Sunday, June 13, 2010

Darrell Waltrip Debuts On "RaceDay"


Kyle Petty has been a welcome addition to the two-hour Sprint Cup Series pre-race show on SPEED called RaceDay. Taking over for Jimmy Spencer, Petty turned the show into an open and honest discussion of various NASCAR topics.

Now, Petty is off for six weeks working on the TNT telecasts. SPEED tapped Spencer to return for Pocono and New Hampshire, but it was the announcement that Darrell Waltrip would step-in for the other four shows that raised some eyebrows.

Traditionally, Waltrip has gone away from the sport after the FOX portion of the Sprint Cup Series was done. Elliott Sadler has taken over Waltrip's role on Trackside for the past couple of years. Jeff Hammond has taken Waltrip's place in the TV booth as SPEED covers Cup Series practice and qualifying.

Now, Waltrip is back. He is also back on Trackside and in the TV booth for those four weekends. While those are familiar roles, RaceDay is not. This program is a mix of outdoor weather, raucous crowds and controversial topics.

Part of Spencer's demise was his often cutting and sometimes outrageous comments on RaceDay. On topics from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Joey Logano, Spencer never minced words. Unfortunately, he sometimes went to extremes in the words that he chose to use.

Waltrip is walking into two hours of unscripted opinion. He is joining a partner who has a tired act of lecturing the TV audience and playing to the crowd with over-the-top antics. Kenny Wallace is going through what Spencer went through last season.

Two rising stars in NASCAR TV are Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler. They have moved from two RaceDay reporters who roam the garage to two sharp TV anchors who have their own infield set. This duo provides the vast majority of the credible news content for the two hours.

The role of Waltrip and Wallace on RaceDay will be to provide opinion on the topics offered by host John Roberts. Over the years, Roberts has become a total professional at apologizing. Fortunately, that has changed since Petty has come on the program. This season, Roberts has been smiling a lot.

Waltrip has experienced a tough couple of months on FOX. He positions himself as a spokesman for the sport even while playing favorites. In one breath he declares the Daytona 500 as the best race of the season. That race is on FOX. Then, during the event he calls out for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to pass Jamie McMurray in the final laps. It was raw emotion, he explained.

While the racing action can sometimes dull the pain of Waltrip's comments, there is no such distraction on the two hours of RaceDay. It is simply going to be all DW all the time. While Wallace will have his say, all eyes and ears will be on Waltrip.

Unlike Trackside, where there are guests on the set and four panelists, Waltrip is going to find himself constantly being asked for opinions on topics that he did not select. On RaceDay, things happen live and they happen fast.

Sunday, there will be no Mike Joy, Jeff Hammond or Larry McReynolds for Waltrip. There will only be an existing crew of on-air and production folks who have been working on this series for a long time. In many ways, Waltrip is a very big fish who has suddenly found himself in someone else's pond.

Sunday morning at 10AM ET on SPEED we will all find out just how well Waltrip gets along in his new assignment.

We will use this post to host your comments before, during and after the show on this topic. To add your opinion, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Geez, you think DW is going to have a problem giving his opinion for a few hours on NASCAR topics? The problem will be getting him to shut up!

Anonymous said...

Get rid of DW. He has turned into more of a jerk than he has been in the past. This is 2010 not 1980. and.... treat women who race just like you treat the men who drive. Harvick fan

Anonymous said...

There comes a point where you over saturate the market - a good song played over and over on the radio becomes a hated song. Good or bad, I've had enough of all the fox crew this year. Put them to rest till next year and they will not be dreaded so much at the first race next year. I will not watch.

James said...

I am tired of DW. He is the most self centered reporter ever to be seen on tv and his brother is not far behind him. Maybe the day will come when they are both on the same show and then we can change the channel once and for all. MW thinks all the fans are so dumb, that he needs to explain the simple things that only would matter to a simple mind. DW forecasts many senarios and then has the nerve to then say I told you so?

I believe that Kyle Petty had done a great job of changing the direction of the analyst's role. He brings lots of credibility to the job and he is not afraid of being wrong. He brings insight to the role, a direction the Waltrips can not find.

The biggest issue all week was the Logano thing, why did it not come out before Friday that Tom Logano had issues with others in the garage and that Joey had been asked several times to back him off?

OSBORNK said...

In his prime, DW was much like a Muhammad Ali of racing. He had a lot of mouth but he could back it up on the track. As he has aged, he has become racings version of Howard Cosell combined with a senile uncle that keeps repeating ancient but altered history. He has an opinion on everything because he thinks he knows everything. It gets old quickly and fans run for their remote.

When NA$CAR and the networks look for the reasons TV ratings are down, they might find that the Waltrip and Wallace brothers is substantial part of the problem.

Zieke said...

