Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday TV Toss-Up: Jeff Hammond

It's going to be an interesting 2012 for Jeff Hammond. His Twitter account is titled @hollywoodjeff, but this season Hammond will be without the infield studio that gave him the nickname. In his seat will be Michael Waltrip.

The NASCAR on FOX press release said that Hammond will still be on the Sprint Cup Series telecasts, but will assume the role of a roving reporter. The bottom line is that in TV land, that assignment is like having one foot out the door.

While Hammond has never been able to unseat Larry McReynolds and move up into the broadcast booth, his presence in the Hollywood Hotel was well defined. He was the voice of reason during the pre-race between Darrell Waltrip and Chris Myers. During the race, he provided information and perspective while continuing to counter Myers and his tired act.

The good news for Hammond is that he has found a role on SPEED that fits him like a glove. Working in the TV booth, Hammond is outstanding on practice and qualifying shows for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.

The most recent twist for Hammond is his role on the newly-revised Trackside program. Sitting awkwardly alongside of Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood, Hammond's style of hardcore NASCAR conversation just does not mesh with the two-man act of Wood and Petty.

One saving grace for Hammond is that Waltrip does not live near the SPEED studios. While McReynolds continues to appear Mondays on RaceHub, Hammond's appearances later in the week allow him to take center stage and make conversation with his friend and show host Steve Byrnes.

While we expect to see a healthy dose of Hammond on NASCAR TV next season, his highest-profile role will change at Daytona the first time Michael Waltrip takes his seat in the Hollywood Hotel.

Where do you stand on Hammond these days? What was your opinion of him in his former Hollywood Hotel role and the other programs on which he appeared? Give us your opinion by clicking on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.


bb0202bb said...

I am sad to see this change, even though I do agree that Jeff will do great in new role. I just will not watch the Hollywood Hotel segmants, as Michael Waltrip acts as stupid as ever. It will hurt that part of the weekly broadcast.

RedDart Racing said...

So, not so much a comment, but a question: will Hammond be back in the Hotel for the races that Mikey's driving the #55? It would make sense, but throws the consistency thing out the window (oh, wait, I just said "consistency" and "Mikey" in the same sentence...)

Mike in Pittsburgh said...

Wasn't a big fan of Hammond but would rather have him than either Waltrip or Larry Mac.

Tim S. said...

Hammond is a bit too much of a rubber-stamping NASCAR cheerleader for me, but at his worst he's a better fit for the "Hollywood Hotel" than Michael Waltrip. I'd rather see them do away with the whole setup than swap roles around.

Jeff said...

Best case scenario: the Hotel just goes away, period. I quit watching any pre race on Fox or Speed, Rutledge is a clown that adds zero to anything, Mikey and DW make me cringe, Hammond gets as goofy as they are at times, I'll be watching like I did the last 2 years, tune in late, rewind the DVR and then FF past all the idiocy that Fox and E$PN inject into the broadcast. E$PN is just as bad with their version of the Hotel.

Brian said...

I would like to see Jeff replace Chris in the hotel, it would make more sense and I think Jeff would fit well in this role given the chance.

GinaV24 said...

I'm sorry to see this change. I've always been a Jeff Hammond fan since he gives a solid opinion to the topics. I'm sure he will do well in this role.

I am NOT looking forward to another Waltrip in the booth. I only watched trackside this year when I knew there would be a guest that I was interested in - the rest of the shtick just doesn't interest me - Rutledge's humor doesn't appeal - I don't need that Marianela chick to reach tweets to me, I can do that for myself.

Over the past 3 years I simply gave up on all of the pre-race shows, no matter which network was producing them - they are simply NOT worth my time to watch.

I make a point to always watch Jeff Hammond's segments on Race Hub - his show and tell is detailed and very interesting.

OrangeTom said...

Liked Hammond. Had a calm and informative t.v. presence. Felt no need to put a red nose on his face and act like a fool.

Will invoke the Thumper rule (if you can't say anything nice . . .) and withhold comment about his replacement

bobbydjr said...

One need only examine the name "Hollywood Hotel" to understand why this show is the way it is. The fascination with a town that has zero interest in NASCAR has always baffled me. So too, the clowns in the booth. Jeff Hammond is one of those clowns. Not as bad as the Waltrips, but mighty close. It would suit me if they never aired before the race again. But then, what do I care? I quit watching it a few years ago. And I won't start now.

Anonymous said...

Gina, you bring up a very good point. Why are all these TV shows shoving Tweets at us when the people who really care about them would already have seen them? :) Waste of time.

