Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Exactly Was Danica On Wind Tunnel?

The much-hyped interview with Danica Patrick by guest host Tommy Kendall on Wind Tunnel proved at first to be harmless. Patrick never divulged anything to Kendall, who seemed at times very ill-prepared to deal with the issues surrounding the IRL driver. Ill-prepared is putting it kindly.

The Sunday night interview featured Patrick on a satellite liveshot. She smiled and giggled her way through a disjointed conversation with Kendall, whom she knows quite well from their earlier racing days.

If anyone could have convinced Patrick to offer her thoughts on what potentially could be out there for her, it may well have been her friend Kendall. Instead, the questions asked of her put her in a defensive mode and resulted in absolutely no information.

Viewers did learn what shoes she was wearing and the fact that she knew a little about a whole lot. Patrick said she had no clue about the on-going turmoil in her own IRL team. She said she had no idea about why Michael Andretti was taking over the day-to-day management. Finally, she said her agent is the one who talks to the IRL about her own future plans, she is just a driver.

Kendall never gave Danica an opportunity to offer her views on what possibilities might be lurking out there for her on the NASCAR side of the block. By the time the Sunday night interview was over, TV viewers only knew that Danica had good hair and was an expert at not exactly telling the truth.

This was the news blurb offered on Jayski about what happened the very next day:

Lucky timing for several race fans who got a surprise at Stewart Hass Racing on Monday afternoon. As they witnessed Tony Stewart giving Danica Patrick a personal tour. It's at least her second visit to SHR.

OK, let's review. Danica had no NASCAR information to offer to Kendall. She had no IRL contract information to offer. She knew nothing about the management upheaval on her current team. She basically stays in her bus at the track and only comes out to drive.

Wind Tunnel and Kendall got skunked by this little lady and the ultimate irony is that the very next day Patrick flew literally right into SPEED's backyard and drove about ten miles down the street to the SHR shop. Maybe her agent arranged that visit as well. After all, she is just a driver.

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bevo said...

How often does any interview with a current driver ever yield any real inside information? Most of the time the driver is pushing a product or a pet cause. Occasionally they'll get something if they catch them in the heat of the moment which will quickly be taken back in a press release the next day.

As for Danica visiting Stewart's shop he's been a big supporter of her for a long time, he told the story many times on his old show on Sirius.

Anonymous said...

Wow...don't remember you giving this much grief to Brad Keselowski et al....for lying through their teeth in many interviews recently???

Daly Planet Editor said...

NASCAR drivers appear each day on Sirius Channel 128 and several times a week on NASCAR Now on ESPN2.

The push by SPEED in advance of this interview was that Danica has something to offer and that was her purpose for appearing.

The entire point of my column is that there was no reason, staged or not, for Danica to appear on Wind Tunnel. It made no sense at all.

I appreciate your defense of Patrick at the SHR shops. Perhaps, she flew from Arizona to North Carolina to meet Tony for yet another shop tour and a late lunch.

Danica has Go Daddy money firmly behind her and where she winds up taking those dollars, especially now that Brad K. has bolted JR Motorsports, is a major story for both the IRL and NASCAR.

SPEED made the decision to put Kendall in the seat and he handled most of the show with little problem.

Kendall's final question of Danica should have been: "Why are you here?"


Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:43PM,

As we learned with Ryan Newman and others, the contract model now on the NASCAR side is to wait until the lawyers push the green light.

It is amazing why drivers in his professional situation put themselves in media situations before that time.

The ultimate irony for Brad is that NASCAR Now was pushed back by tennis some 25 minutes and most fans who taped the overnight show got only the first couple sentences from Brad of his interview with Nicole Manske.

TV sure is fun.


Ritchie said...

I agree completely that she basically made WT look unimportant and useless. What Ms. Patrick did was waste the time of WT viewers.

I wish her all the best, regardless of which racing series that she decides to participate. However, if she thinks that she can act like Kyle Busch without driving like Kyle Busch, she may be in for a rude awakening.

She isn't going to look like that forever and her beauty is the only thing that is getting her interest in NASCAR. What she will learn real fast is that in NASCAR, if you can't sell a product you better be able to drive the wheels off of a car.

How many people think that Matt Kenseth is a marketing powerhouse?

MRM4 said...

Why did Dave Despain take 2 weeks off during the middle of racing season? I guarantee you that if he had been on there Sunday night, Danica would have been asked all those questions and more. Then again, maybe that's why she came on there, knowing Dave was off racing somewhere.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ritchie, good point. I certainly don't want to make it seem this was a Danica deal, because we don't know.

