Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mr. Excitement Takes Charge

This Week in NASCAR host Steve Byrnes told viewers the news right at the top of the show. Not only was Jimmy Spencer going to be a panelist this Monday in place of Michael Waltrip, but Spencer was going to join the program for the rest of the season.

While that is the information he included, it is what Byrnes did not say that has rumors flying. There have only been two panelists on TWIN this season. One school of thought is that Spencer was simply an addition for The Chase.

The other is that this is an audition for a permanent change. While Greg Biffle and Chad Knaus are going to continue in their NASCAR roles next season, there is a big change coming for Waltrip.

Earlier Monday it was confirmed that Pat Tryson was hired to be the new crew chief at MWR. He will be leading new driver Martin Truex Jr. in the #56 car as Waltrip steps back into the role of fulltime owner. While Waltrip may drive in the Daytona 500, it is very clear that this transition is complete.

This may not affect Waltrip's role working on the Camping World Truck Series as an analyst, but questions remain about Monday nights for next season. It's not really an issue about simply driving, as drivers retire each season. The real issue on the table is having a fulltime multi-car Sprint Cup Series team owner on TWIN.

It might shock fans if they tuned-in and saw Richard Childress or Jack Roush on the program talking about the ups-and-downs of the other teams. But, this is Michael Waltrip and he has been the franchise for this program since it began over a decade ago.

Waltrip brings his unique personality and sense of humor to the show. Names like Benson, Wallace, Schrader and Vickers have come and gone. Through it all, Waltrip has remained. This year Steve Byrnes replaced Dave Despain who replaced Allen Bestwick as host. All of them have had to figure out how to work with Waltrip.

Information from SPEED indicates that next Monday's show will consist of Biffle, Spencer and Waltrip with Byrnes hosting. The network also indicates that NASCAR President Mike Helton will be making an appearance. Veteran fans may remember that each year Helton used to drop by and spar with Waltrip and Kenny Schrader.

With the new changes on this program, it may well be Spencer who picks up the tradition of asking Helton how much he makes...just for information purposes.

On this Monday, Spencer was outspoken, Knaus was informative and Byrnes appeared nervous. The program format also changed, with the hot topics and several other elements dropped. It may be that viewers are seeing SPEED begin to tweak the show in order to make a decision about next season.

Next Monday, Biffle will look over to see Waltrip and Spencer alongside of him. It should be interesting to see if the show continues to allow the panelists to finish their thoughts or if Spencer and Waltrip struggle to strike a balance on the air.

Did you watch the show? We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion of TWIN on SPEED, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

I watched & I gotta admit Spencer was not the same as he is on the other shows. Its a pleasant change,actually. He was very opinionated, but not talking down, and didn't yell once. I liked the show tonight, it was a lower volume and everyone got to finish their own sentence.
I too, thought Steve was looking a bit nervous. Next week he gets to go back to herding cats with Mikey there. It will be interesting to say the least... Wheres Ken Schrader when we need him most? Could you just imagine all of them together? ;)

Anonymous said...

Personally I refuse to watch any show with Spencer on it. Busch was right, he's a loud mouth never was.

Lou said...

JD, I did not watch the show. But somehow next week I will. I think this is an important change to TWIN.

as you have said. "isn't tv fun".


PammH said...

This is a copy of what I mentioned in your earlier blog..

I am NOT a MW fan, so you have to consider that w/my comment. On the other hand, really don't like what RD has become w/KW & JS. With that being said, I'm liking the serious JS tonite. Bringing good pts & yet another person making CK up on the edge of his seat!!! Always luv to see that. But yes, the show wasn't as fun as usual..

Mindy said...

Wow,that was a little awkward. Poor Steve was really struggling to keep the show afloat, IMO.

Also as a MW fan, I didn't appreciate Chad's remarks about Michael and you could see Steve was uncomfortable about it too. I was kind of surprised me that Chad through his fellow panelist under the bus like he did, it was a pretty low blow.

I tried to stay interested but Mr Excitement was Mr Boring. I didn't see any chemistry between the three of them, it just wasn't there for me, maybe they were trying too hard.

I missed Michael and Steve looked like he did too. If MW decides to leave the show next year, I will follow. It was a great 12yrs., it won't be the same without Michael Waltrip.

Jennifer said...

I watched the show and it seemed to me that Jimmy was trying to stir something up with the Toyota teams.

Every chance he got he took a dig or two.