Wisconsin Steve said...

Hammond is the only longtime NASCAR TV personality that I have never liked, understood, or cared to watch. He is still unable to speak clear, thought-out sentences on a regular basis. I can usually figure out what he's trying to say, but after 11 years he should be able speak clearly.

In my opinion, the only reason he has seemed good over the last 10 years is the fact that he sat between dumb and dumber during the pre-race shows on FOX. I've never cared for him on the Speed shows either, although I haven't seen many of his appearances on Race Hub.

He's probably a very nice guy, but I don't think he would have ever gotten a TV job without his connection to DW.

The only good thing I can say is he seems to work very hard and tolerates stupidity better than anyone. I suppose knowing DW for so many years prepared him for that.

OSBORNK said...

When I turn on my TV to a race oriented show when the racing is not actually running and anyone whose last name starts with a WAL, I change the channel. ANYBODY whose last name doesn't start with WAL is a better choice.

Wisconsin Steve said...


Good system! Just to put it in a formula:

WAL = 0

(I actually like Mike Wallace but wouldn't you know he's the only one withOUT a regular TV gig?)

Lou said...


Not sure where I want to start. But having met and talked to Mr. Hammond and asking questions of his opinions for a few things(for more than a few minutes) and getting a book signed. and no this does not make me an authority on this. But there is no doubt in my mind that if you are not a cheerleader for nascar as are MW and LMac(Larry Mac did get a hand slap if I recall from nascar) have a nice day.

I am sure that what I am seeing on TV and hearing off the record is like night and day. it may be a reality of life in the world of nascar but the tv world i see and the reality of it at the track when I am there is once again like night and day to me.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Sitting between the clown act of dumb and dumber certainly made Jeff Hammond appear the sanest of the trio, except when he lowered himself into the gutter with them ...more to the point, Hammond has certainly improved over time and has the knowledge and info to benefit fan interest ...his qualifying and practice work is worthwhile ...sadly, his absence furthers the ESPN-ization of FOX/SPEED ...after 50+ years, it's getting harder and harder for me to remain a serious NASCAR fan

Roland said...

I like Jeff, I think he is much better and more insightful on Speed than on FOX. I think with a 3rd person in the Hotel, not named Waltrip, he could really do well. I hate that hes being taken out of the Hotel in favor of yet another Waltrip. That really grinds my gears. But Hollywood Jeff has always been solid in whatever he does, and Im sure he will continue to do that in his new role, whatever that may be.

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry to see Jeff get "roving reporter" - & lose the hotel gig. Now the hotel will be worse with no sane person able to counter the junk info, and stem the flow of Waltrip/Meyers blather. I just won't watch it. Glad he is still on practice & qualifying.

I guess I'm just old school - wouldn't you want to keep 1 actually knowledgeable person on that hotel show?

verify word + motherc

Penny said...

Anybody is better then a Waltrip. Won't be watching if Waltrip is on it.

Anonymous said...

Hammond deserves credit for being a winning crew chief 30 years ago. I'm a gaerhead. I think that technically, he's weak compared to Larry McReynolds. Even when he knows what he's talking about, his speaking skills are weak to convey his thoughts. What always irritated me about Jeff was his outsized ego. I've written off the pre-race and post-race shows. Any time I surf past them, I get frustrated with the fluff and mindless chit-chat.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty clear the Mikey/DW combo will result in more fans tuning out. Obviously Speed does no research in fan opinion before sticking unwanted/unliked people in positions. Programming has gone from bad to worse over the years, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel. There was a time when the "booth" was respected. No longer is that true. I don't know what it will take to end this comedic trend, but they are losing more and more fans as they keep making mistake after mistake. The Waltrip combo is the worst so far. I would be interested to know if the comments on this page ever see the light of day over at Speed.endra

Daly Planet Editor said...

Added the news about Mike Ford being released as Denny Hamlin's crew chief to the post below. Please scroll down.

Buschseries61 said...

If 2011 is an indication, Hammond will have a lot of free time in the garage next season.

I had no complaints against Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel, although the 'Hollywood Hotel' joke has been dead for years.

I fear the Waltrip chatterfest we may see next season. They will take the broadcast into their own tangent as Hammond listens along sitting next to a cut-away car.

Anonymous said...

There are so few people who were great in their racing lives and also able to do well in broadcasting............What would be wrong with finding people who were good at communicating?

