Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boris Stands Alone And Jimmy Gets A Muzzle

It was supposed to be a solid doubleheader of NASCAR TV on Monday after the exciting win by Tony Stewart in Kansas. Instead, it was an early evening face-off and a watered-down imitation of a fan favorite.

Allen Bestwick was first on the air with the one-hour version of NASCAR Now. This week, Randy LaJoie was absent and replaced by Boris Said. The remainder of the panel consisted of show regulars Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham.

Right from the start, Craven and Bestwick showed why ESPN has been using them regularly in this role. Both were up to date on the information about the weekend and used their personal experiences to frame their comments.

Evernham is especially powerful on this show, offering a crew chief point of view that fits quite well with Craven's sophisticated perspective as a former driver. Evernham's influence was brought to the forefront this week as Goodyear quietly began testing the bigger wheel and tire that he has been advocating for months.

The odd man out was Boris Said. Throughout the show, Said always took the different point of view and made the choice that was the opposite of Craven and Evernham. Although Said worked well on Sunday in the studio with Mike Massaro, this was not a setting in which he fits in. That was quickly apparent.

Allen Bestwick was annoyed and it showed. Several times he called Said out for purposefully disagreeing in the ongoing discussion. Bestwick does not tolerate this kind of behavior. The shift from the good humor of LaJoie to the attention seeking of Said was not good for the show.

The comments of Evernham and Craven about the final pitstop and the tire decisions of the top teams showed why these two have TV value. It was Evernham's perspective on the variety of changes that were available to the crew chiefs and Craven's comments on what the drivers needed that told the tale.

This program continues to offer outstanding highlights and extensive soundbites from drivers and crew chiefs. While there was no guest this week, the program kept a solid pace and covered a lot of ground. LaJoie returns with Craven and Evernham next Monday on a 5PM show hosted by Massaro who is filling-in for Bestwick.

The second show of the doubleheader was This Week in NASCAR on SPEED. TWIN recently added Jimmy Spencer as the third panelist joining Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus. This resulted in some very interesting moments last week as the outspoken Spencer butted heads with Waltrip on a variety of issues.

This week, there were very different marching orders. Steve Byrnes introduced the panel and what fans got was politically correct and polite chat. There must have been an interesting production meeting as both Spencer and Waltrip were completely muzzled.

Chad Knaus offered his normally candid comments about what went right and wrong for his team as they were beat by Stewart for the win. Once Knaus found his "on-air legs" there has been no stopping his emergence as a top TV personality working both sides of the fence. Knaus also works with Larry McReynolds and Bootie Barker on NASCAR Performance, one of the best programs on SPEED.

Instead of Spencer and Waltrip battling over viewpoints and opinions, they were finishing each other's sentences and smiling politely. It was awful. Knaus was the panelist who spoke the most and continued to offer his style of analytical information.

Unfortunately, many viewers tune-in for the antics of Waltrip and the differences of opinion among the panel. That is why this show has been struggling with just two panelists all year long. Adding Spencer was a welcome change, but if these new marching orders are going to be in effect for the remainder of the season, this show is in trouble.

Did you watch both shows? Tell us your opinion on Monday's NASCAR Now and TWIN. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for stopping by.


Sophia said...

I kept getting interruptions and had to give up until the later repeat JD.

I did hear the priceless comments about ESPN CLAIMING they heard the air leaving a tire (high pitched squeal which sounded like feedback to me & the TWIN guys)

I noticed very little Jimmy talking and wondered if he hadn't gotten called to the office. SHAME. It was a fabulous show last week but tonight seemed very toned down. I WILL watch the repeat but it was not the firey show from last week, I could tell.

Wonder if there were complaints over a couple of mild swear words or what (Far WORSE dialogue is heard in primetime sitcoms or 'animated shows')

I totally LOVED last weeks show. But I could hardly tell JS was even ON the panel he seemed quiet! Will listen to midnight show for real opine.

Dot said...

I will not watch NN when Boris is on.

I recorded TWIN and will watch it later. No matter who's on TWIN, I always watch it.

Here's a tidbit. The numbers were down for the KS race.

darbar said...

I just hope that once Mikey retires, he'll also leave TWIN. He's sipped too much Nascar Kool Aid and he only knows how to spew the companhy line. At least last week, Spencer voiced his own opinion, but apparently he was bottle fed the Kool Aid. Fans don't want boring---they want honest opinions. Why are all of these talking heads, and I'm also referring to the guys on Trackside, afraid to say anything that's not part of the Nascar bible? Are they afraid of their jobs? Does Brian France or Helton own Speed?

As for Boris, I'm still not a fan. Like I've said before, in a lot of circumstances, he comes off as a jealous also-ran. I distinctly heard him say something to the effect that he's not a driver.....

