Monday, September 7, 2009
"TWIN" Puts On A Brand New Face
Panelist Greg Biffle normally spends a significant amount of time on This Week in NASCAR trying to finish a sentence. The enthusiastic and overbearing Michael Waltrip has struggled this season to manage the transition between working with Chad Knaus and Biffle.
On this Monday, Waltrip changed his tune. From the drop of the green flag by host Steve Byrnes, Waltrip was silent when he was supposed to be silent. The good news was that he still brought the positive parts of his unique personality that have served him well on Monday nights for over a decade on SPEED.
What Waltrip found, either on his own or through some encouragement, was that television works much better when everyone on the program is respected. Biffle has been one of the most patient men on NASCAR TV this season. Coming off an exciting program with Chad Knaus, Waltrip would find that Biffle was easy to domninate and that is normally exactly what happened.
Let's give some credit to Biffle, he is not a natural showman like Waltrip or a trained TV veteran like Byrnes. It has been a struggle for Biffle to get to the point where he is right now on TV and viewers have been able to watch him along the way. On this night, he was informative and interesting with his well-placed comments.
Without having to wrestle Waltrip, Byrnes hosted a fast-paced program and TWIN showed the potential it really has with this combination of host and panelists. Certainly, a third voice on the panel that had a slightly different perspective than a current driver or crew chief would be an improvement. But, what viewers got was good.
When Knaus is on the show, the combination of the analytical crew chief and the spontaneous Waltrip simply makes for good TV. The challenge for the NASCAR Media Group production team was to define what to do with Biffle. They finally seemed to have solved that problem.
Late in the show, Byrnes revealed that Jimmy Spencer will be sitting in for Waltrip next week with Chad Knaus on the panel. That should make things even more interesting. Waltrip is on the way to Italy after Richmond on a trip for SPEED.
TWIN was finally the enjoyable hour of NASCAR information and entertainment that many of us thought it could be.
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