Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day Two: TV Silly Season Includes "This Week In NASCAR"

Update: Due to the very interesting comments below we are leaving this post up as the lead for one more day. Lots of people reading this one! Leave us your opinion.

Silly season is in full swing for NASCAR TV shows and announcers. No news is expected for a while on potential changes at ESPN or the naming of a play-by-play announcer for TNT's summer package.

There is, however, one issue on the table that has been discussed several times before at TDP. This year, the conversation has taken on a very different tone. The topic is This Week in NASCAR and the question is whether or not it will return for 2010.

"We'll see," said veteran panelist Michael Waltrip when asked by host Steve Byrnes if he would be returning for 2010. Waltrip has been a fixture on this program through several series name changes and different hosts.

Originally created by then SpeedVision Executive Producer Bob Scanlon, Inside Winston Cup Racing borrowed the name from a series formerly produced by Sunbelt Video in Charlotte, NC for The Nashville Network. Sunbelt is now called the NASCAR Media Group and still produces the Monday night hour program for SPEED.

Back in 2007, the series was in trouble. "The Sad State of Inside NEXTEL Cup on SPEED" was a TDP column from May of that year. Click on the title to read the entire article and the reader comments.

SPEED decided that 2008 was time for a change and created the current program. The show dropped from three panelists to two. This year, Chad Knaus and Greg Biffle alternated in one chair while Waltrip continued on a full-time basis.

In 2008, TDP readers battled hard with the SPEED executives over the original format of the series. Instead of leading with the Sunday highlights, Byrnes and company were forced to offer a thirty minute preview of the upcoming race that was six days away. Eventually, SPEED flipped the format and the show found a rhythm.

After a 2009 regular season of ups and downs, TWIN got a new addition for the Chase. Mr. Excitement, Jimmy Spencer, was added to the panel. This restored the program to a discussion rather than a continuing difference of opinion. As TV programs from the Sports Reporters to the Monday edition of NASCAR Now prove, three voices are better than two in this format.

Spencer's addition brought out even more clearly the value of Knaus to the program. When he was present, Knaus brought the latest technical knowledge and a developing TV sense to the show. When he was not, Biffle struggled to fill the gap.

Knaus and Waltrip had developed a great on-air relationship, but still needed an effective third panelist. Unfortunately, Spencer did not fit the bill. He often made pointed and biting statements directly to the TV viewers, bypassing his fellow panelists. His RaceDay antics just did not work in this format.

It was Kenny Schrader who used to call this program Mikey's show. Names like Bestwick, Benson, Vickers, Schrader and Despain all came and went but Waltrip has remained. Now, an older Waltrip is stepping away from driving and concentrating on his multi-car ownership role on a full-time basis.

On one hand, Waltrip has been on this Monday night TV show from before his DEI glory days. His role as an owner is just another step in his personal NASCAR history. On the other hand, few would expect to tune-in to TWIN and see Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress or Jack Roush critiquing other teams and drivers. An owner is an owner.

SPEED also introduced a new TV series late in the season called Race Hub. This put TWIN in a tough position. On Sunday nights, SPEED already offered NASCAR highlights on The SPEED Report, Victory Lane and Wind Tunnel.

Now, in the half hour before TWIN the weekend races were being reviewed once again on Race Hub. SPEED has already made a commitment to Race Hub for 2010 with new Monday through Thursday shows beginning in mid-January. Whether that is the death knell for TWIN or just a signal that SPEED is beefing up NASCAR programming is not yet known.

After fourteen years on the air, where do you come down on bringing back TWIN for next year? Is this still a viable NASCAR TV series or a program that needs another major overhaul in order to continue? Please include your TV-related opinion on the panelists and host.

Non-TV related comments will not be posted. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for adding your input on this NASCAR TV topic.


Ritchie said...

I vote that the show be terminated.

TWIN always was merely a niche program. It appealed to a certain audience who liked Waltrip, but to everyone else it was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

There were moments. Chad Knaus was a good addition, and the days of Schrader and Benson were interesting. However, the reason some liked the show, and some didn't was primarily Waltrip.

The problem wasn't apparent in the beginning, but over the years Waltrip began to use the show as a personal pulpit and if you didn't like what he had to say, the show was horrendous.

If Waltrip has a fan base that is willing to watch him regardless of what he is doing, SPEED should just produce a Waltrip reality series. They could put that on after The Hub. I certainly wouldn't watch it but some would find it entertaining.

If The Shoe Fits... Scrap it! said...

i love TWIN. Yes, i am a Michael Waltrip fan, but....I watch TWIN stil in the rare occasioin that Michael is absent. I really believe Michael IS teh star of the show, but, it is a great show. I enjoy every aspect of it, and try weekly to even win teh picture of the week, LOL. Why would Michael not still be on it this coming year, when he was still on it for all these years? There were definetly afew years in past history tha the didn't make races (i hate to admit this, but it happened!) and he was STILL an expert panelist providing entertainment to the show. Michael is still needed, and TWIN is still needed, I waTCH it every week and will miss it if it goes away. Just my 2cents! love u mikey if you are reading this!

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

I vote the show come back with the panelists being Michael Waltrip, Chad Knaus, Kyle Petty, and Steve Byrnes. I always loved the Mikey/Chad pairing this year. That was awesome.

I will admit to being a fan of Mikey's and love seeing him on the show. I will watch just about everything that he is on.

One thing that Mikey has done is really bring in new fans to the sport. He is a valuable asset to the Nascar community and needs to be on this show.

He really is the best on this show. They need to keep the show and Mikey on it.


KoHoSo said...

I now believe that TWIN should be scrapped. No matter who would be brought in as a replacement, there is no way in the current climate that any NASCAR participant could feel fully comfortable in speaking his or her mind about any issue without fear of being hauled into the dreaded trailer for a threatening lecture.

Yes, I am well aware that happened to both Mikey and Kenny during the old IWC/INC days. However, I honestly feel it is worse now in how NASCAR has completely lost its sense of humor, totally shuns its past (unless it is available for sale on a t-shirt or die-cast), and cannot stand even the smallest bit of criticism.

Don't misunderstand me...the moments covered under what I just wrote were indeed very few and far between. Yet, it was those times when NASCAR or certain drivers needed to be rightfully criticized that were a big part in making the old version of the show must-see TV.

The old show was one based upon humor, stories, and insights. I am sure there are plenty of current drivers that could, in their own way, perform those things as well as the classic lineup used to do before Speed screwed it all up for no good reason by dropping Bestwick and Benson. However, who is going to be able to do that when it is painfully obvious that nobody currently in the sport will step out to say something contrary to the company line when it is needed?

As most of you reading this know, I gave up for good on TWIN after the second Talladega race -- not because the panelists gave opinions different from my own, but because they were talking down to the fans as if all of us had just stepped off of a flight from Kazakhstan and had no idea what NASCAR was all about. That hurt me a great deal as NASCAR and TWIN used to be all about the fans. Now it appears that the show can be nothing but another platform for NASCAR to tell us that everything is great and that any of us who have complaints about any part of it are not real fans.

Frankly, I think that the next great NASCAR-related TV show will have to come from a channel that has no connection to the current broadcasting contract. Even then, I wonder if any driver would dare to appear on it.

Photojosh said...

I'm really not sure how I feel about it. TWIN's glory days were prior to Nascar Now's appearance on the scene. One might even say it was prior to Sirius/XM and their all-day NASCAR programming and debate.

On the other hand, I am one of those who has always enjoyed the Mikey Show. I think he's good for NASCAR and entertaining. Even if he's being annoying while he does it. And the fact is, Mikey is in the middle of NASCAR these days as much (or more) than anyone we see on TV. Be honest, when he was paired with the right partners (Schrader mostly), the result was really funny and enjoyable. Even those who hated him could have a good time knowing that Schrader would put Mikey in his place at least once an episode. Knaus has been informative, interesting and even a decently entertaining personality, but I still miss Schrader.

