Friday, February 26, 2010

Phil Parsons Enjoys Some Home Cooking

During the pre-season, SPEED impressed with the line-up of guests and the quality of the interviews on the network's NASCAR Race Hub series. Produced Monday through Thursday, this thirty minute show filled the void of a weekday NASCAR news program on SPEED.

Thursday, NASCAR veteran Phil Parsons appeared as a guest. Parsons had been in the news this week after his Prism Motorsports #66 car driven by Dave Blaney had been impounded by NASCAR after a start and park appearance in California.

Click here to read an interesting article put together by Lee Spencer at the FOX Sports website. She talks about the fact that Parson's team pulled two cars into the garage and pocketed almost as much money as the seventh place race finisher.

There was also this subtle shot fired at Parsons in the Spencer story:

“It’s one thing to try to race each week,” said the manager of a team that generally finishes among the 40-somethings who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But I think doing two (teams) to get a check isn’t going to sit very well with NASCAR.”

Across the Internet, reaction from bloggers and fans was not quite as subtle. Click here to read the Racing with Rich website story on this topic.

One fan left a comment addressing the true intentions of Parsons in Cup racing:

I have totally lost respect for Phil Parsons. Like to see him removed from the Truck Series broadcast team. He gamed the system with two chronic non-finishers in the Nationwide Series and now he’s gaming the Cup series. After five races of this crap, take away the license. Morgan Shepherd sets up his car to qualify and race. I hate to see him miss a race while the Parsons scam is profitable.

The timing could not have been better for Parsons to sit down and address these issues on SPEED's own NASCAR news program. Instead, on one of the show's most awkward sets, Parsons was standing with his shirt untucked and facing his interviewers. The look on Parson's face said it all. He was smiling.

The questions would come from Race Hub co-hosts Rick Allen and Adam Alexander. Allen and Parsons are part of the SPEED team in the Camping World Truck Series announce booth. They have been working together for years, are personal friends and even golfing partners.

Meanwhile, Alexander is a veteran pit road reporter for the same truck series on SPEED. He and Parsons have dressed-up in costume for Halloween, traveled the country together and sat side-by-side in countless TV production meetings.

What were the odds that Parsons was going to get any hard-hitting questions from these two? The answer is not very good. That answer would be correct.

"Your other job that you are involved with is as Cup owner," said Allen. "Last week they impounded one of your cars, what was the situation there?"

"Well, that was really blown out of proportion," answered Parsons. "We were the random draw that they do each and every race in the Sprint Cup Series. We had to scrap a little bit because that was the car we had intended on racing in Las Vegas."

"We actually had to prepare our back-up car," continued Parsons. "Our crew chief Bill Henderson stayed out there to do that. NASCAR is really going to accelerate their inspection process. Even as we speak, they are taking the engine out of that primary car because there are some pieces there that we need. We will be ready to go back on the racetrack Friday morning."

The next question was a logical one. Will Parsons be running the race or focusing on qualifying to start and park his two cars again? Apparently, it was too logical.

Alexander instead asked Parsons about the Las Vegas track. Parsons responded that NASCAR had one of the best races at California he had seen in a long time. He said Jimmy Johnson is peaking early and fans should expect great racing, just like California.

With that, Parsons was gone. Excused to make a flight headed West. His second Cup Series car was never mentioned. The words "start and park" were never said.

This is the first full year of Race Hub on SPEED. Instead of hiring a news-oriented personality to host the show, the network decided to rotate its existing on-air staff through this role. That decision has slowly taken the series downhill since the racing season actually started. The conflicts of interest are everywhere and it shows.

This program goes head-to-head with the NASCAR Now series on ESPN2. The ESPN offering comes on earlier in the evening and often covers the exact same ground. SPEED's idea to stand out was to bring guests in studio every day, to keep things relaxed and to make conversation about topics in the NASCAR news.

Thursday's show also featured a nice talk with Johnny Benson and Dennis Setzer about the Camping World Truck Series. Alexander also talked with SPEED's own fantasy racing expert about his picks for Las Vegas. Those were the easy parts.

The Race Hub programs get lighter on news and heavier on NASCAR public relations daily. If that is what SPEED desires, than so be it. NASCAR fans will have the ultimate say on whether or not this series continues to have a value.

As usual, they will vote with their remote. Perhaps, NASCAR may already be familiar with that concept.

