Sunday, May 09, 2010


Dave Rieff, ESPN2's NHRA pit reporter and host of NHRA RaceDay, set an example last week that the professional excuse-makers like S. Jarrod ("These Things Happen") England and others should learn from.

Dave had long been scheduled as a media panelist on my The Race Reporters. It was confirmed again last Wednesday morning. Twenty-or-so minutes before the show began, Dave called my cell to let me know his daughter had just broken her wrist, and he and his wife were dealing with that. I, of course, told Dave not to worry about my show. But he said he wanted to be on, and would be on, but would be late. And, that's what happened, he called-in in time to help interview Kenny Bernstein.

Thanks, Dave. I relate this story in hopes others will wake up and act in a similar professional manner.

I've been wondering who would land the first extensive interview with Tony George since his ouster from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. Holly Cain -- a great The Race Reporters panelist (she'll be back June 2) -- wins the award. Congratulations, Holly. I'm sure this caused great heartburn for two competitor writers who must have thought they were more "deserving" of the scoop. The interview came in two parts on AOL Fanhouse.

Here's a link to my May "Drags, Dollars & Sense" column, now posted at It's about respect:

And a link to my story in last Friday's Arizona Republic, in which Antron Brown opens-up about the accident last February at Firebird that resulted in a spectator fatality:

What was he thinking? (More likely, not thinking, which all-too-often these days is the problem in the media.) Last Wednesday, Washington Post writer Michael Wilbon did an interview with a Phoenix radio station (and, let me note, NOT the local ESPN affiliate) at the exact same time his PTI show was showing on ESPN. One might have logically thought Wilbon wouldn't want to compete against himself for viewers/listeners. One might also have thought ESPN management would expect the same.

Reese Schonfeld, co-founder of CNN, recently warned: "I think CNN is at risk of becoming a bad joke." Latest example of this truth: Last Thursday, amidst historic stock market turmoil, Times Square bombing attempt, oil spill in the Gulf, flooding in Tennessee, British elections and Greece in crisis, Larry King Live spent an hour on Lawrence Taylor's arrest and Bret Michaels' health. Turn out the lights . . .

Included in all the terrible news of the last couple of weeks was this: Drag racer Clay Millican's shop in Tennessee was flooded -- with water levels so high, it reached the cab of the team's semi. Clay talks about it with Larry Henry on Tuesday night's Pit Pass USA, 8 p.m. EDT, on

Could some network executive, some producer, some agent, some manager, some publicist, some somebody, PLEASE work with Krista Voda to sharpen her interviewing skills? That's a BASIC requirement of being a pit reporter -- the ability to ask crisp, meaningful questions. Asking Jamie McMurray after Darlington, "Did you have fun?," doesn't cut it for a major network telecast.

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EDT, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

May 12 -- Newsmaker: Arie Luyendyk. Panelists: Mark Armijo, Dave (The King) Wilson.

May 19 -- Newsmaker: Paul Tracy. Panelists: Mike Mulhern, Kenny Bruce. Plus: Gordon Kirby.

May 26 -- Newsmaker: Randy Bernard. Panelists: Mike Harris, John Oreovicz. Plus: Robin Miller.

June 2 -- Journalists Roundtable on Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600. Panelists: Holly Cain, Tim May, Al Pearce, Ron Lemasters Jr., Larry Henry.

June 9 -- One Year Anniversary Show featuring original Newsmaker John Force and first panelists Paul Page and Jon Asher. Plus: Special surprise guests from around the racing world.

[ Arie Luyendyk news note Thursday . . . ]