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There are too many NASCAR insiders in the broadcast booth

By admin | May 9, 2012

By Richard Allen


Michael Waltrip is a Sprint Cup team owner while at the same time he serves as a broadcaster for Fox and Speed. Phil Parsons has owned start and park teams while announcing races for Speed’s Camping World Truck Series coverage. Brad Daugherty owns part of a Sprint Cup team and works for ESPN. Rusty Wallace has owned Nationwide Series teams and announced for ESPN.

And now, Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards has been brought in as the newest commentator on the ESPN Nationwide Series team.

Noticing a trend?

Trouble is, the closer intertwined with the sport a person is the less objective they are capable of being. That’s just human nature. For example, how can Michael Waltrip be taken seriously when he is asked to comment on an incident involving one of his cars? And he has been asked to do that this season. That is, of course, in and around his ‘incidental’ sponsor references and the brotherly banter between he and Darrell Waltrip.

How can Carl Edwards be fair when discussing anything involving one of his Roush Fenway Racing teammates or one of his Sprint Cup rivals who happens to be racing in a preliminary event? Moreover, Rusty Wallace was not only asked to comment on his own cars but also his own son.

Seems as though objectivity has been replaced by personality and sponsorship ties, no matter what the cost in journalistic etiquette. And besides the sacrifice of integrity, there are some real fairness issues involved here. A team owner who will get to go on air every week to mention his team’s backers will be more likely to land or keep sponsors than owners who do not have that same advantage.

And why is it that this practice of hiring insiders within the sport only seems to take place in NASCAR? Jerry Jones doesn’t sit in the broadcast booth during Dallas Cowboys games nor does Mark Cuban commentate on Dallas Mavericks contests.

Surely there must be some qualified people out there who could step in front of a camera to talk NASCAR who do not also feel the need to offer one shameless sponsor plug after another, comment on family members and teammates, or explain incidents involving his own drivers.

And by the way, the whole driver’s suit under the coat and tie is completely ridiculous.

Topics: Articles |

22 Responses to “There are too many NASCAR insiders in the broadcast booth”

  1. jim schmitt Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I agree 100 per cent…I can’t stand the way the camera gets on the Aarons car…full tv screen.

    This is “Home Cookin”! And they are always kissing the rear of Nascar….

    They are Homers and Mag Pies…real red necks……

  2. mr clause Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 5:46 am

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s not good for the show but evidently it is good for hyping big names to get a higher fan count. By the way, hows that working?

  3. midasmicah Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Agreed. You said it all.

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I still want a Bob Jenkins or Ken Squier to be back Full Time Again, or maybe a Ralph Sheheen, who used to do ASA in the 1990s on TNN.

  5. chuck Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 9:06 am

    At least Rusty and Brad and Phil try to be objective and not homers. I get so tired of ol’ DW going crazy any time June Bug makes a pass. Talledega was his worst day by far. Once he made the comment-’and look at June Bug go’–well, it was about the time Jr was hung out and was going backwwards about 20 spots. Late in the race he got all amped up about the damage on Kenseth’s fender. Mike Joy tried to point out it had been just like that for a good part of the race but that did not stop ol’ DW from going on and on. But the best was Joy’s put down of a DW remark when he was trying to give his old career a mention. DW was wondering how many drivers would have won the race at Dega if the start/finish was moved back to the middle of the front stretch instead of the far end. Joy quickly and correctly stated–’all of them’. But ol’ DW just said he would had one or two more. The only positive thing about Sunday was Mikey was in the car and could not run on and on with DW.

  6. Webb Racing 97 Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    There are waaaay too many pre-race shkws and waaaaay too much DW (aka Jaws.) Only until NASCAR fully collapses in on itself will they revamp it and make it about racing again. I bet a reality show about racing short tracks would draw bigger ratings.

  7. Jim Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Excellent article and something that I bitch about on the Fan Council every week. The Waltrips are not objective and they portray Nascar as being this hick, redneck, hillbilly, illiterate sport to the casual fan. And Nascar wonders why they can’t attract a more young, articulate, urban fan base. When you have hillbillies who just happen to own or have driven racecars represent your sport week in and week out then your fan base will reflect the same.

  8. Bigbill Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Agree I been saying this for years.Foxsports .com is the same way but with Henrick’s team that’s all they talk about.

  9. Infiniteduff Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    The Waltrip brothers are insufferable. I am so sick of their big egos and bigger sense of self importance. I totally agree with the other posters here. NASCAR would do well to send the Waltrips packing and install some objective broadcasters in the booth.

  10. ALLSTAR1 Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Have to disagree to some extent on this one. This is a similar arrangement to other sports. The mix of announcers is fine, they just have to upgrade the quality a little. I think Carl Edwards will do an excellent job. I like Brad Daugherty too. MW is trying way to hard. He is ok on the trucks but over his head on the Sprint cups. The announcers are not the problem. If races are boring what can they do? I think tires that wear much faster would result in a much more interesting race.

  11. oldnascar Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I Agree to many insiders. You can see this by there comment. they dont say anything against NASCAR.. have to tow the company line.
    I also see them bais towards certian drivers teams and Manufactures.. due to their connections.

