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Fast Take   Story by Dwight Drum
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NASCAR TV talkers: Speed words, Part 4
 

The green flag has dropped again on the quest to know how a select few make sense of the noisy chaos of motorsports.

Deeper into the TV commentator roster, commentators reveal more about their ability to communicate, to enhance and explain what viewer eyes are absorbing. The experience of drivers, crew chiefs and the direction of skilled TV analysts keeps the viewing easy on the eyes.

Reporter Dwight Drum goes media-on-media in what was designed as a three part series. Now expanded into six parts, it’s still about stories and show time.

Dale Jarrett [ESPN Commentator]

What do you like best about doing TV?
“Just looking at the sport from a different side. Being able to maybe tell people out there a little bit of maybe what the drivers are going through. Because you know I’ve been there, I’ve driven this car and I can still comment on that. Just giving the fans an idea of something that maybe they didn’t know about what a driver is doing, what they are going through at that particular time.

Some people like you and Jeff Gordon seem to be natural at TV. Do you have to work at it?
“Oh, yeah. There’s a lot of work, things that you have to do. A lot of time involved with it. You literally as a fan could go every week to the different tracks and you could almost say the same things. I try to work hard not to do that. Because you know, if I turn my TV on and I’m going to watch an NFL game. I’m a huge NFL fan. If Troy Aikman tells me the same thing about every quarterback every week then why would you want to listen to that? He doesn’t do that. He’s very good at pointing the different quarterbacks for different teams go about being successful. That’s what I try to do with the different racetracks and drivers -- is how their style fits certain tracks and how you have to go about attacking the different tracks. It is work and you have to keep up with what’s going on in the sport. I didn’t ever have to do that. Before I never had to know anything about these other guys, other than when I raced with them on the track and did I want to be friends with them and now I know everything that is going on in their lives.

Ned Jarrett: [retired MRN & TV announcer]

What do you like best about TV?
“I like the challenge that’s involved. In fact I like the challenge doing TV better than I do driving race cars. Being able to bring information to people that they might not know about and not recognize during a race. That’s what I enjoy doing.”

Darrell Waltrip [Fox TV commentator]

What do you like best about TV?
“Well for an old guy like me, I’m still here. If I didn’t have my gig in TV I’d be back in Franklin selling cars or something. Keeps me connected. Keeps me hanging around with these guys. My generation is all retired. Bobby (Allison) over there and some others. Keeps me in there and see how these new kids come along and see how they do things and how we did things. It’s fun to always say can this guy compete with these guys can these guys compete with these. It’s just kind of fun to stay involved like that.”

Select quotes: NASCAR TV talkers words of speed series

“Your job isn’t to add something that isn’t on the screen, your job is to enhance what somebody is looking at and give depth to it.” Eddie Cheever

“I have two good people here that when I do get a little long-winded, they don't mind telling me.” Dale Jarrett

“The combination of a play-by-play guy, a crew chief and a driver up other I think is really important for the fans at home. I think put together it gives them everything they want to know about what’s going on in the broadcast.” Bob Dillner

“I'm not going to tell you there's a best way to do it, it's just got to happen and it's got to come off the cuff and it's got to happen naturally.” Rusty Wallace

“You need to be a team player. Know your role. Realize that everything you do on TV is a very serious situation.” Kenny Wallace

“I think the best thing we can do is just tell people how we felt and how we made the decisions we made.” Ray Evernham

“This TV deal I hope it can go on till I’m 90, because it’s so much fun.” Jeff Hammond

“The one thing that I'm sure you guys are tired of as media members is when, whatever a question is, it lasts months and months and months. Every time we see one another that question continues to come up. I think we all get tired - you get tired of asking it and I get tired of answering it." Jimmie Johnson

“When I feel like my career as a driver is beginning to wind down, who knows...you might see me doing a lot more of those broadcasts. I feel those days are pretty far on down the road for me..." Kurt Busch



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