Monday, November 2, 2009

Costumes Cause Controversy? It's Halloween!

Left click to see it full-size, right click to download, thanks to SPEED for the photo.

Going to expand this post and open up the comments section. So far, two websites have posted rather scathing reviews of the Halloween fun.

Here is Matt McLaughlin from on the CWTS crew:

There have been some badly ill-considered moments in NASCAR broadcasting history. Few of them were as badly conceived, darkly disturbing, or clearly hallucinogenic-ally inspired as the Batman themed pre-race show prior to Saturday’s truck series race. If only that sort of effort, talent and pre-production had been devoted to something useful, SPEED might really have been onto something other than ensuring Krista Voda can never show her face in public without shame again. Two words Ms. Voda, “Thigh-master.”

This is the quote from Michael Knight at the blog:

Those who appeared on-air in costume last weekend lost credibility and gave away the honored title of journalist. I now consider them to be actors who dress-up and play a part. They should now be disqualified from membership in any professional journalists' organization.

While McLaughlin limited his comments to the CWTS crew, his swipe at TV veteran Krista Voda made me read it twice. Knight aimed his comments at the CWTS and Trackside folks. Trackside actually scheduled a special Halloween version on Saturday night that featured fun, costumes and lots of fans.

Update: Although Trackside did feature a Halloween episode on Saturday night, Mr. Knight has pointed out that he also saw the CWTS pre-race show and based his comments on that single program.

What is your opinion? Were you in the Halloween spirit or should these folks step aside and leave the costumes for the fans in the infield?

To leave us a comment on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Andrew said...

I think it's great - hilarious. It's fun to watch, and it only happens once a year. I don't see what people think is the big deal.

Get over it.. geez...

The Loose Wheel said...

Wow! Are you serious?! I thought it was GREAT. I missed the CWTS pre-race show but that picture is HILARIOUS! Where was this outcry one year ago from these people? Its not like this is the first time SPEED or "professional journalists" dressed up. Hell where is the swipe at Mike Bagley for dressing up at the Great Pumpkin for the entire Truck radio call?!

It was fun! It was relaxed! It made you feel like you could be there even if you couldn't because everyone put seriousness aside, let loose, but still got the issues discussed. I gotta give kudos to Larry Mac doing that entire Trackside show in that mask, can't imagine that was the most comfortable thing ever.

I guess you can't make everyone happy but to refute that comment I believe with ever fiber of my being that SPEED puts EVERY ounce of that type of energy into ALL their work on the air, whether that be a fun let loose segment or a serious race broadcast.

In a sport that has extreme highs and extreme lows at times if you aren't able to let loose and relax once in awhile, you probably need to find another line of work or hobby to follow.

I wonder if he is going to criticize Carl Edwards or Elliott Sadler for dressing up? Should they be considered lesser race car drivers for it? Byrnes was on the money the whole Trackside broadcast, he laughed, made fun of himself, joked that this was the death of his career, but they still put on a hell of a show.

Someone's mother clearly didn't teach them not to judge a book by its cover.

WickedJ said...

I read Mike's column every week and every week he finds something to b*tch about. i enjoy the read but reading his articles you can tell he hates NASCAR

As for the comments on folks who dressed up, WHO CARES. they had some fun with halloween. don't hate because you cant go on national TV and make a fool of yourself while having a little fun

Wonder if these folks are part of the "OMG! YOU CANT SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Brigade

Sophia said...


Are you kidding me? Folks getting their knickers in a knot over this? I am with Andrew, it was hilarious.

Lighten up folks. It was a simple pre-race show and once the race began, everybody was back to normal voice/routine/clothing?

Well except Krista could not remove the very heavy black eye makeup up. Thighmaster?? Wow.

I know I gripe alot about the PRODUCTION/DIRECTING elements of some races but to get personal over a light-hearted moment.

I'm...practically speechless.

For the record I am Not into HALLOWEEN and don't do costumes...but what the heck.

It was fabulous fun and what about what followed? GREAT race broadcast?!


I do not understand this "controversy."

Geeze Louise...and people thing we Planeteers are grouchy? :-)

Rebecca K. said...

It's Halloween -- they were having fun, and it's fun to watch. I was complaining Friday about Trackside hosts not being in costume!

Lou said...

Ya know,those two writers need to get a life and loosen up a little bit and enjoy the moment. Even i grew a 2week hair growth on my face to be part of a halloween party for children saturday night as i dressed up as a priate.

Just like last season when the truck crew did this. it was really nice to see that again.

I was in the Halloween spirit and so should the tv crew. i enjoyed it. And I can hardly wait for the halloween theme for next year.

at least the comments made by those two were buried deep in their posts. i used my speed reading skill just to see their post. do not even remember what the rest of there post was, he, he, he.

peggyann said...

I never read McLaughlin or Knight. There are folks in this world who just don't get it.

I have to say, tho, that one thing was funnier-the SPEED crew's parody of the last Soprano episode at the end of the season a couple years ago. I wish I had that recorded.

PammH said...

I just skimmed Matt's article, so missed his remark about Krista's body parts. That was kinda a nasty shot, imo. And sorry, but these writers need abit of fun in their lives. It's once a yr & Trackside in particular, was the funnest 1 hr I've spend watching TV in a looong time! In fact, I rewatched again Sunday morn & still had tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard! Harmless, imo.

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a newscast.

It was a pre-race show.

If the pundits want to complain about the talent dressing up and thus, not being journalists, I have news for then: if you want to apply the rules of journalism to pre-race shows, then there are a lot of people who have done much worse to damage their credibility before this.

Anonymous said...

Halloween is for kids up to about age 10 at most. That these TV talking heads chose to act childish with the endorsement of their employer says a lot. The gravestones were offensive and ill conceived as were the costumes.

A set with the Halloween theme and the talking heads normally dressed as adults would have been more appropriate, especially with a full moon adding to the theme.

