Tuesday, February 21, 2012
SPEED Sets 2012 Starting Line-Up
Things are in transition behind the scenes, but the folks at SPEED have unveiled their official starting line-ups for the 2012 NASCAR season. As expected, there are some changes in both on-air personnel and schedules.
The Monday through Thursday NASCAR Race Hub show has been back on the air for a couple of weeks. Steve Byrnes returns as host and Danielle Trotta as reporter. Larry McReynolds and former pit crew coach Matt Clark are being featured pre-season. Look for them to be joined by everyone from Jeff Hammond to Jimmy Spencer once things get rolling on track. This one-hour show still airs at 6PM ET with Byrnes live in studio, but the real travesty is no West Coast re-air. 7AM ET the next morning is the only repeat.
Speaking of McReynolds, he joins the NASCAR Race Day cast for the season. John Roberts returns as host with Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace on the expert panel with McReynolds. Wendy Venturini, Rutledge Wood and Clark will be the reporters this season.
This show remains two-hours and ends when the Sprint Cup Series network TV pre-race show hits the air. The early exception is the week of the Daytona 500, where it will expand to three hours before FOX takes over. There will also be Race Day shows before the Bud Shootout and the Duels.
Both McReynolds and Hammond will be front and center on the NASCAR Performance series this season. SPEED added Trotta in a host role, in order to let McReynolds, Hammond and series regular Chad Knaus concentrate on the issues. Bootie Barker is the odd man out, he leaves after several seasons. The first show is Saturday, February 25 at 6:30PM ET.
SPEED's biggest NASCAR TV mess last season might have been Trackside. Formerly a hardcore race fan show it evolved into a mix of entertainment, interviews and embarrassment. This year Krista Voda will step into the host role to try and restore some order. Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood will continue as panelists and controversial Marianela Pereyra will return as the show's reporter.
Ultimately, the SPEED executives just have to decide what they want this series to be and work toward that goal. Trying to mix serious interviews of NASCAR personalities with the clown act of Petty and Wood made no sense. Throwing the woefully unprepared Pereyra into the mix just deepened the mystery. What is this program all about? We will see shortly, as Trackside starts Saturday, February 25 at 4:30PM ET.
On the live event side, SPEED brings the same line-up back to cover the Duels. Voda and Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel with the NASCAR on FOX trio of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and McReynolds in the booth. Byrnes, Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum will cover pit road.
For those asking, Michael Waltrip will be returning to his Camping World Truck Series role on SPEED as an analyst. He will be joined by Rick Allen and Phil Parsons in the booth with Ray Dunlap and Hermie Sadler on pit road. Voda will host the pre-race show. Sadler announced late last season he had been replaced on Race Day, but will be handling other on-air duties for SPEED like practice and qualifying shows.
Kenny Wallace is trying to make the Daytona 500 this season and it certainly sounds more and more like he is on the verge of wrapping his NASCAR driving career pretty soon. The NASCAR Media Group will follow Wallace and create a documentary of his efforts that will air on Wednesday, February 22 at 9PM ET.
Other SPEED favorites are also coming back. Adam Alexander anchors SpeedCenter, Dave Despain hosts Wind Tunnel and John Roberts is joined by Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace for NASCAR Victory Lane. That show will now appear immediately after every Sprint Cup Series race, including the Saturday night events.
The full NASCAR TV schedule for all the TV networks involved in the sport will always be posted on the left side of this page and updated constantly with information on guests, on-air talent and topics.
We welcome your comments on SPEED's starting line-ups for 2012. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.