The Frontstretch: NASCAR Nation Good, Bad, and the Ugly- ODDS and ENDS by Dennis Michelsen -- Tuesday March 8, 2005

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NASCAR Nation Good, Bad, and the Ugly- ODDS and ENDS

Dennis Michelsen · Tuesday March 8, 2005


(Race News for Fans with Short Attention Spans)

NASCAR Nation Good, Bad, and the Ugly
Last week as I was sitting in my easy chair waiting for the weekly “Mirror Driving” meeting at Frontstretch, I was hit with this sudden longing for the return of “RPM2Night.” The new Speed Channel show “NASCAR Nation” inspired that feeling and according to the overwhelming e-mail and comments from readers last week I am not alone with those feelings!

The basic premise for “NASCAR Nation” is fine, the set is appealing, and the hosts don’t suck…so why isn’t this show hitting it off with the old time NASCAR fans like myself? A full hour of NASCAR news! Isn’t this what we always wanted…more of our favorite sport? Well perhaps more is not better when it seems to be a show with the scripts edited and/or written by NASCAR brass! Apparently what most fans want is unbiased news about their favorite sport and so far “NASCAR Nation” hasn’t butted heads with NASCAR on anything. But what exactly is wrong with “NASCAR Nation” anyway? As old sport’s guru George Michael used to say, “Let’s take a look at the video tape.”

In their comments to me last week lots of praise was heaped on Ralph Sheheen. Maybe being one of the ESPN guys is why old-time NASCAR fans despite saying “NASCAR Nation” is less than great still like Sheheen. Likewise fans seem to like Krista Voda and think she adds more to the show than just being a pretty face. Courtney George and Michelle Fizer seem to add little to the mix and some fans questioned their NASCAR knowledge. One rather curious episode occurred on the show Monday night this week. Reporting live from DEI headquarters the reporter was asked what was going on at DEI. The answer was a confusing “Not much.” So why have two remotes from a facility that was basically empty? This is the sort of confused programming we are seeing from this new show.

The concept being “NASCAR Nation” is great but so far according to the fans that have sounded off it seems to be missing its target audience. I have contacted the folks at Speed Channel for an interview with people involved in the show. If you have any feedback about the show or ideas of questions to ask please let me know. In the meantime count me out as a resident in the new “NASCAR Nation.”

Thanks for the Memories Mark Martin
Fan clubs and their assorted newsletters and web sites have never held much of an interest to me over the years. These self-promoting ventures seem to be more about selling stuff than letting you get a real glimpse at the driver anyway. Of course some of the older fan clubs such as that of Kenny Wallace is the exception to that rule. But this week a new fan club site for Mark Martin debuted and it got my attention right away. Called the “Mark Martin Salute to You” it features a ton of great pictures and even greater memories for all us Martin fans! Located at, here is what you can expect to find. Do you remember Mark Martin’s first Winston Cup win? Now for a bonus point do you remember his sponsor? We used to say down at Purdue that this product was “Fire Brewed Over a Garbage Dump,” but they were sure good colors to follow back in 1989! Now for two more bonus points what track did he get his first win at race fans? There is even a link to the site of the 2012 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year’s web site, none other than 13-year old Matt Martin! Take a stroll through the pictures and other fun stuff at the “Salute to You” web site and you won’t be sorry even if you aren’t a die-hard Martin fan. Thanks for the memories Mark, you are truly one of the best that’s ever been!

What is Win Fuel?
The new fad in the world of marketing is the so-called trend of Guerilla Marketing. The idea is to create a BUZZ for a product before people even know what that product is all about. United Airline’s used this technique to debut their new low-cost air carrier called “Ted.” Debuting in Denver, Colorado “Ted” kept popping up on billboards all over town. “Ted” bought people coffee and lunches. Messages to “Ted” even showed up on the message boards at Denver Nuggets basketball games. People wanted to know what “Ted” was and soon found out. This year in racing we have seen Dale Earnhardt Jr in advertisements for Win Fuel. After seeing advertisement after advertisement on race broadcasts I finally was curious enough to check out their product at A visit to their web site left me even more confused since the product isn’t out yet! But their web site contains one of the craziest pieces of marketing I have ever seen. The “Win Fuel Edge” handbook “Winning With Losers” is a hoot! One little taste, they suggest that one of the ways to know that the Win Fuel Edge has taken hold is that flushing the toilet no longer affects the flow of hot water in the shower. Congratulations to the marketing geniuses at Win Fuel, we still have no clue what this stuff is or does but at least their marketing plan is a winner.

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Dennis Michelsen and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Nancy R. Wilson
03/09/2005 06:00 AM
You certainly are correct about NASCAR Nation. I was wondering the same thing about the “feed from DEI”. Surely no one at DEI even knew about it or someone would have been there. IT was after a weekend off. I wondered if they have been told not to give time to Jr. I have noticed that even on broadcasts there is less of Jr this year. I really believe NASCAR is doing its level best to grow other drivers to the level of Jr. They are pushing Bush (ugh), Kahne, and McMurray. That’s Ok, but don’t visit someone when they aren’t home then pretend they are included.
M. B. Voelker
03/09/2005 06:54 AM
What irks me about Nascar Nation is the shallowness and choppiness. Just about the time a segment begins to get interesting they stop and move on. Its like they think their audience hasn’t graduated from Sesame Street yet.

