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Friday, April 30, 2010

Commentary: Kyle Petty over Jimmy Spencer

I was shocked to learn that a good number of people actually miss Jimmy Spencer on Speed TV's Race Day. Many have been critical of Kyle Petty as his replacement.

I am not among them.

I like Kyle Petty in that role. He is knowledgeable about racing. After all, he is the son of The King, which makes him, in my view, the Prince of NASCAR. It is a part of who he is. Also, Kyle is a good and caring individual, exhibited by his hugely philanthropic nature. I like to listen to someone I admire.

Kyle has a good sense of humor. And he can be serious too. He is not afraid to take a stand and to stand by what he believes. Most recently Kyle was very vocal about the incident involving Carl Edwards and Brad Kezelowski at Bristol. Kyle wanted to see Edwards parked and penalized.

I respect where Kyle was coming from. My God, he lost his son to a crash on the racetrack. He knows better than anyone what can happen. He knows how dangerous it can be. It isn't odd at all that he would take the position he did. Admittedly he has his biases, just like all the other commentators, but he will never be as opinionated or offensive as Spencer and some of the others.

And there seems to be no contest in the IQ category. Kyle has it all over Spencer, with his ass-kissing demeanor. Yes, Spencer did come up with some good criticisms of NASCAR itself. But he was never consistent. It was like he made such comments for his own ego's effect rather than to better the sport.

Kyle is the kind of man I would like to sit down and talk to about racing because of his knowledge, including the sports' history. While I don't always agree with him, I do enjoy hearing what he has to say. He has a much less myopic view than other former-race-car-drivers-turned-commentator types. Some names that come to mind along with Spencer are Rusty Wallace, and of course, the kings of myopia, Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip.

How tired are we of hearing about Junebug? There are 42 other drivers on the racetrack, boys. Still, I like DW. He too is knowledgeable about racing. And he is funny, but I'm really sick of his and others promoting their favorite drivers, teams, and sponsors. I even enjoy hearing about how he talks about his own experiences. He does after all have a plethora of them. Perhaps that is because I am relatively new to NASCAR. I didn't know about DW's day. I can see where veterans of the sport could get a bit tired of hearing about it, but I don't.

I've often wondered, wouldn't it be nice to have a professional journalist, knowledgeable about the sport, do commentary? Wouldn't it be nice to get a play-by-play without the bias toward a particular driver, manufacturer, owner or sponsor? I can only dream.