Saturday, October 17, 2009

Live Blogging "NASCAR RaceDay" On SPEED


This is the home track for SPEED with the network's new headquarters and studios right down the street from the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

RaceDay is the franchise for SPEED. This program has been around for a long time and is now two hours of an incredible mix of elements. Last year, we described it as the Super Wal-Mart of NASCAR TV. Eventually, there is something for everyone.

John Roberts is at the heart of it all. Fans may remember that several years ago Roberts would put himself right in the middle of the funny skits and outlandish crowd baiting routines. Now, he has taken on more of a serious host role and there is a good reason why. Actually, there are two.

Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace began this TV series as two NASCAR drivers with mediocre pasts who were in the middle of a career change. Wallace had been a familiar face as a frequent panelist on the old Inside Winston/NEXTEL Cup on SPEED. His personality and outgoing nature seemed to be a natural for TV.

Wallace brought his St. Louis background to the table, while Spencer represented his rough and tough Pennsylvania roots with frank talk and sometimes harsh comments. Spencer quickly became the lightning rod on this show with Wallace providing the comic relief.

This season, the reporter role is being shared by two familiar faces, Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler. Venturini is a true television professional. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in TV production and has worked in the field since then. Make no mistake about it, Venturini is the star of RaceDay.

One trademark of a TV pro is being confident enough to share the stage. Venturini has done that with Hermie Sadler. Coming from a minor role on the series providing track descriptions, Sadler was perhaps best known for spinning out the SPEED camera car during one memorable effort. Now, he has developed into a self-taught pro who is comfortable on-camera in a variety of situations.

Rutledge Wood is getting a little bit old to be the class clown. There is no doubt that he may be a nice guy in person but SPEED's continual use of him to portray the fool is ridiculous. If he has something to offer, let him show it. Wood is buried in sponsor-driven features, ill-prepared celebrity interviews and embarrassing TV moments.

RaceDay drives a lot of viewer email that is almost all focused on the words and antics of Spencer and Wallace. This year these two seem to be speaking directly to the viewers each time Roberts tosses them a questions. "Let me tell you something," says Wallace at the start of almost every answer. Something is missing.

Spencer has recently been added to the Monday This Week in NASCAR show and removed from Victory Lane. Larry McReynolds replaced Spencer on Victory Lane and the difference was remarkable. Spencer's emotional questions were replaced with informed inquiries about specific issues.

Every TV series goes through changes and it now seems like Roberts, Sadler and Venturini are in a different league from Wallace and Spencer. The first three are involved in heavy TV duties and interviews while the last two are disconnected and struggling to fit in.

Long gone are the judges robes, the fake court and the table dancing. Now RaceDay has become a serious pre-race show for hardcore fans who want information, interviews and opinions. As we watch this two-hour show from Lowe's Motor Speedway, keep these issues in mind.

We want your comments on this program and the series in general. To add your TV-related opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so please keep that in mind when posting.

TDP will be live blogging the Sprint Cup Series race with a post going up at 6:30PM for the 7PM pre-race show. Thanks for stopping by.

65 comments:

Dot said...

Re RD opening, good grief.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hehe, interesting start huh?

PammH said...

Why a take-off on Starksy & Hutch? Crap, alot of folks have NO clue what that was a parody of! It was awful, btw.

Sophia said...

Ok when did Jeff Gordon become the G Man?

I am so out of it..and what's with JR's new hair color AND Kenny W...the other night Kenny tweeted he was getting his hair colored...but now he and John R have reddish brown hair...wonder if they look different on their monitors due to HD or something. Minor deal but noticed it on the tv.

What's the weather? Looks dark

Sophia said...

Pamm
I used to watch Starsky & Hutch but would've never caught that..but my stupid digital box was rebooting and I missed the first minute.

PammH said...

Sophia, I'm not 100% sure, but can't figure what other show it could have been. It's was obviously 70's dated w/cheesy swirly thing & JS was sporting blonde curling chest hair! But what was the pt, except to make our point of how over the tp this these 2 have become.