Indira Newell said...

I never watch Nascar Now when Boris Said is on. He is an idiot plain and simple and isn't worth the time. Normally the Monday NN show is my favorite with the round table but not this week.

I did NOT NOT NOT like the toned down version of TWIN. I like my Jimmy Spencer just the way he is and he was definitely not himself. Even Michael's hair was combed.

I want those guys to be themselves and not some corporate monkeys. I did enjoy them giving Chad grief but thats all good fun.

I love Michael and Jimmy and if they don't get along thats fine with me. I think its good to get some blood flowing every now and again.

Anonymous said...

NN with the suits and ties look akward(when Joe Gibbs was on he didn't have a tie),but it was an infofmative progam.TWIN is laid back,usually the participants at least give the impression that they are having fun.Like the commentators or not,it's really different from the dry pre/post race reviews,and that's why I watch.
Dave in Califonia

Haus14 said...

I thought that both shows were very good. I would definitely prefer LaJoie over Boris Said, but with that being said, Evernham and Craven more than carried their own on the show. TWIN was good. I thought that all 3 panelists were good. It sounded as if Spencer had a cold, but over all they had good chemistry.

Sophia said...

Tonight Jimmy Spencer was so laid back, it's like he just woke up or got out of the NASCAR hauler.

MOST DISAPPOINTING. Last week this show hit it out of the park. Tonight it was a completely different show. Not even the same energy. Would LOVE to know the name of person who put the whammy down.

Tonight...shrugs...I like the guys fine but the magic spark from last week was gone. :( It's like they read all our comments and told Jimmy to knock it off.


p.s. Which makes me think after Robin Miller solo hosted on WT last night that will NEVER happen again. Whenever we LOVE SOMETHING GENUINE, it's taken away by the suits behind the scenes.
One of the best WT EVER. Robin spoke fast to get as much in as possible so he didn't spend so much time reading promos.:)

Sophia said...

P.s. I tried ESPN but just could not stomach watching the network for more than 5 minutes. My heart belongs to SPEED and I shall continue my boycott to ESPN. Heck, I hardly watch the races on BSPN.Why??

Anonymous said...

I thought this was the best TWIN show so far. Loved the way they heckled Knaus about the 2 tire/4 tire decision. He showed a lot of retraint and saw the humor in the situation.

Mindy said...

I thought TWiN was great, it's one of the best NASCAR shows on. This week's show was just as good as last weeks, IMO. I didn't see any difference, except that Jimmy Spencer didn't trash someone this week. I don't understand why some fans feel that they need to see someone trash NASCAR and/or a driver, to enjoy a program. If you don't like it, don't watch.

I also read on Michael's twitter that Jimmy said he was going to wreck him at the Nebraska dirt track on Saturday night. It turns out, Jimmy never got close to him and Michael won. So maybe Jimmy was feeling alittle "under the weather" this week. He did look uncomfortable.

All in all, it was a good show and the guys are having fun with it. Hope to see TWiN next seson with the same panel. Great show SPEED!

Vicky D said...

TWIN & NN are must see programs on Monday night. I think AB, RE & RC work well together and noticed Boris being the odd man out. I think RL works better with the others than Boris plus it did look like AB was getting annoyed with him. TWIN was subdued but did you see the beginning where Steve Byrnes was standing up and announcing the what was coming up on the show? I never saw that before but maybe it's because hubby is late changing the channel on Mondays. That was funny with them explaining the tire going down too. I think Speed needs to revamp the panelists on TWIN I like Chad though.

gd said...

The one part I liked was that on TWIN, they purposefully called out ESPN's coverage for misinformation about the tire leak on the 42 car. I felt it was a direct shot across the bow of the ESPN ship.I thought that was good, because then it wasn't just fans complaining about poor coverage, it was another network(s) employees. Side note about WT, when Robin Miller hosted, it WAS awkward. Even the fact that it was 95% A.J Foyt, and only 1% NASCAR, with the other 4% other motorsports, it was good. I can't wait until next week when my hero, The King, is guest panelist.Noticeably absent is Knaus. It would be great to see the two of them together on T.V. talking about sensitive subjects. But, we are probably relegated to Mikey talking about how he lived on their couch, and was ostracized by his brother. Oh well,
Long live The King.

Dot said...

I liked TWIN last night.

The whistling tire segment was funny. Especially Mikey's story of smelling a tire with a leak and what happens next. Correct me if I'm wrong but, didn't Dave Burns show the tire on pit road? I don't remember the whistling tire on the track.

Way OT here. The trial of the 4 yr old thrown off the cliff, another hung jury.

Anonymous said...

Waltrip was muzzled? Not that I could tell. He still thinks he's the most important part of the show and continues to prove to us why he is not.

