Friday, October 1, 2010

Johnny TV Gets The Call


It was only a short time ago that Steve Byrnes made the decision to get off the road and sign-up as the fulltime studio anchor of SPEED's Race Hub series. That left an opportunity for someone to step-in as the host of the network's NASCAR practice and qualifying coverage.

Byrnes left a void that is not easy to fill. His experience in this on-track anchor role as well as his general TV versatility made him a tremendous asset for SPEED. While the network has put several on-air personalities in this role, Friday at Kansas is perhaps the most high-profile TV role since Byrnes departed.

SPEED made it official with the weekly on-air talent assignment sheet. Network veteran John Roberts gets to follow Mike Joy, Rick Allen and Byrnes as being the face of SPEED for all the Friday practice and qualifying shows.

Roberts has been slugging it out in the trenches at SPEED for a very long time. Over the years, he had wrangled Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, sat in the rain and show on the outdoor SPEED Stage and introduced Wendy Venturini more times than anyone on the planet. Nice to see that hard work pay off with this opportunity.

This is a pretty big statement by SPEED. Roberts starts the day at 1PM ET with Sprint Cup Series practice and comes back at 3PM with the Nationwide Series session. Roberts gets Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds for those programs. That should be a good warm-up for the big challenge of the day.

At 4:30PM "Mr. Big Time" strolls into the booth when Darrell Waltrip joins the trio to make it a foursome for Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Waltrip is never shy this time of the year and Roberts is going to have his hands full once "Ole DW" gets wound up.

As if that challenge is not enough, Roberts gets to put a nightcap on the situation with the Nationwide Series final practice at 6PM. This time, it's Kyle Petty and Phil Parsons alongside as his former booth mates are getting ready for the Trackside show at 7PM.

Roberts is pretty well-known for the fact he had to supplement his income when he first started working as a weekend local TV sports reporter in Charlotte, NC. He ran a landscaping business from his garage.

"People got a kick out of seeing me on television on Sunday and then waking up on Monday to find me mowing their lawns," Roberts told the doityourself.com website. Click here to read the entire story about Roberts and his now extensive home workshop.

We will use this post to keep tabs on Mr. Roberts as he navigates his way though many hours of NASCAR TV on Friday. To add your opinion of how SPEED and Roberts are doing, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thanks for stopping by, it should be fun to watch SPEED go through the day on Friday in both of NASCAR's top series.

25 comments:

Gymmie said...

Happy Race Day Weekend Planeteers :)

I think JohnnyTV will do good! Look forward to him stepping up! Big shoes to fill indeed! Steve's a lot like Allen can run the whole show solo with one hand tied behind their back :)

Todd Crane said...

Good luck John Roberts, you DESERVE it!!!!!

GinaV24 said...

Happy Friday, everyone. As you said, Steve is a hard act to follow.

Good luck to John, I'm sure he'll do a fine job and I'll bet he's really happy to get away from Kenny Wallace for a while.

Anonymous said...

DW is like chicken pot pie. You miss it when it is gone, however, you get sick of it real quick when you've had it a couple of times.

yankeegranny said...

Good luck to him. I like to see a nice guy finish first for a change. Having a guy who has been there and done that step up to the first chair is nice, but as to handling old DW, I don't know. Should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Happy for John to get the call, but why is DW here? I'll skip the coverage that he's involved in.

Sam

51 yr. fan said...

JR and Byrnes are the class of the field when it comes to NASCAR announcers. JR was really
dragged down when appearing with the Spencer, Wallace, and Rutledge clowns.

Leave the goofy goods for the comedy channel. It's all about
racing we want to see.

glenc1 said...

When he first started I thought I would never get used to him. But now he's one of those guys you just expect to be there & he sort of blends in (that's a good thing.) Steady, solid and rarely annoying, which I can't say about Ole DW, lol.

Lisa Hogan said...

Right back at ya, Gymmie :)

I like John Roberts and I'm sure he will be fine in the booth.

DW doesn't understand that we can't miss him if he's not gone.

When did "Drive for Five" become JJ? I thought that was Jeff Gordon. :)

Anonymous said...

Is Byrnes going to do pit reporting when FOX takes over in the spring?

Anonymous said...

SPEED TV makes it happen - ESPN let's us down !

Anonymous said...

John is good, but he's stuck with two very weak partners. Hammond and Larry Mac are hard to listen to.I'm watching now and Wendy is on, she very good as well. Larry just said Jew lie for the word July a few times, Hammond is blabbering making no sense. Good Luck , John, you'll need it

MRM4 said...

When John Roberts first came to SPEED, my first thought was to ask where they found this nerdy-sounding guy who seemed out of place covering NASCAR. But over the years, I found he was deserving and very good at what he does. I think he'll do a great job.

Vicky D said...

15 minutes into the NW practice and already audio is messing up. Doesn't bode well for the entire weekend. Several changes for drivers here we'll see how Speed handles everything. I think John Roberts will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Johnny is doing great but what's going on with the lighting on Wendy?

Ken-Michigan said...

Ole Larry Mac sounds a little down in the dumps today.

I guess his "audition" last week didnt go so well in the booth.

Maybe someone has finally told him to SHUT UP !

Gymmie said...

Hi Lisa :)

Lisa Hogan said...

Since I grew up in the same area of Alabama as Larry Mac, I think he says "July" just fine!

I think somebody was turned down for a prom date by a southern belle. ;)

gopapa said...

I think Johnny TV does a pretty good job of quelling the nonsense when Kyle or Kenny act goofy or digress from the subject at hand. I used to like Kenny's outgoing personality but he has gotten too boisterous. Rutledge has always been too silly and should be removed. He's not professional and rarely has anything to say that is related to racing. If his antics are a planned part of the "show", that's just bad production.

Allan W said...

I'm still feeling a bit nervous for John. He's obviously most comfortable when he's relaying stats or interacting with the pit reporters. However, I don't think he's quite found his place with his partners in the booth. He's gotten caught a couple of times trying to sound like he knows more about what's happening on track than he really does.
I think once he gets comfortable interacting with the guys, he'll be fine. He just needs to understand he can simply introduce the discussion and let them go. He doesn't have to "carry" the show like he does on the Speed Stage. It's actually more informal and conversational up in the booth.

Even as I type this, he's sounding better...

glenc1 said...

okay I'll play Allen Bestwick...you can't control destiny....

John's doing fine. Jeff was babbling a bit at the beginning, like he wasn't quite ready. They've settled down though.

DW is saying a lot of irrelevant stuff but that's normal.

Darcie said...

John Roberts has always had the talent and knowledge to handle this job. Good luck to him being the head guard in the Speed nuthouse

BTW, did you hear ESPN is starting a new network? Yeah, an ESPN for women. They can't get their act together with what they got, but now they want to add more???? Makes no sense and I know I won't be watching ESPNW since they have already insulted me, a female sports fan. ESPN claims that their women viewers are interested in "sports" such as the spelling bee, cheerleading competitions and things like that. Geeze, those idiots at ESPN just continue to amaze me with their stupidity and arrogance.

Anonymous said...

ESPN isn't starting a new network! ESPNw will start as a blog and COULD transition to a network. "I think espnW-branded programming is in the cards, but I can't say whether we'll make it into a network." That is a quote from ESPN vice president Laura Gentile.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Yes, Steve will continue to work as a pit reporter on the FOX telecasts.

Wisconsin Steve said...

Remember the old "NASCAR This Morning" days when JR hosted with Derrike Cope, Bill Ingle and Steve Waid? Its hard to believe Roberts has been doing national NASCAR TV for 10 years. Time flies.