Tuesday, October 13, 2009
All Hands On Deck For "NASCAR Race Hub"
This major shift in programming direction at SPEED still makes little sense but NASCAR fans can just sit back and enjoy it while it lasts.
Monday evening debuted NASCAR Race Hub. This new series will run Monday through Thursday, but the network is vague on what will happen once the season is over. While this Wednesday's edition will be one hour long starting at 7PM, the show will usually air at 7:30PM for thirty minutes.
Krista Voda and Adam Alexander co-hosted this first show and it was quickly apparent that SPEED had all hands on deck. Richard Petty did a quick interview with Alexander focusing on the upcoming Hall of Fame announcement and then the floodgates opened.
Jeff Hammond stopped by in his casual attire, which is the theme for the show. Voda christened the on-set sofa as the "Couch of Tomorrow" and the program took off. Hammond is much better in this setting with Voda than he ever was in the Hollywood Hotel.
The familiar voice of Ralph Sheheen was next as he delivered a SPEED Report update covering the NASCAR news of the day. Suddenly, Ray Dunlap appeared as he was reporting from Rockingham where two open-wheel stars were trying to test a Camping World Series truck. Unfortunately, rain cancelled the effort but Dunlap interviewed both Vitor Meira and Nelson Piquet Jr.
SPEED's Randy Pemberton was next, taking a position at the "Hub Pub" and talking NASCAR with Alexander. Pemberton is another on-air talent on the roster that would probably be right at home in this setting. Veteran fans may remember that Pemberton cut his teeth on Inside Winston Cup Racing back when it was hosted by Ned Jarrett and appeared on TNN.
Since TWIN now follows this program, Steve Byrnes, Michael Waltrip and Jimmy Spencer made a brief appearance at the Race Hub pinball machine as a promo for the upcoming show. Greg Biffle was nowhere to be found.
The show closed with the five SPEED talent on-camera and viewers still looking around at all the different features built into the new set. As with many multi-purpose sets, there are several interview areas, host positions and video monitors.
TDP readers already noticed the struggles with some lighting, make-up and audio issues. Certainly, these problems will be addressed as the show moves forward. Richard Petty cast a big profile with his cowboy hat and he also cast a big shadow as he wore it and sunglasses inside.
Race Hub crammed a lot of information, interviews and talking heads into thirty minutes. Tuesday, Voda will host a broadcasting panel of Mike Joy, Rick Allen, Doug Rice and Ken Squier. All of these men have a NASCAR Hall of Fame vote and Voda will let them voice their selections and the reasons for choosing them.
Wednesday the show will be one hour beginning at 7PM and cover the big Hall of Fame selection announcement. There will be plenty of announcers including Kyle Petty on that show. Kudos to SPEED for making the investment. It looks like a lot of fun.
Earlier in the day, Mike Massaro ran Ricky Craven, Ray Evernham and Randy LaJoie through a stellar hour of NASCAR Now on ESPN2. This was Massaro's best show filling in for Allen Bestwick on a Monday. He kept the pace quick, interjected his own opinions and respected all three men on the panel.
This program walks the politically correct line quite often and did so on several race topics from the weekend. Jimmie Johnson called in as the guest and answered a good mix of questions from the panelists. The highlights and soundbites were crisp, which is an ESPN hallmark.
The day ended with This Week in NASCAR on SPEED. Biffle knew he was going to be on the hotseat and Byrnes put him there quickly. Biffle originally went for the excuse that a bumpy track caused him to squeeze eventual race winner Joey Logano up against the backstretch wall in the Nationwide Series race. He later admitted it was basically payback as everyone already knew.
Biffle recounted his post-race encounter with Tom Logano, which immediately incensed Jimmy Spencer who still enjoys a good fight. Of course, Spencer is now watching them rather than participating in them, but it's the thought that counts. Biffle said the elder Logano gave him the traditional NASCAR symbol of greeting and then continued running to Victory Lane.
Poor Biffle then had to hear it again as the panel watched him crash first with Denny Hamlin at the end of the Nationwide race and then with Kasey Kahne in the Sprint Cup Series event. He looked and sounded like a man who knew his Chase hopes were over.
Richard Petty then joined the panel as an in-studio guest and once again Jimmy Spencer was bounced from the set. Some TDP readers suggested taking up a collection for another matching studio chair. Making Spencer leave when a guest arrives is nothing short of ridiculous.
Byrnes also pinned Petty down on the Yates merger and the King was not happy to be put on the spot. Once again, the irony of possibly being named to the Hall of Fame at a time when things are going horribly wrong behind the scenes was on display.
As a TV veteran, Byrnes calmed things down and let Petty and Waltrip swap some stories. The Petty history is nothing short of amazing and NASCAR fans would be better off if this kind of legacy had a place on a regular TV series sometime soon.
It was a heavy Monday for NASCAR TV and we would like to know if you watched. Please add your opinion on these TV shows. Just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. As usual, we appreciate you taking the time to stop by.