Even tho I enjoy listening to and watching Wendy and Herme, I will absolutely NOT watch Raceday with the blathering Waltrip on the set. He has ruined the Fox broadcasts, and will infect the Raceday show with constant drivel.

Tracy said...

I used to look forward to raceday every week. Love the behind the scenes stuff we get. Wendy is wonderful and Hermie has grown into a competent reporter. The drivers trust them and that comes across to me as a viewer. That said, Jimmy S was getting hard to watch the last couple of seasons. I'm glad they moved Kyle in to offset Kenny's craziness. I dont think DW will do will on this program. Doesn't have cars to watch on the track. It's also not trackside where he can run his mouth for a hour. All of the interview will take place far from him. I think he will be lost....

Or he will take over completely.

I guess I can sleep in until ESPN takes over in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how Darrell and Mikey have so much say in NASCAR, they have to be the worst on air people in racing along with Dr. Punch. I guess Toyota is paying the way.

JohnP said...

DW is everywhere. Every show, every network. He is simply a TV prostitute at this point. Hope that's not to strong, so sorry if it is. But I'm turning more and more and more Nascar watching off because of seeing his mug shot on tv every time I watch.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Here we go!

PammH said...

Everybody has already turned off RR after DW got his own intro. I luv it when TPTB pay no attention to what the fans say...:( Fox, have ya looked at your ratings? They sucked for many reasons, one is DW! I am liking the fact that everyone is recognizing Les Richter yesterday & today.

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

NASCAR TV personalities choose to be in the public eye. Those that express opinions understand those thoughts will then be discussed in the various forms of racing media.

That's how it works.

Chadderbox said...

I do not know what the ratings are for Raceday - are they going down?... Up? Anybody know? I don't just assume the ratings are down for a show because I don't like watching Kenny Wallace act like a buffoon on Raceday. I actually think some people thinks its funny and watch because of him.


Obviously, we know the ratings were down for the Fox portion of the season.

Chadderbox said...

I do not agree that DW is the worst on air.

Rusty Wallace leaves a lot to be desired as does Wally Dallenbach.

MikeC said...

I say it week after week....the problem with Kenny is he doesn't talk TO his audience, he talks down to them. Especially when he starts out by saying, "Here's the deal, race fans". It's like he's saying to them, "Listen, race fan, you're not smart enough to form an opinion on this sport, so I'm going to tell you how you need to think about this issue."

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kind of weird that he started lecturing the TV audience. Now, that is all he does.

Chadderbox said...

Would it be possible for someone at SPEED to tell Kenny Wallace its time to cut back on the "here's the deal, folks" routine?

Anonymous said...

I'd give DW a chance. Maybe being away from Fox his opinions will be less dictated by Fox and more his own.

Min said...

Apparently, my family are the only people who like DW and Kenny Wallace. The only reason I follow this blog is to keep up on changes in tv coverage, times, etc., but I'm tiring of the constant slams on people are down-to-earth, funny, and provide interesting colour commentary.

Anonymous said...
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Chadderbox said...

I obviously don't know the behind the scenes Fox stuff, but I never really thought DW's opinions were anything but his own.

Is it the belief of those on this blog that DW's antics are Fox inspired?

I always viewed DW as one who is very passionate about NASCAR Racing and therefore has something to say about all things NASCAR. DW has had a bad season or two in the booth that's all. His personality has always been the same.

Anonymous said...

I turned on the TV and it was on Speed from when I was watcing the 24hr's last night. First thing I hear is DW interupting someone saying " yea but I", I turned it off. It is all he does is interupt people.

i also partipate is the motto of, if it has a Waltrip in the booth I don't watch it.

Unfortunatly it is really taking away from how much NASCAR I watch to the point that i don't even look to see when races are on as i susect one of them maybe in the booth. This includes cup, nationwide, and truck races. It's too bad that two brothers can turn soooo many people off from a good sport and yet all they do is put them on the air more.

Time to go find something else to do this morning.....

Anonymous said...
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Chadderbox said...

I agree with you "Min"....


I may criticize Kenny Wallace's broadcasting skills and I admit that DW has gotten on my nerves this year more than most but I am a NASCAR fan through and through and I would take a poor NASCAR telecast of a race over soccer any day. I am glad I am not a soccer fan! One day of the World Cup and I am done with soccer.

MikeC said...

DW hasn't been too bad on RaceDay. He hasn't been over-the-top.....passionate in what he's saying? yes....but he hasn't reached any sort of annoyance today.

Chadderbox said...

DW loves to get the last word in....on everything! Funny!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that those who don't like things just say that don't like it and why, but those who like things feel the need to attack or put down the ones who disagree with them. Sortof like the Fox broadcast, they tell us why they are right and if you don't jump on the bandwagon you are alienated, ratings be damned!

makes you think they are working for someone......

Daly Planet Editor said...