But all things come to an end and maybe it's time TWIN did too. But the question is, if it goes away will it be replaced? I don't think it's good for NASCAR to loose one of our few regular news/opinion TV programs. And I just don't trust that Speed will replace it with similar programming. Their actions this fall have been better than the normal diet of Pinks, tow trucks, and car auctions. But I still don't trust them.

HEATHER said...

When the show lost Shrader, Benson, and Bestwick, I quit watching. Johnny Benson was so knowledgeable about the NASCAR rules. He could always quote what the "offical" rule stated. I have watched a few times during the Chase, just to see if Jimmy Spencer would get into a fist fight with anyone.

Anonymous said...

I began watching the show in the days of Bestwick, Benson, Schrader, and MW. I enjoyed the show, but I have never forgiven Speed for unceremoniously dumping Bestwick and Benson. I continued watching it anyway until about two or three years ago when I ran out of tolerance for MW. I haven't watched it since.

If Speed brings it back with MW, I still won't watch it. If they bring it back without him, I will give it another try. If they kill the show, I will shed no tears.

I agree with Ritchie regarding any future use of MW by Speed. They seem to love reality shows, so give MW his own show. He does have his fans, and they can still enjoy him.

Even if INC returns without MW, I am not optimistic about its future. The present management at Speed seems to believe that they need at least one, and preferably more, blowhard/clown/buffoon in every show. Speed has a variety of people that I enjoy and respect such as Krista Voda, Wendy V., Hermie Sadler, etc. However, I have reached the point where I can no longer wade through the clowns and shills just to enjoy a few minutes of intelligent commentary. Speed only recently tried Jimmy Spencer on INC and renewed Kenny Wallace's contract for another two years, so it looks like the Speed management philosophy will continue for the foreseeable future.

I can get loud-mouthed ignorant opinions in any bar, and that's only one of the reasons I avoid bars. I will also avoid Speed as long as they insist on featuring clown commentators who offer the same type of comments.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know who created the original show, but if it was Mr Scanlon as you claim, he was a real game changer. The original show was an entertaining and informative hour that took this fan inside the minds and lives of some drivers who, at the time, were virtual nobodies. Schrader, Benson, Waltrip and Bestwick became stars. The pace and content was relaxed, funny and , if I remember correctly, even got the likes of Mike Helton, Earhardt Sr and Jr to appear.
Is Scanlon still at Speed? If he is responsible for what the show has become, then NASCAR has passed him by.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Scanlon was the Coordinating Producer of Motorsports at ESPN prior to joining SpeedVision.

When the company was sold to Fox and moved to Charlotte, NC Mr. Scanlon declined to continue with the new venture that was now called SPEED.

Scanlon went on to assist with the start-up the NFL Network and departed when former ESPN President Steve Borenstein was brought in to head the operation.

Scanlon is now working on another major TV project.


Unknown said...

Scrap it. TWIN has run its course.

Expand Race Hub to an hour on Mondays, and have a segment or two with the IWC/TWIN format.

Vicky D said...

I say leave it on. We love TWIN and every Monday we are sitting down watching that show and it's a definite look see in our house. I enjoy MW, SB & CK but JS has to go they need to find someone else to fill that spot. We've been watching this show for so many years and even when we were told to write Speedvision to keep it on, we did! And it stayed on. Also, last night on Hub was such a great show I didn't know whether you would have a column on it or not JD. Loved the 3 drivers (well especially David Starr!!!) just going over the year and what we should expect next year. Ray Dunlap was fantastic, too, gave them just the right leeway to give their opinions and keep on talking and talking in David's case!

majorshouse said...

I used to enjoy TWIN back in the old days before Mikey made the big time, but now I hate hearing any Wlatrip including DW open his moth because all it is is a endorsement for his own stuff and being too political about NASCAR who needs a swift kick in the seat. I pesonally would love to see TWIN go foo the air unless they could get decent panelists there.

JohnP said...

I would vote to keep it, absolutly. I've been a Monday night watcher of it since it was a half hour show with Bestwick. If a hour show does not work in todays economy, put it back to a half hour. Steve Byrnes works well has host. No fan of Kanous here, but he does work on the show so keep him. Bring in Kyle Petty to replace Waltrip if Waltrip wants to retire. Plus, Kyle can't be pulled into "the trailor". Bring a third full time panelist such as Kenny or Rusty Wallace. They are someone with a lot of Nascar history, knowledge, but yet still a good on air funny presence.

Additionally, bring back the "Hot Seat" for the folks who remeber it. Have Waltrip, Stewart, Helton, Gibbs, Hendrick, Newman, Jeff Burton, heck even Ward Burton for interviews. That was the best part of IWC. The Hot Seat.

Renee said...

Here's the thing: TV shows are meant for entertainment & to learn things. Yes, while Mikey is a goofball, he doesn't know his stuff for the most part. As a driver AND an owner, he can bring alot more to the show(ie: his opinions on things that owners worry about). There's a reason Michael's been the only one still standing on this show people. Whether you like him or not, people tune in to see what he'll say or do next.
Speed had a good thing with Mikey, Bestwick, Schrader, and Johnny on there and they screwed it up. They messed up BIG. They didn't need to fix something that wasn't broken, all they did was make it worse and Mikey's been the only thing holding it together. I do like this past season's crew though with the exception of Spencer. He didn't bring ANYTHING to this show at all. Might as well have brought Vickers back, at least his parroting and kissing HMS behind would have been more entertaining than anything Spencer said.
Like him or not, people tune in to hear/see what Mikey will do/say next. That's why he's been on Speed as long as he has. People that love him will watch everything he's on, people that hate him just want to see what he'll do next. He's not stupid. He knows what he's doing.

OSBORNK said...

I's probably just me and I'm sure I'm in the minority but when a
Waltrip is on any show and opens their mouth, I change the channel. I suffer through DW in the booth but nowhere else. I have little patience with self promoting blowhards. That also causes me to have a problem with Jimmy Spencer. I watch shows for objective facts.

Anonymous said...

The show uses humor to give us fans an appreciation of many things that went on during the race that we may not have seen or heard. Not everyone has headphones or goes to many races (or any). I find most of the other shows dry--maybe more facts but not necessarily good TV watching. Both Nascar Now and The Hub are OK but TWIN beats them hands down as far as entertainment value. I always look forward to Monday night to see TWIN. I am a Mikey fan and became one by watching this show for the last 13 or 14 years. His humorous approach to explanations and incidents enabled me to learn and understand the sport in the beginning. Now I just enjoy being entertained on a Monday night.

GinaV24 said...

I vote for termination for this show, too. I really enjoyed it with the IWC format with Schrader to keep Mikey from getting too far off track and Benson in the other seat. Allen B always did a great job. It hasn't been the same for me since everyone but Waltrip is gone.

TWIN's format just never struck the right note with me so that I would tune in every week and I just lost interest when it was all Mikey all the time. For those people who are his fans, I'm sure it was enjoyable, I just don't find his manner amusing, just rude and annoying.

This used to be a fun, free-wheeling show, but NASCAR has forgotten that its supposed to be FUN and has gotten so heavyhanded toward anyone who says anything that isn't "positive". Constructive criticism is a valuable tool.

Anonymous said...

Whether the show continues, I really don't care. I do believe that a team owner like Michael Waltrip shouldn't be on the show. The same can be said for race announers like Brad Daughtery. Michael Waltrip has never been objective towards NASCAR.

Donna DeBoer said...

The only value that TWIN has held for me is that it had actual race participants (drivers, CC) to do some analysis and discussion. Until Race Hub, no other show had them in studio on a regular basis. Now that SPEED has the Hub 4 days a week, that's 2 hrs of review/preview vs 1 hr, so I'm not sure TWIN is needed anymore. The other feature I'd miss is Radioactive, I can't monitor everyone's channel and I like hearing what I missed, maybe 1 Hub a week can work that in.
Not sure MW is suitable for TWIN anymore as a primary car owner, Steve has other jobs to do, Biff & Spence are expendable and Chad will still have Performance, if TWIN doesn't get renewed. So, bottom line, now that there's Race Hub I can take or leave having TWIN as long as Hub content continues to be similar and better. I also want to keep Victory Lane.