What was wrong with MW's hair? Looked like he was wearing a wig. Top part was a rich dark brown. Lower part was black w/some white thrown in. Weirdest looking hair I've ever seen.

Is there even a chance we might see this program without MW? I look forward to the day.

Anonymous said...

Entertainment with Nascar News. That is what these shows do. I love it. "Bubba" Spencer and "Joe Biden" Mikey Waltrip (gaffer)add great news from all perspectives for a good show. Love these guys. They bring latest developments from drivers, crew chief, owners, sponsors bad lawmen (Nascar) and television. What more do you want?

sue said...

It was blatantly and painfully obvious that Spencer was muzzled. I also noticed Steve's new introduction to the show about being a show that provides entertainment along with information which meant to me that they were reading views comments on this blog. Spencer said more than once that it was Mikey picking on Chad this week which must have been a topic of discussion in last weeks post production meeting. Chad certainly handled himself well this week with the ribbing given to him. The information given about the race was again well said by all and highly enjoyable. It was nice to see Mikey toned down.

I'm old enough to remember the Point/Counterpoint segment of 60 minutes from years gone by and having Boris make the counterpoint just doesn't do it. Craven and Evernham are just so brilliant and knowledgeable in their roles that it puts Boris in a bad light.

Next week on TWIN will be interesting to see how the boys handle the all night traveling to get to Charlotte in time to film the show.

Sophia said...

TWIN's comment, reactions, expression & laughs on the tire going down (via a screech that sounded like FEEDBACK in the mic to me and to them) was PRICELESS.

I did not hear that during BSPN broadcast as I was on MRN by then with TV muted. That was laughable. All the panel found that ludicrous.

Nice to see SOMEBODY call out ESPN for once! If we believe that somebody mentioned waterfront property or swamp land in Ariz or something.

After that comment, I wanted to invite the boys over for dinner and see what else they would say "off mic". :-D

I still laugh thinking about that segment.

Maybe the show was fine but just a sharp turn after the bull in the China shop last week with JS. Not that I enjoy TRASHING, just his opinions that go against the grain of the NASCAR media in general.

Remember how he ended the show last week? He hoped he'd be back next week? Well, i guess he got a little too colorful for somebody.

But 'that JS' was the PERFECT balance to the always polite, Steve B, Chad & typical Mikey..and I ADORE Mikey.

Maybe Jimmy can have more coffee before next week's show.

Still LOVE my Monday night show. Next week this will follow a NEW SHOW about racing. Now if SPEED would just put WT on Monday night after TWIN that would be a real BLOCK of real tv.

Haus14 said...

It was Dave Burns who pointed out the air leak sound. He was actually on pit road and held a microphone up to a leaking tire. The sound was the sound of a tire leaking, but as the guys on TWIN said, there is no way a driver would hear that while inside the car.

Donna DeBoer said...

On NN, agreed that Boris was the man out. I respect him as a roadster but I don't get a lot of his opinions on regular topics and it does seem like he goes out of his way to disagree. If I had to chose him or Randy, it would be Randy every time- not that Randy always agrees but he seems more sincere when he disagrees.
I didn't want to watch TWIN when I heard they were going to do a Jimmie retrospect and that was before Sunday, but when the 48 lost I knew Chad was going to get grilled and so I tuned in for that, and wasn't disappointed. But he handled it well. Was also pleased the show did not become a 48 love fest, just a short clip at the end that was pretty good. But yes, I was disappointed Spencer didn't have "more", he appeared to want to say a lot more than he did and was obviously holding back. MW seemed the same to me. TWIN, if you think Jimmy Spencer on the show is a good thing, it is, but you gotta let him be himself!! otherwise it's a waste of time.

ruckus said...

I didn't catch all of NN or TWIN but I thought the parts I did see were pretty good. I thought Evernham, Craven and Said all did a great job breaking down 14's strategy at the end. Said and Craven did a good job explaining HOW a driver goes about saving tires as opposed to just stating he was saving the tires. Also, Evernham had a great point regarding Stewart's lane choice given Kahne was beside him in an ( relatively) underpowered engine.

On TWIN I thought there were some good points as well. The discussion between Knaus and Waltrip regarding why the car out front is so much faster was interesting. Waltrip's point about the driver's vision in traffic effecting lap times as much or more than aero was a good one. I guess some may interpret that as towing the NASCAR line on the new car. However, I do think there is a lot of validity to Waltrip's point. If you stop and think about it it really does make sense.

Finally, I thought it was pretty funny when Waltrip said someone was coming [through traffic] and didn't even have to pound on anyone. Looked like Knaus was going to lose it laughing for a second.

Anonymous said...

Boris Said does not have Nascar experience or knowledge to even be on that show. He always comes across like a fish out of water.