It was a badly conceived outlet for the TV talking heads to wallow in their egos. It eroded the small credibility they have as pseudo commentators and knowledgeable insiders / drivers even more.

Ritchie said...

Although I don't feel as strongly about the costumes as some bloggers apparently do, I do understand the backlash against it.

For many years, this blog and many of its posters have celebrated the "Casual" atmosphere at SPEED. Especially when compared to the "Buttoned Up" atmosphere at ESPN. While I would agree that it is important to cater to a niche audience when you are the size of SPEED (especially when competing against a behemoth like ESPN), there is a real danger in not being taken seriously when the personalities of SPEED are clowning around constantly. This is especially true when covering a subject that many of us take very seriously. Even worse, there is a possibility that you can damage the credibility of the subject that you are covering.

It's not just this one occurence, its the fact that almost every one of the NASCAR related shows (NASCAR Performance excluded) revolves around SPEED personalities trying to act silly. Rutledge Wood, Kenny Wallace, and Daly Planet's beloved Michael Waltrip many times ignore the subject matter (NASCAR) altogether in order to perform a second rate Vaudeville act.

I understand that SPEED wants to be casual, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, they are there to cover NASCAR, nothing more. I for one feel like they need a new litmus test at SPEED:

Anytime they feel like acting silly, they should ask themselves "Would Ned Jarret have acted like this on national TV?" I think that will keep them focused and relaxed.

DougS said...

After last year and the wizard of Oz and guys in drag, this year was a marked imrpovement.

the guys in the booth Rick Phil and Michael were great. while Krista, Ray and Adam looked kind of Wal-mart.

The comment from Mike McLuaghlin was totally un-called for and he should:

Aplogize immediately.

Recuse himself of being a jourunalist as he assimilated this crew.

While goofy it was fun and in the spirit of the season. It's only once a year and doesn't detract from anything the speed crew does for the entire year.

The Loose Wheel said...

Ritchie, Ned has cut loose before too. Remember when Gant was going for 4 in a row at Wikes? He, Benny, and someone else all were in their old drivers suits joking how they could still get it done. At least thats how I remember it.

I get your point, but the CWTS crew did it tastefully, as a part of the pre-race then moved off it and covered the race. Trackside ran a BONUS show devoted to it. I think these both should not be weighted against all the other regular programming.

Anonymous said...

The Thighmaster comment was pretty harsh, and it's definitely tough to read that kind of bare-knuckles criticism in print... but if you can get past the decorum issues, the criticism is dead accurate. It was rather ill conceived of Voda to be in the Batgirl costume. She simply couldn't pull it off. I mean, when a guy looks out of shape and ridiculous in a costume, it can be played for laughs. When a woman who strives to be good looking appears far in what should be a sexy costume, it's not funny -- it is embarrassing.

During the broadcast, my wife said it best:

"I guess Dale Jr isn't the only one who needs to hit the gym."

Anonymous said...
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SolakNC said...

Well, the folks before me have said it much better than I ever could, JD. But my God, Matt McLaughlin and Michael Knight, "Lighten up, Francis"! What's wrong with a little fun on Halloween weekend on a pre-race show?

And Matt, YOU certainly showed YOUR professional journalism at it's finest with your unnecessary slam/dig comment about Krista Voda.

Personally, IF you consider yourself a professional NASCAR journalist, I would think a public apology in your column is in order to Ms. Voda, costume or not. So, you didn't like the costumes. That's fine. Maybe others didn't as well. Maybe to some it didn't matter. HOWEVER, to bring your personal comments about someone elses' looks in to focus, IMO, shows what a shallow person you really are. What was your point in making that comment?

The above paragraphs concerning Krista Voda were also posted to Frontstretch's/Matt's column --- awaiting their review before posting it. I wonder of they'll allow it to go through or not?

Anonymous said...

To me this just opens up the question of who is a 'journalist' and who is a TV 'personality' and who is supposed to follow what rules.

This same argument raised its head last year as well. Where is the line, and should DW, Larry Mac, Hammond, Sadler (either one) be held to the same 'journalistic' standard as a print reporter? This is the only standerd there can be, that's what 'real news reporters' on major news networks are supposed to follow. But this is racing, and its more about opinion and judgement than indepth reports of hard hitting journalistic facts. And more to the point, these people don't necessaraly hold themselves out as 'journalists' they are, reporting what they see, hear. I would not be the least bit surprised to see Marty Smith dress up, but no I wouldn't expect him to show up on ESPN that way either. However, when you have a 'show' it isn't unprecedented. I give as an example the Today show. They dress up AND are held to the standards of print journalists. So if it's good enough for NBC's credabiltiy then whey not SPEED's?

Haus14 said...

How awesome is it that the worst thing that the critics can find wrong with SPEED's NASCAR coverage is that SPEED's on air talent actually enjoyed themselves and had fun during a race.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I was going to tweet this to Krista last night but forgot her twitter so here it is

You (Krista) are the only person I know of in nascar that could pull off white stripped pants on TV. Your hair looks great glad you ditched the hat.

Keep your head up Krista those Masogonistic B*stards will get it one day.

Anonymous said...
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bevo said...

All you have to do is read a few of Mr. Knight's posts to see what kind of person he is. Bitter and unpleasant come to mind. He also seems to have a problem of his own understanding what a journalist is.

As for Mr. McLaughlin goes I'm sure he's a Hollywood heart-throb himself. You want ill-conceived? Try not to look like a misogynist jackass when you're offering "media criticism". Stick with performance. Based on that criteria Krista Voda has no fear of showing her face in public. She is consistently an excellent host and pit reporter.

The ones who should hang their heads in shame are Mr. McLauglin and Mr. Knight.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Krista Voda's now infamous thighs is really a question about SPEED -- why do they keep showing their on-air talent so unflatteringly and when is someone at SPEED going to realize how HDTV has totally changed how you prepare on-air talent for air and what you show of them.