Melissa said...

Hmmmmm. Wendy said no rain in the area. Spotter19 says that rain is coming.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Wendy and Hermie are quickly becoming the show. Know what I mean?

Newracefan said...

JD Wendy and Hermie have been the show for quite some time. Drop it to an hour and just give up them

Newracefan said...

That was a us not an up. Sorry

Daly Planet Editor said...

That is why I decided to open this to comments. The show is very different from what it was last season.

Sophia said...

It may be time to touch up my roots...sigh.
This is not holding my attention.

JD

I missed NPerformance but saw on Twitter it was cut in half...really lame choice of show to butcher. Same guy must have decided that as ran last nights cam direction.

I miss the tv guide here being at the top of the side bar..I miss things all the time now.

Hint, hint ;-D

Sophia said...

I am thinking Jr is VERY DEPRESSED and tired of carrying the load of 'comparisons' to his late legendary father.

He ain't his dad and never pretended to be.

Part of me is thinking he wants out of racing. . .

Gymmie said...

Happy Saturday :)

I was finishing up my workout so missed the opening. I remember watching Starsky and Hutch when I was little but can't tell you much what it was about other than a cop show.

Gymmie said...

Yes it is sad and depressing. That's the bad thing is the comparisons. People don't see him as his own man. But sees him as the son of a Championship driver who should have a championship or two himself by now.

glenc1 said...

Funny how when other drivers stuggled or had bad luck, Jimmy thought they should be fired. But not Junior. I really don't think they're in a position to be psychoanalyzing him though.

After the opening, I went channel surfing, but when I came back Wendy was on so I stayed.
Starsky & Hutch was a buddy cop show, but even it was more intelligent than that opening. And they had Huggy Bear.

Sophia said...

Glen I LOVED Starsky & Hutch. Great characters on that show, too! :)

It was a show you could watch with whole family..no sex, violence or embarrassing COMMERCIALS.

Spencer did crack me up with his punting racers into the stands or whatever that was...too much love amongst drivers, not enough hate.

Robin Miller said the same thing on WT on a couple of occassions.

All the homogenizing & corporate speak has sucked out all the personalities to some degree.

PammH said...

They moved up the race start time 10 mins or so, according to Jeff Gluck tweet.

Melissa said...

dustinlong #NASCAR ... 2night's sked: Invocation @ 7:25 pm EASTERN; Anthem @ 7:26 pm. Command to start engines @ 7:33 pm

David said...

That looks like a Hurry-up start schedule to me.

I thought JD had said pre-race was slated to be an hour in an earlier post

glenc1 said...

Sophia...it was my favorite show in its day...when I saw it about 5 years later I realized it was not that good (sorta like Raceday...). I think you're forgetting about the violence--not to mention, they did have encounters with pimps, drug dealers and ladies of questionable virtue. But yeah, what made it good was the buddy thing.

David said...

Any talk about this being Lowe's final race as sponsor of the track?

Vicky D said...

I turned it on just when JS & KW were talking about the track and I heard KW say - it's a small mile and a half track. Huh??? Yeah the hair colors are really something. I have said this before I hate those screaming folks with their cards in the background. This show is a waste of time.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thirty minute deal tonight.

Kenn Fong said...

J.D.,

My friends Brian and Denise are at the track. It's WICKED cold and they have been going from hauler to hauler trying to find a blanket to buy.

They report that half an hour ago -- 5:30 Eastern -- that there was only one person at the Digger hauler and he wasn't buying anything. Only three people there yesterday afternoon. He said business at the haulers was very thin.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Daly Planet Editor said...

No Marcus Smith, no new sponsor announcement....nada.

Sophia said...

Glen

yes violence but not GROSS BLOOD in your face.. the gangster, pimps and stuff used cleaned up language...so you could watch w/o it being so over the top nastiness.

But I haven't seen it recently..so yea, some shows don't hold up well decades later.