What are your comments on Race Hub? To add your opinion, just click on the comments section below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Comments may be moderated for content prior to posting. Thank you!


BToS JD said...

I look forward to Race Hub, it's what I enjoy in a NASCAR interview show. I appreciate the comfort level.

NASCAR Now is a bit toooooooooo hyper, scripted and video dominated for my taste.

Then again, I'm an old fart and not in the 18-49 group that's loved by TV folks. I just vote with my TiVo controller and my wallet.

Anonymous said...

The number of NASCAR media members that report honestly and critically can be counted on 1 hand. I DVR Race Hub now to skim past the fluff.

I have a strong opinion on the S&P teams. I feel they hurt the sport. I recently read an article in the Charlotte Observer, excusing the practice since it has been practiced since the 70s. One fan commented:
"If the commentators made no mention of the "start and parkers" I bet most of us wouldn't even know about it, therefore would not even be an issue. What we don't know doesn't hurt us."
That last sentence has been the agenda of the NASCAR media. The focus is on creating fluff and ignoring reality. The casual fans don't know, don't care. The S&P situation is a serious issue. Ignorance and looking the other way will only hurt the sport.

Tom said...

I guess I am not surprised. SPEED has a history of being unable to ask tougher questions. As hyped up as they may be, often in the right hands, NN does ask questions. But hey who wants to be a troublemaker? Aren't serious questions akin to hating?

Inverness, FL

Donna DeBoer said...

The main reason I watch is the interviews. I'm not watching Race Hub for "serious" NASCAR topic discussion, unless it's something SO shocking that they would look stupid to ignore it. A lot of people think start & park is one of those kinds of topics, but I disagree. These teams aren't doing anything that NASCAR isn't allowing. They are taking advantage of the system in place so that blame squarely belongs on NASCAR's head and the fans should be howling for it to make changes to the rules so that the practice is no longer possible. Rich's column addresses it pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think the Fox/Speed group that features "leadership" from David Hill and is marked by the "fantastic entertainers" Digger, Rutledge, Kenny Wallace, the Waltrips and the exposed a** of a fat Fox cable puller would EVER actually provide any semblance of real journalism?

Speed only exists to "entertain" us like 6-year-olds and everything is rosey in their politically correct corporate butt-kissing world. This whole group (especially Hill), save a small handful, is a joke and Nascar television would be much better without them.

JohnP said...

Well I am in the 18-49 demographic BToS talked about. But I concure either way. I tried Nascar Now again last night. It's so Stuffy I can't watch it at all.

After loosing TWIN I was very upset with Speed. After reading a lot of posts here I tried Race Hub about a month ago. Really enjoyed it and watched it 4 nights a week. But it's gotten stale really quick for some reason. Very stale.

Watched it a few nights ago (can't remember exact night) and there were no guests of any kind. Have not tried it again since.

glenc1 said...

I watched the show, and agree with you on the lack of 'hard hitting' questions but of course, we were not surprised by it. I still think Parsons was full of you know what. And it's a shame because I really like him as a broadcaster. Can anyone tell me, has his team *ever* run a full race? (addressing his claim that they'd race if they could, presumably meaning if they had sponsorship.)

On the other hand, I see Hub as that kind of show. Let's face it, no one from NASCAR wants anyone asking any hard questions, so it's hardly going to come from the partner broadcast network. I guess I'm jaded but I've just gotten used to it. Sad, really.

Anonymous said...

glen - Of MSRP's 122 starts (2 cars), they finished 1 race. That race the MSRP #91 was being run by Peyton Sellers team since he missed the race. So on their own they never finished a Nationwide race, ever. The Nationwide operation 'earned' 5.09 million dollars in race purses in 2 years.

After MSRP's first year, Prism Motorsports was born. Prism has attempted to finish 3 of their 34 starts. Their first start with Terry Labonte (Window World as sponsor), Charlotte (MWR car, sponsor, support), and this season the #55 of McDowell at Daytona. The Cup operation has 'earned' 3.49 million dollars in race purses in a little over a year.

West Coast Diane said...

Well, I'm not watching any of the shows (weekday or Sunday). Not sure if it's because of the Olympics, which is definitely taking up my TV time...via DVR. Or, maybe the weather, cold/windy in the Keys. Making us Probably a combo of both.

Another issue is being on the East Coast. We hate it from TV viewing perspective. Example, when NASCAR Now on Sunday is at 10AM EST, it is 7AM PST. So, we can have our coffee and watch in about 40min with DVR. Somes the practice and qualifying sessions work out that way as well.

