in a good one. The Weed hug was priceless.

Speaking of annoying. NNs question about should Mark have used the chrome horn to move Weed out of the way sure was. Way to stir the pot, BSPN.

Dot @ work

goat said...

I thought this was one of the best recent shows. Mikey was a little overboard on the Twittering, but otherwise was funny and informative, and Chad was good as usual.

David said...

Dannyboy, I was saying something THAT specific someone must have mentioned specifically.

I said I thought it was funny Chad threw it out there.

peggyann said...

At least TWIN comes on when it's listed. Where's NN?

Jonathan from South Side of Chicago! said...

What happend to Nascar Nation today? Wasnt on at 4pm Central time as it usually is? Direct tv had it for 4pm so wtf? We get sports nation???? Did the forget most of this nation watches Nascar????? Never a word about Nascar on that show. Oh well thanks again ESPN your awsome!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Steve, Chad and Michael. I think that it would help TWIN to move to 7:00 to not be on the same time as Bill O'Reilly's 'The Factor'. Also, Nascar Now has feedback from 'talking heads'. I have thought that maybe a few taped bullet points from Larry Mc, Jeff Hammond, Bob Dillner, Hermie Sadler, or Randy Pemberton; maybe a question or two thrown out would draw interest rather than waiting until the next weekend to get their take on the events of the previous week's race. Just some thoughts.

Vicky D said...

Yeah, where's Nascar Now tonight?

Dot said...

@ peggyann 5:55, right on sister.

I missed the beginning of NN yesterday so I recorded the later version. Don't know what was on, some recap show of all the days sports. Only caught about 15 minutes of NN.

Newracefan said...

I was a great show, how can you not love Chad. I have been watching TWIN for several years and for the most part I still love it. He can go over the top very easily (I like the salt analogy). Chad is what has made this show for me partially because of his ability to seem serious and answer questions and present information effectively but still be able to laugh and fun and part because it's a crew chief perspective. My thought; have Bootie (he's hysterical too) with Greg and Mikey with Chad. Now don't get me wrong I don't want to dump Mikey but chage can be good. Greg isn't too bad but Chad is the man. I actually decided to watch TWIN live instead of my DVR of the NW race so I could Twitter with Mikey, won't make that mistake again.

Anonymous said...

I have a notion that as long as Toyota and NAPA sponsor TWIN there will probably be a seat for Mikey. Even though he will not be driving full time his affiliation with them will carry alot of weight.

Frank in Sebring

Daly Planet Editor said...

We updated on the main page that NN was cancelled due to the overrun of live Little League Baseball. It will re-air at 5AM Weds.

Dannyboy said...


Sorry if I mischaracterized your post. Will try to tone down my "Mikey Defense" in the future.

As a long-time viewer and poster on SPEED Forums, I've heard the gamut of raw hatred for this guy. I don't have a "man-crush" on him either, I just enjoy the heck out of his schtick, and think he makes great TV.

Anybody remember the "chair elevator" on the old IWC/Speedvision show?

glenc1 said...

I don't get the issues with the ESPN suits. Why is it more inappropriate for racing than other sports? Who involved in the NFL wears suits? The one guy who wanted to had to get one *specially made* by Nike. Belichek looks like a homeless guy. Baseball? The managers wear team uniforms. Tennis? Golf? Okay, hockey & basketball coaches wear them. But they're about the only ones I can think of. The only people we see in other sports are the owners, and they're usually up in the suites, just like Helton & France, etc. All the reporters on say, the NFL pregame shows where suits on all the networks. I just don't get the issue.

Daly Planet Editor said...


It's a huge issue across the board for ESPN and it is all about control.

Non-logo attire has to meet a criteria that is spelled out very clearly in company guidelines.

Logo attire is approved in advance and coordinated through the network.

ESPN wants a 24 hour "feel" across the networks and they have decided to make it almost formal.

Certainly interesting to see if Mike and Mike and the new Sports Nation show are allowed to continue their "informal" behavior.

Yes, M&M was ruined when they moved it to the TV studio, no email please!


glenc1 said...

that still doesn't address the other networks having their many of their shows & analysts wearing (not where, oops!) suits too. What they wear has nothing to do with what they say. Lots of companies have dress codes, including suits. I don't see anything wrong with making them look professional. I guess it's your choice if you want to work for them.

But I do think it's sexist--Nicole doesn't have to wear a tie! They may have to wear suits, though(although apparently they had no issue with the Jimmy Choo's...) Just're on TV and you're surprised because they tell you what to wear? I'm not feeling the outrage....

Daly Planet Editor said...

glen, the dress code for women on the air at ESPN is as specific as the men.

The issue is what kind of conversation happens in a suit and what kind of conversation happens in polo shirts, blue jeans and sneakers.

You are thinking about event announcers for networks. They are not on 24 hours a day. What ESPN is trying to do is present a consistent image across the board for the product they deliver.

That comes with an upside and a downside, just like everything else in life.


David said...

Dannyboy, not a problem. It happens. I take Mikey with a grain of salt when he says something. Even making fun of himself.

On the ESPN dress code, I know they want to look professional but has there been any movement to "relaxing" things a bit. The whole suit and tie thing really doesn't tie into sports that well to me. Sure at one time when you were wanting people to take you seriously I could see why you'd have that dress code but when your network is associated with sports just by saying ESPN, you'd think they would try to fit in more with the sports they cover.

NASCAR isn't suit and tie country, thats what's made the banquet so awkward in the past.

Not saying we should dress down and become slobs, but the guys (and gals) should retain some individual identity. Nothing screams robots more then 3 guys popping up on my screen wearing the exact same thing! remember some of the FOX outfit choices?

I can't help but come back to ESPN's late 90's formula for being my blueprint of how to operate. Maybe it's outdated now, but it was ahead of it's time back then.

Professional, but not stuffy.

JD, any reason why we are getting some NHRA with our NN? Why not resurrect the RPM nameplate again or does ESPN really really not care about motorsports anymore and NN is just them appeasing NASCAR?

Then again if RPM came back I can't imagine how they'd kill that franchise.

dupont24fan said...

Ive said it before TWIN needs a total make over... I am so tired of hearing Waltrip self-promotion and goofing around. Please lose Byrns and Waltrip. The show needs new blood. How about Krista Voda as host and Chad and Edwards full time? Show is a joke right now

glenc1 said...

JD & David, what you say has some validity. But I had a boss a few years back...wore a suit & tie every day even though we're biz casual. He said that he believed that if you dress like a professional, you come across as a professional. It was very important to him. So I can see that side too. I don't necessarily relate to a casual wardrobe because of the sport.