SpeedFreaks TV

By Darr Hawthorne

In their first television show of season, host Kenny Sargent warned his audience of a milestone for the SpeedFreaks nation after four long years relegated to radio at obscure times. But the premier presentation on Speed Channel was better suited for a tombstone rather than a milestone.

Their first Monday evening TV show was simply bumpy photography of a disjointed radio show documenting the ramblings of now stereotypical characters that fail to connect with a broad television audience. So much of this show is spent with petty bickering, incoherent voice tracks and maniacal, inappropriate laughter rather than relevant information on motorsports. Does anybody really need to know if a certain funny car driver or a motocross rider has only one testicle?

On the first show, Don Prudhomme made a brief appearance after a long drive from his Vista, CA headquarters, but shed no light on the current drag racing world, no thoughts about his "one winner" top eliminator idea and nothing about the gradual turn around for the Skoal Funny Car teams.

Instead we hear the Snake's thoughts on Tony Stewart1s bumping of Casey Kahne in the NASCAR Chicagoland race.

What is the reason for this TV show? Since the content is their Sunday radio show with pictures, a radio show that leaves nothing to the imagination. This TV show is hard to imagine and is not really relevant other than for shameless self-promotion of the SpeedFreaks swag. With its painfully shaky camera work akin to a local Cable Access show for Fresno, they are trying so hard to be cool they only look unprofessional.

Unlike sister Speed Channel show, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, SpeedFreaks could never sustain the same four-day a week frequency as its hour counterpart. Wind Tunnel is a classy, informative show dealing with relevant issues and interesting personalities in motorsport.

This is a jerky format that spits disjointed chunks from motorsports; maybe the addition of a little "pink shirt" ESPN-style content would give more balance to the show rather than rebelling against anything resembling information for the TV audience. The initial offering of SpeedFreaks TV looked more like a stag party set up in a cheap motel with everybody waiting for the cards to be dealt in a low stakes poker game.

I've had the opportunity to meet and talk with each of the Pit Crew independently and like the actors Kenny, Christy, Gordon and Bill Wood, they are good people. Wood who portrays Statt-Man Caruthers is exceedingly knowledgeable about motorsports and is probably better suited to carry a show like this alone more than the entire SpeedFreaks Pit Crew combined.

This show is an ill-conceived, tired concept much better done by Howard Stern on E! and Howard is much more entertaining.

Subsequent episodes over the last couple of weeks have been incrementally better. The dressing of the set the SpeedFreaks perform on looks a little more complete and the camera work is better, however the show still does not play well on TV.

While the SpeedFreaks are busy hawking their new and improved website, t-shirts and busily patting themselves on the back for being so incredibly cool -- they forgot to entertain us. SpeedFreaks, don't throw-out your collective shoulders by patting yourselves on the back so much, your TV show needs a lot more work.

I can hear you now, Kenny, "This guy is just too old for our show." I'll take that criticism, but still be happy to see all of you SpeedFreaks in person at the Pomona Finals.

The SpeedFreaks TV show airs on Speed Channel Mondays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. www.speedfreaks.tv

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