It's bad enough that on RaceHub, Voda half the time has make-up on that looks like it was done for 1950s television and not HD. Or that over on TWIN the producers still can't figure out how to light the set for HD so the men don't look like painted clowns with their TV makeup. But now Voda's thighs have been the victim of an incompetant SPEED staff. It's not her fault -- they shouldn't have dressed her, positioned her, and shot her the way they did. I bet she is mortified, not by the coverage, but by what SPEED put on the air.

C'mon SPEED, amateur hour is over. You have been in HD for awhile now - figure it out!

bevo said...

@anonymous 6:57 - I'm sure she's heartbroken.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 6:57 - I'm sure she's heartbroken.

well, i'm sure she doesn't care what I individually think, but I bet she's none too happy to have been put in the position of looking so bad. If the thought crossed my mind, it crossed the mind of 1000 other viewers. Is it fair to Voda? No. but that's the reality of TV. I read plenty of columns about how bad Bob Costas' toupee looked during the opening night of the Olympics. NBC figured out how to light him and the rest of the time he was fine. The problem with SPEED is they keep making HD-related mistakes but never correct them... and Voda is the one who has to suffer.

Dot said...

I guess to show you have credibility you have to wear a jacket and tie.

This is what sets SPEED/CWTS series apart from BSPN/CUP. They are fan friendly. I can't speak for everybody but, I love it. As long as I get the info I need and the action shown on the track, they could be in their underwear for all I care.

Lighten up.

BTW, I posted without reading the comments. I couldn't wait.

Veri word, saginess. Just like AA's tights, lol

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Those who had a problem need to lighten up! It was all in good fun. Why does everything need to always be so serious. Sheesh!

Jonathan said...

I absolutly loved it!!! And Krista looks damn hot! I dont mind some thighs and a sexy girl such as herself! The hour Halloween themed track side made me laugh and laugh it was a blast! Heck had 6 beers through out the show and I never do that unless im realy into it! Had a ball and hey it was Halloween! Thanks speed for makeing Halloween seem like Halloween!

Sophia said...

Ok, time for the claws to come out I guess.
Where are the full body photos of the guys making fun of Krista's thighs? huh? Put the link on Twitter please or email me. I am most curious!

Also while the lighting and makup can be HORRIBLE on some shows, we are not making fun of the actual person's physical attributes. We KNOW they used to look good, now they do not always (especially S Report and I gave up on Hub)

I love the way all the gang looks and sounds on SPEED.
To complain of the DREADFUL new HD cams/bad lighting/makeup/dress codes ARE legit gripes. Our tv peeps no longer look like themselves! We know they did not all run out to get bad botox jobs.

We know everybody looks fine and it's the makeup/lighting throwing things off kilter, but by now a real lighting/makeup person would have figured it out.

Anyway, that was a low brow gripe at Krista

peggyann said...

Cracks me up that most of the "anti" posters don't have the guts to put a name to their negativity.

glenc1 said...

you know...some people just have no sense of humor. This isn't a serious sports show, it's sports entertainment, as was Trackside (heck, have they never heard the 'live hard play hard' line, or see Larry Mac in a koala hat?) The Today show (news entertainment) people were Star Wars characters....I think Halloween should be a time for adults to act silly--they spend FAR too much time taking themselves too seriously. Notice they changed their costumes *because* it was the actual race...and time to be more serious. Years ago on a MNF broadcast, they played a Halloween prank on the booth, and everyone in the stadium had the faces of the hosts on sticks to hold in front of their faces, it was a scream. One prerace show at Nashville had Busch drivers singing...I could go on and on...

As far as the comments on Krista, I don't even know what to say about that. It's not her job to look 'hot', it's her job to host. Too many people expect an unrealistic size and shape for women--no wonder girls grow up with such poor self images. Geez...

CeeKay said...

I thought the show was great. Pre-race shows provide some great information, but this far into the season, there is only so much official pre-race stuff to talk about on the air. And, the race was at Talladega. Seriously, what can be said about a truck Talladega? Not much. Because the most professional of experts cannot predict what will happen at that track.

Kudos to the SPEED crew for having some fun and showing us fans, yet again, that although they race cars and/or are on TV for a living, that they are people and fans...just like the rest of us.

To those who criticized them - jealousy does not look good on you. Try a different costume next year.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I would like to direct the topic back to whether TV announcers should be allowed to cross the line and have fun or stay consistent in their attire to maintain credibility.

That is the real issue. Please keep away from specific comments or harsh words, you can make a point more effectively without the personal stuff.

Thanks for the opinions.


Debbie said...

I loved it, wish I could have been there this year. There's nothing wrong with having a bit of fun and letting us fans have a good laugh. They did this last year and I don't remember anyone complaining then.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess this means that ALL broadcasters have to be "trophies".

"We got the bubbleheaded bleach-blonde,comes on at 5
She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die, give us dirty laundry"

"We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing
When it's said and done, we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king, give us dirty laundry"

Welcome to the new NASCAR media.

There's the change JD referred to.

Silly and petty.

Dave in Milwaukee

Anonymous said...

First off to keep him from getting any undue criticism, I am the author of one of the columns in question, and my name is "Matt" McLaughlin not "Mike" McLaughlin, the former Busch series driver and Modified series standout.

Hollywood Heart-throb. Hell-no. I'm 50 and in over a decade I've been doing this I've never allowed a picture of me to be posted along with my columns. First off I like being able to stand three feet from Brian France and Mike Helton was they talk about stuff and they have no idea who I am. Secondly I don't want to scare little kids. I wear this Halloween Costume 24/7/365. But despite drinking a six pack most nights, I do keep myself in shape to the point I wear the same 32 inch waist jeans I wore in high school. My thigh-master displaces 1200ccs and was built in Kansas City during a thunder storm at the HD plant.

