Another Reason Why Owners In The Booth/Studio Is A Bad Idea

by Jim on September 10, 2013 · 26 comments

You have to wonder what, if any conversation may be going on FOX after Spingate. For better or for worse, TV commentators are the face of the sports they cover- whether it was John Madden for the NFL, Marv Albert for the NBA, or Howard Cosell for boxing. There’s even room for clown princes in the booth or studio a la Bob Uecker, Charles Barkley or Dandy Don Meredith.

There once was a day you could say that about Michael Waltrip for NASCAR. He accepted with a smile his role as being a Bob Uecker type, a guy who could laugh at himself, making for comedic TV commercials (remember the NAPA commercial where he showed up at the wrong track? Or the commercial where a rhythmically-challenged Mikey tried to show off moves Dale Jr. taught him?) To the uninitiated, Waltrip and his brother Darrell are the face of NASCAR. While we can debate Darrell’s performance another time, it’s time NASCAR’s face got some work done concerning Michael and other team owners.

A businesses’ identity and vision flows down from the top. What happened Saturday night at Richmond is a black eye on MWR, and a black eye for NASCAR. Even if Waltrip didn’t mandate team owners, it is his team, and the behavior reflects poorly on his team.

Who ever thought have a team owner as a commentator was a good idea? Speaking from experience, announcing a sport where a relative competes is tough enough; a team owner has even more skin in the game. Whether accurate or not, there will always be questions of whether or not an announcer can be impartial. Lest there be a mistaken impression that Mikey is being picked on, the same is true, whether its Phil Parsons, Brad Daugherty, or Rusty Wallace. You wouldn’t think sponsors would be real comfortable about it either.

Right now, Michael Waltrip has all the credibility of Baghdad Bob. He cannot continue as announcer and be taken seriously, no matter how contrite he may appear to be. While we’re at it, it’s time for the other team owning commentators to back away from their microphones. It’s the right thing to do.

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1 The Old Guy September 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

I absolutely could not agree more. Michael Waltrip, Brad Dougherty should be long gone from the Broadcasting Booth.

2 Josie September 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

@Jim…well NASCAR DID hand down penalties (in a round about way..certainly not servere enough) so that must’ve surprised you! “Mikey” as his big bro calls him got off relatively unscathed..he’ll make plenty of Chase $$$ off Bowyer to pay his fine! But riddle me this…Bowyer lazily spins (he has poison ivy on his arm he explained on ESPN today.. It itched) it changes race scenario, Vickers pits and drives below 80 mph last laps, Truex drives he guts out..and Ty Norris spots for Vickers at Richmond AND multitasks keeping track all by himself of the points! So for a their efforts Bowyer loses 50 points but really loses nothing, Vickers loses 50 points but since he’s not running for points in Cup this season he loses nothing, Norris takes the fall/blame and loses his hard card, and Truex loses his Chase spot and is dropped to 17th! Great going! Now this sounds like the master plan of someone who really knows what the heck he’s doing!! Can you say jet fuel??

3 Josie September 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

And to comment on your subject..I watched the truck race Sunday..but I turned off sound…I barely could take MW before. But Sunday it was extremely uncomfortable! His big brother needs to fade from broadcasting…and ESPN needs to quit having basketball NASCAR team owners calling races or commenting…I like having retired drivers or crew chiefs like Ricky Craven (although he gets very monotone boring he could stand to ramp up the excitement..a lot!). But, having owners broadcast anything seems to always end up self serving and turns into a me/my team show!

4 Al September 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

MWR takes the heat that may have been generated by HMS
with Jimmy causing the caution to give Jeff the lucky dog and who knows if Junior and Kasey were told to finish behind Jeff before the race started. Just some random thoughts concerning a team that has had many questionable items over the years.

In reality, had the boys at MWR said things differently over the radio they would have pulled it off. Everyone is ignoring the fact that it is the Vickers deal that caused the fines and penalties not the spin. Helton said that they could not be 100% certain that the spin was intentional and either can anyone else except Clint and MWR.

To say that Gordon should be in is not correct either. That is assuming that the race would have ended with no position changes over the last 7 laps. Who’s to say a debris or other accident caution wouldn’t have occurred during the last 7 laps. Again no one.

