Sunday, February 21, 2010

Darrell Waltrip Off To A Rough Start


Over the past three seasons, this blog has been filled with conversations about the on-air personalities at ESPN, SPEED and TNT. In almost every case, the measuring stick used for comparison was the NASCAR on FOX team.

The reasons were easy to understand. This is the tenth season for Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. These three personalities were at the heart of the sport when times were good. Now they are facing a very new NASCAR reality.

By last Sunday, Joy, Waltrip and McReynolds had already done a whole lot of TV long before the Daytona 500 rolled around. The Gatorade Duels on Thursday were surrounded by coverage of Daytona 500 practice and qualifying. One week earlier the Bud Shoot Out had come calling. Waltrip and McReynolds also had additional shows on SPEED in which they were featured.

Throw in some personal appearances for FOX and it made for a very long weekend. The last thing the trio needed was an off-balance event marred by a pavement problem and fouled by hours of red flag conditions. Unfortunately, that is exactly what they got. The results were not good.

In the last couple of years, Waltrip has changed. Perhaps getting a bit older or simply more wistful for the old days, he now wears his heart firmly on his sleeve. A wide array of emotions and viewpoints on all kinds of subjects tend to come and go. Waltrip used to be a colorful character. Now he is often very busy telling others how to do things his way.

The problem with that approach is that many NASCAR fans now watching the sport were not around for Waltrip's time behind the wheel. To them, Waltrip is a TV commentator with a good sense of humor and a folksy manner. Having him explain things during a TV replay makes sense. Having him tell Sprint Cup Series teams and drivers how to do things does not.

Over the years, Waltrip had never been shy about letting NASCAR know exactly what he thinks is wrong. Fans have seen Waltrip on TV shows from Wind Tunnel to NASCAR Now telling it like it is and debating racing topics with a host of personalities.

When Waltrip spoke out strongly on a topic, it was considered news. This season, when he speaks out on a topic he is simply agreeing with NASCAR. That is a shame. Waltrip now spouts NASCAR happy talk like so many others. He is now in the club. Agree with the party line or you are branded as someone who hates the sport.

Two years ago, Waltrip met Digger. Despite the fact that racing fans could not stand the animated rodent, Waltrip loved him. During the NASCAR on Fox races, Waltrip could not get enough of telling fans just how great and funny Digger really was. It didn't take fans long to figure out why.

Digger merchandise was available through Waltrip's own website. The amount of time dedicated to Digger over the last few seasons by Waltrip was simply embarrassing. On a past episode of Trackside on SPEED, Waltrip was late for the program. When he did arrive, it was in a golf cart accompanied by a lifesize Digger character. Turns out, Waltrip had been on a TV shopping channel hawking Digger merchandise.

Despite the fact that FOX has now toned down the Digger presence, the damage to Waltrip has been done. As we said about Waltrip in (click here) our review of the Daytona 500 coverage, you cannot work both sides of the street.

That credibility crack has been enlarged by something that has influenced the sport in a very dynamic way over the last year or so. We call it social media but the reality is that Twitter has allowed unfiltered information to flow around the NASCAR world for the very first time. At Daytona, Twitter was not very kind to Waltrip.

Earlier in the week, two drivers had tweeted about Waltrip during the practice and qualifying sessions. It was not kind talk. As the red flag repairs on the Daytona track continued, Waltrip worked hard to praise the fans for not leaving the racetrack.

Simultaneously, various media outlets were tweeting pictures of fans leaving and even conducting interviews with fans who had decided to pack it in. They were reporting the reality. Waltrip was fashioning his own.

Thankfully, the final dash for the checkered flag was able to put a little zing back in what had been a very long day for those TV viewers who remained. Joy had summoned some energy for the finish but once again it was Waltrip who talked over top of his partner and left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths.

When David Reutimann bumped Dale Earnhardt Jr. toward the front in the endless game of bumper cars that is plate racing at Daytona, the world changed for Waltrip. As Earnhardt was pushed between two cars, Waltrip lost it. At a time when Joy should have been calling the race and indicating when Waltrip could step in, there was going to be no stopping the NASCAR on Fox analyst.