As I see it, if you're going to be a TV personality, your wardrobe, your physique, etc. are all held up to public scrutiny. If you don't like it, do radio.

Part of the new TV deal that started in 2001 was the PC inclusion of at least one female broadcaster as part of every team whether they have the chops to be there or not. I call it the "obligatory token blonde" and not one of them has shown me they have the stuff to make the cut. In the brave new world of NASCAR broadcasting Ned Jarrett would never have made it because he sounded too "Southern" and Benny Parsons would never have made it because he was fat and bald. Yet, I still hold these two men as the greatest NASCAR broadcasters ever and a great part of what made the sport popular on TV. (Want to see something hilarious? Rent "The Last American Hero" movie. Jarrett plays himself as the broadcaster at Hickory. But the movie producers overdubbed his voice because they thought Yankees wouldn't be able to understand him.)

Read what I have to say or don't. It's a great big internet and everyone can find a writer who tickles thier taste. Just don't expect me to suddenly become PC cause, cowgirl, you're shopping in the wrong five and dime.

Vicky D said...

I just loved the pre-race show and truck race along with all the costumes. I thought it was clever to get them to dress up as all the characters on Batman. I enjoyed it and I hope they do it again next year. I thought Mikey's costume & makeup was the best.

Sophia said...

Sorry JD, I left out the part that dressing up had nothing to do with credibility to be a broadcaster or a journalist.

majorshouse said...

I thought it was great and I think it is great that Speed lets their announcers ahve some fun once in a while and they don't have to be in suit and tie to have credibility, if you want journalistic credibility, I guess that excludes ESPN.

Anonymous said...

I have never had a problem with Speed's coverage of the truck race. I love when they dress up for Halloween. I think it's fun and it don't hurt to have fun for Halloween. I'm sure ppl have a some problem with it, but i never have. i never noticed Krista's untoned thighs. Mine aren't exactly toned either so i don't expect perfection there either.

I'm only signing annoyomous because i don' have a google id.
in AR.

Anonymous said...

Well Steve *did* say it was a career ender :p. Jokingly of course!

And really speaking about Krista like that? *pissed*

I'm not allowed to use the words I want to here so I'll just say some nerve they have. Sure they don't have to love the idea but it doesn't need to get personal!

rich said...

Hey, you guys need to lighten up. That was a hoot. It's only Halloween for petes sake

Tripp said...

I would disagree with JD that you can lump a pit report together with someone who covers the White House. Sports is not news. While sometimes serious topics cause sports to become news, like the big flips in 'Dega, for the most part we count on reporters to give us an understanding of the action and inside (not insider) information.

As many have said, the SPEED crew's antics were fun and entertaining. Aren't those high order priorities for a sports broadcast? Should Jerry Remy stop, well being the "Remdawg" during Red Sox broadcasts and stick to the script? We all know what happens then. Just watch a Cup race on ESPN.

C'mon people. Lighten up! If you weren't having fun watching SPEED then you are a grinch. (Oops, wrong holiday.)

If the SPEED crew wasn't at the sharp end of quality sports reporting week after week then there might be room to complain about the Halloween show. But they are.

Talk to any promoter, track owner, team owner, series president and the like and they will tell you that it's all about the show and entertainment value. SPEED has to balance entertainment and information in "The Setup". Once in a while SPEED deserves to be let off the reservation. I have absolutely no problem with it and look forward to next year.

Andrew said...

Hm. There appear to be two of me.

Anyways, I have to agree that it's a hilarious idea. It's yet one more reason that Speed's broadcasts are better than ESPN's. At least Speed knows how to have fun. Now, RaceDay has a bit too much fun (or at least Spencer does), but there's no denying that they bring some actual emotion.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks to Matt for taking the time to comment. Sorry for the name typo.

Just trying with this post to see where you think the line is between journalist and TV personality.

Good comments!


TexasRaceLady said...

I enjoyed the truck pre-race immensely. It was fun, silly, and informative all at once.

When the time came to race, the silly costumes/make-up were put away and it was all business.

The special Trackside show was a riot. I wished over and over that I was there to join in the fun.

Did I feel the participants lost credibility? In NO way, shape, or form.

Do I view the participants in a different light? Yes, I see them as normal people wanting to have little fun along with doing their job.

In these tough times, we all need a little hilarity.

Lighten up Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Knight --- enjoy life.

bevo said...

Well JD that's the problem with so much of what passes for the media today - Form over Substance. It's more important to look like you have credibility than it is to let your work speak for itself.

Notice that the criticism wasn't about the nuts and bolts of the broadcast. As Haus put it that's the worst thing they could find about it.

Speed broadcasts of Trucks and F1 are head and shoulders above the competition.

Anonymous said...

The costumes were great! Someone needs to get a life.

Vince said...

I can't believe this is even being debated. MM and MK need to get a life.

I wish ESPN/ABC would loosen up a little like the SPEED guys did. Guys talking sports in suits and ties creep me out. It just ain't natural, ya know?!

Anonymous said...

The whole ensemble was creative and fun. Lighten up, please. This viewer got a kick out of it. How many times can you say that has happened recently?

The Loose Wheel said...

Matt, have you seen "The Setup" all season long or did you just hear about or tune in for this single week? To say Krista has not shown anything that has set her apart from the other women involved in broadcasts seems to me to be a little shortsighted. Krista has been here every race since Feb 2001, doing Totally NASCAR, NASCAR on FOX, working various events on SPEED and also working the Camping World Truck Series on SPEED. She has been, in my opinion, THE single hardest working woman in front of the camera in the NASCAR TV world in that time span. Also, to say that is a slam on Wendy Venturini too.

Aside from the costume thing, did you see the rest of the pre-race and race itself? She did a killer job as she always does getting the facts and information out in an effective manner.

