Category: Views

Commentary: FOX Bets On Wrong Horse In Broadcast Booth

News broke on Thursday that Jeff Gordon will be joining FOX to call Sprint Cup Series races in 2016. Joining him in the booth will be Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip, two originals from when FOX started with NASCAR in 2001. That means Gordon is replacing Larry McReynolds, who will be discarded to the Hollywood Hotel like an empty pizza box.

When I first read the news, I thought “wow what a great pick up of Gordon.” While rough around the edges, I think with more experience this season calling some races he can be something good in the booth. Then it sunk in that the number one reason I don’t like FOX races will remain. That being Darrell Waltrip.

Flashback to 2001 when Waltrip entered the booth for the first time with FOX (can go prior to this when he moonlighted on TNN prior to this) and Waltrip was a breath of fresh air. He was funny, he told stories, and he tried to relate to the average fan. That was great 14 years ago, now it’s just a tired shtick. FOX had the good sense in putting Digger down awhile back, I figured they had the good sense to put old DW down. I guess I was wrong.

All you have to do is just watch the start of a race a hear Waltrip say “boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing!” Nothing says professional sports league like a commentator who uses gibberish words to signal the start of the race. Just watch a football game and listen for Jim Nance to say “whoooooooooo let’s go footballing!” just as the opening kickoff happens.

If you can get past the gibberish, you still have to deal with Waltrip’s obvious bias for some drivers. It’s almost like he’s paid by the number of times he mentions “Dale Earnhardt Jr” or “Danica Patrick.” Then you have the (major) conflict of interest when it comes to his brother, Michael’s team. Never is that team in the wrong for anything it does because that’s his baby brother’s team.

The worst part about this is McReynolds getting the shaft and being sent to be in the looney bin with Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip. And by looney bin, I mean Hollywood Hotel, which shouldn’t be called that since they sent Jeff Hammond off to pasture after last season. McReynolds might have butchered the English language on a daily basis, but his points was facts based and usually correct. He added the right amount of humor and seriousness to the broadcast, whereas Waltrip acts like the dopy sidekick.

Looking over the release one last time there is a slight glimmer of hope, there is no mention of Andy Peetre. This year FOX is using Peetre as a “rules expert” to chime in when there’s a question about a rule. Digger wins as the dumbest thing FOX has pushed on NASCAR fans, but this “rules expert” position is second to him. Peetre literally adds nothing to the broadcast other than to offer Mike Joy bathroom breaks during the broadcast.

Like most things in NASCAR, FOX is taking the two steps ahead, one step back approach to their broadcast booth. Thank goodness NASCAR fans have the option of MRN or PRN to listen while watching the races on mute.

You’re Doing It Wrong NASCAR Fans On Twitter

I cannot speak on authority on how to solicit a response from a NASCAR driver on Twitter because mine have been far and very few between. What I can tell you is sometimes fans can be inconsiderate and ask questions at terrible times. Such is the case earlier today when Joey Logano tweeted out well wishes to Steve Byrnes. What happened next was a young fan decided that was a great tweet to piggy bank and see how often Logano signs merchandise at the Team Penske shop.

wpid-2015-04-08-14.25.46.png.pngAll I can say for this is a big time Jim Utter inspired SMH. Is it so hard to write a new tweet not piggy banking off of one giving well wishes to a gentleman who was just checked into ICU? Today’s lesson is that it is that hard.

Question Marks Heading Into Atlanta Over Replacement Drivers

The season opening Daytona 500 is over, but there will be many questions to answer in the coming days for the next event on the schedule. Ironically it involves both of the Busch brothers and polar opposite reasons. Continue reading “Question Marks Heading Into Atlanta Over Replacement Drivers”

Daytona Qualifying Disaster

There is an old saying that what drivers hate, fans will love. Sunday afternoon’s qualifying for the starting two position of next week’s Daytona 500 proved that saying wrong. Both fans, drivers, and media alike classified the knockout qualifying rounds as “idiotic,” “dumb,” “the worst,” and “not even entertaining.” The only group that seemed to enjoy it was the FOX broadcast team who had to enjoy the ratings as fans watched in horror at what the Daytona 500 qualifying has become. Continue reading “Daytona Qualifying Disaster”

Sprint Cup Series 2015 Season Preview

One year ago it was chaos for NASCAR fans as the announcement came through there was a new version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, one that put emphasis on winning, had eliminations, and an expanded field. Many, include me, thought this was the dumbest idea ever and no way would it work. Sometimes I can admit when I’m wrong, and judging by the tempers that overflowed and nail biting season finale at Homestead, this was the correct move for NASCAR to make. Continue reading “Sprint Cup Series 2015 Season Preview”

The Sad State Of NASCAR Journalism

As with anything in life there are always two sides to a story or situation. For me, it is the ever changing world of NASCAR journalism. On one side, I am eternally grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish and do by creating this NASCAR blog. On the other side, with so many blogs out there not only has the intelligence of each dropped, but it is starting to seep into mainstream media.

Take a quick look on Google and you’ll find blog after blog of people writing about the sport they love, NASCAR. Some are done quite well, having built into something reputable. Others are either not maintained regularly or the content is borderline crazy. In this world many have built themselves up to be celebrities, when in fact, they are nobodies. I was guilty of this for a bit, thinking that my next post would have all the major networks knocking at my door to sign me up.

It is great that people have outlets, which was exactly why I started this blog; but come on folks, you’re not beat writers for NASCAR. You’re fans who might have been able to get “connected” through Twitter or some other way with people in racing. There has to come a time when people realize that the world of NASCAR beat writers is ever shrinking, with credible published writers filling those positions when they come along.

Then we come to what is considered the mainstream media’s coverage of NASCAR, which has gone from thoughtful articles and breaking news to a dog and pony show. The two offenders that spark this opinion are NBC’s MotorsportsTalk, which reads almost like a TMZ/gossip column with “articles” being written about tweets from drivers, footage of drivers doing things (for example Jeff Gordon’s tricycle race at a Washington Wizards’ game, that screams stop the presses right there), and other assorted garbage. If it is not posted on their sites, it is Twitter which leaves me wondering what is going on. When Cam Newton was hurt in a car accident, Motorsports Talk was quick to tweet out NASCAR driver’s tweets about the situation. Are you kidding me? I’m so glad we have Austin Dillon’s well wishes to Cam Newton to read.

Today was another Twitter related post that is taking down the Sporting News. Keith Olbermann and Jimmie Johnson traded barbs over Twitter. This sort of thing happens a lot with drivers and nobodies, but I guess since he’s on ESPN Olbermann can be a somebody today. The Sporting News wrote an article about this, plastered that original link and an updated one (“with Olbermann’s response!”) over and over on Twitter. Again, this is not breaking news. Correction, this isn’t news. It’s nothing, actually. Nothing at all.

While new technology, Twitter for example, has made life easier for non-traditional journalists to try and get a foothold in the journalism world, but it has dumbed down real journalists to a TMZ sort of level to grab hits. Splashy headlines and playing into fans’ obsession with their favorite drivers is how to play the game now a days, and that is just sad.