The weird part is that DW is entirely someone else when he is on "wind Tunnel" talking with Dave Despain.

Different views, different opinions and a calm demeanor.

Jojaye said...

To Mr. Editor - I really tried to watch this morning - I just could not take it. I was really glad to see Fox & DW go, then he is back ( like the flu). So no Trackside or Raceday till DW is gone period. I need a break from him. A little of a Waltrip or a Wallace goes a long way, both in the same weekend is OD.

PammH said...

JD, I totally agree w/your WT comment. It's like DW's a dif person w/DD. Weird..

Ken said...

I've suffered through listening to DW since he started cup racing. I think it is time for him to shut up so I can enjoy my declining years.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ken, isn't that "reclining" years?

Ken said...

I do recline as I decline. It does help that my hearing has has gotten worse as DW has gotten louder and more painful to endure.

Anonymous said...

I could feel my IQ dropping the longer I watched RD, so I turned it off. I can't afford to lose anymore points.

Chadderbox said...

DW said that Michigan was a smart man's race. Did DW ever win at michigan?

longtimeracefan said...

Love him or hate him, DW is a NASCAR player, a pro, a showman. He has been honing his act since his early driving days, trying to entertain the fans, both those who like him and those who do not.

His act may be getting old, but at 63, that's not surprising. He has however, managed to keep getting paid handsomely to show up at the track almost every week during the Cup season to put on another show.

Today on RaceDay was no exception.

Jaws continues to entertain those who like him, and irritate those who do not. Since he is a few years older than this poster, I can take his act for what is worth for a little while longer.

Dannyboy said...

MIN, you are not alone. People who are satisfied don't feel a need to talk about it. Frustration needs an outlet, therefore a forum such as this is going to see mostly complaints and very few compliments.

Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that DW, MW and KW keep appearing on one show after another? The people who get paid to make the talent-hiring decisions have resources outside the scope of fans and journalists. They know that these on-air people appeal to a lot more fans than they turn off. It's just that you tend to only hear from the ones that aren't happy.

I have no problem with Kenny Wallace explaining things the way he does. My view is that he's letting me in on stuff that I might not have personal knowledge of. He does. I see it as sharing, rather than talking down. Anyone who has met him knows that the last thing he does is see himself as being above you. Jimmy S does the same thing.

MY apprecitation for DW comes from the combination of his Hall of Fame record as a driver along with his boundless enthusiasm for racing. He has fun, and it's contagious. Okay, so sometimes he overdoes it, but to me those who constantly harp about it are mostly those who aren't his fans to begin with.

red said...

hey chadderbox? one can be nascar fan AND a soccer fan, you know? and there's no reason at all that you needed to be disparaging of soccer simply because you don't like it. don't like it? don't watch but don't condemn it because you personally don't like it.

arrogance like that is impolite at best and something nascar fans have battled for a very long time.

as for DW on RD: i stopped watching pre-race because i was no longer willing to be yelled at, lectured, insulted or treated poorly as a nascar fan. i did watch Countdown to Green last week and was impressed so i may be back again this week.

i watch a wide variety of sports, a diversity of announcers and commentators and i am perplexed as to why the fox team and the RD talent continue to explain the very basics of our sport to the tv fan. i find NO other sport/tv team that feels compelled to do that, from soccer to hockey, including all other forms of racing, foorball and baseball. the other broadcast teams assume a base of knowledge and so do not continue to explain to fans. that is something i find most insulting from the fox and RD teams -- venturini & hermie sadler aside.

as for kenny wallace: i won't listen to him yell at fans any longer or tell us how wrong we are in our opinions, whether he uses the booth or twitter to do so.

Chadderbox said...

Point taken "Red".

I definitely did not wish to sound like I was condemning soccer but instead was meaning that I had watched the World Cup yesterday and was more looking forward to watching a race today than soccer.

Richard in N.C. said...

Pardon me, but I do believe DW and Kenny are as entitled to their opinions as anyone else and, as a fan since the Petty-Hemi days, I have never felt that either one was lecturing me when they gave their opinions. Since he became a TV analyst, I have always been amazed how much DW lets others talk since I well remember the Jaws days. The one thing I am convinced of is that DW and Kenny both realize and appreciate what racing has done for them and are big fans - and I think their fandom is often misinterpreted as favoritism. I don't know the drivers personally, DW and Kenny do. For instance, while I am not a fan of Kyle B, and some of his antics, I have to admit that he is one whale of a talent - and DW can see him in the contaxt of DW's having raced against some of the giants of the sport like the King, the Silver Fox, Ironhead, Cale, Awesome Bill, etc. I did watch part of Raceday and enjoyed it. When DW is on Wind Tunnel, he is a guest, not a host, and acts accordingly in my opinion.

allisong said...

