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Larry McReynolds’ comments hurt those he intended to help

By admin | January 25, 2011

By Richard Allen

Let me begin this column by pointing out that I am not attending the Sprint Media Tour but have based this piece on columns I have read by Jeff Gluck and Monte Dutton as well as numerous twitter accounts from a variety of racing media.

On Monday the Sprint Media tour made its first in a series of stops at the shop of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. Former crew chief turned Fox Sports analyst Larry McReynolds was on hand to serve as a host or master of ceremonies for the media’s visit to that facility.

Reportedly, at the end of the event McReynolds decided to go “off the script” for a moment. Obviously what he had to say struck a nerve as is evidenced by the columns written by the two men mentioned above as well as a myriad of social networking comments by the likes of Jim Utter, Tom Jensen and Steve Waid.

McReynolds, according to those who were there, scolded the media for too often stressing the negative and avoiding the positive. According to Gluck’s column Larry Mac said to the media assembled that, “If it’s television ratings, we know the ratings are down. How about also promoting that we’re second only to the NFL? If there’s 25,000 empty seats at Michigan, how about making sure you document there’s still over 100,000 people in those grandstands?”

Gluck reported that a number of media groaned at the time and then made fun of the television personality’s comments for the rest of the day. According to Dutton, he later pressed McReynolds about his remarks and found the analyst willing to criticize those who would point out lowered television ratings and empty grandstand seats even when those reports are accurate.

Ultimately, McReynolds did a disservice to those he was supposed to be there to represent. The media had come to hear about EGR’s plan for the 2011 season but they left only talking about Larry McReynolds, who for whatever reason, decided to make himself the story by going “off-script”.

In the end EGR may not get the same coverage as other teams who are part of the media tour because of McReynolds’ comments.

But more than doing a disservice to EGR, McReynolds failed to do any good for the organization he most intended to help, NASCAR. What McReynolds has done is to further confirm how out of touch with reality some of the highest ranking NASCAR insiders truly are and how little regard they hold for the fans’ ability to see for themselves exactly what is going on with the sport.

No one, media or otherwise, likes to be lectured on the best way to do their jobs. This is especially true of the media, which is supposed to be in place to report what they see and hear rather than to serve as cheerleaders for NASCAR or any particular team or driver. The media being told they are not doing their jobs correctly if they do not ‘look on the bright side’ is not the way to get them on your side.

Just think how many columns, twitter posts and so on there will now be throughout the season regarding Larry Mac’s focus on the positive message.

McReynolds might as well have said, “Don’t worry about the truth, tell them what NASCAR wants them to hear.” It would have gone over every bit as well as a preachy sermon on working together to, “turn this thing around.”

If McReynolds had planned to say something that would incense those he was speaking to he could not have done a better job. If he planned to benefit Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and NASCAR, he could not have done worse.

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13 Responses to “Larry McReynolds’ comments hurt those he intended to help”

  1. P.J. Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 1:58 am

    “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
    Larry McReynolds and his ‘head in the clouds’ attitude makes me cringe.
    His reality is going bite him right in his goody two shoes butt.

  2. Chuck Johnson Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Larry “MAC”Renolds is a joke. You talk about overrated people, Larry is one of them. What did he ever do? His biggest claim to fame is he was Davey Allisons crew chief and won some races. Then as Dale Sr.’s crew chief. One win! I believe any crew chief in the garage could have done better than that. Not to mention his distruction of the english language on national TV.

  3. Bill B Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Larry McReynolds is dead wrong.
    There are two sides to every story and the truth usually lies in between. If NASCAR’s establishment only paints a positive picture (example - Brian France has never heard of a fan that didn’t like the chase,,,, the fans are buying souveniers so that’s why it looks so empty,,,,, drivers get fined for not toeing the company line…. etc) then it’s the media’s job to dig for the truth or at least present the negatives.
    In all reality, most of us don’t need anyone to tell us the truth. We are quite capable of observing and coming to our own conclusions. We know what we like and we know what we don’t like and we know when someone is pissing on our head and telling us it’s raining.

  4. cecil Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Sounds like ol Larry Mac is doing what he has to, You boys know Na$car has him under their control. Haven’t you ever hears him on T V.

  5. Steve Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Larry Mac and DW are 2 of the biggest Nascar cheerleaders, so how can you really take these guys seriously when they open their mouths.

    Both of them really need to go away. They hurt the broadcasts, they hurt nascar, and help in great way to fuel the stereotype out there that Nascar and their fans are a bunch of rednecks (Boggity Boogity Boogity anyone?)

  6. Kevin Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    As network reporters, Larry Mac & DW are going to be NASCAR cheerleaders, it is what they do. I agree that Larry’s comments were misguided, but I also believe that he only has the best interests of the sport in mind. And he isn’t wrong. As the old saying goes: ‘you catch more bees with honey that you will with vinegar’. If you want the casual fan to come back to the sport, the media reporting fewer people watching on TV and fewer people in the stands doesn’t exactly say to that casual fan that they should spend their time and money watching NASCAR. Telling them that millions of people tuned in on TV and tens of thousands came to watch in person is likely going to get more people to check it out. It is just unfortunate that he chose the forum and timing he did in order to make his point.

