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Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday June 27, 2007
The explosion of an “F bomb” at last Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, CA is a prime example of what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time go horribly awry.
The idea was to have Kyle Petty be part of the race broadcast team, not from the booth, but actually while he competed in the race itself. Brilliant! So far, so good. This could be really cool. However, not long into the broadcast, a few problems began to manifest themselves.
Initially, due to some technical gremlins, booth announcers Wally Dallenbach and Bill Weber were having some difficulty establishing contact with racer / analyst Petty. At one point, once contact was made, they broke in and surprised Kyle while he was leading the team in a pre-race prayer. Oops!
But after the initial awkwardness, breaking in on the team prayer could seem like a great thing as far as ratings go. After all, Kyle Petty is one of the most respected men in the garage. Petty leading his team in prayer is great for the "wholesome family atmosphere" of NASCAR, despite the dirty little secret of "moonshine running, confederate flag-waving rebels" of NASCAR's origins that Brian France is so desperately ashamed of. Again, so far, so good! Amen! Let us race.
However, as the old saying goes, "No good deed shall go unpunished."
And so it would be in this case.
On just the second lap, in what is lovingly referred to as Turn 11, Satan, momentarily inhabiting the body of Matt Kenseth, attempted to go on the inside of Petty in an effort to nullify the "wholesome family atmosphere" that Saint Kyle's prayer had started. The resulting spin of Petty, Kenseth and innocent bystander Marc Goossens served as just the beginning of the devil's dastardly scheme.
Meanwhile, in the booth, the highly esteemed Dallenbach surmised that Petty had no idea that Satan had, in fact, been on the inside going into the turn and TNT technicians, suddenly remembering that Petty was an integral part of the broadcast team, were more than happy to show a replay from inside Kyle's car in an attempt to prove Dallenbach's summation correct.
The results were nothing short of horrifying.
As the world watched, from as near as Kyle's viewpoint could be shown by TNT technology, a quick glimpse of the No. 17 could be seen inching up to Kyle’s car. A sickening crunch and one squeal later, the “F bomb” was detonated…clearly in Saint Kyle's voice.
"What the f@#$ (was)â€¦"
Well, so much for wholesome family atmosphere! It was at this point that the “F bomb” squad snipped the wrong wire.
Following the detonation, there was not, as some other publications have cited, an immediate apology by Wonder Analyst (Wonder why he's still on the air) Bill Weber, "for that language." What did follow was about ten whole seconds of "dead air!" Ten seconds of dead air that allowed the viewer to realize that "Yes! That is what I thought I just heard!" The devil's work had been done. Truly, it was a technician's worst nightmare.
Now, I realize that it is easy to think of these things in hindsight, but true broadcast "professionals" are supposed to be able to think quickly to cover up, or at least lessen, the effects that unforeseen deviations from the scripted plan bring about. I'd like to think that I (or more accurately, I'd like you to think that I) would have handled the situation in the following manner.
Wally Dallenbach: "Let's take a look at the view from Kyle's camera inside the car."
(Crunch! Screech!) "What the f@#%?"
Jeff Meyer: "Well, it is a little early in the race, but like Kyle said, let's ‘Cue the Duck’! After an accident like that, a little AFLAC may be just what we all need. Good call, Kyle!"
I realize that that may not be the perfect response, but anything would have been better that the ten seconds of dead air, during which you could almost hear Wally and Bill thinking "Oh S@%t!"
In all reality, though, the entire incident should never have happened. The “F bomb” was NOT detonated by Kyle on live television; it was detonated by TNT during a REPLAY that should have been checked before airing. Bad move, TNT...bad move.
Stay off the wall, (but be prepared to duck!)
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Kyle said W H A T?!
And here I thought Kyle said “What dumb luck!” (was that)?
Shame on you for clueing me in Jeffery!
All I heard was a somewhat garbled yell. Until Wonder Boy apologized I had no idea that it was the dredded word. Listening in on drivers is cute, but they are racers and the language they use isn’t always clean. It’s going to happen. Forget about it and move on or quit broadcasting radio traffic.
I thought it was funny. I remember in 1999 or 2000 when Todd Parrott was heard to instruct his crew to “put a pair of 40-bleed shocks on the front of this *********** “ at Talladega, after the car had dropped to the back of the field.
Why hasn’t Kyle been penalized for his mishap? When Jr. said the “S” word on national television he was penalized….does consistancy not matter within the Petty kingdom?
corporate sponsers,TNT,and a great number of “racing experts” have changed the way we see NASCAR racing today.I am not sure its for the better.
