Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Tuesday January 22, 2008
Editor’s Note : With Speedweeks just around the corner, there’s an opportunity to take one last look at 2007 before moving forward. And that means we have a chance to honor the fantastic men and women that make this site tick – our talented staff of 19 writers who work hard each day to give the latest and greatest NASCAR news, information, and commentary. Our staff’s passion for this sport is unwavering, and their dedication unmatched – it’s because of them viewership for the site has more than doubled over the past year, even in the face of increasing concerns about declining TV Ratings and fan support. People may not like the direction the sport may be headed – but based on the numbers, it’s through the hard work of our Frontstretch staff that more people are coming here for a daily stock car fix.
So, in their honor, we present to you a special “Best Of” week, chronicling the best articles our staff presented to you in 2007. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and most of all, they’ll make you think – and hopefully, they’ll make your day just a little bit better. Enjoy, and look forward to bigger and better things to come as we head towards 2008!
This article was originally published in June, 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!)
Want a chance to win a FREE Frontstretch T-Shirt! How about a shot at a FREE membership to our Ultimate Fantasy Player Program? Well, Frontstretch has a new 2008 survey out just for YOU! We’re attempting to see what you like about us the most, and what areas you’d like to see improved. Click here to take the survey and do your part to help make one of your favorite websites a better place to be!
Want to join Jeff on our Frontstretch Staff? Now’s your chance to join one of the fastest-growing racing websites on the internet, matching wits with some of the most respected writers in the business today. Frontstretch.com is actively seeking 3-5 new staff members for the 2008 season, and you can audition now by clicking here to find out exactly what you need to do. When finished, send your completed audition to email@example.com – we hope to hear from you soon!
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!