Luckily, Joy got just enough time to call out Jamie McMurray's name as he crossed the line. It was clear, however, that once again Waltrip had allowed an emotional outburst to get in the way of the telecast. Where Waltrip used to wait for his moment and make it count, he now simply cannot step back and let Joy have the spotlight.

If this is the scenario for the NASCAR on Fox package, then so be it. The network has every right to toe the NASCAR line, to allow Waltrip free reign and to simply say take it or leave it to the fans. Ultimately, the TV ratings and success of the sport will tell the tale as the 2010 NASCAR on FOX season rolls on.

We welcome your comment on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, hateful speech or profanity is not allowed. Please keep that in mind when posting.

There will be a live blog of the Sprint Cup Series race open at 1PM ET on Sunday. Join us here at TDP for comments on the TV coverage from Auto Club Speedway and thanks for dropping by.

62 comments:

Stat2 said...

Agree 100% - what was folsky has become annoying.

Rob said...

As a fan, I think we can all agree on one thing: color commentators can be insightful, entertaining, informative, but they shouldn't be rooting on a particular racer in most cases.

Now there's an exception to the rule, such as when Ned Jarrett openly rooted for his son in two Daytona 500s during the 1990s, but it's not like Ned kept cheering on DJ through other victories in races where he happened to be in the booth.

Meanwhile, I cannot understand why Waltrip goes out of his way to indeed praise Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I'm not saying Junior is a bad person, he's probably a nice man. But he is not related to DW nor should he should be cheering him on or any driver on throughout the race. Leave that part up to the fans at home.

Telling fans too what the old days were like should be done during a pre-race segment when appropriate or when the time is right, not whenever he feels like it. DW can be a good color commentator and he was whenever CBS needed him to call some races as well as TNN and the early years for FOX. We need THAT DW back.

No Digger, more of the REAL DW, the man and racer who loves seeing ANY driver win, comforting the fans whenever their driver is out of the hunt, and most of all, telling us insightful things.

Matt said...

I'm sorry, but hasn't Waltrip been this way for years? He's never let Mike Joy call a complete finish with saying SOMETHING. Where is the news here?

Joe Dunn said...

JD, you have got this one spot on, DW is an embarrassment for the media as well as NASCAR as a whole. This type of 'reporting' makes NASCAR look to be as bad as WWE wrestling. But, for those of us that have been around NASCAR since the days before DW, we have seen this poor judgment on his part before. As a driver, back in 1998 as a driver he used the past champions provisional 20 times out of 33 races, yet he didn't have the decency to pack it in. He was such an embarrassment that NASCAR was forced to set a maximum number of Past Champion's provisionals a driver was allowed to use in a season. Not satisfied with that he hung around 2 more years using the max PC's allowed.
In 1998, he should have faced up to the truth and quietly retired after the first 6 times, but he didn't. Now that he has reached that level as an announcer, he should quitly move on down the road and retire once again. As bad as he was at Daytona, he has acted no better this week at Fontana.

cdh said...

I have noticed that DW is a little more annoying this season. And I usually like DW for the most part. If he would just stop making so many cheesy jokes then I will be back on his side. I really hate to admit this but ESPN's crew has caught up with FOX.

Rob said...

I know this won't be a popular opinion around here (kinda like being a Danica Patrick fan), but I don't care. I like DW, I like his passion for the sport, especially since he's actually BEEN THERE and DONE THAT, whether he comes off as a cheerleader or not.

Tracij said...

I could not agree with you more on your comments. DW was very unprofessional during last week's broadcast. To the point, I turned off the volume of my Hotpass because he was just too over the top. I turned on MRN when I just could not handle it anymore.

He thinks that all fans want to hear what thought pops in is head. I am sorry but we all do not. I for one would like to have dead air where I can make my own judgements than hear his personal opinions on how "Junebug" or "Reuti" or "Mikey" is doing.

I cannot understand how a network would allow this. I thought that Joy, McReynold, and DW had clearly defined roles in the booth. This year not so much.

Today, I have a previous commitment so I won't be watching the race live, I am DVRing it. I hope that in their production meetings this week, he was told to tone it down. I let my opinion be known on here and to the network. This year NASCAR is suppose to be listening to the fan, I hope that they are listening to this.

KoHoSo said...

Mr. Daly, you are on one heck of a roll right now with the insightful articles. I especially commend you for this one because there are always going to be people that will love "Ol' DW" no matter what.