Anonymous said...

Since several have already hit the points I would have made, let me just summarize by saying that I think if the show came back almost unchanged - with minor tweaks to the panel - I would still watch it every week. I don't have a "man crush" on Michael, I simply find him more entertaining than 90% of all the other NASCAR personalities.
He has so much more TV experience than most of the other people that he's worlds ahead of them and it shows.

I want TWIN back with Mikey and Chad and someone else to fill in the much needed third seat. (Sorry Jimmy, even though I like you it seems you just didn't make the transition.)

Alex said...

I say scrap it. While we're at it toss Crashed and Pinks on the fire too. I would love to see some more news/magazine shows about all forms of racing, ala Wind Tunnel.

tankgirl said...

When SPEED made the debute of "NASCAR Hub", I got to thinking that this was the beginning of the end for TWIN. I've followed this little hour of merriment from it's beginning on SpeedVision with the original trio through the debacle with Despain to it's current incarnation. I'd like to see TWIN renewed for next season, even though it's just a shadow of the great show it used to be. Chad and Mikey are the quintessential "odd couple"-there's almost a bit of the old magic and humor Schrader used to bring to the show. Sadly, "Mr. Excitement" just doesn't cut it-his abrasive personality can be downright annoying. As for Mikey-what can I say? You either love him or hate him. He's got to be one of the most polarizing figures in NASCAR! (eat your heart out, Mrs. Palin!)Yes, the endless sponsor plugs can drive ya nuts but I dig the enthusiasm he brings to the show-he's gotten a lot of new fans into the fold since his days at DEI and that's what we need if we're going to keep this sport going into the next few decades.

Sorry for rambling...but there's just my two cents.

Dodge Boy said...

Let me know when MW leaves the show. Then I'll watch. When he talks about the great job Nascar does, are Mike Helton's lips moving?

Dodge Boy From Canada

Bill B said...

First the show should cut down the preview of next week's race and concentrate only on breaking down the previous race. We already have 4 hours of prerace shows on every Sunday so coverage of the next race is a given.

Second, they must lose Waltrip or make him only an occasional guest. He just monopolizes every discussion. Cuts off others or undermines their opinions. He also has become a tool for NASCAR propaganda. I can't tell you the last time he said anything negative about anything NASCAR controls. Now, I know everything NASCAR does isn't bad or wrong but there is no way everything can be right and good. No matter what the topic you can count on Waltrip to always back up NASCAR's decision. That's shouldn't be his job. That's why NASCAR has Helton, Poston, and Pemberton.
I guess I'd like a dash of "Pitbulls" to be added to the show. The racing isn't always great. The calls aren't always right. NASCAR does make mistakes.
I would like this show to be geared towards hardcore race fans that want to really get into behind the scenes issues as well as the races themselves. I don't need to hear another yes man.

Ken said...

They should scrap the show. I like Mikey and was a huge fan at one point. Given the advent of Sirus radio along with all the post race shows on Speed it seems a boring rehash.

I would increase Monday's race hub and give Knaus and Biffle a soapbox there.

As for Mikey, if I was Sirius, I would look at giving Mikey a show with perhaps Schrader as his partner. Add in a guy like Jerry Bonkowski or Alex Hayden and it could be a blast.

While I love Sirius Speedway, I felt the show was better back in the days when it was 3 hours. Give an hour a day two or three days a week to Mikey, Schrader, and Hayden and you have Radio Gold!

Anonymous said...

I say the the program should be canceled. Byrnes is a mediocre host who can't stay focused or control Mikey. Mikey is totally useless and is counterproductive to the flow of the show. Knaus and others will be having an intelligent conversation and Mikey will interrupt with some totally inane comment breaking everyone's train of thought. Biffel has come a long way,but is still so-so. I'm not a fan of Spencer on RD, but he was candid on Twin which was refreshing. Hub is still amateurish with its really cheesy attemt at replicating the inside of a garage.Monday Night NN is where I go to hear an intelligent review of the prior weekend's race.

TexasRaceLady said...

I mostly enjoy the show. If some way could be found to throttle Mikey down a bit, it wouldn't be too bad.

Chad is a definite asset with his knowledge and expertise.

Adding a 3rd person was a good idea --- just the wrong person.

Tracy D said...

My vote is to keep TWIN. When Chad and Mikey get going, it's a hoot. My third seat vote, if Schrader refuses to return (please, Ken, please reconsider?), goes to a driver. Biffle said some smart things, when he could get a word in edgewise. He just wasn't on set long enough to figure out how to handle the dynamics. How about some new blood in that third seat? Someone with a strong personality and the verbal ability to spar with Chad and MW...young Kez, perhaps???

MW's role as an owner doesn't preclude his participation. In fact, some of his more salient observations have come from an owner's viewpoint.

I'm not a huge MW cheerleader, but he is the franchise. Love him or hate him, he's good at what he does. TWIN deserves a seat at the Speed table. It's a welcome break from the buttoned-up scripted guys on ESPN.

That said, I adore HUB. What a breath of fresh air. I hope they continue bringing in the guys who don't get air time, like Slugger and David Star, Rick Crawford, et al.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I assume TWIN is done.

It's really unfortunate. Michael Waltrip is unique, and despite the fact that people complain about him, he has a solid--and large--fan base.

He also know NASCAR rules inside and out. One of his favorite rants on his in-car radio is about drivers who don't know the rules in any given situation.

The show's suffered from the lack of Bestwick and Schrader, but with some tweaking, and the elimination of Spencer, who adds heat but no light, TWIN could make a comeback.

HMS rules said...

My vote - keep the show on.

Anonymous said...

I want the show to continue,with someone else in the third chair. I think it will be insightful to have a owner/driver like Michael on the show. He can really give an indepth view from both prospectives. He is also funny and gets to Chad and really makes him laugh. Gregg is fine and is becoming more comfortable with being in the spotlight.I really don't care for The Hub. A little of Voda goes a long way.I seems unjointed, like it has ADD or something.

Anonymous said...

If the show comes back, it needs Chad K, Kyle Petty & ...I guess Mikey.

However, I think Race Hub has made TWIN obsolete. Race Hub has the relaxed setting. Race Hub recaps the race. Race Hub is located in Charlotte, anyone could stop by and break down the race (unlike NASCAR Now). Race Hub is on 3 other days to offer the news and a preview of the weekend.

KoHoSo was dead on and got the main point across. The glory days of Bestwick, Schrader, Benson & Waltrip are fun memories, but they are gone. NASCAR has used its iron fist more than ever this season. There were many moments this season that NASCAR deserved some criticism. Some people spoke up - but they were attacked by NASCAR's PR Police. This puts all the drivers & commentators in an awkward position when asked about their thoughts. This could be the downfall of the sport unless something changes.

I do not believe TWIN will return in 2010.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched since Chris Long dumped Bestwick and Benson from IWC. Fortunately, Long is long gone and I'm hoping "Race Hub" continues to develop.


Anonymous said...

I say scrap it and replace it with a new better show of tommarrow!

earner said...

This show has been WAY to much MW. Knaus is great (when you can get him) Spenser for the most part is good. (except when he's kissing up to Nascar) See M.W. (way to much sucking up to Nascar) Bring Back Kenny Schrader (he's got personality)

Anonymous said...

I loved the show when Benson, and Schrader were on it.Schrader would let you know when Mikey wasn't telling the truth. When J B and K S didn't drive anymore they got rid of them, so they need to do the same with Waltrip. He's just to rude and boisterious. Besides you never know when he is telling the truth or not. Keep Chad and get some new people. I very seldom watch it anymoe because I can't stand Waltrip's rudeness and constant interuptions.

Anonymous said...