    Kyle Petty is about the only one that tell it like it is. One time he was ask to comment on a issue with Petty Eneterpises . He declined because of his ties to PettY Ent at that time

  12. DMan Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    @webb racing: actually youre not far off the mark. a couple years ago there was a reality show on a cable network about modified drivers. once or twice it ran opposite a friday nite cup race and outscored it in the neilsen ratings. sad but true.

    @jim: DW, Mikey and larry mac get a bitch from me every week also on the fan council. i actually used to like dw and larry mac once upon a time. seems like when they took off their racing hats their brains were stuck inside. or is it just me?
    @richard allen: good article as usual. im glad someone in the media has finally brought this up as an entire article instead of something mentioned in passing.

  13. Kevin Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I don’t mind having the people involved in the sport be part of the pre-race or the post race. I think they can add a lot to those parts of the broadcast where the viewer is watching to be informed & entertained. FOX, TNT & ESPN must remember however, the reason the viewer is tuned into the race is to be entertained by the RACE. I miss enough of the race due to the necessary commercials. When I miss a pass for the lead due to an AT&T race break - I get angry. I tuned into watch the race, not dancing gophers & cut away cars & biggest movers & recaps etc. The time for all that is during cautions after pit stops & commercials before going back to green. I don’t even need to see the announcers during the race. Keep the camera’s on the track please!

  14. aginn Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    so should they get some commentator from dancing with the stars? or maybe from the pro bowlers tour? i think they need people with the inside knowledge to do that job.
    i do agree that a little more guidance from the network on what is acceptable in terms of self promotion would be a good thing though.

  15. Earner Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Thank You for calling like it is. Mickey is the most biased owner & always shilling for HIS sponsors. There is no journalistic credibility left at Fox Sport or so it would appear. There is no way an owner of a team should also be the commentator. Heck I’ve always found DW to be disgustingly biased just talking about MW or Toyota.
    I Thank & support (when possible) any & all sponsors of Nascar because with out them the sport dosn’t exist. It really dosn’t matter if their not on my drivers car because they make the racing possible. (Note: I Do not support sponsors who leave race teams to go under the Nascar corp world) But Sunoco dosn’t get enough coverage & I Would like to hear far more often on the broadcast that the Geico car or the Office Depot car is doing this or that as opposed to the 99 car or 14 car…Get with it Fox …Or maybe their just like Nascar & figure we’ll fall in line ….Kyle Petty calls it as he sees it & we could use more of that then MW butt kissing to Nascar & why can’t some one get Kenny Schrader talking the guys hilarious

  16. S.W. Tom Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Great call on Kenny. Love his sense of humor and very intelligent about racing. Unfortunately he would fall into the “Insiders” catagory. Kenny still competes and is involved with race teams. Hell he’s liable to be another Red Farmer, still competing at 80+.

  17. Offkilter Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Kyle Petty blows everyone else out of the water. Someone above mentioned bob jenkins. We never want to go back there. He was about the most ignorant commentator thats ever tried to keep up with the race monitor. Dw is bad, but not that bad.

  18. BOOTZ Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Eli Gold.

  19. Donald Langley Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Great article.I have followed NASCAR since I was little boy in the late 60’s. The best announcers are long gone. Give me Ned Jarrett,Buddy Baker,Neil Bonnet,Bob Jenkins, Ken Squier. These guys were just plain good! They didn’t try to be comedians like the Fox crew. They just told it like it should be. I feel sorry for Mike Joy, he is very good but he is surrounde by idiots! Chris Myers needs to be fired. PERIOD!! He has looked out of place from day 1. The Waltrip clowns both need to go. Nascar is not their personal comedy agenda media wagon. There are times I think DW is looking at a totally different race than I am! And this Boggity crap has gone on to long. The Waltrips are the main reason I turn the sound off & listen to MRN! No more gophers & no more comedy. I’ll watch the comedy network when I need a laugh! Speed has gotten bad with a lot of there shows. Krista Voda needs to go to another Co. or get rid of her counterparts. I think this is part of the problem with Nascar now. Maybe Helton shoud speak up but they are to scared to do anything because they are worried the networks will cut into the TV deal. I think Fox really don’t care one way or the other. If that’s the case let some other network have a chance. I can understand why no one would be interested in watching a race now. I could write an entire article about this myself! I just think this whole thing about the TV is one of the many problems that is starting to drag down Nascar. I will say there are some good announcers out there and these networks should highlight these people.

  20. Rex Racer Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    All y’all sound like sniveling whiny NASCAR neophytes
    Much ado about nothing
    NASCAR will NEVER be like the NBA or other stick & ball sports
    And we the true fans dont give a rats ass about a young urban fan base ! ridiculous
    you sound foolish & self indulgent
    Joy Waltrip & Larry Mac are outstanding & MW has never been bias in the booth
    None of you give any accurate incidents, just bitching about the possibility of it
    get a life you collective bunch of candy ass losers

  21. Jan Says:
    May 19th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I get so sick of hearing DW talking about “old school, back in the day, boogety etc…..” my family can’t wait til his time
    For broadcasting part is over. Unfortunately he still ends
    Up on Speed for something. RETIRE THE OLD FART!!!!!

  22. Jan Says:
    May 19th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Hey Rex Racer, it’s Mike Joy not Joy Waltrip. Mike Joy does many auto shows. He is one of the voices u hear & occasionally see at Barrett-Jackson auto auction that goes to Las Vegas, Florida, Az., he’s not a jerk like DW , Rusty Wallace.