I am DVR'ing them. But, I read this blog and so far nothing has motivated me to use my time to watch them...all or in part.

Maybe there is just too much of the same old thing. Probably the reason why I'm interested in Danica. Something new.

Once Olympics is over it will be interesting to see if I get excited again about racing and start watching the shows or when we return to Cali in a couple of weeks.

The Mad Man said...

Speed, ESPN, Fox, and a majority of the print and web journailst don't bother to ask tough questions. And there are two possibly reasons. One is the sanctioning body doesn't want them to because of potential embarassment to the sanctioning body and/or the sport or two, they have forgotten how to ask tough questions. Take a look at the questions they're asking Danica Patrick. I haven't heard a tough question yet from any of the TV, newspaper, or web guys. I'm not into fluff so these shows don't really appeal to me. Guess that's because I'm outside the 18-49 demographic.

Tracy D said...

Liked Hub when it debuted last year. Not so much now. I too Tivo it and fast-forward thru the fluff, but I've deleted a lot of them without even giving them a glance. Someone said it was getting stale...that's the perfect word.

The hosts know all the insiders - they could get some real info out there if they wanted. I did catch Jack Roush last night, and noted his comment about Mark Martin - "he retired, then didn't, but that's another story..." and thought to myself: "hmmm, there's some bad blood there. Wonder if they'll ask about it?"
Answer: nope.
Has anyone else heard Mark saying how nice it is that he just has to show up and drive, and not worry about all the car stuff and carrying the team, basically? Yeah, Roush and Martin aren't best buds anymore. Hub ignored it all.

Nascar's TV landscape has changed so drastically in the past few years, I sometimes wonder if it's me, or has it become as sterile as I feel it is now? How I miss the old days of 24/7, IWC, etc.

Phil Parsons got a free pass. What did we expect? Too bad. It could have made for some great TV.

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing about the start-and-parks: They qualify on time!

That means if you suspend the start-and-parks, you are either a) letting a car into the race that doesn't deserve to be there because they couldn't get in on time or b) you are going to have a field of cars smaller than 43.

Now, maybe they need to adjust the purses so that it doesn't pay to start-and-park, or put financial incentives that are based on what lap you finish...

... but short of that, there is no good solution to the start-and-parks, unless you only want to see the Top 35 in points as the only starters.

GinaV24 said...

Once more the incestous relationships within the NASCAR world cause credibility issues. Why should I believe anything that any of the so-called reporters say?

I've always liked Phil Parsons as an announcer, but the financial interests of the people calling the races impacts the way the broaadcast happens these days.

I have no problem with people calling out the S&P teams as it occurs on the track ala Marty Reid. I like facts not fluff.

RaceHub and NASCAR Now both come on when I'm at work so I have to DVR them. At least that allows me to FF or delete what is unwatchable. And NASCAR TV used to be fun.

Ritchie said...

The idea that they don't bring in some one ex-employee of the now defunct NASCAR Scene seems utterly ridiculous to me. Now, more than at any time during the past few years there is an opportunity to beef up the SPEED staff and provide more comprehensive coverage of the sport.

There is nothing wrong with those wanting "fluff" and "comfort" in there NASCAR coverage. However, there is one single voice at SPEED that provides a higher level of interview; that would be Dave Despain.

Those wanting light-weight interviews are well taken care of on SPEED already. I really doubt that any driver sweats having to go on Trackside and do an interview.

I realize that this is a pro-SPEED crowd on this blog, but I find it hard to believe that even SPEED supporters wouldn't like to see a little more than cotton candy interviews.

glenc1 said...

thanks, Buschseries 61...I had a feeling that was what the answer would be. And that kind of money, it would seem to me, would be enough to run some select races where they thought they could finish.

As for it all being equal because they qualify on time, as a fan, my feeling is, I don't pay to watch 40 cars race and 3 cars S&P. I pay to see 43 cars *race*. Yes, I know, it's only in theory because we know many of those teams won't be competitive, but it's the principle of the thing. And I am not a big fan of Morgan Shepherd, but at least the man tries when he can, as does Nemecek.

51 yr. fan said...

I agree that NN is too much hype
and flash. Rusty needs to get off
the 5 Hour Energy before he pops
a vein.

Nascar should not pay the last three positions and that would
create another race in itself
with the backmarkers.

Did anyone think SPEED would
question the intergrity of one
their own?