I do wonder if the change we have seen in Darrell hasn't actually been going on for longer than we realize. Perhaps it just stands out more after last year when TNT blew most of us away by suddenly coming about as close as anybody has to "the good old days" of how the original ESPN, TNN, and CBS crews covered races.

I also fear that Darrell is going to end up like his brother Michael -- somebody that starts out lovable and then alienates a good portion of his fan base. It was very sad for me last year to see Mikey start talking down to fans and become a one-note-Johnny on almost every issue. DW seems to be in great danger of going the same way, losing that authority he commanded when issues needed to be addressed because of ending up being nothing but a shill for NASCAR and his latest man-crush.

I hope that does not happen and DW will dial these bad sides of his television persona back down...especially since I am convinced that we have already lost Larry McReynolds to "the dark side."

DrTeplisky said...

JD--Your analysis brings up good questions about conflicts of interest for commentators/journalists who cover auto racing. In the early days of the sport, the lines were blurred and those who covered it had lots of "side action" (maybe doing PR for a team, owning a race related business, etc.) which was not disclosed--no one cared.

The dynamic between those who are skeptical about developments in the sport (the proper function of bloggers, broadcasters and writers who cover the sport, IMO) and cheerleaders (pr operatives, rights holder play by play broadcasters) who view developments through rose colored glasses to put it mildly has always existed. Under the "Twitterscope" that conflict is magnified.

I will submit that those who report on the developments of the sport with a touch of respectful skepticism do more than all the cheerleaders put together.

David Hill needs to light up Waltrip and his agent--yesterday would have been nice--before the FOX broadcast loses more credibility.

Michael said...

I think Fox views him as NASCAR's John Madden so I wouldn't expect him to be going anywhere. I very much doubt he's going anywhere, but yes his constant shilling for sponsors and certain drivers gets very annoying.

Also, the "BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGTIY LETS GO RACING BOYS" needs to go. It was fun once, but now it's just a tired catchphrase. I have to mute my TV at the start of each race now because I find it embarrassing to listen to.

Ken said...

I remember when DW started his racing career in NASCAR. He was referred to as the first driver with a college degree. If that is the case, he has hidden it well. At the time, I took his loud mouth and bragging as a publicity stunt but it never stopped. I was never a fan because I like the Richard Petty/Bill Elliot type who lets their on track activities speak for them.


As the years have passed, DW has gotten more and more full of himself and less bearable. I think his time has passed and he should confine himself to infomercials where watching and listening to him is optional. I don't like to be forced to put up with him to watch a race. It frequently spoils an enjoyable race.

Damon said...

I think DW praises Junior or at least tries to because he's been around Junior much of his racing life through Senior and you get attached even though it's not your kid, it feels like it.

Anonymous said...

very sad what dw has turned into
i loved the guy and fully respected him
now, dispite what david hill say's
dw is a schil for the sport
he makes factual mistakes
endlessly roots for his brother
and gets in the way of mike joy all the time

Joe Dunn said...

Ken, DW was never known as a college graduate, it was Alan Kulwicki that was know as the first NASCAR driver with a college degree. I believe that DW did receive an honorary degree a couple of years ago.

jamie in nc said...

Waltrip as always been all about Waltrip. Perfect example is the Kyle Busch turn that DW took two years ago. In the Daytona 500 in 2008, the first race for Kyle and june bug with their new teams, DW pretty much called Kyle Busch everything but a child of God. Then suddenly Kyle Busch wins a few races. Kyle is hated by the june bug nation and becomes a 'heel' type character. Then widespread comparisons to an early DW began to appear in the media. BANG.....DW was then seen pushing the praises of Kyle. And why may you ask. Cause in DW's eyes, it was all about him again.

iwill admit, i have an unhealthy dislike for all things waltrip.

as as i have stated many times before in this forum.....nascar coverage with no waltrip, is good nascar coverage.

Buschseries61 said...

It was sad to watch the FOX team at Daytona. ESPN starts to rise, FOX begins to fall. The sport may be going back to its roots, but the FOX team is further from their roots than ever. Digger, movie promos, cartoons, goofy commercial bumpers, theme songs, forced personalities, cheerleading, excessive commercials, false facts and information. David Hill put the 'show' ahead of the 'race'.