  7. ginav24 Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I like Larry Mac as a person, but this whole preachy thing just grates on my nerves. Do we get this in a NFL or MLB broadcast? No, the people in the booth offer their opinions but they don’t “tell” people what to think.

    I read Gluck’s column and it ticked me off all over again. I was mad last year when Dustin Long interviewed Larry and others and they gave their honest opinion and then when NASCAR took them to the woodshed, they immediately tucked their tails between their legs and recanted.

    I have enjoyed watching NASCAR for a lot of years, but the past few years in particular, the TV broadcasts have gotten worse and so has the sport in general IMO so I don’t enjoy it as much as I did. I am fortunate that I am able to travel to races, but I know that there have been a lot of times recently where if I could have taken a nap in the middle of the race, I would have, so I don’t need the media to give me happy talk that doesn’t mesh with the information I can already get for myself.

    I much prefer reality to pretending that “all is well”, when it isn’t. If you tell me a lie consistently and that is what Larry’s comments sound like to me - asking the media to lie - then when I find out the truth, I’d only be more angry. Give me accurate information, positive or negative and let me make my own decision.

    If I were a first time fan watching NASCAR on TV, you’d never have gotten me to go to a race. The poor TV coverage - with all of it’s gimmicks and junk instead of good camera work and broadcasting are as much to blame for people turning off of NASCAR as any reports from the media.

  8. Bill B Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Wait a minute. Is a reporter’s job to build the sport or report what’s happening to those of us who aren’t there? There are PR guys getting paid to promote the sport, Larry’s job is to tell us what he sees as accurately and truthfully as he can. Larry’s job is no different that a nightly news reporter’s job. Should Bill OReilly be promoting the new health care package if he doesn’t believe it to be good in the name of unifying the country? Maybe you think so but I don’t. I want to hear the pros and cons. NASCAR does a fine job of reporting the positives, I need the rest of the media to report then negatives.

    I do agree with you that he has the best interest of the sport in mind when he spoke up but that isn’t his job when he wears the hat of a “reporter”.

  9. Charles Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This just confirms the Nascar Mafia!!!!

    You can alway tell the ones we will call ‘inside the oval” the ones who s salary is paid directly or indirectly by Nascar!

    Verus us fans who pay their salary!

    Nascar is unlike any other sports, as far as media and getting the facts straight!

    Example & After a NFL GAME that say is a blowout by mabe one team say the score is 35 to 3 after the game they dont send a bunch of Kenny Wallaces out to tell how ‘GREAT A GAME THAT WAS”! they state the obvious!

    Nascar should quit insulting is fans a get rid of these SpinDoctors!!!!! and get some balanced reporting, not hype!

    If they would use good business sense, they would let their paying fans and medias negatitive positions be a page in their future business plan to impove the sport!

    Like you stated Richard, they are so very out of touch with what is killing the sport!

    Just read a little about the new points system!

    I would like to ask Brain France one simple question!

    What is in the new points system that will make racing on raceday better?????????

    All this system does is makes it more simpler to keep up with boredom!!!

  10. midasmicah Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Who the hell gives a hoot what Larry Mac says anyway? The whole Fox crew are nothing but nas$car shills anyway. And they’re also propping up knee jerk reaction chase change. I’ce watched this sport go slowly down the toilet the last few years, yet Larry Mac and the rest of the nas$car “insiders” continue to act like nothing is wrong. That the fans are stupid and don’t know what they’re talking about. Larry, crawl back into your “fox-hole” and shut up.

  11. Maxwell Jones Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Loaded guns is what Larry & Darrell bring to racing expertise,quit treating the fans like they are a dumb asses and just admonish what you see, not play the supposed to happen deal,let it play out,then you two don’t make such butts of yourselves.Honestly I think they both should curb their comments sometimes but the one did have the name jaws,it is all hype whether its media day or not but the cameras do show empty seats so I can see that w/o Larry not talking about it.

  12. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Rich, I wish we had more Bob Jenkins and less Showoffs.

  13. Wayne Says:
    January 27th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    The sad part is Larry and the FOX boys are a BIG part of the problem. I know there are those who like the FOX WWE, nyuck, nyuck style of presenting NASCAR, but there are a huge group of fans who can’t stand them. I hear their comment and I cringe very often, they have no idea what many old time fans want to hear. So rather than lecture others, he and the Waltrips should look to improve their on air skills, be somewhat professional. The Waltrips, I personally know my friends, longtime race fans who are so sick of them on air. Many of us don’t watch the truck races anymore because of M. Waltrip. I was shocked to hear that David Hill guy say he needs DW more, talk about being out of touch!!