Keep the show...just get rid of Mikey

He's turned the show into a place to promote himself and all the crappolla he's associated with, including some damn BBQ device recently

The show is just fine...Mickey has run his course

Chad has brought a ton to the show...what we wanna see and hear about

Anonymous said...

gingerOnly bring TWIN back if Mikey is dumped. He controls the show with his mouth and keeps real conversation from flowing. If Mikey wants a show, give him one separately so I don't have to watch. TWIN would be a great show if you had the right combination of people, but with Mikey taking up half of it, it stinks. Perhaps he could get a gig on Comedy Hour. He really thinks he's that good. NOT

The show has become a recap of JJ's and Mikey's day. Very little of the actual race is shown besides that. Since I watch the race, I don't need a recap. Show me something I didn't already know.

Knaus is good on the show, and gives good info. JS-No, Biffle-No. Ambrose would be good. and Sadler too. Two good suggestions.

Labbie said...

I'll watch, but they really need to bring in Kyle Petty as the third panelist.

Steve said...

Best of luck to Ritchie and GinaV24 in getting TWIN voted off the TV island.

I don't know if TWIN is returning, but I will say it has been a privilege to host the show for the past two years.

It's not fun to read comments such as "..Byrnes is mediocre..." but I know that comes with the uniform. I don't always agree with John, but he has provided a voice for you.

Michael is extremely funny, and although some of you have suggested that he and I have "inside jokes," I simply understand his sense of humor (which come to think of it is a bit concerning). Honestly, it's painful some Mondays after he's had a bad race, but he always puts on a brave face once we get going.

Chad Knaus is extremely bright and a pleasure to work with. His attention to detail is amazing.

Greg Biffle is incredibly smart and adds a lot of value to the show without pointing attention to himself.

Jimmy Spencer brings strong opinions and personal convictions.

Some have suggested that I "...don't control the panel..." fair point, but that's not my style. I only intercede to the constraints and demands of time.

TWIN has a long legacy and I hope it continues. If not, I'll share that all of us who have worked on this show have enjoyed it immensely, and have done so with pride.

Steve Byrnes

J.J. said...

I think TWIN should get another shot to get it right.

Often it went off track and became the MW and Knaus (with a side of Spencer) show (surely Chad is not the only knowledgeable crew chief who can assess what happened in a particular race with intelligence)...

The concept is a good one: analyze a race from the participant's perspective. and adding the consistency of the same people is okay--to a point.

The problem, is, of course, the personalities involved. Mikey, is, well, Mikey. He's a sponsor's dream and has never missed an opportunity to shill. Knaus is a brilliant technical mind, seeing what's wrong and fixing it takes a special talent. And Spencer is, well, Spencer. He's bought into that "tell it like it is" concept that he thinks he has to always be in that roll.

The fixes: Mikey and Jimmy need to be reeled in, that's all--that might take a stronger personality than Steve Burns. Have a "Andy Rooney" segment at the end of the show which focuses on some event that happened during that race weekend. Rotate Knaus with a Ray Everham type or someone like that. Maybe even do a segment on an upcoming driver in one of three touring series--a brief Q&A about how tough it is to move up the ranks, etc. Maybe talk about the "rules" Nascar has--explain them to the fans and how that rule impacted that weekend racing series...

These are a couple ideas, there are probably more. The show is okay as is, improving it should be the goal--mix it up so it appeals to both the casual and experienced fan. Give it a shot is what I say.

Sophia said...

I STILL enjoy TWIN immensely most weeks.

Not watching the hub..does not draw me in with the odd set, forced humor, and a few hosts do go a long way. Don't try to hoke down the Hub.

I love the all guys aspect on TWIN.--ok so call me a female chauvnist pig:-D
Mikey is a must have, more Chad, Jimmy S worked some nights, not so much others...don't know if he was told to tone it down or what.

but I still love this show and trying to compare it to Hub is like comparing apples to oranges...heck, Horseshoes to hand grenades! :)
Please SPEED KEEP TWIN and let the guys SPEAK HONESTLY more often...less canned video. more conversation the better!!!!!!!


50 yr. fan said...

Sorry Steve, but I and many others
don't think Mikey is funny. He
is rude and appears to think the
show should revolve around him.
Keep Chad and Greg and bring in
someone else who reflects better
on our sport and fans.

Anonymous said...

I am all for leaving the show on but they need to take Spencer off and put Schrader back on. It was always much better with the Shrader and Waltrip combo. Spencer is always trying to tell teams and drivers that they need to do or where they went wrong and the bottom line is that his own career did not ever achieve the level that most he has advice for have already achieved.

If Spencer does in fact come back, this will be the beginning of the end for TWIN.

Newracefan said...

Keep it please it's the best part of my Monday. Yes Mikey can go off the deep end at times but he's part of what makes TWIN fun. Chad is a fantastic asset and I wish he was there every week. I'm happy with the Biff also. I can live with just 2 of them at a time but a third person is OK however Jimmy doesn't promote the right discussion. I'd suggest Carl but he doesn't live in Charlotte area so probably a no go. How about a truck guy I hear Johnny Benson is avail. Hub could use Monday to really highlight the truck race so we wouldn't have 2 shows 1 right after the other going over the cup race.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would change about TWIN is to NOT have Jimmy Spencer on there in a permanent seat....Rotate that spot...I do like the idea of bringing back the "Hot Seat" spot..and expanding the radio communication segment is a great idea.
...MW will still be driving selected races in 2010 and can still function from the drivers point of view...and Chad hawks Lowe's every time he opens his mouth..."The Lowes' 48 car/team.....was...." give Michael a break...
...And Steve...Thanks for posting....I think you are doing just great as moderator of this great Monday night show!!..Hope to see TWIN back in 2010...and if JS has to be there...and he is NOT a driver...well,then, MW better be there too!!

Richard in N.C. said...

I do still enjoy TWIN most weeks and I just accept that Mikey is Mikey, and I enjoy hearing what his take is most of the time. In fact I do appreciate his willingness to defend the sport since I believe there are far too many people in the media whose standard point is to criticize NASCAR regardless of the facts. Also, I believe Phil Parsons has a far, far greater conflict of interest in light of his unsportsmanlike start-and-parking in the Nationwide series than Mikey does. Mikey's conflicts are right out in the open so the viewer can take them into account.

In any event, based on recent experience with its weeknight programming, I suspect that TWIN would still be better than the type of program SPEED might create to take its place. I enjoy Greg Biffle, but I think having another crew chief involved so there would be a crew chief on every show would add to TWIN. Maybe Booty Barker.

Anonymous said...

As a long time Nascar fan, I look forward each week to TWIN. Especially because of Michael Waltrip, he plays off that he is a "goof ball". But those who really know him, know that he knows his stuff and has played a major role in many changes in NASCAR. I have tried to watch Nascar Hub, but am not thrilled with the show. Even when the season was becoming the Jimmie Johnson show on ESPN...TWIN would at least give us fans coverage of other drivers that was over looked on other channels coverage. It would be a real shame to cancel this show. Nascar's popularity is already being questioned in many areas, this would just be another hit to its viewing audience if this show was taken off the air. Keep the panel with Michael, as the main "back bone" and get some good personalities to fill in the chairs next to him.

tom in dayton said...

In our world of little NASCAR TV during the week, I believe it would be a monumental mistake on SPEED's part to drop TWIN.
In reviewing your 2007 column, as well as several other TWIN columns on TDP, I observe the comments are fairly uniform where commenting on each of the on-air talent as well as the format and the yearning for the vanished programs or formats of past years.
Some observations:
1. Yeah, I liked some of the people on earlier versions of TWIN, but they're not there anymore. I'd say get over it as TV evolves as the years go by.
2. The current crew is good, certainly not "vanilla" and always could be improved if needed, but I don't see the need for it. Byrnes is a good "gatekeeper", MW is MW, and Knaus and Biffle work well in their roles. Cameo appearances could pump some episodes with a little spice, but the current mix is fine.
3.It's a fun show. NN, even with Alan Bestwick, has good opinions and discussions, but, to me, just seems too up tight. TWIN is more like you'd find in the garage or the paddock after the day is done with drivers, crew and other gophers opening the cooler and shooting the bull about the day and simply unwinding.
4. Race Hub is developing. It's also a multi-day program and only a half hour. It's got some ways to go before it entirely replaces TWIN, if ever.
In short, I like TWIN, as does my wife and many NASCAR fans who I know and we all would hate to see it gone.