In the early years of NASCAR on FOX, Darrell Waltrip was kept in line by Joy & McReynolds. In this years ARCA race Phil Parsons kept DW in line. This year on FOX, nobody is stopping DW. Mike Joy should not have to wait for Darrell to finish talking to call the last lap. As for his credibility, it vanished after the past 2 seasons of Digger & DW's favorite teams/drivers.

FOX has gold in Joy, McReynolds, and the four pit reporters. Leave the gimicks behind and let them shine.

Darren said...

DW is falling into a trap that captures sports professionals all the time: The belief that they are not part of the show, but ARE the show.

That trap is what is ruining ESPN, that they don't exist because of sports, but somehow sports exist because of them.

From what I understand, DW and David Hill are big buddies, so I doubt anyone will be reigning in ol' DW any time soon. So, sadly, I think he's only going to get worse...

Donna in FL said...

Agree that DW isn't going anywhere so my opinion is moot. Never been a Waltrip fan of any kind, past or present. I can talk to and about them civilly and even be friendly. But I certainly don't let them ruin a race for me. I gots options- I love the Information Age!

PS I do know why DW looks after Dale Jr. It's because his dad isn't here to do it, that loss weighs heavily on both.

51 yr. fan said...

He was labled "jaws" for a reason
and it only becomes more legitimate
with each appearance. The old
adage of "being a legend in his own mind" seems to fit. It's time
for FOX to start looking around
for another veteran racer. No, not
Spencer or Wallace(s).

Tim Shipman said...

JD, I am not sure that I totally agree with you on this one. From my perspective the FOX Team by far does the best job out of all of them. Now I have noticed that DW is wearing his emotions more on the outside than he ever has. I think that DW had become close with Dale, SR in his later years and I feel that the accident when Dale was lost was a point of change for DW. He was calling his brother home for the checkered flag and one of his best friends was killed in an accident. A best friend that had helped and supported DW in the later part of his driving career. I saw a change in DW from that moment on. Thus the apparent support for "Junebug" and him trying to be there for Dale, Jr. I am not saying that it is a bad change but I think that moment changed perspective for DW.

I am still of the belief that he brings a lot to the table for FOX and I still look forward to that entire teams coverage of the races. I think we all have to remember that they too are human and we all have something in our life that happens that causes changes within. I am of the belief that everyone in the booth has their favorites like all race fans, some do a good job of hiding it and some wear it on their sleeve.

Anonymous said...

I dont agree 100%. It seems to me like the opinions are based solely off the Daytona race last weekend. thats the first race of the season, give the guy a break. We finally got a booth change at ESPN we wanted. Now apparently you have to go for FOX? I think the booth teams are fine. I think the issue with fox is the directors and producers. Why are you not writing a column about them?

Aven said...

I don't think Waltrip is the John Madden of NASCAR. I think he is the Howard Cosell of the sport. A loud and overbearing talking head is a turnoff to many of us. He and his little brother needs to leave the sport and find something else to do.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:00AM,

Please take a moment to review my Daytona 500 column for comments on those other topics. Thanks!

JD

Bucky B said...

I'm not a fan and never have been. Darrel Waltrip has always been about endless, self-promotion going back to his driving days. His style of broadcasting I've always felt to be amateurish, bordering on the buffoonish. It's refreshing to see that some fans are speaking out on this subject. There's a reason that Cale Yarborough nicknamed him "Jaws" back in the '70's. The most dangerous place in the world is to be between Darrel Waltrip and a microphone.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:13AM,

Please feel free to drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv on that subject anytime. Happy to fill you in on that topic.

JD

Andrew said...

What kills me about DW on Sundays is how different he is from the DW we get during the week! As was said above, when he's paired with Phil Collins for the ARCA races, he's much more restrained and does a fine job with the commentary. The same thing happens when he covers qualifying, though that may be more of a case of deference to Larry Mac, since it's all about setups and that's his department.

But come Sunday, the fun, knowledgeable DW is replaced by a cartoonish caricature of himself. I don't get it.

Vicky D said...

I agree with you on DW, being a cheerleader for Jr when he was coming up through the pack the last lap. He was just hollering it was kind of annoying. Don't know what happened to Joy last week we'll see today if there is an improvement - maybe he needs a 5 hour energy drink boost!