KoHoSo said...

It would seem to me that, if Speed wanted to return the show to a three-person panel and it's OK that one of them is not currently participating in the Cup series...well, the alternative choice should have been obvious but I'll give you all a hint -- his first and last initials are the same as mine...KS.

I liked Spencer as a fill-in panelist back in the old days of IWC. However, I feel like he has changed since becoming a regular host elsewhere on Speed and his attitude constantly rubs me the wrong way. Tonight, I had enough after they started discussing the end of the truck race and bailed out to Monday Night Football. I will give next week's show a chance to see how Spencer and Mikey interact and hope that the Biff gets a word in edgewise, but my hopes are not high for me becoming a regular viewer again.

Sophia said...

Only caught parts of the show as I had computer issues that interrupted my concentration. Will watch the repeat but man I TOTALLY missed Chad throwing Mikey under the bus.

I liked Jimmy's low key but opinionated demeanor. I miss that on Race Day.

I also think these guys do better in a studio setting sometimes. Put Jimmy and Kenny W around all those crazy fans, and they just absorb it all and lose focus & get silly.

I remember this Jimmy Spencer guesting on the old show Monday night show. Look forward to the repeat tonight for giving my full attention and a better report but did miss my Mikey.

But next week's combo could be nuts. Put the kiddies to bed, pull down the shades and have an adult beverage maybe? :)

glenc1 said...

I thought Jimmy's opinions were totally ridiculous. But...I have to appreciate that he was trying, and he was serious....and his delivery was very convincing. It just didn't feel right on TWIN, somehow.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, could this be a try-out for a regular, alternate so TWIN can be on year raound?

Dot said...

I think Chad would have busted on Mikey about having insurance to his face. Great segue for Mikey to mention GEICO and he wanting to be a caveman.

I couldn't believe how subdued JS was. Let's hope he doesn't get all Race Day acting as time goes by.

Can't wait to see MW & JS together next week.

kbaskins said...

It's no secret I'm not much of a Mikey or Spence fan, but I liked Spence's presence more than Mikey's on TWIN. He toned the buffoonery, and he didn't rudely interrupt Chad or Steve when they were trying to make a point. What a lovely change!

It should be interesting for the next 12 TWIN broadcasts. Then again, I probably won't tune in next week. I'm not remotely interested in listening to Mikey babble on about his trip to Italy.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Spencer gets moved to this for the rest of the year means SPEED will transition him off RaceDay and put him on TWIN. I think that's a fair trade.

Anonymous said...

I am glad they are doing this. I am both a fan of Mikey and the 55, but it is clear to me that TWIN was in a major rut. And I think it should have been clear to SPEED that while Mikey was "the franchise" that he was also overstepping his bounds so often as to dis-include other panelists and/or take all the energy from the show.

In the truck races, MW is a great announcer because he knows his role. At TWIN it seemed like he got a little TOO comfortable and forgot that his job wasn't to dominate a broadcast but to be a panelist. He got a little too big for his role.

I think the 55 will be in more than the Daytona 500. I bet we'll see the 55 run all the plate races, including Talladega. And if Martin Truex gets to mid-season next year and is running 35th in points, MW will be right back in as the main NAPA driver. Bet on it.

Bruce Simmons (NBaP) said...

I tuned into Twin last week and wow, Mikey seemed very very different than the old days. He seemed strained or stressed or tired. Pick one I guess, but to me, it was pretty evident.
It would almost make sense if Waltrip did step down to completely focus on his car ownership duties.
It would go hand in hand with stepping out of the car to focus on ownership.
That and I think Spencer would be a great piece of opinion spouting host machine. Just keep Kurt Busch off the show!

Bill said...

Very Very good show by Spence. I'm glad he dropped his normal "act" and was just himself. I didn't even want to switch channels!!! For the record I stopped watching raceday because of him this year.

Yeah I couldn't figure out that trying to stir things up with the Toyota Camp either.

NorCalFan said...

I thought Steve was on edge the entire show because of all the feather ruffling Spencer was doing with his very opinionated take on the sport, especially when calling out drivers (ie. Biffle won't win any races in the chase and Vickers isn't ready to vie for a championship). Chad gives opinions but being active in the sport he's careful not to step on anyone's toes. Spencer is like a bull in a china shop--he doesn't care if he steps on everyone's toes (except for Tony Stewart's).