MW is all about himself and his sponsors which gets very old very fast. JS I can take or leave...

WT is the only show I watch on a regular basis.

Kenn Fong said...


I could use a lot more of Chad. His explanation of how a car changes during a race made me understand how the 48 and 5 might come too close after inspection. I also learned from his comments about racing in clean air as opposed to being in the pack.

I think they pulled back Mikey and Spencer too much. I hated Spencer until I saw him on TWIN. Now I believe he has something to add. (I still believe, however, that someone has to take him aside and tell him to get a better hairpiece.)

As for Boris: I used to have a friend who would gainsay a position I took just for the fun of it. After a while the devil's advocate role became too much for me and I straight out told him I knew what he was doing, and it was wearing me down, and for us to keep talking he'd have to drop it.

Having everyone agree does not make for interesting television but it's possible to add a different slant without simply being the naysayer.

(Random thought: Boris should get Chia Pet to sponsor his car and sell a Chia Boris. I can see the spots now.)

By the way, J.D., on my Alameda Comcast, I noticed at least 4 spots on "NASCAR Now" which were direct response. (Snugli, pressure washer, ab exerciser, and at least one other) Do you think these were place-keepers for unsold local spots?

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

glenc1 said...

Haus14, that was what I saw too; unless I missed something in the broadcast. I don't understand people gleefully endorsing SPEED people for trashing ESPN for this. Dave Burns didn't 'invent' that noise, it was not feedback, the mike only picked up the sound because he had it right where the hole was (and no one suggested the driver would have heard it that I'm aware of.)

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I don't think you can have it both ways - too much disagreeing on NN, but not enough on TWIN.

I did enjoy NN, and I am still a BS fan, Boris too. I do believe that Ray and Ricky are among the most analytical commentators and better communicators than Boris, but I did find Boris' comments to seem genuine which is often not the case on EESPN. If I am not mistaken, I believe Ricky has not driven a COT in a race, which of course Boris has. I am always amazed how Ray and Ricky can explain things in a way that makes them understandable.

Newracefan said...

NN was OK Ray gave me a lot of insight with 2 VS 4 that I didn't know before. Although Boris is growing on me slightly (still holding that Marcos Ambrose grudge) he definately doesn't work well in a group. They should stick to the 3Rs- Randy, Ray, and Ricky.
I thought TWIN was hysterical, they busted Chad unmercifully on the 2 vs 4 and he took it well. The leaky tire deal had me rolling on the floor. I remember thinking it was feedback when I heard it the first time, it may be making some noise but that mic had to get awful close for us to hear it; but it seems to me blowing on a mic makes some strange noises. Just sayin. I was OK with a calmer Jimmy to be honest I actually prefer it. The crazy Jimmy on Raceday was getting on my nerves. Bif, Jimmy and Mikey next week should be interesting too bad they can't always have the crew chief perspective.

dave e said...

I'll take NN with Nicole ANY DAY over the panel format. So much of the commentary seems contrived. And contrary to most here, I like Boris any time that he is on the shows, and I am not a Said Head. Regarding TWIN, the group as presented on Monday night was great ... they don't need to beat up on each other to make a show a good show. And as for the Sunday race, the last 50 laps were some of the best of the year, even though Dale, Jr, my guy, was out. Most NASCAR fans have second-tier favorites....

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard, I understand what you are saying. I think that having two driver viewpoints on the panel serves no purpose.

Last season, it worked much better to include a journalist like Mike Massaro or Marty Smith.

Putting Boris and Ricky together is unfair to Boris. That is why I added the comment that when Said worked along with Massaro on that Sunday, he did a very good job.

dave e,

While I certainly do not condone anyone beating up on anyone else, a muted Waltrip and a muzzled Spencer simply short-changes the TV viewers IMHO.

This show needs three voices and SPEED chose Spencer. To hold him back after one show of speaking his mind was just not right.


Daly Planet Editor said...

oops, "when Said worked alone..."

glenc1 said...

just sayin'...Dave Burns has been a broadcaster for a while now, and I think he'd know 'feedback' when he hears it. Air makes odd sounds when it's pushed through a small hole, anyone ever heard a flute? I could use other, more crude examples, but you get the idea, lol. I don't mind SPEED guys having a little fun with it, mind you, but no one said it could have been heard by a driver.

Personally, I like Boris. I'd rather have Randy if I had to choose between the two, but he doesn't particularly bother me. And he has a lot more experience than people give him credit for. After watching this sport for a long time, I have figured out that sooner or later, every driver/owner/crew chief, etc, is going to say or do something stupid. I just can't hold it against them forever.

dave e said...

You are right, muting Spence does not make for a dynamic broadcast. I did not mean to imply that you wanted them to beat up on each other as a matter of course... Thanks again, dave e.