Newracefan said...

I have always thought of Fox as my favorite for the cup races. However I have noticed lately the DW will tell a story and not stop for something more important happening on the track. I don't remember this in past years, I swear he use to stop. I also must be watching too much Speed and Fox because when he starts a story I've heard it before. I'm OK with him rooting for Jr etc, heck I was and I'm not a JR fan but it was somewhat unprofessional. I know they tried to push it under the rug saying they were just excited about his run but I didn't see anyone getting excited over Reutimann and his the one who pushed Jr and also got himself up front.

Dave in OKC said...

I may be in danger of trying to work both sides of the street here myself, but here goes.

I remember that DW seemed to shift into cheerleading mode during my all-time favorite race: the 2003 Darlington duel between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch. IMHO, the call of the last five laps of that race has been one of the high points of the entire NASCAR on FOX tenure. Waltrip was openly cheering for Craven, not because of Ricky, but because of DW's ties with Tide. In response, Larry Mac seemed to take up for Busch a little bit. Mike Joy stood back and let it happen, even taking up a little for third-place Dave Blaney, and then jumped in with the now-classic "Have you ever?" The interplay among the FOX crew that day added to one of the most significant races in Cup history.

All that being said, Daytona 2010 was not Darlington 2003! Stat2 nailed it with the first post in this thread. What was folksy in 2003 has become annoying in 2010.

I don't have that big an issue with an announcer showing a little favoritism toward a driver. You'll find much worse than that on any broadcast of any stick and ball sport. But when favoritism overcomes objectivity, then there's a problem.

I appreciate DW's history and understand that he's earned the right to be where he is. Like others who have posted, I hope the OLD DW returns. Soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this article 100%! I enjoy the race more when I put the TV on MUTE!!

Anonymous said...

DW is a poor excuse for a spokesman for Nascar or an announcer.
He was nothing till he hooked up with Junior Johnson. His arrogant and higher than thou attitude to his knowledge of the sport is sicking.

Spider said...

Are the rednecks getting on the Yankee's nerves?
The main focus should be is that NASCAR and the TV broadcasts have outgrown the Redneck, beer drinking, grease monkey mentality that was so "cute" back in the days when racing broadcasts got started.
One of the first southern boys that became an announcer and took some lessons to learn to pronounce words was Ned Jarrett. His son Dale obviously has taken lesson also on how to speak and suppress the drawl.
There are only three announcers on the Fox team with the "good ole boy" approach to racing, and it has gotten old.
The fact that DW talks a lot is a given but now the flaws and bad grammar rise to the surface with the race fans becoming more sophisticated as time goes along. Plus the fact that we now have all these social media outlets and blogs (such as this one) to express our opinions that have never had a chance to be listened to before.

Anonymous said...

I was a Nascar fan when "Jaws" was at the top of his game. He does provide some good insights regarding what's happening on the track. What I could do without is his B.S. ALL the TV hosts are too politically corect. They refuse to call out drivers, refuse to criticize Nascar or God Forbid,Junior. The fawning over Danica is pathetic. Predictably, she embarrassed herself yesterday. Maybe now after Vegas, we can get back to giving on-screen credit to those who really deserve it. Did anyone really believe that after a couple of Arca/Nationwide races that Danica would shine? DW and the other hosts should just call the race and recognize that non-stop chatter isn't necessary.

J.J. said...

I think the Waltrip everyone is seeing now is the real Jaws. His ego and being the mouth that roared has always been DW's trademark. I worked for the 88 team when he took over from Donnie Allison and I didn't like him them and nothing since has happened to change my mind.

This is none news.

bevo said...

JD- Excellent points on DW, my only disagreement would be the part about the energy level being down because of Speed Weeks. If it were the middle of the season I could buy it but they had plenty of time off before Daytona.

@Tim Shipman- I think you're right on about DW and 2001 in regard to Jr.

Shirley Buttacavoli said...

I'm a Darrell Waltrip fan and always will be.

Is DW playing the NASCAR game? I don't know. He was very critical of the COT, but then backed off. Maybe that's because he realized it is a 'safer' car, but it still doen't LOOK like a 'stock' car.