Sally said...

I've only watched TWIN a few times since schrader left. I've had enough Michael Waltrip to last several lifetimes. When someone keeps him in check he can be amusing. Lately he is just condescending and rude. The show used to be fun for those watching, not just for those in the studio. I don't really care if ti comes back, since I gave up on it quite a while ago.

Dot said...

I have watched TWIN/INC/IWC since the mid 90s. It's Mikey's show and everyone else is just on it. That's why I have watched it all these years.

I like Steve, Chad & Mikey. They could put in a different driver each week in the fourth chair.

I want TWIN to return. It's the only good thing that makes Mondays a good day of the week.

Mindy said...

I hope SPEED keeps TWiN on for next year, it's a fun show. I am going through withdraws and it's only been a week! I love all the guys, they seem to get along very well and it shows they all have respect for each other.

I know there are people don't like Mikey, but if it wasn't for him, there wouldn't be a show. It started with him and he has helped make the show a good ole boy show. I love the passion for racing that is in this show. I don't see the reason to compare each NASCAR show to each other, as one poster stated, it's like comparing apples to oranges, they are NOT the same.

This is just my 2 cents, but I like the show and I hope it stays for next year with Mikey, Chad, Greg and Steve hosting.

red said...

just a quick "attaboy" to steve byrnes! i appreciate you coming here and respectfully answering some folks' concerns and comments.

to those who scoff at the idea that nascar media read TDP: what say you now, eh? the importance of respectful criticism that doesn't bleed over into the personal cannot be overstated.

my schedule doesn't permit me to watch the show -- and planeteers are well aware of my lack of a dvr at this point! -- but i would be sad to learn that TWIN disappeared in 2010. in my world, we need MORE nascar programming, not less, and although folsk may not like the format or personnel or lighting or whatever, the show still talks nascar and that's important.

once again: thanks, steve!

Anonymous said...

I vote to keep the show. I really enjoy CK's insight, which is missing during the race broadcast. I can do without Nascar's spokesperson MW, but do not replace him with Kenny W.

Louisville Mike

Anonymous said...

I love TWIN. Yes sometimes Mikey does get on my nerves, but I have learned to when to ignore him and I love the pairing of Chad, Steve, and Mikey. Yes there should be a 3rd seat. I agree with Tracy with that Ken Scharder should be it. I remember when they had Scharder on there with Mikey and Chad and it was great. Chad brings alot to the table and has been able to let loose. Mikey is just a loose cannon, and Steve is doing a little better to get a handle on him. I do miss Kenny. There needs to be a 3rd person that's for sure, but Spencer isn't going it. Johnny Benson would be a good. Never really watch it with Biffle, just don't care for him, though he did start to get the hang of it in the last few weeks of the show this year, but I do not want it cancelled. I don't really care for The Race Hub. Yeah I put the reminder on to watch it, but I really don't pay attention to it. I don't really care for Nascar Now on ESPN. I would rather watch TWIN. I have always loved that show. I didn't like it when Allen left, but he went to ESPN so I understand why he's not there anymore. So to Speed, PLEASE BRING BACK TWIN!

BD in Utah said...

I watch TWIN faithfully every Monday night and DVR it. I have been for many years now. I watch to see Michael Waltrip. He makes the show and stands up for Nascar. If the show is terminated, I will most likely quit watching SpeedTV... I also would not watch the show without Michael. I learn alot from it.

kbaskins said...

I don't watch TWIN any more. I adore Steve Byrnes, and have really come to respect Chad Knaus, but I could no longer tolerate the rudeness, condescension and relentless self-promotion of Michael Waltrip.

I no longer watch RaceDay or Victory Lane either. The condescension from Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace got so annoying to me that I was no longer willing to sit through the dreck to find those excellent nuggets of information from the rest of the crew.

I watch Wind Tunnel and SPEED Report religiously. I catch most broadcasts of Race Hub. These shows treat viewers like they're intelligent and informed.

So TWIN can get cancelled or not. Doesn't much matter to me. It gets ignored like Pinks, Wrecked and Jacked. I'm sorry Steve Byrnes, I just can't watch Mikey any more.


Jimbacca said...

It's been dead.

Bestwick, Kenny and Johnny were the best. Notice back then it wasn't concentrated on one person.

Expand Race hub. Watching the nationwide one right now and its fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I want Speed to keep TWIN however I would to see Jimmy Spencer removed from the panel. Steve - thanks for stopping by and giving us your input. I agree with the ealrier posters talking about how the old panelists are gone and thats ok. Bestwick can't come back and Benson hasn't been in the Cup series in forever. Schrader I can see coming back becuase he was great with CK and MW.

racingirl99 said...

I've been a huge fan of TWIN for a long time. It's nice to get away from that "Wallstreet" feel that I personally get from ESPN shows.

TWIN is more laid back, yet I find it to be quite informative. Michael Waltrip adds so much to the show because of the entertainment value AND his driver/owner perspective. I have grown to have a great deal of respect for Chad Knaus, and I know for a fact that I would have reacted differently to JJ's domination if it hadn't been for the respect that was gained from his input.

They should consider Kenny Wallace to make it even more upbeat ...or even Larry Mack for his valuable insight.

What I usually do if I don't like a television show is change the channel. I don't think that it is fair for me to say that a show should be canceled because I don't like it. Why take it away from the ones that DO enjoy it?

Sophia said...


"What I usually do if I don't like a television show is change the channel. I don't think that it is fair for me to say that a show should be canceled because I don't like it. Why take it away from the ones that DO enjoy it?"

Merci beaucoup & so true!

I love this show & am not interesting in putting people out of a job. TWIN makes my Monday nights. They changed the horrible flip flop backwards show (when they started with PREview instead of REVIEW)..THANK you SPEED.

They started cutting back on all the canned video segments in the last half of the show (Thank you SPEED) so we could hear a bit more conversation/questions.

To Steve Byrnes,

Thanks for adding your opinion. I get a bang out of the show.:) I can see where reading this blog could be painful for some of you...some personalities really get hammered. repeatedly. Enjoy your holiday season.

Anonymous said...

First a big thank you to Steve Burns. Who does geat job keeping the show moving. Others have tried and failed. So you the man.

I must confess that I am a big, big MW fan and love to see him on the show. With that said, sometimes he bugs the heck out of me.He is the best pitch man around but Michael, fellow,give it a rest, you need to chill more often. You don't have to be on 24 hrs. a day. We love it when you are serious and let people see that you really are not the clown many take you for. You could never have gotten where you are with out a good head and to be able to talk seriouly with sponsers and Toyota's people.

So I do hope that the show will return and be better than ever.
Live long and prosper Twin.

mosca said...

I agree with what Steve Byrnes said. I like the show with maybe a few changes. Why all the Michael bashing? He has accomplished quite a lot in his career that few can match.I have watched the show from the beginning and have seen steady improvements. It is very informative with knowledgeable people sitting in. Not a stuffy atmosphere with few laughs. I did like it with Schrader and Kenny Wallace they seemed to keep Michael in place. It needs a current driver on there to get all aspects in. So I say keep it on.

Anonymous said...

I think SPEED should keep TWIN. I love watching it every Monday just to hear what Steve, Chad, Michael, and Greg have to say about the last race and the next race. I do miss Kenny Schrader and Johnny Benson and wish they would bring those two back on the show. But I will still watch TWIN. I have watched race hub and do not really care for the format. It is not interesting.

RLDreams said...