But I love many old shows from the 60's & 70;s..old fashioned

Dick Van Dyke, That Girl, Mary Tyler Moore, etc.

RDay doesn't hold up to what IT used to be a couple years ago.

Once they made it more than an hour, it jumped the shark, missed the boat and become full of minutia.

But that's just my Opinion.

Bet it feels like football game weather than NASCAR weather...Delana just posted a pic of winter hat to be wearing tonight.

Newracefan said...

Evidently it's Reut's turn to get out at the first yellow. Now he has the flu. Hopefully Jimmie and the others are washing their hands and staying away from as many people as possible. Can you imagine losing the championship because of the flu.

Daly Planet Editor said...

They must have heard the Digger cartoons in the pre-race are gone for next season. What a let down.

Hermie and Wendy are just nailing this show tonight. Jimmy and Herm seem to be out of step.

JR looks weird...plain and simple.

David said...

JD, Didn't know they were talking replacing Lowe's

Daly Planet Editor said...

OK folks, the live blog page is up for your comments on the race and other NASCAR TV issues.

This will be the RaceDay comment section.

Just head back to the main page to post.

Thanks,

JD

Newracefan said...

David it's Lowes that said they were not coming back.

Melissa said...

@NRF - Did you see the picture of JJ that Mikey took in the driver's meeting. He's the only one in short sleeves. Everyone else looked bundled up.

David said...

I know NRF, I was just commenting and asking if RD mentioned it, then JD said there hasn't been a new sponsor announcement yet either, and I was not aware SMI was looking or even had a leading candidate to replace Lowe's

Newracefan said...

Melissa yes I saw it. Did you know you can copy and paste twitter pictures. Can you say new desktop backround :)

Newracefan said...

David With the way things are going I'm thinking we'll be calling it Charlotte again

glenc1 said...

Sophia, I just remember the gunplay...my brother had a BB gun like a 44 and he used to call it his 'Hutch' gun, lol. Lots of shooting, but you never saw the blood. I don't really think it's better that way....not very realistic. I actually don't mind the guts, I watch a lot of forensic shows, but I get that it's just personal taste.

Thank goodness we're back to Hermie and Wendy. I just looked at the radar. Not good. BTW, I missed Trackside but saw that highlight with the King on NASCAR in a Hurry...that was a scream ('if they were all underground who would they interview?')

David said...

NRF, thats what I am hoping

Sophia said...

I hope it does NOT RAIN. my brother and his wife are there and fans have already had to endure too much of that this season. sigh.

Who is this Winston guy on RDAY?? Names familiar

glenc1 said...

nice to see Winston K. That was a trip down memory lane. Remember Barry Dotson, Chad Little...

I've been expecting to see him, at least this is a decent interview.

Daly Planet Editor said...

David, how much cash you got in checking? That might get you the David's Motor Speedway for a year or two.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Winston used to be the PR guy for Duke Power in town.

Great deal is has now but very busy guy. Still does radio.

Melissa said...

NRF- Didn't know you could copy pictures. AWESOME!

glenc1 said...

I always remember all the joking when Winston Cup became Nextel, and they kept saying he'd have to change his name....it was kind of a funny coincidence.

David said...

JD, $40 right now. Ironically in BofA too.

I am all for Charlotte Motor Speedway again!

Bruton still has the Infineon and Z-Max money to pay with. Though I think he owns the Z-Max stuff

David said...

I meant play with

Gymmie said...

@NRF--I call it Charlotte just like The Stick will always be The Stick and Sears Point always Sears Point

Sophia--Winston's on MRN as well :). Like JD said his day job use to be the PR guy for Duke Power. He'd do the reporting from the track and then his MRN duties when the race started. Back in the day they didn't travel to the track so Winston did all the reporting. And regardless of WHEN the race was actually on NA$CAR This Morning was ALWAYS on 8 AM Pacific/11 AM Eastern. When they moved to SPEED from Fox Sports they changed the time and name to coincide with the race start and started traveling :).

Awwwwwww.......lookie young Chad

David said...

