Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday's Talk Better Than Sunday's Racing?
While the second race in the Chase did not live up to expectations, Monday's NASCAR TV talk shows boast a stellar line-up of personalities. It may well be that fans get more bang for their TV buck now that the race is over.
The "3 R's" are back for ESPN as Ricky Craven, Ray Evernham and Randy LaJoie join host Allen Bestwick on the 6PM version of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Bestwick has put his stamp on this one hour show and these are clearly three of his favorite panelists.
While Evernham has struggled in the field, he excels in the studio and offers a veteran perspective that is unique. As a championship crew chief and a major Sprint Cup Series owner, Evernham can draw on a wide variety of experiences.
Craven is the most polished TV pro on the panel and continues to be the best studio analyst on the NASCAR scene. His observations are very personal and both his good and bad experiences in the sport often come into play in his comments.
LaJoie is the irreverent character that every panel needs to keep its feet firmly planted on the ground. He has become much better on TV this season and worked very well with Mike Massaro in the studio on the Sunday preview and review shows.
Bestwick has a lot of material to draw from, including the Logano wreck and the continuing Hendrick dominance. Ongoing sagas like Pat Tryson and Martin Truex Jr. could also be on the menu. The silly season is in full swing.
This program has established itself as the flagship for the ESPN NASCAR franchise. After dealing with a wide variety of panelists over the last year, Bestwick now has a core group that works well together and moves quickly through a lot of information and highlights. This week has the potential to be outstanding.
Over at SPEED, things took a strange turn with the recent addition of Jimmy Spencer to the TWIN panel for the remainder of the season. Originally inserted on a weekend where Michael Waltrip was absent, this Monday marks the first time that Spencer and Waltrip will be working with Chad Knaus as the third panelist.
Steve Byrnes hosts the program and knows all the panelists quite well. What he does not know is how they will interact for the first time during the program. This show is taped in the afternoon for an 8PM airing, so don't expect any big issues to arise.
What should be fun to watch is the controversial Spencer mixing with the ultimate NASCAR apologist in Waltrip. They will both be speaking with the crew chief who led his team to the race win in convincing style.
Knaus did not get Waltrip at first on this series, but settled into a very funny relationship with him on the air. Waltrip gets to retain all his wacky behaviors while Knaus now simply delivers his analytical crew chief answers totally unfazed.
The addition of Spencer is a positive for the show that was struggling with only two panelists. Two voices can only present a difference of opinion while three can form a group discussion on any issue. These three should be fun to watch for the first time.
TDP will offer a wrap-up column once both shows are done, but please feel free to offer your opinions before and during the shows on this post. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when you are clicking on the comment button below to add your opinion.