JD, I still stand behind the fact that if utilized on occasion there is nothing wrong with having fun and cutting loose from time to time. Was it maybe the best costume choice or images brought across by SPEED? Absolutely not. Isn't Krista a swimmer? I figure he HAS to be in some decent shape, hell she walked the banks of Bristol in HEELS!

Its perfectly fine in my eyes, hope ESPN tries something next year since it falls on Sunday!

Tracy D said...

Please, can we just for once cut out the sexism when discussing women motorsports personalities/reporters? I can't believe the thigh master comment was serious...

The costumes displayed a great deal of character and fun. What's wrong with that?

The Loose Wheel said...

John Gruden in a suit and tie with a halloween mask on....Now THERE'S something you don't see every day.

Now we have something to compare it to...

bevo said...

Oh no! Now they have to attack ESPN - John Gruden just appeared on camera with a Joker mask on.

glenc1 said...

"....not one of them has shown me they have the stuff to make the cut."

Un-freaking-believeable to make that comment when we have Krista Voda and Wendy Venturini...professional, educated and entertaining, what a concept. But I guess they don't use Thighmaster to keep some peoples' interest long enough to pay attention to what they say. Now that's embarrassing, not Krista's outfit.

Lou said...


JD asked "What is your opinion? Were you in the Halloween spirit or should these folks step aside and leave the costumes for the fans in the infield? "

for the last time tonight. Yes, I am in the Halloween sprirt and these folks should not step aside on SPEED.. they had as much fun,if not more than i did on halloween night(altough i think we did, lol) Please, its only Halloween, once a year. I thought it was great.


JD says you may read this. I really hope you do.

Debbie227 said...

Oh come on! Seriously is too short not to have fun once in a while! Lighten up and enjoy it! I fully expect an apology to Krista Voda. I doubt it though, someone who would write that way, shows he doesn't have any compassion, nor funny bone!

Darcie said...

What's the problem? It's Halloween--it's not like these people are dressing like that every day.

But, I just finished watching Race Hub and I've got to say, I have a real problem with Ryan Pemberton being on that show when his brother is a honcho at Nascar. How can one expect any kind of honest opinion from him when his brother is talking the corporate talk. On tonight's show they asked Robin Pemberton about the boring racing, as expressed by both fans and drivers. Well, we get the same old, same old of "there was lots of lead changes and lots of good racing". Then they go to Ryan and what's he supposed to say---my brother is an idiot and he's way off base? Sheesh, I'd rather see these guys in costume than try and pretend to be impartial commentators.

Rick Allen said...

Hi gang! Thank you for tuning in and enjoying truck racing with us.
I was given a "manual" when I auditioned for the FOX job from David Hill. The first thing in it explained that my job was to "entertain and educate". I love my job and the people I work with. When we are on the road as much as we are during the season, these people are our second family. It hurts me when people make personal comments about my family. You can criticize our work all you want, but please use better judgement when slinging arrows about appearance.
Rick Allen

Anonymous said...

Mr. McLaughlin thank you for stopping by and while I've loved your writings in the past I have to disagree with you 1000000000000000000%.

Have you SEEN what Krista and Wendy do? They have command of the garage area. The guys LOVE speaking to them because they know they're not going to ask "feel" questions. They know they're going to have an adult conversation with them.

Sure they joke with the guys from time to time but they can still turn around and do a serious interview.

When Krista became FT for the companion FOX races us ladies literally jumped for joy! In the years previous we counted down to Spring Training when she left for baseball. When the news broke we PRAYED that it would mean no more Jeannie and our prayers were answered!

When Krista came on the scene she was welcomed with open arms (well at least in my Yahoo Groups).

Sure Krista and Wendy may not be a size 0 but they know their stuff! I don't care about the waist size or dress size of my reporters all I care about is that they know their stuff and report accurately and fairly.

The SPEED Gang had a BLAST! This is why we love them. They CAN be serious and do their job YET still make fun of themselves! After last year we so looked forward to this year and regardless of what you think I hope that TPTB let them continue!

BP was part of the old ESPN package AND the new TV deal I'm lost on him not making it? And Mr. Ned has filled in for DJ several times and done side by side and we LOVED him? Not sure how you think we wouldn't accept Gentlemen Ned in the booth?

Beating A Dead Horse said...

'On tonight's show they asked Robin Pemberton about the boring racing, as expressed by both fans and drivers. Well, we get the same old, same old of "there was lots of lead changes and lots of good racing". Then they go to Ryan and what's he supposed to say---my brother is an idiot and he's way off base?'

No, he could say "Mom always liked you best"!

Tom said...

Thanks a million to Rick Allen for showing up and letting his feelings be known.
Rick, you made a tremendous Riddler, and the members of your second family were all outstanding in their roles, as well.
You have fun on the air and help make the Truck Series a lot of fun to watch. That's a major reason I love watching your work.


Jimbacca said...

I Dvr'd it just so I made sure not to miss it. Last year was hilarious. This year was great.

The trucks are always entertaining. They are entertaining and informative. Holy **** you can be entertaining and informative. What a concept. Not sponsor shilling, not driver whoring. Just entertaining.

I'm early 30's and Krista always looks good. Her thighs? Really? thats your ace in the hole of whats wrong with a broadcast. Wow.

I'm sure these aren't big budget shows she's on during the week so I don't think that she is going to get the top of the line makeup / clothing.

Does it hurt the broadcast to have humor? No.

glenc1 said...

Rick, rest assured most of us are not as shallow as Matt & Mike. Thanks for giving us such an entertaining show. I criticize Fox/Speed when I feel a need to, but this was not one of those times.

Dot said...

I never expected a comment by Rick Allen.

SPEED crew, keep doing what you're doing. The positive comments prove that we like it. I can't wait until next Halloween.

Glenn said...