Two weeks in a row sombody dropped the f bomb. Carl Edwards did it the week before during a interview
The reason Jr. was penalized and not Petty was because Jr. dropped his bomb in victory lane. Petty’s F-bomb was hard to understand and it wasn’t until Weber apologized that everyone realized, “yep, he said it.”
I believe the reason Jr. was fined and Petty wasn’t is because Jr.‘s outburst came during an interview and Petty’s was over the radio, which is supposed to be listened to at your own risk (except for the in-car reporter stuff).
What we all need to remember is the audio you heard from Kyle on TNT was from a condenser microphone mounted inside the front of his helmet by the crack audio guys at TNT. The output of that microphone was then transmitted to the audio truck of TNT Networks. The “F” bomb was not dropped over his team radio at the flick of his thumb on the steering wheel; it was an open audio feed monitored only by TNT. The audio you heard was not audio that was broadcast over the team scanners. Only if you were in the car with Kyle would you have been able to hear it. Had it not been for the TNT mic, only Kyle would have heard himself say it.
Just listen to the quality of Kyle’s audio about Mid-race. It’s not your average crackly “off-the-scanner” audio. At the beginning of the race, they had the Mic preamp gain input really distorted, but they got the bugs worked out later and the audio quality was that of an in-studio interview.
TNT just screwed up by airing it. Certainly Kyle shouldn’t have used that language, but adrenalin is a funny little thing…
It would be much more interesting to here the real racing talk in the cars and in the pits. Not the cleansed version that many of these celebrity drivers try to display to the world. Having been behind the wheel of a entry level class stock car, the tremendous thrill of it all is being anesthetized by ‘think of the children’ philosophy. You visit your local short track and go in the pits before or after the race. There aren’t any group prayers going on. Its an R rated arena. You guys that couldn’t discern the f bomb, I heard it loud and clear and knew Kyle didn’t expect the undercut, although he should have.
Geez people, the reason no fines were issued is simple. If you drop the ‘S’, ‘F’, or anyother no no word on BROADCAST TV (abc, nbc, cbs, fox, upn) these networks broadcast over the air and can be recieved by any tv equiped with a standard antenna. If however it is broadcast by TNT, ESPN, or any of the over the cable networks, then the cable networks are a pay for view system and are not covered by the FCC. Thus since the broadcast was on tnt, they can say the 7 words you can’t say on tv and not get fined for it.
I couldn’t quit laughing for about 10 minutes after hearing the F-bomb go off. Having met Kyle twice, you can’t ask to meet a nicer guy. But like steve m said in his post, once you get behind the wheel, things change completely. I drive in our local supertruck series and we have 2 or 3 physicians that race with us as well. I have seen all 3 of the good doctors lose their bedside manners a time or two. Personally I thought it brought back a glimpse of what good racing use to be about before baby Brian decided that he was ashamed of his roots and where NASCAR came from. NASCAR better wake up and realize that there is no such thing as the “perfect wholesome family environment” Those of us that are parents try our best to set good examples for our kids but since we too are human, we’re going to make mistakes as well. If anybody needs to be blamed, let’s point fingers at the idiots at TNT who can’t get it together. Obviously the techs don’t seem to know what to do and neither does the so called on air talent. With the exceptions of Kyle Petty and Larry Mac who have actually gotten their hands dirty and have busted a knuckle or two in their time. Best advice for TNT, get rid of Weber, get rid of Wally, get rid of the football moron, and bring in Kyle, Larry Mac, Mike Joy, or Bestwick. The pit road guys are fine, the booth morons have got to go.
this is an Awsome write up.. I’m in tears… Is there a 2 drink minium here?
I heard Kyle say that and our living room got quiet.. then we all started laughing,, “Man, the Bloggers are going to have fun with that one” I said.
Que the Duck
After your comments about the Kurt Busch incident on pit road in the name of safety, what are your thoughts about Said’s whole pit crew running out in the middle of pit road amid traffic on both sides? Now that was scary!
I am sitting here in shock that Carl Edwards would drop the F bomb!!! He’s my favorite driver and I listen to him pretty much the whole race every week on trackpass and I have never heard the F bomb!! I’m not saying it’s not true but that really blows my mind. Ha ha. Personally I’m not offended by it and I think it’s funny Kyle Petty did it. I wonder how many times I use the F bomb driving home from work in traffic every day? I just can’t believe sweet Carl did it!!!
The 10 seconds of silence were probably caused by Wally and Weber trying to compose themselves and stop laughing. I fell off the couch laughing and was laughing about it again as I read the article. So what if he used the F-word? It was a very funny moment in an otherwise boring telecast!
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?
Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.