I agree, the Digger merchandise promotion was a bit much.

However, I have no problem with Darrell, or anyone, being excited about Dale Jr making a move on the last lap of the 500.

His emotion was the same as a majority of the race fans watching. The only difference - he was on national TV.

Debbie said...

I was a DW fan when he drove. I even supported him when he couldnt drive out of his own way at the end of his career.

I was even a fan of his when he first become a color commentator. Now, he is the old uncle that tells the same stories at Thanksgiving.

His bias is blatant and boring. He jumps on each bandwagon as it comes by. He heads the "Junebug" fan club. Personally a 30 something year old man shouldnt be called Junebug on national tv. He tows the Nascar line and pains him when he can't bring himself to openly critisize the powers that be.

I think he is at the point in his tv career that he needs to call it quits and ride off into the sunset. He should realize this and go quietly. Unlike he did in his driving career. You would have thought he would have learned his lesson by now.

Dont get me wrong, I have met him and had a decent conversation with him. He is a gracious and loving man. His time has come to move on.

If he feels he needs to stick around, for the love of God, please drop the BBB. I can't get to my mute button fast enough!!

~Debbie

Woogeroo said...

I wish we could just turn off the announcers and still be able to hear the engines.

That would be perfect.

-W

GinaV24 said...

I didn't mind DW and the Fox gang for maybe the first 3 years that Fox carried the races, but particularly since the new TV contract has been in place, they have simply lost their credibility and on top of it, their appeal. I understand that DW was a championship driver and that is all well and good, but that was years ago and the cars are different, the racing and NASCAR are different and he simply cannot serve two masters and be credible.

I never had a problem with Ned Jarrett rooting for Dale during the 500's since that was a rare occurence. DW has become a cheerleader and champion excuse maker for his favorites and can be downright ugly in his comments to those he doesn't like. It is so unprofessional and I hate it.

If this is the new NASCAR reality for the TV partners, that they will shill for NASCAR, not "call it like they see it" and be dishonest to the fans watching at home, I don't see how I will be able to bother to continue to watch. I cannot sit and watch races and be lied to, I just won't do it. I stopped watching the pre-race shows last season and don't plan to tune in for them this year either. No new info and usually just silliness on the screen.

The season starts at Fontana -- well, I wish it didn't since it is usually a very boring race to watch on TV.

Fortunately, I have my computer, so I can tune in via trackpass - which is one good thing that NASCAR.com offers.

My take on this is that DW has become an old dog and he has only so many tricks in him.

Anonymous said...

FOX should have put Digger (and DW) back in his cage after the pothole at Daytona - not continuing to show him on screen!!!

Anonymous said...

I think what sums it all up was DW's call of the spring Talladega race last year. He was absolutely pulling for Carl Edwards that entire last lap, and then when Carl turned into Brad, all you could hear was DW's big mouth shouting "OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!" He was completely crushed that Carl didn't win that race.

Anonymous said...

Both Waltrip's are and has always been "snake oil salemen." Can't believe a word out of their mouth's. As Mark Martin is the best to have never won a champonship, Mikey is the driver with the least amount of driving ability to ever start a NASCAR race. Sick of him and old DW, send them both back to KY.

David said...

I was around for the back end of DW's career and I can understand his sentiment regarding many things but unfortunately the car has changed completely twice since he has retired with the twisted car and the COT format. DW telling guys how to race just doesn't make sense in many instances now.

He still does many many things quite well, my main issue is when he is a shill for product or certain drivers. If the bias is clear with DW, he is very very ineffective.

Hopefully it improves today.

HEATHER said...

DW IS NOT NOW AND NEVER HAS BEEN A JOURNALIST!! FOX DID NOT HIRE HIM FOR OBJECTIVITY.(caps for emphasis-not screaming)
DW is the driver that Cale Yarborough nicknamed Jaws 'because
they were always flappin'.
If DW bothers you so much perhaps you should mute your TV and turn on your local radio MRN affilate to hear the calls.

Bad Wolf said...

DW is the same as he's ever been, and I think you are finally taking your blinders off. He has been a buffoon in the booth since Fox took over the broadcasts. I believe he is one of the main reasons for the decline of the ratings, as old fans tune out because the sport has been so dumbed down and taken to the lowest common denominator.