And then there is the annoying way they seem to spend as much time telling you what they are going to tell you as they do on the actual “features”—if those trivial things deserve the name “feature” at all.

The show is all glitz and glitter with no actual substance behind it.
03/09/2005 07:10 AM
Re: Nascar Nation
I can’t agree more! Glad to know others feel the same. The name is a joke. I have watched a couple of segmets and have not been impressed. I was glad to see Krista on the set vs. Courtney George. Courtney comes across like a info commercial trying to sell a bad product.

03/09/2005 07:54 AM
There’s one thing NASCAR Nation does well: showing the schedule of upcoming segments before breaking for commercial. This way viewers can tune in only for the interesting segments and not waste time watching the whole show.
03/09/2005 08:01 AM
If you guys think you are helping satisfy a few nascar so called fans, by not including Dale Jr. you are blind, fans watch what they have an interest in,yes I have noticed how you don’t include Jr. any more, well 90% of the fans love DaleJr. if you leave him out, you don’t have an audience, so make your own bed and lay in it, I only watch, when Jr. is the point, I only buy magazines, that have Jr.’s face on it, I only buy Jr. apparell, I am just one person and I see hundreds of Jr fans at each and every race and they all say after Jr. retires or stops racing, they will no longer attend races, neither will I.
03/09/2005 08:53 AM
For what it’s worth, I think Winfuel is along the lines STACKER 2 products. Just an opinion.
03/09/2005 11:07 AM
The name alone almost makes me want to change channels. Bring back the announcers of old, the ones that know something about the sport.
03/09/2005 11:51 AM
Maybe someone should let ol’ Spence know that there actually was NA$CAR before Dale Earnhardt Jr came along. H3ll there was even NA$CAR before his beloved father came along. And Spence, whether you believe it or not they would keep racing and growing even if JR was not around. If you’re going to quit watching when he retires (which couldn’t come soon enough) then you’re not a racing fan anyway, you’re just worshipping NA$CAR’s chosen one.
03/09/2005 11:56 AM
I agree with you on Nascar Nation. I gave it a try but I can’t handle the one women who reminds me of Monica Lewinsky. She must be related to someone at Nascar. I love Shahen and Voda but I always watched them in the past. If you want memories to flood back watch Bob Jenkins on Speed News. That’s refreshing!
03/09/2005 12:16 PM
A true race fan is there to watch the race whether he has a dog in the fight or not. Many of us began watching racing before Jr. was even old enough to race and will continue to watch after his retirement. (And we will not miss those type of fans when they go!)
I also agree with those fans who are not satisfied with NASCAR Nation. Real fans like real news, not just the “filler” that’s being featured each night. Really glad to see Krista back!
03/09/2005 02:11 PM
“A full hour of NASCAR news! Isn’t this what we always wanted…more of our favorite sport? Well perhaps more is not better when it seems to be a show with the scripts edited and/or written by NASCAR brass!” I’m afraid you’re right, and I doubt we’ll see anything other than what is scripted by Brian France/NASCAR. It makes me feel like they’re talking to me as if I were a child. And, I don’t call it “news”, I call it “Brian France’s propaganda”. I won’t be watching. Give me “Trackside”!
Marion Shaw
03/09/2005 02:14 PM

Richard Irion
03/09/2005 02:40 PM
It seems Spencer is not a NASCAR fan but a Jr. fan. That is ok, although it sounds a little shallow to me. If there is one thing I have learned in my lifetime, it is that life goes on no matter what. So with Jr. or without him, I will still be watching every race! At this time NASCAR is the best thing on TV, not because of Jr. but with a contribution from Junior.
03/09/2005 04:45 PM
If they want a lot of people to watch Nascar Nation, they need to shorten it to a half hour, put it in the RPM Tonight timeslot and channel and rename it RPM Tonight. I don’t get Speed channel, and I REALLY miss RPM Tonight.
03/09/2005 06:44 PM
Jack, you are so lucky not to get the Waltrip network.

As for NN at least they now have Krista & Ralph hosting, who know something about Nascar.

Get rid of the Apprentice and the fake reporters and get real ones that aren’t named Waltrip.

A reporter named Dave Despain would be a 1,000% improvement and in 2006 add Rusty Wallace.
03/10/2005 09:46 AM
As far a Nascar Nation is concerned get rid of John Willenborg his William Shatner-esqe reporting is not needed. Bring back Shawn Pergano!
03/10/2005 04:50 PM
I miss the old days of NASCAR. I think a good majority of the Jr. fans out there would be dumb enough to pay full price for a race ticket just to see Dale Jr. make laps around the track. These people need to get a clue. I’m a Sterling Marlin fan, but I don’t worship him like he’s god or something. Sheesh.

Speed Channel’s TV lineup has gone to crap now, with basically 20 shows repeating the same thing, unimportant updates, and then they have the tuner crap. When Speed does a race their replay angles suck horribly.

I want ESPN,Bob,Ned,BP,Rockingham and North Wilkesboro back.

Brian France is kinda like what Tony George is to the IRL. When they started doing their thing, the racing began to suck. Only difference is, at least there’s Champ Cars. After Sterling retires,I’m watching Champ Cars,ARCA. I could care less about NA$CAR and IRL (or EARL as we CC fans like to make fun of it) then.


Dennis no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can Dennis's commentary at his website bio and archive page.