Speed has the best NASCAR coverage going today. They are flexible enough that any one of them could interview CEO Brian France, the President of these here UNITED STATES, to any up and coming dirt track racer, at the track, and have all the credibility needed.
I think a couple of guys, can't call them writers, needed something to do so they picked Speed personalities this week.
At least these Speed journalists do a fine job, unlike some "beat" writers!

Anonymous said...

Thought it was hilarious and enjoyed it.

As far as Krista in the Batgirl outfit...I loved it. I've always found her sexy and I thought the outfit looked great.

At any rate...God forbid that someone have fun and enjoy themselves before they have to get down to the business of being a journalist.

I enjoyed the show last year...enjoyed it this year...and loved Trackside. There is a simple solution to the problem. If you are offended or repulsed...simply turn the TV off and STFU.

Anonymous said...

Darcie--do you mean Randy? Randy is the SPEED Reporter and Ryan the Crew Chief.

Mr. Allen--you and Phil do an AWESOME job at entertaining *and* educating us! That is the heart of it. Disagree with the broadcast, idea behind the Halloween fun and whathaveya but leave the appearance attacks when it has NOTHING to do with them delivering their job.

The Loose Wheel said...

Thanks Rick for dropping by. That was an A+ broadcast on Saturday and I hope to be able to catch "The Setup" so I can see the bit with the whole team dressed up. But from the looks of that picture, it HAD to have been a blast to plan and do!

Fun stuff!

TexasRaceLady said...

Thank you, Rick Allen, for visiting us.

Believe me, this fan appreciates you and your TV family. I doubly appreciate the hard work put into your broadcasts.

As an after thought, maybe Mr. Laughlin and Mr. Knight ought to take the TODAY show cast to task for dressing up as Star Wars characters on Friday.

Newracefan said...

I usually read Matt's piece's and am surprised that he threw Krista so far under the bus. OK so don't like the costumes but lets not get personal and Krista is no token blond. I for one loved the Prerace show, would I have wanted them to stay dressed up to call the race no absolutely not but a pre race show. Go for it. The bonus Trackside was somewhat lame but boy it was hysterical, would I have wanted it to be the only Tackside no but an extra on again go for it. In general I like my sport to be fun for everyone including the people who are working in it.

Tripp said...

If it was all about looks, I'd be thrown out of the check out line at big box mart. Krista Voda is a class act. Not just because of what she puts up on the screen, but also because of who she is.

A friend of mine was a photographer at a short track in northern New England when the lights of big time TV came to broadcast a race. Might have been the old Busch North, but I'm not sure. Krista was part of the crew and my friend, female and no wallflower, went over to say hello. They talked periodically over the weekend with my friend offering what help she could which was probably a significant amount as she was pretty wired in. At the end of the weekend, Krista came and found her to thank her for all of her help, and she meant it.

So she's bright, talented, professional, enthusiastic and emotionally vested in her work and the sport. On my menu, those are the entrees I want. So lay off Krista.

The Loose Wheel said...

Pemberton brothers

Robin--NASCAR, former Rusty Wallace crew chief
Ryan--Crew chief
Randy--TV personality

Anonymous said...

Glad to see nobody was in a DIGGER costume.Dave in California.

kbaskins said...

I laughed very hard during both the "Set-up" and "Trackside". I'm sorry the two reporters didn't. Sucks to be them.

And slamming Krista's thighs? Seriously? That's so not cool. A person's appearance shouldn't be held up to that kind of ridicule.


Anonymous said...

David--there's Roman too last I heard he was spotting :)

Adam said...

Mike (the writer) should apologize for that rude comment.

Dannyboy said...

Frankly I thought the idea of the NCWTS crews dressing up in "Batman the TV show" costumes was kinda hokey, but I didn't see anything intrinsically wrong with it.

And nothing could prepare me for Phil Parsons' quacking as the Burgess Meredith Penguin ;-) Or Mikey as Ceasar Romero's Joker. Love those pants!

There certainly were among the crew some cast members who could lose a few pounds or two, but to single out Krista was not only unfair, it was unwarranted. If anything, Krista's Batgirl costume was so modest as to not reveal enough to make such a judgement about her appearance.

I personally would have rather seen her in a Catwoman costume, but Batgirl fit her personality perfectly.

Rick Allen, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip do a very fine job on the truck races, and I'm praying that the series can continue into the future so we'll get to see more of the kind of action they have called so expertly these past few years.

Cooter said...

I think Krista Voda is a genuine beauty, as pretty as any of the trophy wives we see paraded on pit road.
More importantly, the respect she has earned from drivers and the entire NASCAR community speaks for itself. The "how does it feel" girl on ESPN isn't even in the same class.

Donna DeBoer said...

Late to this but just wanted to say I loved the Halloween Truck Setup show. Great fun!!! just disappointed that the Batmobile didn't get to be the pace car. :)
Rick Allen SPEED et al, you're doing a TERRIFIC job with the Trucks. Best most consistent show of NASCAR's 3 top series right now.

Lauri said...

I LOVED it! It wasn't like they were doing the race play by play in costume (although it might have helped the booth on Sunday to be in People need to get over it! My gosh Halloween is a great holiday & I love dressing up & I'm ummm well lets just say I won't see 40 again...LOL. Thanks for all you do for us John with TDP!

Anonymous said...

Appearences aside, let's discuss the whole Batman gig versus the purpose of a pre-race show. When not engegaged in cpaed costumery brief mention was made that the Memphis Motorsports Park was being closed effective immeadiately. I'm sure that came as a big surprise to most viewers. How in heck does a race track go out of business? Is the business model where a race facility can get by with one NW and one truck race no longer operable? Is this the result of declining attendance?