I just have to mention Meyers, he said in todays pre-race that they used to produce steel for "Allied U-Boats" where the California track now sits. I always thought they were submarines, and the Germans had the Undervaten Boots.

Anonymous said...

I am the original DW fan. During driver introductions, when his name was announced, I stood up and cheered and all the other fans booed me. I thought he was one of the best drivers ever (and still do). As a race analyst, I thought he was good in the beginning but he has deteriorated into a joke. I hate the "booggity" thing, I hate the "digger" thing and I hate his fawning over his little "junebug" thing. Goes to show you what money can do to you. In my opinion, he has sold his soul for more dollars and has lost all respect I ever had for him.

Jonathan said...

I dont see no difference. That has been and always will be DW. DW keep doing what your doing! Just please stop w the A-TEAM garbage! thats all

Dannyboy said...

JD one thing that must be remembered in forums like this: Few viewers call a "complaint" line to say they really like something. It's a fact that contented viewers don't call/write to praise a show. They vote with their remotes & wallets. Those with complaints WILL gripe, switch channels or boycott sponsors. So most of what we're going to see here is negative, no matter what the actual majority viewership opinion is.

I used to root for Rusty Wallace the racer. He makes my (and apparently a lot of others') skin crawl as a commentator. I accept that the Waltrips do that for many others. Yet both DW & MW have had a decade plus of success as broadcasters. And they didn't "get" me because they shill for NASCAR. They got me because I like them and usually enjoy what they have to say. After the 500 Dave Despain, who nobody has ever accused of being a shill for ANYbody, called on DW to spend a good portion of his show to do a lot of what everyone is complaining about here.

And just like the haters will keep coming here to bash them, I'll put my 2 cents in too ;-D

Anonymous said...

Myself i only watch nascar at race time !
When race is over ! Boom ! I'm gone !
I really don't care for the hosts Repeated comments from weekend to weekend ! Its just plain boreing !

Anonymous said...

For YEARS because of DW we mute the tv broadcast and listen to MRN while watching the race on TV. His Boogity boogity boogity thing did it for us.

Anonymous said...

Its about time that some of the journalist start reporting about how the fans feel instead of what Brian France wants you guys to print.
DW and Michael Waltrip both are nothing but a SICK JOKE.
Both of their insecurities are eye and ear popping obvious!
They have done nothing but play the Big Con Game for the last 10 years.
They act as if NASCAR is strictly about them....a long washed up driver and his half brother that can't even drive on the public road much less pretend to be a race driver.
Pull these two leaches off our sport and fire Brian France before there is NO NASCAR left. Its going to take years to repair this sport already.....If it can be saved!

Kenorv said...

D.W. is like the Dick Vitale of NASCAR. They both have a big mouth and they love to use it. Sometimes they're great to listen to but most of the time they're just annoying. D.W. is still great at explaining technical stuff about the cars but that is always overshadowed by the ridiculous stuff that he says. Like the vortex theory for example. He really needs to put that to rest. All that does is give the impression that NASCAR people are a bunch of idiots if they believe stuff like that.

If TNT replaces Bill Weber with Ralph Shaheen then they will have the best announcing crew this year with Ralph, Wally and Kyle. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett are pretty good for ABC/ESPN but I still don't like Jerry Punch as a play by play guy. I think they should replace him with Marty Reid. Reid is pretty good except for the fact that his bosses make him force feed us info on Danica every 2 minutes. If it wasn't for all of that Danica stuff then it would be no contest between him and Jerry Punch.

TL5always said...

Up until this topic was posted, I guess I never realized there was an issue with DW's announcing. When you've watched NASCAR as long as I have, I suppose I'm just use to his larger than life personality. I'm not sure you can hold someone's true personality or their passion for what they love against them. We could go back to the monotonous ESPN Bob Jenkins/Benny Parsons(RIP) days. Take it away, Eli Gold...

Anonymous said...

I remember when the commentators used to be our friends. Now they shout at us, talk about stupid things and assume we are stupid. That gopher is annoying. Remember when the race was the show? Its sad that Fox has to make themselves the show and when you get to the race, all the hype and excitement is gone. Quit telling me that if Im not excited about something Im not alive. Its like asking to have sex and all the person does is talk, then after an hr turns to you and says ok you ready? NO Im not ready you just took all the energy and excitement I have and killed it. Thanks.