A very few drivers can "take you inside the cockpit" and probably even fewer mechanics. I'm not a huge fan of Jeff but when he stays on topic, he is much better than any other former wrenches. This means he'll be gone soon I'm sure.

I get tired sometimes. Mikey is okay for comedic effect occasionally but in the larger roles he so often gets he is just another yahoo. So now we get two Waltrips huh? Ain't that just enough to gag a maggot?

Each night I go to bed and say my prayers:
Dear Lord, I don't ask for much but could you see your way clear to deliver into auto racing another Chris Economaki or at least someone who is reasonably knowledgeable and can speak intelligently about the sport? Amen


Jan said...

Sad to see Michael replace Jeff. Michael gets too corny and tiring especially on the Truck broadcast. As far as trackside, we hardly ever watch it anymore. Would like to see driver interviews not games.

Tracy D said...

Won't watch, don't care about the HH. Hammond might do very well indeed as a reporter. He speaks crew chief and has more entree than others (except Dillner, Punch, and Venturini), so I'm looking forward to seeing what he does.

Re Mike Ford: where is Nascar Now and Race Hub when we need them? This is the wildest off season in recent memory.

iworkhere said...

Jeff is one step from being out the door with FOX. The viewers have become more sophisticated and he has not kept up with the times technically and mentally.
His "toys" are gone so he sits naked in the Hollywood Hotel with very little to offer up.
There is not much for him to do without the Cut-away cars and props. That was his calling and he lost it.
Yes, I know it's going to be hard to enjoy a race with Mike in the HH but the HH segments come in limited doses thank goodness.
Simply tune in during the National Anthem and you see less of Mikeys antics.
But, back to Jeff. I believe he has pulled a Weber and upset someone down in the compound. He is well know for that along with throwing his weigh around.
As far as his credibility? Most people that were there, when DW had his run, will tell you that JH was allowed to sit on top of the Pit Box as Junior Johnson ran the show. Now his modern knowledge of racing has faded, he cannot catch up.
It will be interesting to see how much air time he gets as this is most certainly and a demotion. It is not a step up the ladder by no means.
Maybe FOX woke up and listened to people like you on this Blog and JD's efforts to enlighten us to the ridiculous talent and broadcasts we have to endure.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Cannot stand listening to DW, now they put that jerk Michael on! So so sorry Jeff! Will NOT ever watch/listen to a show with a Waltrip on it. They are the Kardashians of NASCAR. YUK

Anonymous said...

Why or what in the world would make FOX think that we, the viewers, would want ANOTHER Waltrip? One, either one, is too many. That will be one more pre-race show that I stop viewing. I already watch with the volume turned off, mostly because of "Ol' DW" but Larry Mac can grind on me, too. (Every driver and almost every reporter beat up on the English language but Larry Mac should be arrested for murdering it.) Gee whiz, FOX. Give us a break - a break from all things Waltrip.

Anonymous said...

I remember when FOX first took over and announced their team I though they were joking.The Waltrip brothers, Larry Mac and Hammond are all very weak as broadcasters and I was shocked that they were chosen. Years later, as these guys have shown me correct in their skills, with no improvement,they keep these below average TV people doing telecasts.What's wrong with getting some well spoken, clear , concise people to broadcast and show us fans some respect. The goofball, broken english, poor delivery and lack of ability to give us substantive knowledge approach has worn out it's welcome with the people I know.There has to be more Ricky Cravens out there! maybe mot as good, but someone with his analytical and knowledgeable approach.Come on FOX, step it up!

Anonymous said...

I cannot figure out what Speed is thinking of. Jeff out for Michael...? Hermies role has been cut out of RaceDay...? He & Jeff should have been promoted not side-lined. These 2 can talk racing seriously without being stupid. Maybe they should get their time slot. It makes no sense to me. I quit watching Trucks because of Michael.

Anonymous said...

Reading these posts can be entertaining and insightful.The person who called the Waltrips the Kardashians of NASCAR is priceless, right on point.I have had more than my fill of them. Not wanting to hear from anyone whose name begins with Wal is also good. DW, Mikey,Rusty, and Kenny are all people I don't care to ever hear from again. People like Wally Dallenback, Ricky Craven, Andy Petree, people who are thoughtful, well spoken, with the right touch of humor are what FOX should be looking for.

Anonymous said...

Big mistake Fox. Mikey is all about saying whatever sounds good at the time. I think Hammond will be a good pit reporter. I never liked the Hollywood Hotel and I don't tune in until the pre race show is over.