A lot of people have made a lot of good points, and some seem to think IWC/ISC/INC/Twin is a fan favorite show. Sorry to disappoint you, but it has always been billed as a look " inside " NASCAR, not just a fan's favorite driver show.
Ok I read a lot of people asking for Ken S to come back. Sorry it will not happen. Don't misunderstand, I like Ken as much as the next guy,and agree in his time he added a key role to the show. That said he is no longer relevant. He is off "playin in the dirt" 46 weeks a year and is no in the day to day Sprint cup action.
I read a lot of people asking for Kyle Petty. Once again, sorry never happen,for the same reason we won't see Kenny back.If Kyle was still relevant to current NASCAR we would still be watching Kyle in Trading paint, instead of watching him suffer through being Rutledge Wood's comic relief on Nascar (not so) Smarts. Since he gave up his driving career to follow his son's dream of Victory junction, and Richard sold Petty Ent ,Kyle is not "in NASCAR."( trying to be as PC as possible there for those that do not know or care )
Brad Special K !!! Who are you kidding he has a long way to go before he is even close to being an expert annalist or Nascar "insider" .
The show does (need) feed on the banter between 3 panelist .OK if he returns we have Mike W (team owner) Chad k (Crew chief) _ _ _ _ _ (Driver) 1 from each of the key roles in a team. The $1,000,000 question is what driver is both knowledgeable and outspoken enough to get in the ring with 2 powerhouses like Chad and Mike (assuming and hoping they both return) Jeff G ? While he has the knowledge,I don't think he could hold up the conversation.He has aleways been "the nice guy". Besides he is busy in NYC with his wife and daughter.
Tony ? While he does(did) have opinions of his own, and is(was) not afraid to let them be known, we already have Mike as a team owner,we do not need 2 owners.
The Biff ? Well if he can find the fired up no holds barred Biff that we can hear on his webcast very week,than great welcome home. If we get the afraid to speak up for himself just laugh at the jokes sidekick we have seen on Twin in the past,than sorry Greg you don't make the cut.
Ryan Newman ? Hey now there's a thought. He has the intelligence (only rocket scientist/driver in nascar) and experience. He has shown he is not afraid to voice his opinion and call Nascar to the carpet when he sees something he thinks needs addressing. I think we may have a winner. Anybody know what Rocketman is doing from 3-5 on Monday afternoons?
Do I miss the outspoken MW of old ? Yes. Do I think he's "sold out to nascar sometimes? Yes. Do I just roll my eyes and shake my head when Mike breaks into one of his Geico Cave man, Napa good stuff or EzGrill routines? Of course I do. Say what you want about Mike Waltrip's shameless plugs, but given the choice wouldn't you want just that type of "go get'em" at all costs spokesperson for your product?
Ok forgive the spelling and grammar mistakes, but it is almost 1:30 am, and I spent most of the day at the Dr's with the daughter and the GF,but I wanted to make sure I put my nickels worth in on this one.

Anonymous said...

Mr Byrnes

Bravely done, putting yourself out there in the face of criticism! Congrats. However, understand that we don't lay blame at your feet for the failure of this once-beloved show. Instead, it is the result of inept, incompetent executive management at SPEEd and FOX who believe their own concocted PR.

If you are witout an adequate producer, you stand to look bad on tv.

Its not your fault Steve.

Vicky D said...

JD, glad I said some nice things about Steve Byrnes on my previous comment! LOL. I can't believe he reads columns reviewing the show but it was nice to see him here. Wonder who else is lurking around???

Anonymous said...

I've been watching TWIN since it's inception - it was a great show, full of entertaining banter between all 4 of the participants, and we learned a great deal besides.

The changing of the guard when Bestwick was replaced took some getting used to, but it was still entertaining, especially when Steve hit his stride.

We all continue to miss Shrader, but the man wants to race, not be a TV star, so his departure is understandable. And no, I don't think they'll ever find a replacement for him - he's unique!

When Mikey started on that show, he was just a driver and could pretty much say outrageous things and not expect any retaliation from NASCAR. However, once he became an owner, his attitude changed. So many of his lines start out with "What I love about NASCAR..." He's still one of my favorite drivers, but quite frankly, I'm very, very tired of his canned NASCAR promotions and the way he runs over the comments by other panelists.

Do I want TWIN to stay? YES! But I would love to see Steve with 3 drivers (not owners) who have a sense of humor and are not afraid to say how they feel. That was part of the original allure of the show and SPEED needs to go back to that format. Sometimes "progress" is not good and not necessary. We watch to be entertained, so entertain us like TWIN used to!

And thank you, Steve, for adding your comments to this blog - you're greatly appreciated!


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Steve, I have refused to watch the show since sometime in 2007, when neither Waltrip nor Schrader were making the races.

The show's name should have been changed to----"Outside Nextel Cup", as how could one comment on what was going on at the race, as Waltrip was probably back home, on the golf-course. I could have been just credible of a panelist, as Schrader and Waltrip, as I watched it on TV, just as they probably did.

Even back then, Waltrip was so full of himself and "hawking" Toyota and NAPA in every other sentence and always the NA$CAR "yes-man"!

That was enough for me. If I happen to hear Waltrip has taken a day-off, I have watched it, in recent years and the show improves, greatly.

I think the series has probably run its course and needs canceled. I find Despain's show to have more credibility and information about racing.

Steve, while your at it, tell Speed to dump Waltrip from the truck-series, also. His fake excitement and KY-"twang" is just too over-the-top. It is so nice when Waltrip is gone and someone else takes his place (Schrader?).

Sorry, this show has ran its course on Speed.

Donna DeBoer said...

Just want to add a secondary comment about Mon & Tues's Race Hub, FANTASTIC having the 3 Truck drivers on Mon and 3 NNS on Tues. GREAT questions asked, informative answers given, pretty relaxed atmosphere. I really love the "hanging out in the garage" feel. Keep up the good work on this show, SPEED!

reddpups said...

The original show was entertaining and informative at the same time. I truly enjoyed listening about the lives of some of the drivers. AB, Schrader, Benson & Waltrip complimented each other & Schraders comments to Waltrip were really good. Most importantly they made me laugh several times during the show & hearing AB's flustered voice at Mikeys remarks were memorable. Their craziness has not been matched since the 3 were replaced and the show lost its 'luster'. I have not enjoyed watching it since those days. If they can get that luster & craziness back great...if not can it....

Anonymous said...

@John yes I miss the hot seat guest too! That was always a fun segment.

Thank you Mr. Byrnes for taking time to stop by and answer some concerns :).

I hope it returns although like many I miss the Allen, Schrader, Johnny ., and Mikey combo with fill in by Herman and Frankie :).

But really enjoy Steve he has his own style. I don't expect him to handle things the way Allen did.

I hope TWIN comes back it's had it's rough patches but is still an enjoyable show :)

Bill B said...

I see a lot of people defend keeping Mikey on the show because 1) he has a large fan base and 2) he makes the show fun.

Perhaps this is why the show can't get respectable numbers.
While Mikey's fanbase may be large, it is not one of the top 10 largest fanbases. With his ability to turn off anyone that is not a fan by running his mouth nonstop, that is not a good reason to keep him. If a prereqisite to being a panelist on the show is a large fanbase than get a driver that truly does have a larger fanbase.

As to second point that he makes the show fun this may be a dividing point amoung potential viewers. Personally I want the show to be informative and revealing. Fun is a distant third or fourth requirement. If I want fun I can watch the buffoons on the network prerace shows. By the end of the weekend I have had enough fun, I want a serious review of the race and what happened.

Prospector said...

Quit watching TWN even before it became TWN. Just can't stomach Michael.
As far as I am concerned they can keep it or cancel it. it doesn't matter

Anonymous said...

My vote is to keep the show - especially with Mikey. NASCAR needs the light heartedness that this show brings. It brings personality to the sport. We don't need anymore 'down to business, serious, detailed, break it all down to the nuts and bolts discussions.
I would like to see a short segment on TWIN that shows the life outside of NASCAR of a different driver each week. What their families are like and what are their hobbies etc. The more people learn of their personalities, the more apt people are going to stick with the sport.
TWIN gives just enough facts and information while making the whole sport more human and fun.