Personally I would have suspended the entire MWR team for the 2014 season in addition to the penalties given. The penalties will not prevent this from happening again in the future. It will just make the teams smarter on how to pull it off.

5 NASCARJeff September 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

Clint Bowyer went on ESPN’s Sports center to “clear the air” an said he had apologized to Ryan Newman. That’s fine but when asked would not say what or why he had apologized for.

I am sure that Clint went on ESPN because his spooner told him to for public relation reasons only. He was very vague and kept with the “Weill get thru this as a team” line but never admitted guilt just that MWR would move on.

It was a PR disaster for MWR and 5 Hour Energy to say the least.

The highlight is when Ricky Craven pressed him and Clint responded “What they dint have the chase when you drove?” Trying to justify why he was there.

MWR looks real bad now, even worse then the aviation fuel in Daytona or Michael hiding from police after a drunken road accident.

6 Josie September 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

Ha. I’d forgotten about MW drunken “Keystone Cops” episode. Well you gotta give it to Mikey…he keeps it funny and watching a train wreck…you just can’t turn away cause you know you’re going to see some really mind blowing gore!

7 Jim September 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

@Josie- not really as surprised as you might think. The trigger for me- like NASCAR- was the weird pit stop order for Vickers. If they’re satisfied that wrong was done, here is what I would have done: I would have suspended Mikey indefinitely, Norris indefinitely, parked Bowyer for a race and put him on probation through 2014. If he so much as farted in my general direction….another suspension. Truex takes it in the shorts, but no fair letting his car in due to his team’s wrong doing. The crew chief penalties are sufficient. Now THAT would stop somebody from EVER doing it again.

8 ruger September 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of boogity x3 i have stopped watching races DW is on

9 Chris September 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Pull a toy out put a Hendrick in go cash car give it to the nOBAMAmobiles!!! Toyota and Ford should stop the Shelton/government motors socializing of racing. Go goober junebug!!

10 Josie September 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

@jim. So I’m gathering you don’t think Norris pulled this out of his butt on the fly last minute while spotting and keeping track of Chase contenders while keeping count of points ? Hmmm..dang and I was almost believing MW “Ty did it” press release!!

11 Gina September 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I have never liked having active owners/drivers in the booth. Its OK as a “guest” once in a while, but not as full time paid staff. Both the Waltrips have become paid shills and are not credible. Waltrip, Larry Mac, Brad D & Rusty Wallace all have shown that they are not able to be objective yet Fox & ESPN continues to allow and encourage it.

These days when I do tune in to a race, I mute the sound and listen to the radio broadcast. Waltrip is not making things better by what I’m seeing on the current TV sports programs right now.

the entire MWR organization colluded to cheat their competitors at Richmond and in turn, the sanctioning body & the fans. Even though NASCAR issued their penalties, Bowyer will still compete for the 10 race trophy & Jeff Gordon is still out of the competition. I won’t bother watching the next 10 races.

I won’t bother watching any races or programming where the Waltrip Brothers are providing the face/voices either. I used to find Mikey mildly amusing in small doses. The jet fuel scandal was one thing – this was another deal altogether & I have no interest in giving them any of my time or attention.

12 Buddynoel September 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

My only beef with the NASCAR penalty was that they should have given Boyer a 100-point fine for his alleged spin, which would have moved him to 13th in the points and moved Gordon up to 10th place. Kahne, Logano and Newman would still get in the Chase and Boyer would be the first man out.
Taking 50 points from Boyer post-Richmond (but pre-Chase reset) just simply gave him back the points you just took away, thus, no punishment at all. One of the dumbest penalties I’ve ever seen in sports.

13 Dunbar September 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Heres where I just dont get it.Just last year KB bumps that loser RH in a truck race and they suspend him from a cup race ruining any chance,s he had at a winston cup championship?I thought that wrong at the time and still think it was wrong however Now here,s Boyer getting caught cheating in a Cup race(so to speak) and he gets off with no penalty? On a soide nnote I had to phone NASCAR and tell Helton to take his debre flag and shove it where the sun dont shine

14 Dunbar September 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

My point being is Busch makes a BAD mistake in a truck race which has nothing to do with a Cup race and yet that fat arse helton suspends him(busch) from a cup race for a truck race infraction? But!! Boyer makes a unbeleivable intentional move to change the outcome of the whole CUP points battle and gets NOTHING I mean NOTHING at all thats the parts that disturbes me

15 Darlene September 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I’m just glad that Mark Martin was no longer part of MWR last weekend, and I’ll bet he’s sure glad he made the move out of there too. I suspect that he would have refused to play that game.