National TV time on Wind Tunnel is usually for a purpose or reason.

Despain has done a good job of using his 45 minutes of TV content in a very concise way over the years.

Just not too sure who got rooked on this one.


Anonymous said...

We met Danica at Watkins Glen and not only is she a liar but she is one of the rudest people I have ever met. She would not last a week in Nascar.

glenc1 said...

I don't suppose it occured to anyone that the appearance could have been scheduled long ago, and they expected she *would* have something to talk about that unfortunately hadn't materialized yet? And that instead of cancelling an appearance already advertised, she went ahead and did the show? We have no idea (without a WT insider to tell us) what the story is...and I think it's rather unfair to assign motives to her that might be completely wrong.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Glen, SPEED sends lots of emails and press releases behind the scenes to make sure all the TV writers and websites know what is going on.

BTW..."anyone" is me, right?


Vicky D said...

I thought Tommy Kendall's questions were rather lame and easy for her to answer. C'mon we don't care what shoes you are wearing. I didn't like her answer about having to go through throngs of fans/people (I don't really remember how she described it) to get to her motorcoach so she can stay in it for the rest of the day, plus giving autographs was time consuming to her she said. I guess it was good that she came on WT though but I'm sure Dave would have asked tougher questions and TK didn't even come close to asking about ESPN the Magazine photos.

glenc1 said...

JD, I was actually including some of the others who commented in that, although they were obviously taking your lead....

I understand that they give advance notice/press releases, etc, but I don't understand what it has to do with my comments? What I was suggesting was that her people thought a deal was going to be in place by whenever her appearance was scheduled and it wasn't. Did they say in the press release she was going to talk about certain things? I'm not really defending or not defending her, I'm just saying we don't know. I hate to be judgemental of people and then find out later there's some logical explanation. It's happened before.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

They are using her as a sex object! Plain and simple

Damon said...


Her people got to her and basically told her to shut up about her contract after she said too much at Sonoma, which she pretty much admitted to during the WT interview.

That's why she said this repeatedly at a press conference on Friday at Chicago: "We've got three races left in the season, and I'm just going to do my best to try to get a win in"

Kenn Fong said...


Tommy Kendall is a prime example of Howard Cosell's criticism of jocks in the booth. They're not trained journalists and most have a steep learning curve to climb.

I wonder if the interview with Danica was Kendall's leverage to get this gig? He certainly was not a great host.

By the way, his appearance was hampered by the producers, who failed to get callers to turn down their TV sound. There's nothing less riveting than to hear a caller who wasn't smart enough to turn off his audio so he isn't confused by the delay. I bailed on the program after that happened the first time.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Kendall on his test drive show, but he was clearly struggling with multitasking...the phone, looking at the right camera and having the voice in his ear that Dave always talks about. It's not an easy thing, when you think about it. That just takes experience & it's kind of on the job training. Not a lot of opportunity to learn it, especially if one has never done 'live' programming in TV or radio.

Sophia said...

I thought back last month when Dave said he was going to be off, he named the fill in hosts and even Danica's visit IIRC.

anyway, I am like Bevo...I expected NOTHING from her.

Talking about shoes was lame and I've heard from many she is just plain rude & diva like to EVERYBODY.

I though TK had a bum outing as host and thought him to be not great, but I have heard from others he is usually very good on tv so there was nervousness or confusion or something. If he's never done LIVE tv I will forgive him as the annoying "voices talking in your ear" as one multi-tasks.I don't see how anybody does that...but he DID get better on WT extra online but I got interrupted and only heard the last part of that show...but Tommy obviously had more help or less pressure there and seemed like a different host!

Still the producer could've been MORE helpful and the call screener telling callers to "listen on the phone" and shut off the tv.

Tommy should've been helped to look better than he did. I thought a good producer/director usually assisted with that.

They shoulda had Robin Miller on as fill in host. The DP interview would've at least had been a little more fun. . . .maybe...ok I doubt it. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Glen, it's not's discussing. We don't know and they are sure as heck not going to tell.

As some of the comments reference, the rest of the show made sense, despite the fact that Kendall was a strange choice.

With all the multi-talented TV motorsports veterans on the SPEED staff, it is interesting that a guy who has been creating post-produced car testing shows was the choice.


glenc1 said...

Saying someone is a liar when there isn't proof of it sounds like judging to me (JD, you didn't say that, others did.) I'm sure I've probably made some judgmental comments in the past, too, I just think that's a bit harsh if you aren't sure it's true.

