Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good Morning! It's "RaceDay" With Darrell Waltrip

SPEED continues to offer more opportunities to Darrell Waltrip for on-air participation. This weekend, Waltrip called the ARCA race and Sprint Cup Series qualifying from Kansas. He wraps-up his Midwestern swing on Sunday morning at 10AM with two hours of RaceDay.

Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace are the panelists on the program. John Roberts is the host. Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini report from the infield. Waltrip is not taking the place of anyone, he is just being added as another voice on the panel. At least, that is what SPEED would like you to believe.

There is little doubt from his endless messages on Twitter and his active participation on Sirius radio and other media outlets that Waltrip wants more exposure. After several years of working during the FOX portion of the season and then fading from view, Waltrip finally has the opening that can make it happen.

The man who originally hired "ole DW" and crafted his on-air personality, David Hill, is now in charge at SPEED. Hill has put his hands all over SPEED this season and Waltrip is one of his favorite people. Hill is an Australian who now lives in Los Angeles, CA and was introduced to NASCAR slightly over a decade ago.

It was Humpy Wheeler's TV executive daughter Patti who held Hill's hand as he learned what these rednecks were doing racing in circles. At the time, Humpy was still the ringmaster at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Hill got a lot more than the nickel tour of the sport. Millions of dollars and many years later, FOX is more deeply identified with NASCAR than TNT or ESPN.

Hill sees Waltrip as the real face of the sport because he is the only former driver in the FOX combo of Jeff Hammond, Larry McReynolds and Waltrip. The two former crew chiefs might know the details, but it's Waltrip's homespun personality and championship background that Hill admires.

As we know from Waltrip's experiences on the Trackside program he can be an engaging interviewer and an outstanding analyst. Viewers also know he can be self-centered and short-tempered. Waltrip sees himself as the senior partner in the NASCAR on FOX TV team.

When Jimmy Spencer teamed with Wallace on RaceDay the show was often over the top. Skits included a mock courtroom complete with robes and wigs, Wallace dancing on the desk in commercial break and Spencer's out of control rants on racing topics across the board.

Now, things have changed. Petty has come on board and teamed with Roberts to establish a very different vibe. A thoughtful Petty has change the tone of the show and how the panel does business on the air. This has been a major challenge for Wallace.

Once an engaging and vibrant on-air personality, Wallace often finds himself beginning his comments with a tired line. "Listen to me race fans," he says. Then the remainder of the time is filled with Wallace telling TV viewers what to think and why he knows he is right. It's gotten old.

The presence of Waltrip as an added party signals the continuing evaluation of what contribution Waltrip can make to this program and how his personality blends with Petty and Roberts. TV is often cruel because change comes on a very public stage.

The other pieces of this puzzle fit. Venturini and Sadler move seamlessly through the garage while Roberts and Petty give each other mutual respect that shows clearly on camera. Wallace is the odd man out.

Wallace does not appear on other SPEED shows like Trackside, Race Hub or NASCAR Live. He does not work on any race, qualifying or practice telecasts. He continues to race full time in the Nationwide Series, despite being at the tail end of a very colorful career.

It won't be known what form RaceDay will take next season or who the members of the on-air crew will be until later this year. SPEED has a nasty habit of never admitting a show has been cancelled or a talent has been removed from a program. Instead, the TV schedule just changes or the personality is said to be reassigned. Such was the tale of Spencer. Such is the nature of TV.

Guests on RaceDay will include Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Mark Martin. The temperature on the outdoor SPEED Stage at 10AM ET should be around 45 degrees. There are eight TV programs remaining in this series for 2010.

This post will serve to host your comments on this edition of RaceDay and the program in general. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


bevo said...

All Hill has to do next season is bring back Spencer and replace Petty with him to join Wallace and Waltrip for the single worst show covering any sport in the United States.

I really feel sorry for a pro like Wendy who has to work with buffoons like those three.

Yet another reason for the ratings collapse of NASCAR.

AncientRacer said...

OMG. I have read the headline and I think I will boogity back to bed....

PammH said...

Don't care for any of the guests being interviewed-can't handle any more DW this yr. This is MUST MISS TV for me. veri word ruffl-yep, DW ruffles my feathers.

51 yr. fan said...

Does anyone believe Jaws is unbiased? Look at the label on
his shirt in the picture. Why
would anyone hire an announcer
with known prejudices? Think
big FOX is going to let Aikman
wear a Cowboys shirt? David Hill
is over the hill and out to lunch.
Fox/Speed needs someone in charge
who cares about racing, not just
the money.

red said...

interesting that JR has now just turned it over to the panel to interview mark martin.
it's just such a curious dynamic, trying to sqeeze DW in to the mix.

oldnewenglander said...

I had always assumed (given this year, probably incorrectly)that DW did not want to be a part of the traveling road show in these support program roles past the FOX portion of the schedule.

Hammond and Larry Mac have always been involved, but DW was conspicuously absent. Mike Joy, too, but he has his car shows.

red said...

ok, DW and KW are now beginning to annoy me and, as much as i like JR, i'm gonna check out and watch NHRA or sportscenter for a while.

hard to miss someone if they never go away.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Pretty easy to see when there are too many voices on the panel.

Becky [@hightechredneck] said...

DW might have a place somewhere, but the "face of the sport" ... I don't think so. But that's just my opinion. He annoys the crap out of me and just won't shut up. And there is no way I consider him unbiased.

I loved the addition of Kyle Petty to RaceDay. But they took a huge leap backwards if they're gonna add DW on at the desk (the desk isn't big enough for his ego ... LOL).

Ann_Ominous said...

oldnewenglander, DW used to publicly state that only doing the first half of the year was his deal with his wife Stevie. She wanted him home.

Now his drive to be on more and more show all year long makes one wonder if their marriage is on the rocks - or at least they don't want all the togetherness and want to go back to the way it was.

Or maybe he lost his nest egg in the stock market crash and needs the money. Are both is daughters in college now?

Anonymous said...

Very simple in our house:

Any Waltrip on, TV station OFF.

also apliies about 90% of the time to any Wallace.

Chadderbox said...

Is DW really bad for the sport? IMHO I don't think so. I know that he is not really popular on this blog, but I feel like he is a breath of fresh air right now.

Speaking of ESPN....Big Brad, Tim Brewer, Rusty and Petree, again in my IMHO, do not add much to the presentation of the race. I feel like the ESPN booth team of Marty Reid, Jarrett and Petree is just dull. Not much excitement comes from the booth.

I have been down on FOX the last 2 years but right now I would take ole DW back over this ESPN circus of boring talking heads. Keep AB, Ray, Ricky and the pit reporters and try something new next year.

I am getting back on the DW train!

Anonymous said...

I've been seeing DW in racing for over 30 years and have never heard him say anything sensible.David Hill must really be new to racing if he thinks DW is going to help him get more viewers to SPEED. He should take a look at the many blogs around and he will find that race fans have had it up to here with DWs silliness. He chased us away from Speed/Fox shows many years ago.