I'm not sure what Spencer can bring to the show besides his very blunt opinions. He's not a crew chief or an active driver and as a former driver he's never driven the COT. How credible or accurate will his answers or opinions be on anything to do with the set-up of a car on any of the tracks if he's never been behind the wheel of one? Take tonight's show for example. In the segment where the panelists answer fan questions, the question Steve asked Jimmy had to do with NASCAR officials. I could have answered that one. Come to think of it, Spencer fills the role of the opinionated NASCAR fan. Hey, where can I apply?

I do like that Speed is experimenting with the panelists and I'll continue to watch the final ten programs. However, IMO Jimmy Spencer should not be a permanent panelist on the show.

Dannyboy said...
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Dannyboy said...

Boy, it amazes me how many different ways people interpret these shows and the things people say on them. Sometimes I swear they seem to just make stuff up out of thin air like "Chad threw MW under the bus". IMO he did nothing of the sort; what he did was a) poke some good natured fun at Mikey, and b) mention a demonstrable fact - that Mike didn't have such a good race. The only thing better would have been if Waltrip was there so Chad could ask him "Whose insurance covered your car?"

Mr. Excitement really wasn't. Sure he offered his blunt opinions on the Cup chances for Biffle & Vickers, and on the wrecks in the truck race, but that's what they pay him for. He didn't say anything I thought was way out in left field, that's for sure.

As for the "Steve looked nervous" and last week's Michael Waltrip was "stressed": I'm sorry, to my viewing none of that seemed as prominent as some suggest.

I'll be looking forward to the chemistry with Spence, Biff and MW. And I'll bet Mikey is still on the show next year.

Dannyboy said...

Sorry for the double post - I don't know how to delete a post. My earlier of the two had a misspelled word and when I corrected it, BOTH showed up.

P.S. In San Diego NASCAR NOW was only shown at 2pm, no re-air. I'm writing ESPN to let them know that I can't wait until this season's over so I don't have to deal with their mangling of virtually all aspects of NASCAR programming.

I REALLY wanted to watch that episode.

Karen said...

I agree with Dannyboy. I didn't think SB looked nervous. I will disagree in that I thought something was up with MW last week. Spence was okay and I liked his bluntness, especially telling Chad he needed glasses.

My question is this: Where does Kyle Petty fit in with either this show or Raceday if they switch around the talent? He's way underused on NASCAR Smarts. He's always got an opinion and has driven the COT. I'd love to see him on one of the shows.

kbaskins said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Spencer, but I have to admit that he did an excellent job last night. He was direct and opinionated which left Chad and Steve speechless. I used to get frustrated with the mindless 'happy talk' typically involving Waltrip. Steve is mis-cast. They need AB.

Anonymous said...

no waltrip....why wasnt i notified earlier....i would have altered my dvr...to record the show.

Sally said...

I watched TWIN from start to finish for the first timethis year. It definitely isn't the same without Mikey, and I think that's just fine. It would be nice if they had Schrader back, but I suspect he's having too much fun racing 4 or 5 days a week. I thought Spencer was fine, and think replacing Mr. Waltrip is a fine idea. TWIN hasn't been the same on any level for quite some time, do it's time to try something new.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:13AM,

The complete NASCAR TV schedule, including announcers, is located on the right side of the main page and is continually updated.


DL said...

I thought Spence did a good job, at least he had the guts to voice definite opinions that aren't sugar. Chad and Steve as usual. Do I want this group every week? No. Did I miss MW? heh, no. So I'll be interested to see how next week's group goes. I'm a little surprised Biff is coming in, shouldn't he like Chad be focused on his Chase?

Nascar Momma in Loveland CO said...

I myself enjoyed the show. It was low key enough that I could watch it, but had some great comments from Jimmy. As far as Chad throwing Mikey under the bus...oh well! Chad was just stating the truth. Jimmy's comments on the chase guys was right on. As far as the Tirdota comments...who cares. I don't like Tirdota, and to me the sport would be better off without them. But that is my opinion. Steve may have been nervous, but the show was still good. I hope they keep Jimmy. He is great for the show.

Anonymous said...

I failed too see any "EXCITEMENT" in this show.I think the dierector was replaced with Sgt.Joe Friday,"Just the facts,mam".Not entertaining,just bland.Worst show in 12 years. Dave...

Peter in SC said...

Anon 10:11 - I agree, there was no excitement in the show. The guys didn't even look interested in being there.

"Low key", yes it was, I almost feel asleep.