Like Sophia & Bevo, I guess I wasn't expecting her to reveal anything, so I wasn't particularly disappointed. It was two friends talking to each other; sometimes that works, but this just wasn't one of those times. And I agree with the comments on Tommy--he's very good in what he does in his usual setting, but doing a call in show is difficult indeed. Gives me new respect for Ralph & Krista filling in, but they've obviously had hosting experience. Dave is benchmark.

storkjrc said...

Part of the disjointed convo seemed partly due to the satellite delay. I agree however that the interview was pointless.

vicky d 2:00 pm- i would normally never take up for Danica. But the refering to the large crowd of fans and not doing autographs was just at the Chicago track. From my understanding of the interview, she had 30-50 friends and family in attendance and wanted to spend time with them. I would assume at other tracks she may sign. However its my experience that Nascar drivers are much more accomodating to fans for the most part.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I found Danic's No Particular Place to Go show quite informative. While I really do enjoy Wind Tunnel and tape it every Sunday as a precaution, the past 2 weeks have shown that it can survive with a substitute host- and be far superior to the retreads SPEED usually shows when WT hibernates in Dec. and Jan. I am hopeful that the use of substitutes this summer means WT will not hibernate this year - especially so Robin Miller will have something to do to keep him out of trouble.

Sue said...

Her contract talks must not be going smoothly as Jayski is reporting she again was at Stewart Haas racing this Monday and given a tour by non other Tony himself. She was just there last week. mmmmmmmm

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sue, what if Tony floats a third Go Daddy car for select races that she tries to enter on off-IRL weekends?

That is the kind of topic I wished Kendall had asked her about, even in theory.


Damon said...

She wasn't there last week Sue, she went there back in July.....not exactly last week, now is it?

Damon said...


What Kendall would've asked her with respect to her contract would've gotten the same response the other questions about her contract did.....Danica saying nothing.

Anonymous said...

All of the anti-Danica venom is amazing. Considering she is sitting fifth in points in a series with four ridiculously superior cars is pretty amazing if you ask me.

It's such a shame we live in a closed-minded society where if a woman uses her looks to further her career she is labeled as a word that would probably get this comment blocked whereas if a man does nobody cares.

Marco is shirtless in a commercial right now - Danica has never done that.

Plus, a good number of cup drivers have rides just because of their looks - McMurray, Mears, Sorenson, etc.

Danica has certainly done more on track than those male drivers.

To be honest, after Kendall's attempt at humor to start the show (which was so sexist I can't believe they didn't pull him off the set!) I normally would have just deleted WT from the DVR. I only watched for Danica and got about what I expected.

Anonymous said...

I too was unimpressed with the interview, considering Despain said something along the lines of "I'd assume that by booking this interview, she would have figured out what she will be doing in 2010." Windtunnel has been kinda crappy for a while now, however. It's too much to ask to fit the entire world of motorsports into an weekly 1 hor show. Heaven forbid we take away a rerun of PINKS.

The thing is, TK did a much better job during the "WindTunnel" extra webcast. He's was stiff and appeared to be nervous during the actual show, but all the tension was gone on the extra. I had a blast listening to TK, Paul Tracy, and Leigh Diffey talk racing for 15minutes. Again, would it kill SPEED to have stuff like that as opposed to Pass Time?

NorCalFan said...

Listening to Danica's interview reminded me of last week's WT interview of Ken Anderson and his new USF1 team. Words were coming out of their mouths but neither of them were saying anything of any substance. A waste of airtime for both of them.

I figured she was on the show to boost ratings and set the record straight about her future plans in motorsports. I learned zilch.

BTW, the graphics shown at the beginning of Danica's interview said she was still in Chicago (where Sunday's IRL race took place).

Zieke said...

What ever does anyone mean- why was Danica on WT? Pure & simple she was there because she generates ratings. (I include myself in the deal)She looks great, and is in the news all the time, good or bad. I only watch the show when someone I'm interested in is on. Whether Dave is there or not is unimportant, altho I don't think it's prudent to vacation when you are a host and in the middle of racing season.
Tommy was not prepared, and probably not entirely his fault. Speed should have warned him as to the complexity of a show like this. He is really good on his Test Drive show.

Anonymous said...

There is high speculation that Danica wants to race Cup once the IRL season is over. That would put her squarely in the middle of the Chase races. In various publications that I've been reading have said Danica is not interested in starting in a lower level of Nascar, but in Cup only. IMHO, if that's true, any owner would be crazy to give her a shot, regardless of her sponsorship.