GinaV24 said...

Thanks, Steve, for wishing me luck in getting your show voted off the Speed island! Just to be clear - I don't consider Steve to be the reason I don't watch the show. Because Mikey's strong personality has overwhelmed absolutely all parts of the show, it simply has lost the "fun" that I used to make me want to watch the show every week and so I don't, so whether it is cancelled or not doesn't matter to me since I won't watch it as long as Waltrip is on the show. Waltrip's presence in the booth on the trucks also keeps me from being a regular viewer.

It's nice that MW has opinions - you know what they say about that -- we all have them.

TWIN has the same problem that many of the NASCAR shows seem to suffer from -- So many of them have people who want to preach to the fans about how wonderful it all is and how wrong the fans are for daring to say they don't like something if they are just not buying into the "everything is rosy" scenario that NASCAR wants to paint. You know what? I am fortunate enough to go to a fair number of races -- I pays my money and I takes my chances as they say -- it might be a great race, it might be not so good and I'll be disappointed. Since that makes me a PAYING customer, I feel that I am able to state my point of view -- the media doesn't have to agree with me, NASCAR doesn't have to agree with me and I can make a choice at some point here and simply stop buying tickets to the races (which has happened for some of the tracks I used to go to) and I've made choices to simply throw my ticket out unused because the cost of going to the race was more than the value I thought I would get out of being there. I also get to choose what I watch on TV. I choose all the time what I want to spend my time on, even what I choose to record and watch later and it has to add some value to my life, even if the value is just pure entertainment.

I'm honestly not sure why it is that NASCAR, Fox, Speed and ESPN are so bent out of shape about "criticism". Gee, folks, its like any other product that is being sold - if it doesn't live up to the expectations of the consumer, then it winds up at the back of the shelf or in the sale rack or in the case of TV shows, it gets cancelled.

Instead of NASCAR and the networks getting all bent out of shape about the fact that the fans are daring to be critical, it seems to me that working to improve things, rather than just trying to convince the fans that they just don't understand would be more valuable. But wait, Brian France is never wrong.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy all on the TWIN panel. I think they all bring something really good to the table. I don't watch nascar hub. If TWIN goes off the air, I still won't watch nascar hub. Steve B. does a terrific job by the way of keeping things going. Thanks Steve if you are reading this!! I'm a big MWR fan and Michael is the main reason I watch the show. I do watch when he's not on, but prefer it when he is. I don't think the show should be taken off. I think Kyle Petty would be a wonderful addition to the crew. So powers that be, don't take off TWIN, you will loose a lot of viewers, but maybe you don't care about that. Money seems to be the only thing that higher ups care about. I want to hear how Michael handles being more of an owner next season, could be an interesting viewpoint. KEEP THIS SHOW ON, KEEP MICHAEL ON. DO IT!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I had always called Inside Winston Cup the Mikey show and loved the original hosts of Allen Bestwick, Kenny Schraeder and of course, Michael Waltrip. I looked forward to watching every week until the format, the name changed and Allen was replaced by Dave Despain. I haven't watched it a whole lot since then, but it seems just to rehash the same thing other programs show, but with Mikey trying to make it interesting, which sometimes fails. Maybe it is time to retire the program since it's just not as good as it once was.

RB said...

My short answer to the question if TWIN should return next season is yes. I've watched that show in its various forms for going on 10 years now, and still enjoy it despite when they broke up the original panel a few years ago.

To answer some of the questions JD posed on Twitter, I don't think Michael retiring from the driver's seat full-time will effect his perspective for the show. He'll still be at the racetrack, driving occasionally, and will probably look at things very similar to how he looks at them now. In addition, very similarly to drivers such as DW, BP, Kyle Petty, Kenny Wallace and Kenny Schrader, Mikey has in a way transcended the label of being just a driver, and there a lot of people who enjoy his brand of entertainment, hi-jinks, whatever you want to label it. Personally, I like the cast the way it stands with Steve, Michael, Chad and Greg (particularly when the panel is Michael and Chad). In my opinion, Chad and Greg add that measure of technical perspective that JB had when he was on, but was lacking somewhat when Vickers was on the panel. However, the re-addition of a third regular panelist (preferably not Spencer) would be nice.

To those who don't like the show for one reason or another, you have a remote -- use it. Not all shows are made for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to the coment above that Mikey was not in the top ten in fan favorites----wrong is is 6th or 7th ahead of JJ who is a spot behind him.

Anonymous said...

It's a niche entertainment show. Mikiefans or those who can tolerate Mikie to hear the others, watch the show. If their are enough viewers attracting sufficient advertising revenue, then it should continue. I don't watch it because of Mikiebabble, but their are other racing entertainment choices.

YowserYowser said...

I think that NASCAR itself has really killed this type of show. By silencing Kyle, Larry Mac, and Jimmy Spencer, it seems that anything that anyone tries to say will be seen as sucking up to NASCAR cult of personality. I love Michael but I think he knows when a good thing is over and his leaving TWIN is a sign of the bad times to come. RIP TWIN.

Rupert Murdoch is killing free speech.

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

Thank you, Steve, for letting us know your perspective. I love the show and will stay up to watch the midnight airing on the nights that I have to miss the 8pm airing. (I don't have DVR and don't like recording with my VCR.)

I will liken the shows like TWIN and Nascar Now to some shows on Fox News that I will watch. I can get some of the same things/information on the Glenn Beck show and Special Report with Brett Baier, especially his panel discussion group. Because of the antics and presentation of Glenn Beck, some of the information that he gives me will stick better than some of the info I get from Special Report. Special Report reminds me of Nascar Now and Glenn Beck reminds me of TWIN. I think that it is a matter of preference.

I vote to bring TWIN back with Mikey, Chad, Steve, and the last seat is up for grabs on which grouping works. If you don't like Mikey, then use your remote and change the channel.

In this economy and hard times, I would hate to see any more layoffs in the Nascar world. Let them keep their jobs. I also think some light-hearted good humor is good for us right now. Laughter can help ease some of the stresses that we all have.

Again, thanks Steve for letting us know your thoughts.

RivenSky said...

I didn't start watching the show until 2006. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Steve, Ken, Brian, and Michael. I think the show worked really well then, but unfortunately you can't always get chemistry back. Maybe they should just extend RaceHub on Mondays and do a roundtable like TWIN does.

Anonymous said...

In the past, I enjoyed the show, specifically the banter between Waltrip, Schrader, Benson, and Bestwick. The "hot seat" would actually be one of the better interviews of the week, as it would go beyond the superficial stuff.

Now, it's pretty much a place where Michael Waltrip can kiss up to NASCAR for an hour, and promote his sponsors. I don't blame him for sucking up to NASCAR, as it is one of the few sports that would allow a mediocre driver to stay in the sport that long.

I can't really be bothered to watch the actual races, so I don;t think I can sit through an hour recap. I enjoy listening to Knaus, and Biffle makes some good points. I don't always agree with Spencer, but at least he's an independent voice.

Bill B said...

Anonymous 11:24,
If Mikey is really has the 6th largest fanbase then how is it he doesn't win the fan vote on the allstar race every year. After all, you can bet that the first year Dale Jr isn't in the allstar race you can bet he will be voted in.
BTW, where did you get that statistic (that Mikey has the 6th largest fanbases)? I'm not saying you aren't right but all I know is, that when I go to the track I don't see a lot of 55 tshirts walking around the lot.

Drusylla said...

I'll make this short and sweet. I quit watching this show a long time ago when it because the Michael Waltrip/Chad Knaus show. I dont' care for either of them, but at least Chad seems to have a brain in his head. Michael just comes off as a know it all idiot who likes to hear the sound of his own voice.

I'm not a fan.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I would like to see them do with TWIN: Make the show more dynamic and less static. In other words: they currently plan out the whole show, what clips they will run and when, and then leave time in between for discussion.

Instead they should focus on the discussion, and let the production crew roll the appropriate clips to match the content of the talking.