I suspect this recent overabundance of DW appearances on shows he normally does not appear on is a push by FOX/SPEED to keep his profile up in anticipation of the next round of HOF nominations in a few months. Its been obvious to me that there have been more vintage videos shown, more back slapping and ego stroking from his fellow panelists on every show he's on. Its nothing but subtle campaigning, IMO.

GinaV24 said...

why do all of the Fox/speed people think the fans want to hear a Waltrip all the time?

the first year or so, I enjoyed DW's commentary and point of view, now he just keeps recycling the same old stuff, when he's not insisting of course that he is right and the fans are wrong. DW's cheerleading and shilling for NASCAR and whatever other $ affiliation he has makes it impossible to listen to him.

Fox is not perfect far from it based on the truly terrible broadcasts of the races they did this year and I'm not tunining into another show with a Waltrip involved (I don't watch the truck races when Mikey is in the booth either).

I don't watch Raceday all that much since Kenny Wallace acting the fool and insulting the fans has gotten on my last nerve. I can choose what I watch and I choose to NOT watch any of these people who are acting out so badly.

I'm making my household a Waltrip-Free zone for the summer

GinaV24 said...

Richard in N.C. - FYI, I don't dispute that DW and Kenny are indeed entitled to their opinions, but in particular when they are acting as "broadcast professionals", as DW so often refers to himself, then I have an expectation that the opinions are not going to be as biased as I take them to be when they are on TV or if they are going to be biased, then I want a disclaimer, like Larry Mac did saying that Tom Logano was a friend before he talked about the situation.

The first time Kenny said, "here's the deal, race fans" and proceeded to tell me what I should think, instead of saying this was his opinion, I turned the channel. I've gone back to Raceday a couple of times trying to find the "fun" that used to be part of this show, but it simply doesn't happen any more.

I've been AT the track and we've deliberately avoided the Speed stage.

bob said...

Too much DW. I will only turn on the races at this point. Used to enjoy the pre race and raceday stuff but that man is over the top.

Anonymous said...

The Michigan race was a painful experience. Listening to DW and that total embarassment named Kenny Wallace put me in a bad mood. It didn't get any better with Petty and Wally. I tried muting until something interesting happened. My wife,watching in another room just turned it off. I did hear Petty giving Nascar credit for the rear mounted fuel pumps that reduce the incidence of fires. I'm not aware that Nascar had any involvement in that. When GM transitioned from the SB2 to the Ro7 anumber of years ago, they eliminated any provision on the block to mount the old mechanical pump. The open wheel dirt cars were long using the rear mounted cable driven pumps by Waterman. You'll recall that Tony Stewart had several bad experiences in Cup with the cable design. Anyhow,Wendy and Herme continue to do an excellent job. Rick Allen, I feel does a better job than Double A. Petty is a windbag and will never tone it down. If you want to stick to the facts with a minimum of BS,then McReynolds is your man.DW,Petty and Wallace suffer from total over exposure. When you're talking non-stop for hours at a time,you're going to repeat your stories and anecdotes. Heck,often I can finish their sentences! We needed a caution at the end and I never saw the debris. Maybe I was dozing off! I tried listening to VL, but Wallace kept telling me I was stupid and only he really understood what happened that day. Yeah,right

Anonymous said...

I agree that the best thing would be for the Waltrip's and Wallace's to ride off into the sunset. My sense is that money is a big reason they stick around. We'd fall over if we knew how much career money in broadcasting Kenny and Mikey have made dsepite dismal Cup accomplishments. Before Mikey's fans say he won a couple of Daytona 500's, I'd remind you that Junior and Mikey won all the plate races for several years with motors no one could touch. The details,with names were on Jayski several years ago and was fantastic reading. Having attended a bunch of Cup races, I'd venture that with a few beers(or more) Kenny is more tolerable than when I'm watching from home. I don't know what it is about televised sports,but there are always too many people in the booth who think that they need to talk non-stop. It's really sad.

Zieke said...

Thanks Gina for a fine interpretation of a washed up has-been, both in driving and broadcasting. Kyle appears to be coming into being in the booth, and I look forward to hearing his comments. KW is still a respectable driver, but it's obvious he is trying too hard to be something he really isn't on the air.

Donna in FL said...

I feel the need to leave the comment that while he has grated on my nerves for more than 25 yrs, the kids love DW on TV. They think he's colorful and fun and "NASCAR would be boring without him." And they think the other TV personalities are good too, even Rusty, but not Wally, sorry.

I too was starting to think DW was losing a couple mental marbles until I saw him on Wind Tunnel. I'm not sure if Fox asked him to be their clown, or if he thinks that "Jaws" personality is what NASCAR fans expect of him.

Anonymous said...

Our media friends need to drop the Waltrips and Kenny Wallace from the broadcasts if they want to hold on to even a small amount of credibility.