Also noted, however briefly, were some major rule changes to the series for next year. I know what a sealed engine is. I used to race. I'm sure a lot of fans don't. Then there was that brief mention of an optional spec engine. WHAT? Now that I hadn't heard. I'd have liked more info even if delivered by someone in greasepaint. Is this one spedc engine that can be fitted to a Toyota, Chevy, Ford or Dodge or does each manufacturer have thier own spec mill? If the former is the case, that's big news. It might be a trojan horse to get spec engines in NASCAR with an eye towards Cup down the road. After all they'vwe alreadt standardized the bodies. I don't think the notion of spec engines is going to sit well with Cup fans, but that's a topic for another debate.
I don't normally fopllow the trucks like I used to, not sine the Toyotas started dominating. But that's the sort of thing I tuned in to hear about on a rainy Saturday afternoon that had the Harley tucked off in the garage. I'll have to admit I sort of lost interest in the campy original Batman series back in the early 80s when I quit smoking dope. If Batman is your thing, and you don't have any interest in the greasy hot bits that make race vehicles go fast, I guess SPEED is your network.

Matt Pat Mick

The Loose Wheel said...


The spec engine is I believe an across the board engine. And it is designed off the Toyota platform I think if I remember right. When I was at NTI we were starting a spec engine program and were building for some of the Camping World East teams. Its a lower dollar alternative for teams that can't afford the huge engine budgets. Its also been rumored to be an option that NASCAR would shift to for all series in the future. This may be a stepping stone to that for Trucks, maybe Nationwide.

Anonymous said...

Please, can we just for once cut out the sexism when discussing women motorsports personalities/reporters? I can't believe the thigh master comment was serious...

Are you just offended in general or did you actually see the broadcast? No woman anywhere should be shot to make her thighs look like she is 82 years old, and (ick) no viewers should be forced to watch it. This is television production 101, why can't SPEED get it right?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they would complain. The Speed crew still did a fantastic pre-race in costume. They had a feature that ESPN has never found...FUN. Some people will compain just to complain.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering where the outrage is on showing the mens' guts hanging over their belts...for that matter, men wearing tights at all? Oh, wait, it's because they're *men*, and we barely notice. Double standard all around.

TerryG said...

I thought that the costumes were great, and a good time was had by all. It was for fun and one night. People really need to get a life and find something important to gripe about.

Anonymous said...

Richie - back in the day I worked for ESPN and we had a serious rain delay in one of our races ... I think north wilksboro or richmond (JD you may have been there too) and OLD ESPN made the right call and we waited all day and did cut ins until the track was ready and we showed the race when they went racing. Well after doing I think our 10th cut in... Ned and Benny thought it would be funny to tie their ties on their heads and pretend to be olivia newton john or something and do jumping jacks and act silly!
so please take a step back all of you who seem to be a tad bit uptight about this costume deal! sports TV is for entertainment value and SPEED delivered it all weekend.
the frontstretch guy dipped below the belt in his shot at miss voda! I was watching the broadcast ...not her legs...which by the way looked great to me!
to steal a line from stripes ... LIGHTEN UP RICHIE!!!

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Elaine said...

I loved both shows, very funny. I thought Krista Voda's costume was keeping with the FAMILY show they put on....not every outfit has to be about being sexy. She is beautiful and it is nice to see a woman that has hips, like normal women do...and LOTS of Nascar fans. Why wasn't a comment made about Steve Byrnes' weight, another one of my favs on SPEED? What is wrong with a imperfect woman having a job on TV, LOTS of imperfect looking men do!!

Kari said...

I think it was great! I loved the costumes. I just wished trackside had more guests.

JoshuaBrown18 said...

I loved it. Mikey looked great. They had fun, and come race time they were in their typical dress. Well, except for Mikey. He kept the pants on. lol. They had the best race broadcast this weekend hands down.

The Loose Wheel said...

I guess with Ritchie's story, that answer's Matt's question of "What would Ned Jarrett do?"

Unknown said...
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Phathead said...

This is one problem with the internet and the blogosphere, anyone with the least bit of journalistic integrity can write and publish whatever they wish without considering the harm it may do to others.

And if I woulda known Krista was gonna be dressed up as Batgirl, I woulda left work early in order to catch the race. Sorry I missed it :(

Anonymous said...

What would Ned Jarrett do? If he ever appeared on screen in a black vinyl Batgirl suit, I'd have left the sport a long time ago.

For the record to the young lady who called me an idiot, it's actually "you're an idiot." "Your an idiot" makes no sense gramatically. But hey, I was lucky. My school house was expanded to two rooms when I was in the second grade.

I seem to recall the whole necktie incident differently than Richie though I will defer to his judgment if he is quite sure. In addition to the rain delays that day, it was quite hot and humid and the AC was out in the booth. Ned and Benny made several comments on how warm it was in the booth as they doggedly waited out the rain. I think the neckties as headbands were a protest on how hot it was and considering we all used to give the ESPN guys grief for wearing ties it was hilarious.

That moment was featured in ESPN's original parting music video after their last post-generation NASCAR broadcast at the season finale (rain delayed to Monday) in 2000, set to the tune of "Groovin on a Sunday afternoon." JD, please use your pull at ESPN to get them to release and allow you to post two classic NASCAR moments I've never been able to find on line

A) That sign off "Groovin' On a Sunday Afternoon" video they signed off with in 2000. One view would convince newer fans what they missed in the golden era of ESPN.

B) The "Silver Thunderbird" video from RPM Tonight on the occasion of the Thunderbird's retirement from NASCAR racing. Honest to God I wept watching it back in the day. It got my Batman pajamas all damp and soaked my stash.

Matt Patt Mick

West Coast Diane said...

Can't believe someone wrote an article about Halloween on Speed!

It's stock car racing, not 60 minutes.

They had fun with it, then got down to business. Giving us a great telecast of the Truck Race.

Regarding Krista. How sad. I didn't even notice "how" she looked, just what they were wearing and the fun they were having.

Trackside...the 2nd show, hello, not the normal Friday show...was hilarious. I had tears streaming down my face. How great these people can be so comfortable with themselves and each other. Steve Byrnes was great. Kudos to Carl, not a fav of mine, but too funny.