I know people don't like Michael and I know he isn't a great driver, but the guy has passion for the sport. That's what I enjoy about the show, he can get people get excited about racing. I've heard several people have been flipping through the channels and after listening and watching Michael doing his "thing" on the show, they've become racing fans. JMO.

Anonymous said...

I watch TWIN because it is a FUN show and I usually get a good laugh. Last night was not funny. Jimmy was not as obnoxious as on Sundays but still I didn't take to him. Please!.. I hope it was not an audition for next year. I agree with the others that thought Chad should have said that to Mikey's face not as he did.

Vicky D said...

What I find annoying about JS is that he'll state his opinion then go further to explain it but his explanation goes the opposite way so he doesn't make sense to me. I like Mikey and want him to stay on the show but I don't think JS can make it on TWIN. I sure was surprised that they made the announcement that he'll be on til the end of the season. There's plenty of great TV people Speed can add to the broadcast instead of JS.

Anonymous said...

TWIN is one of my favorite shows but I can't stand Spencer. I tuned in but quickly tuned out. Of all people, why would they choose someone like Spencer. He has no personality, is overly opinionated and brings nothing to the show.

Anonymous said...

As a "Daly" reader, will say that I enjoy coming to this site very much. I scaled back my Nascar(r) involvement last season to make watching the races more enjoyable.

Less blather, more racing.

This site was one of the few that I continued to visit on a regular basis.

I wanted to say that so I could say this.

Every time I see the words "Michael Waltrip is the franchise" it makes me want to puke.

I think it is clear by now that people for the most part watch the Monday show not for him, but in spite of him.

Yes, he has remained on the show while others have come and gone, but in a sport where they are told what to say, when and how to say it, he is the master of singing the Nascar(r) company song.

I loved the days when Schrader was on. It was truly fun then but the fun has long gone out of this show.

Michael is not the franchise John he is the shill.

It's what they hired him for, and it is why he is still there in spite of overwhelming negative viewer response.

FYI, first time poster.

You got under my skin enough to bring me out of lurker status.

Anonymous said...

Fire up the radar! the black helicopters are back in the air!

Where this idea of NASCAR "scripting" what drivers, owners and shop boys can or cannot say comes from is anybody's guess.

Maybe MW just likes what NASCAR has done with the sport and doesn't mind telling everyone within earshot.

While it can get a little tiring for some, Many people could say the same thing about myself when I'm signing the company song for the company I work for. (especially when I'm posting on company time) :) shhhh

A really happy Dave in Milwaukee
(we're on the 2010 NW & CWTS schedules!!!!!)

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:07PM,

If you have the time, I think it would be important to help us understand why you are not a fan of Waltrip.

As you know, I have been accused of all kinds of things because some folks do not grasp the idea of writing a column on a topic and then asking for other opinions.

If you can expand on yours, I think it would help.

Anon 5:57PM,

Drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv anytime to address that issue, but we are going to keep these comments on the topic of Spencer and Waltrip on TWIN.


Anonymous said...

No Mikey, no watchy...

Anonymous said...

Maybe MW just likes what NASCAR has done with the sport and doesn't mind telling everyone within earshot.

Nope, the rule is, you're only allowed to express opinions against NASCAR. Otherwise, you're a shill. Because you can't possibly have an opinion other than a negative one.

Anonymous said...

Well said, and so true.

Dave in Milw.

Richard in N.C. said...

It seems clear to me that bashing NASCAR is what has kept newspapers so successful.

Anonymous said...

I love the hypocrites posting here. They say the show would be better off without Michael but all the while they watch the show solely to see what Michael will do & say. Hilarious. Get over yourselves people.
Spencer coming to the show full-time would SUCK. He's an idiot never-was with nothing interesting to say. He changes his opinion more than most people change underwear. We don't need hosts trying to stir "stuff" about others. This is not a show for Spencer to do that. Keep it on RaceDay.


Daly Planet Editor said...


Wouldn't you watch the show just to see what Jimmy Spencer might say?


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

Anon 12:08PM,

Happy to have your comment on this situation, but we try to keep this a family-oriented site.

If you could take a moment to re-phrase some of your comments, I think your points are worth posting.


Dannyboy said...

ANON 9/15 2:02pm : Jimmy spencer has "no personality"? Of all the ways to describe him I wouldn't have thought of that. I've met JS - he's a true salt of the earth, grease under the fingernails guy. Love him or hate him, his personality is as big as he is.