Richard in N.C. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Try again please Richard. On the topic.

The Loose Wheel said...

Phil got a break, but what do you expect from SPEED? Like ESPN would have addressed the issue either?

I am alright with S&P when it comes down to teams such as Tommy Baldwin Racing, Phoenix Racing, and even NEMCO provided they are trying to race SOMEWHERE full time. Which these teams either are, or are doing so in a lower level. Those are all groups that you know if a sponsor signed they would run but when it comes to PRISM and anything Parsons has been associated with I question how seriously they really are trying to get sponsors.

Think about it, they've had a Nationwide team for 2 years and only attempted to race once with ANOTHER team's backup car, sponsor, and crew. The 3 Cup races they attempted to run are 2 Daytona 500's and the Coke 600 last year after MWR fielded, sponsored, prepped the car. So I wonder just how in it for real Phil Parsons is about racing. I have no doubt Phil loves this sport and is a racer, but he is associated with a stained organization with a bad reputation. A 2 car start and park team is an embarrassment to NASCAR. If they were trying to run the 66 while using the 55 to start and park I would understand, but the way they are doing it just makes me cringe.

Hub is a good show, but when your conflicts of interest are THAT obvious there is a problem.

Anonymous said...

Speed is the official "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" network of NASCAR. When one of their own on-air employees is interviewed, what did anybody expect?

Besides, Darrell Waltrip said start-and-park teams have been around forever and are not an issue. They are good for the sport. And if you can't trust a square shooter like DW, well you just can't depend on anything.

Richard in N.C. said...

Racing is not the only sport where some people frequently get a pass from the media as far as being asked tough questions.

I do still enjoy Race Hub and don't expect it to be outstanding every night. I'm not exactly sure who, but it seems to me that the party that deserves criticism for the Parsons-Race Hub fiasco is the party who scheduled Parsons to be on with 2 people he works with all the time. Right or wrong, I don't think it is fair to expect Parsons to be asked tough questions by people who have to work with him all the time. I would be more critical if Steve Byrnes or John Roberts had given Parsons such a pass. I may be mistaken, but I don't remember many tough questions on RPM2Night. I do recall instances in the past where DW or Larry Mc in a very low key, nonconfrontational manner would ask a Trackside guest a question about a tough subject after the guest had been on the show for several minutes and relaxed.

I suspect that Parsons might have been too smart by half since someone from another outlet is likely to ask him about his S&P'ers with more of an agenda and without being ready to give Parson the leeway to explain his situation.

There's an old saying that when a pig becomes a hog it gets slaughtered. I suspect (and hope) the S&P subject will continue to have interest because of the lengths to which Cope in the Bud Shootout and then Parsons pushed it at Fontana.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of S&P, however I have been a fan of Dave Blaney since his WoO Sprint Car days. The S&P phenomenom will only go away when NASCAR gets its hands out of the pockets of the race teams. Corporate sponsorships and partnerships and "exclusive" marketing agreements have made it difficult for the best teams to get sponsors. Look at RCR, EGR, and RPR, all have reduced the number of cars they race, which is not a bad thing in my opinion. The bad thing is that they have had to eliminate teams due to lack of funding. S&P will be an issue for 12-18 months and when the economy gets rolling again, there will be 45 fully funded teams ready to race the distance. By the way, MSRP also ran the whole 2009 NNWS race at Watkins Glen and Blaney finished 13th with an underfunded team and a piecemeal hired gun crew. So make that 2 complete races out of 122.

Vicky D said...

Did we really think Phil would get tough questions on Hub. I sure didn't. S&P's will be around for a long time if Nascar can't do anything with all the cup drivers in a NW race, what could they possibly do with S&P'ers?

The Loose Wheel said...

Annon, that is the race we discussed and that was not a piecemeal team. That WAS Peyton Sellers' team and sponsor! They used the MSRP team as an outlet since they were locked in in the event of rain/they missed the race.

It was not underfunded, it wasn't even their car!

Matt said...

I just can't stomach Nascar NOW. Not sure if it's the suits, the script, it just seems so phony and I have tried but gave up on it.

I've only seen Hub once, and while I feel it's less phony, if they are just going to do fluff, I'll stick with Jimmy Spencer on "What's the Deal?".

I was disapointed to see TWIN go away, but it had run it's course and I was tired of an entire show of Waltrip plugging his spoinsors.

Jason Dudley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.