I liked the headstones. I though Jeff Hammond's was great, until I saw DW's. Priceless.

Life is just too short to be so serious all the time.

PS...Krista and Wendy run rings around most of the guys on all the networks!!!

The Loose Wheel said...

Okay I agree with Matt about the last race in 2000 for ESPN. That was a rain delayed race into Monday and since I had school I never got to see it. Fortunately I think I know someone who recorded that race and just need to go request it.

ESPN is not what they used to be. =\

I still stand behind the idea that the concept SPEED went with for the weekend was a-okay but since I missed the Truck pre-race I can't remark on how Krista looked on camera though if it is true, they should have shot her in a better way. Not sayin', just sayin'.

Anonymous said...
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Phathead said...

Anon @ 8:47 - I know I have that last ESPN on VHS somewhere... I'll dig around and see what I can find.

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

There seems to be a disagreement at In today's review, Phil Allaway called out Matt McLaughlin for his comment about Krista Voda:

Our own Matt McLaughlin doesn’t agree with me here, claiming that SPEED should have devoted their resources elsewhere. That would be true if the pre-race show was nothing but prancing around in costume. However, work got done here, so I’m fine with this. The comment about Krista Voda’s thighs was just wrong, though. That’s just a mean-spirited attack and has no place in a column, in my opinion.

And I can't stand the double standard. If I looked a quarter as good as Krista Voda, I would be ecstatic.

The Loose Wheel said...

SPEED had the highest Talladega ratings EVER. So NASCAR, take that tidbit of info into consideration. How can Cup ratings decline, decline, decline yet truck ratings rise, rise, rise?! Hornaday has a 200 point lead to boot!!

Harry said...

I was fine with it too. I liked seeing the gang enjoying themselves, and they got the job done, too.

Anonymous said...

I thought the costumes were a little over the top. The look on some of the drivers faces interviewed by Batman and Robin were priceless. I like the relaxed look for talent. How many people wear suits to a race or ball game. i have always dressed my talent casual, but never in costume.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I love how anything negative about this post gets deleted. Why even let people comment on it then???

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nothing negative gets deleted. For three years, hateful speech, derogatory comments and profanity prohibits comments from being posted.

There are several comments on this post that disagree with costumes on the TV talent. The entire point of this blog is to get a variety of opinions on NASCAR topics.

Please feel free to add your opinion on this topic anytime.


Ed said...

Matt McLaughlin

I have no idea why someone in your position would make such a tasteless and needless, sexist comment as you have done recently about Krista Voda.
We need to be appreciative that NASCAR has broken through the Glass ceiling and Fox and Speed have assisted by having a woman announcer in the sport as have the other networks.
I know of Krista and her work and have seen her every weekend at the tracks working hard to get her craft right. She is knowledgeable about our sport and it shows in her interviews and announcing skills. Thank goodness we have someone like her in the sport. So why would anyone want to knock her down with such a rude and tasteless comment about the way she looks particularly when she was having some fun?
You owe Krista and all of your readers an apology ASAP to attempt to right your mistake and dig out of this.
Just please take my advice, and give Krista all the respect she deserves as an announcer, a motorsports fan, a woman and a human that did not need a man to tell the NASCAR world his opinion of the way she looks.
I, by the way, think she looks great!
Maybe you need to take a look at all the over weight men walking around in the garage and comment on their big butts. I am one of them so take a cheap shot at me brother! I can handle it.
I don't know if you are married or have a woman in your life but I hope when she hears of what you did she makes some adjustments in your love schedule to teach you a lesson about how to talk to women. The last time someone made a comment about my lady's thighs she poured a mix drink over his head. He deserved it and it was too funny!
You "man up" now as you say and apologize to Krista please.

Marylee said...

It has taken me a couple of days to read all this.
I thought the Halloween broadcasts were great fun. What I find strange is race broadcasters in dress shirts, ties, and suit coats when the temperature is 90+. Once or twice some have even joked about how uncomfortable it is. To me it always looks as if they have no connection to the sport or the fans.
We usually sit in areas where t-shirts aren't allowed, but at a sport where most people dress more or less casually, a fan in a suit (or a dress and heels) looks out of place and so do the broadcasters.

batchief said...

To Ed: Thank you for writing a letter that says what most of us are thinking. I have known Krista almost her entire life and this girl is in shape. Her grandfather has to be laughing from his grave about the thigh comment as his nickname for her was "Sticks". Something tells me Mr. Mclaughlin has never even met her in person for if he had he would have a tough time justifying his comment.
Also, I loved this years Halloween show and last years too.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Nice to hear from ya! You never know what topics might pop-up in TV land.


batchief said...

Hi John!!
Just can't please everybody, but I think the vast majority of viewers were very entertained with the pre-race show. I was!

Anne M said...

I don't normally watch the truck race, although I like the whole broadcast team. (There's just not enough time to follow another series!) I tuned in this week specifically to see what they were wearing for Halloween and I wasn't disappointed. These people are a lot of fun. Regarding Krista, she knows the sport, and she gets good info for us from the drivers and crews -- which sets her apart from so many of the people who cover NASCAR. As if that's not enough, she's articulate and charming and, in my opinion, beautiful enough to wear whatever she wants to wear. In critiquing her looks (Really? Seriously?) McLaughlin demeans nobody but himself.

Anonymous said...

IMO, the Speed crew could have done the whole broadcast with no announcers, just twitter updates that pop up every few seconds, and ABC would still look terrible in comparison

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Anonymous said...

"I would like to direct the topic back to whether TV announcers should be allowed to cross the line and have fun or stay consistent in their attire to maintain credibility."

When it comes to attire, am I the only one that thinks that it is silly to call a stock car race (or a football game, for that matter)
in a suit & tie. I've never
understood the announcer thing...

Oh yea, Ms. Voda is smokin' hot!


Anonymous said...
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