Lets start the race coverage at the green flag, and while the race is on show the prayer and anthem and driver interviews. Also lets hear the scanner traffic. THAT will tell us more than the commentators.

ont3taz said...

Todays pre-race was like being at a side show at the circus.
I hate that DW just takes over the commentary every chance he gets. He always knows what just happened on the track, even when the replay shows him to be wrong, a good pecentage of the time.
He may be qualified to comment on driver emotions and motivation. Having the data of previous races at each track gives him some credibility on what to watch for over the course of the race.
Being that he has never raced the COT car,hasn't worked on them, means that he does not have the expertise and first hand knowledge about what is happening to the cars during the course of a race. This COT is completely different from anything that he has raced, and some crews and drivers that run them on a weekly basis haven't got the handle on these cars yet.
In my humble opinion good ol'boy DW has taken on the NA$CAR philosopy of show me the money.
Back in the day it was about racing, now adays it's about putting on a good show.
The prerace shows on FOX have become an embarassment to true race fans, with extremely limited time and effort spent on racing info.
Myone regret about all of this is that I have no radio stations that broadcast the MRN coverage of the race, so must watch the race without any sound, as I cannot stand to listen to DW.
Have a good day race fans.

Anonymous said...

DW has no sense of embarrassment or shame as shown by how he ended his driving career. Fox has no ethical or professional standards to enforce on DW or anyone else. We can expect him to be around for a long time to come.

I tolerate his presence by finding amusement in watching him make a fool of himself. He provides plenty of raw material to work with.

Great egos make people blind to their own potential downfall. I live in hope that DW will do something outrageous some day without realizing it. Perhaps he can go out in a blaze of glory the way legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes did. I only hope I get to see it.

Anonymous said...

My biggest complaint about DW is the fact that Nascar is trying to shed the stereotype that its a bunch hillbilly rednecks racing cars. His boogity boogity boogity does nothing to shed this stereotype. In fact, it makes it worse.

Also, one of his worst blunders was stating directly after the big crash with Edwards at Talladega that nobody got hurt when in fact there were people hurt. I'm assuming he did it to protect nascar in some way. He lost alot of credibility and also proved to people that he indeed was a shill for nascar.

Anonymous said...

I remember about 2 years ago, listening to DW being interviewed on Sirius, when he claimed that Digger was NASCAR's mascot. And that everyone should go to dwstore dot com to get one. He already annoyed the heck out of me on TV, but right then and there is when I lost any respect I might have once had for the man.

Julia said...

JD, you nailed it!! I agree 100%!!

I think one of the reasons DW is so horrible is he the bias he shows FOR and AGAINST drivers. He seems to be very bias against drivers whom he thinks are better then he was. It's like he is so jealous of them that he says anything he can against them. He really seems very bias against Jeff Gordon, Yes, Jeff is an awesome driver, one of the best in history, and I think DW is jealous of that. Why? I don't know, because in his day DW was one of the best too. His bias is uncalled for. He does not have to like Jeff, but showing so much bias against him, is flat out wrong, and just makes DW look a jealous old has been. It is obvious DW LOVES JR so much more then any driver out there. Yes he has every right to like Jr, but he really should not cheer him on so blatantly. Showing such bias FOR a driver, is just as wrong as showing such bias AGAINST a driver. He needs to back off the favoritism of Jr, and the hatred of Jeff Gordon. If he does, maybe Fox would not be so horrible to watch.

Anonymous said...

Both Waltrips are one reason the sport of suffering. We can only hope that someone at Fox and Speed finally wakes up and gets rid of both of these huksters before its simply too late.

Anonymous said...

I agree that DW has gotten a bit out of hand, having said that, the broadcast is still so far superior to ESPn?ABC, that I am willing to overlook just to get a competent broadcast crew!

Anonymous said...

DW has long since worn out his welcome with me, long before you mentioned this. There are also other examples of his problems that you didn't mention.His poor attempt at humor kills me. nothing worse than someone who thinks they are funny when they are not.During practice when he was acting silly and singing, someone in the booth said " click, click, click" trying to hint to him what TV viewers would do if he kept singing and acting silly.