When I watch a CNBC show, they will discuss the stock market freely without script. You never know what stock someone might ask about or how the discussion might lead into an unplanned area or discussion of a company. If a panelist mentions a stock, the production quickly puts up the chart or related B-roll to the company. Sometimes panelists will call for a particular chart on the fly, the production crew will quickly put it up, and then the panelist will make his point.

Can you imagine how cool TWIN would be with this dynamic? Let them start discussing the race, and if the discussion turns to Kurt Busch's two-tire decision, then roll that footage. If a panelist calls for the clip of Tony and Montoya getting together to make a point, they can put it up quickly. But the discussion should be primary and the clips should supplement, not the other way around as it is now.

We can see the clips anywhere and everywhere. By the time TWIN rolls around, I've seen Stewart and Montoya crash each other 12 or more times. What I tune in for is the opinion and discussion. Did they think Tony was out of line? Did they think Montoya was out of line? Who will get the blame? What will they think of NASCAR's call? Etc. Etc. The clip of it happening is old news by Monday evening. The discussion is what we tune in for!

Get a fast-moving production crew that can keep up with live discussion and TWIN will be a jewel.

Anonymous said...

After all, you can bet that the first year Dale Jr isn't in the allstar race you can bet he will be voted in.

Uh, that would be 2010!

Anonymous said...

TWIN is not what it once was; no one can deny that. I never missed a show when it was AB, Kenny, Johnny, and Michael. But as time went on, the presenter changed, and JB and Kenny were pushed out, I watched TWIN less and less. Gone were the lovable losers commenting on the race from inside the garage--Schrader's "Something important broke" is the classic example, OR Johnny showing up with a trophy still covered in champagne, fingerprints, and confetti on one of the rare "Trophy Editions" of the show.

Gone was the excitement when they got a good guest for the hot seat (I still remember the first time Jeff Gordon was on, as well as the first time Mike Helton appeared--both classic programs, hysterical and informative at the same time). Where else could we ask Helton how much he made, or twit Gordon about wrecking Schrader at Talladega? The original panelists not only showed us NASCAR from the inside, but in many ways they WERE us...they understood how fans saw the racing and they responded to it.

Over time, alas, we got more and more of a commercial pitch, especially from Waltrip, who I have grown to despise. When he's not promoting his sponsors or fantasizing about his singing ability (none) or driving talent (even less), he's serving as a NASCAR apologist. And the moderators don't even try to rein him in; wise panelists like Knaus just ignore him, and so do I. Buut the show has become more like a sponsor's tent appearance at the track, carefully scripted and correct, than the irreverent and even impudent show it started as.

As time went on I started DVRing TWIN and just skimming through it later. Now I don't bother even to do that unless I see something on TDP or another board that says that something good happened--then I tape the re-air. But it's not "Must-see" TV any more, and it hasn't been for a long time.

Sadly, I think TWIN has run its course. If SPEED were to get a good new panel of relevant drivers to pair with Knaus and/or Bootie Barker, it might be fun again.
Hopefully we'll get something better in the future.

Brian said...

Should TWIN Come back?
Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: the reason some people love it and some people hate it is what makes it work. If you are not a fan of the joking around then NASCAR Now is for you. If you like the sitting around shooting the breeze style then TWIN is for you. I enjoy both aspects and that is why I think TWIN should come back. Does MW go over the top sometimes, yes, but thats just how he is. Yes Chad also plugs his sponsors, thats what they are paid to do, JS didn't seem like a good fit to me, but I think Kyle Petty would be a good fit in that role as a full time 3rd member on the panel. Steve THANK YOU for stopping by to leave your comments, I appreciate it very much. I think Steve does a really good job at a nearly impossible task, keeping MW on task & on time.

Are there things that can be done to improve the show, Yes, for me I would rather not see any produced videos except for the Truck and Nationwide highlights. The scanner feature is cool, but I already saw that on NN 2 hours earlier. I would rather that time be filled with conversation among the panelist. I also agree the amount of time spent on preview should be reduced to a 5-10 minute thing at the end of the show, and be more of a what are you looking forward to @ the next track rather than a true preview (we'll get plenty of that prior to the race).

In Review: I would be sad if TWIN isn't brought back as it definitely has its place in the Monday night lineup within all NASCAR programing, and on SPEED.

batchief said...

I like TWIN, but I LOOOVE "The Hub" and its free spirit style and the different guest it has on each day. Even if they are not all in the studio.

Bill B said...

Anonymous 12:28
Re: Jr missing the allstar race and "uh that would be 2010".


He will be eligible because he has won the allstar race in the last ten years. He just squeaks in having won in 2000.

sue said...

I love watching TWIN. I do hope that it does return. Lately with ESPN unless your guy is not running in front or is Dale Jr there is little chance you will know what went on during the race. TWIN breaks the race down into segments and disect's it. This is not done on any other Nascar show.

TWIN in the days gone by had 1 host and 3 drivers. It was very interesting to get the drivers perspective on how the race went. If we were lucky maybe one of the drivers were even involved in an altercation. If not you could depend upon Kenny Schraeder to shake things up a bit. This didn't happen this year at all. It just appeared to be a platform for Mikey to plug his sponsors or for him to tell us how wonderful Nascar is.

Chad Knaus has been a terrific addition to the panel and heck I'm certainly no fan of the 48 team so this has been hard to swallow. The Biff speaks his mind and is certainly an asset. On the other hand TWIN doesn't need an analyst in Jimmy Spencer. He's good on Raceday but I want to hear from the actual players.

Last night on Race Hub when they interviewed 3 Nationwide drivers that was some of the best tv in a long time. It was a little of the bantering done between drivers that made me watch TWIN back in the day.

I for one need my Nascar fix on Mondays with the guys. During the years we've gone through different panelists, different hosts, little chairs, big chairs and clipboards. Probably would be a lot cheaper to have yet another episode of Pinks but SPEED has really been on top of their game of late and I know the right choice will be made.

Tracy D said...

Steve Byrnes, you're one of the hardest working people I've ever seen. Thanks for your comments. FWIW, I think you do a bang-up job trying to herd the cats on TWIN.

JohnP said...

As a long time viewer of TWIN/IWC I can say that i've never even heard of Nascar Now or Nascar Hub or whatever it's called. And no, I don't waste my time with the B&## S*@! post race show. I go to Jayski and find when the race "really" starts. Got better things to do. If either is on ESPN that's mostly likely why. ESPN wastes my time with "storylines" other the the actual race.

PS:ESPN: The "storyline" is the "RACE".

I love the interaction on TWIN. Steve does great, Mikey-well he's Mikey. I'll still stick by my earlier statement that Kyle could replace him. Long time viewers of Nascar know his style. Kanaus adds the tech end to the show, he actually has a dry humor to him. A polar opposite to Mikey. It's good to play off each other's personalities. If Mikey stays, I will to. If Mikey goes, I'll still watch TWIN.

Bring back the HOT SEAT

It was a blast

Just keep TWIN.. It's a Monday night tradition..

I'm sad, having just thought and wrote that I know Nascar no longer cares about tradition. I'll shut up now..

Anonymous said...

I'm only posting as annoymous because i don't use the blogs available. I'm zebmonkey on Twitter, and forum. Thanks, Steve Byrnes for adding ur comments here. I vote Yes for TWIN to continue. Those are times when i have to roll my eyes when MW talks, but for the most part, i do enjoy the show. I have only been watching the show for about the last five seasons because that's as long as i've had the SPEED network on my local cable lineup. I barely got to see AB and JB on it. I wasn't a big fan of Dave Dispain when he was there, but with Schrader and MW, i still watched. I have thoroughly enjoyed the show the entire time Steve has been the host. I do record and replay TWIN every week. I usually replay it several times in the week until i'm sick of it and have it basically memorized.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks to everyone, including Steve Byrnes, for two days of really good and focused comments.

We will update the status of TWIN over the next several weeks. It is not scheduled to return until SpeedWeeks, so it may be a while until news breaks on whether SPEED will bring it back again in 2010.