Gymmie, the stick?

Sophia said...

I ENJOYED the STUDIO show NASCAR this AM..then they changed to SPEED and I lost the show a couple of years.

Still prefer in studio shows over fan mania/loud/signs nonsense.

I did not know Chad started out as tire changer. interesting interview.

Gymmie said...

@glenc--yup! That was funny! He said that his Mama would have to approve that name change :)

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Jimmy Spencer saying something I find relevant?! Chad does have a bit of a reputation...

Sally said...

It's always been Charlotte motor Speedway to me!

Harry said...

Spence and Kenny ARE Raceday. I really don't get your point in slamming them every week. Wendy's airtime is minute by comparison, and SHE is Raceday? In a sport where everything is carefully scripted and packaged and tweaked for sponsors over fans, Spence and Kenny can talk to the race fan all they want. Be careful what you ask for ... you may get even less diversity across the broadcast spectrum than we already have. I suspect that there is a bias seeping out in your commentary as well .. the "mediocre" driving history of Spence and Wallace as a prelude to dishing out another hit against them. Respectfully submitted.

Gymmie said...

@David--Yup Candlestick Park but the fans call it The Stick. The San Francisco Giants use to play there until they got their own stadium Pacific Bell (now AT&T) Park and they shared it with the San Francisco 49ers until the move. So now just the Niners play there :).

There was some Corporate Branding over the years but it's back as Candlestick Park now. But fans still called it The Stick regardless who paid gazillions to put their name on it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Who slammed them? They are who they are and enjoy themselves.

Your opinion is equal to mine and I have not written a column about RaceDay for months, not sure who you think is slamming them every week.

In terms of mediocre careers, why don't you back that up?

Nice to hear from you...Harry.

David said...

Harry, Spencer and Kenny Wallace, in my opinion, do not have the credentials to sit there and tell ME how Jimmie Johnson, or Juan Montoya are going to win or lose a championship. Neither has been close to a Cup championship at this level, and neither has enjoyed much of any success at the Cup level either. So yes, it does grate me the wrong way when the stand out there, trying to directly speak to me, the fan, and tell me why said driver will or wont win, then watch them crawl into a hole on Victory Lane when they are wrong. Both have played up to their script just purposely playing up their hype and a character. I dont mind either guy by themselves, but times change and this duo as a duo, doesn't work anymore. Change one or both.

I dont feel JD is trying to slam these guys, but rather address a concern that we have voiced all season long in how SPEED production has approached this show. Wendy gets indepth interviews and up close high quality pre-produced pieces that are second to none, and Hermie Sadler has come into his own as a reporter and gives his insight when necessary but does not make you feel like an idiot or newcomer when doing it.

They are the show in my opinion. KW and JS just get in the way now.

David said...

Ah, thanks Gymmie. We've had that with Chase Field out here, It was known as BoB for the longest time when Bank One had the naming rights, Chase Field just doesn't roll off the tongue like BoB did.

glenc1 said...

someone wanted to rename Wrigley in Chicago and people freaked...

I don't care what they call the Giants new stadium; I'm just glad I didn't have to pay for it. I did, on the other hand, pay tax dollars for improvements to Watkins Glen, but...at least I get to enjoy them.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I go way back with Spence! Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, MA.

kbaskins said...

3:25 minutes left in CAL/UCLA game on KOMO Seattle, and it's 3:55. Coundown may be slightly delayed for the Left Coasters.

--KarenB

Sophia said...

Minnesota game must be over...see two talking heads but no game.

Daly Planet Editor said...

We have the race blog page up right now. For comments on anything other than RaceDay, please move to that page.

Thanks,

JD

Kenn Fong said...

Daly Planet editor wrote: Your opinion is equal to mine

Will all due respect J.D., your opinion is worth a lot more because you're a professional with decades of experience and you were paid to know the difference between what is good and bad. When given a choice between your opinion and anyone else's, including my own, your thoughts trump.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Gymmie said...

YW David :)