16 Dunbar September 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Funny I would have thought we would have heard from the mouth himself ole DW aka “JAWS”
I wonder what Arrons and Napa have to say also being associated with a team that just got assessed the largest fine in NASCAR history and FOR CHEATING at the HIGHEST level

17 NASCARJeff September 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

It seems to be a pattern with MWR, each time NASCAR penalizes them it is a record fine, even outdoing Chad Knaus.

Which should tell them they aren’t very good at it but Dunbar raise a good question. What do NAPA, Aaron’s & 15Hour Energy think of all this.

I doubt Clint made things any better on ESPN this morning. This is a PR nightmare and I am sure there will be a fall out.

18 Buffalo Anderson September 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I have never liked Mikey’s Aw shucks jive and if you listen to DW Mikey is the best driver since DW himself. I have long since been fed up with both. Sunday Mikey was going on like Mr. NASCAR during the truck race when any one with eyes and ears knew MWR had cheated their way into the chase. I could stand it no longer and turned the race off. It is long passed time for him to go. Both in fact. And if DW starts in about how Mikey was wronged by his crew I’ll turn off the chase also!

19 lpingb September 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Please put Craven in the booth! I thought his interview with Bowyer was awesome…..He appears to at least ask legit questions.

20 Overra88ted September 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

So Clint Bowyer was involved in a team wide effort to FIX a race that had implications on who could win the Na$CRAP championship. And Clint Bowyer is STILL ELIGABLE to win the Na$CRAP championship? Thanks Na$CRAP for showing the world how CLUELESSLY STUPID Na$CRAP really is. When are the new Clint Bowyer “TAKE A DIVE” Na$CRAP Chase Promos coming out? Does anyone know where I can buy Official Na$CRAP Clint Bowyer SPIN and WIN Chase Swag? Na$ maybe?

21 Vicki September 11, 2013 at 4:08 am

To your point, I have always thought it bordered on the incestuous to have all those owners calling races from the booth but I will stick up for DW. You guys are all old-time NASCAR fans (or not, evidently, in the case of Over88ated) but I’m relatively new and for me, DW was the best at drawing my attention to things I wouldn’t have noticed without him. He has an eagle eye about what’s going on on the track and how the cars are acting and what the drivers are doing. I feel like I really learned a lot from him. I also think that although he does get a little mawkish about “Mikey”, he’s basically a cheerleader for all the drivers.

22 NASCARJeff September 11, 2013 at 5:11 am

It’s called a conflict of interest and in some cases it is against the law

23 Jim September 11, 2013 at 6:38 am

@Jeff- All good comments, but you have distilled it. I cannot fathom why anyone thinks an owner in the booth is a good idea. Could you imagine Jerry Jones serving as an NFL analyst? Yeesh.

24 Gina September 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

to those asking the question about MWR sponsors — NAPA & 5 hr energy are both launching investigations of their own to determine their future with MWR.

I have also been surprised that DW has had nothing to say. Maybe someone told him that he should keep his trap shut since it would not do much to help things.

Still ticked that Bowyer will get to compete for the 10 race trophy, but then again, I’m sure NASCAR thought about that before the penalties were handed down. Just think of what a black eye it will be for the sport if Bowyer wins it.

25 Steve September 11, 2013 at 11:49 am

Funny how you can’t get DW to shut up throughout the season, but now he is nowhere to be found. He’s a weasel just like his little brother.

I’m also shocked that after all that went down in Richmond, that FOX allowed Michael in the broadcast booth acting like nothing happened. Boy the Waltrips must have some dirt on the people at FOX. How they have lasted as long as they have is mind boggling to me.

26 The Mad Man September 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Don’t you know the reason NA$CAR is upset and penalizing MWR is because only they can manipulate races. How dare a team try to do NA$CAR’s job (Sarcasm).

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