ANON LURKER 9/15 3:07pm :
They keep MW on "despite overwhelming negative response"? Michael is there because the majority of viewers like me enjoy his humor AND his racing insights. The guy has placed in the Top 5 or 10 of "Most Popular Driver" polls for over a decade. The only reason you see many MW haters online is that it's the only outlet for their dislike. They get drowned out at public events because they are so few.

RENEE 9/16 10:03am: As for calling Jimmy a "never-was": his two Cup wins and scores of Top 10s along with almost $20 million in prize money would argue differently.
Jimmy, like Mikey, Schrader, Kenny Wallace and JB are not there because they were great champions, but because they are/were Cup drivers AND they "work" on TV.

I'm looking forward to seeing "Mongo" (Jimmy's old Cup nickname) as part of the show. He used to do a good job filling in on IWC, but has got a LOT more experience in front of the camera since then.


Anonymous said...

If I would have known that Waltrip wasn't on the show, I would have set my DVR to record. I'm hoping Speed gets rid of Waltrip from the truck races as well so I can start watching those again.

Anonymous said...

I watch TWIN to see & hear Michael Waltrip. Whether he's driving or becomes a full time owner in the future, his appeal will not change for me.
Knowing Spencer was going to host, I avoided the show and am disappointed to hear he will continue for the rest of the season. When Michael returns, I'll tune back in but if he isn't a full time host next year, I'll be done with the show.

Anonymous said...

i don't know if the show would even survive after the ratings go down the drain with Michael Waltrip not on there. You'd have to look at this most recent show compared to those where MW is on to see how not having Michael, affected the ratings.

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:10PM,

This program does not have guests. It does not feature drivers in the top ten. The two rotating panelists are Greg Biffle and Chad Knaus.

Michael Waltrip is being joined by Jimmy Spencer for the rest of the season. Waltrip was away on Monday, but returns next week after the New Hampshire race.


Carolyn said...

Without question - MW makes the show. In fact, watching him on the show is the reason I started following Nascar again. If he leaves, I'll stop watching TWIN. Nascar needs a show that is informative and funny - and MW has the knowledge and comic timing to pull it off.

Anonymous said...

Waltrip is the reason I don't watch the show so I will give it a try again with Spencer. I had to stop watching the truck races because of Waltrip as well so hopefully he is off of that show more often too.

Anonymous said...

I think NASCAR takes a lot of heat because people aren't convinced it is a real sport. Its difficult for me to convince people to take it seriously when they see that Michael Waltrip is driving. He simply brings the sport down to a level of cheap entertainment with his tired shtick while being a shill for NASCAR. The show is much better off without him.

Anonymous said...

Although Spencer is a big improvement, I think the show would be best if it had drivers that are in the top 25. I'd like to hear opinions from the good drivers that are competitive. Its good that Waltrip is gone to make room for the more talented drivers and perhaps Spencer can offer some insight.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:16PM,

Waltrip was on vacation last Monday. This show does not use various drivers as guests. It has panelists who are on for the entire season. Jimmy Spencer was added as a third panelist for the Chase.


Anonymous said...

"Waltrip was on vacation last Monday. This show does not use various drivers as guests. It has panelists who are on for the entire season."

JD, thanks for the clarification. I'd rather have a talented driver that is in the top 30 as a "panelist" instead of having to listen to Waltrip as I feel this would make the show tolerable. How's that?

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

Greg Biffle is already on the show and he is a Chase driver. Chad Knaus is on the show and he is a Chase crew chief.

Is it just Waltrip that you want out?


Zieke said...

Contrary to Renee's comment, I will not watch anything that Waldrip is on just to see what he will say. The lone exception would be him announcing his leaving NASCAR for Wal-mart. Spencer is an OK guy; just hope that NASCAR does'nt decide to muzzle him. I know Jimmy has'nt ever driven the COT, but there are a few current cup drivers that don't do real well with them either, so I guess we'll have to cut JS a little slack on that one.

Anonymous said...

JD, Waltrip simply makes the show unwatchable for me, and it sounds like many others. I really do enjoy the truck races but have to watch them with the volume turned off due to Waltrip and his constant self-promotion and talking over the real announcers. Its taking Speed and Fox a while to get the message about Waltrip, just like its taking NASCAR a while to get he message about how they have hurt the sport, but I'm hoping eventually we will be rid of the clowns like Kenny Wallace and Waltrip.