Note: This was originally posted June 11, 2007.
Let me be clear. I'm not a Bill Webber fan. Not at all. I'm glad he's only on for 6 races this year. I have to say that I'm glad that Larry Mac is jumping ship from Fox for these same 6 races. I like Wally Dallenbach as well. He's a pretty good guy, with a sardonic wit, but I like him. Let me say most of all I miss Benny Parsons. BP was a great foil for Wally's wit, and just fit in so well on the broadcasts on TNT and NBC since 2001.
I do have to say that I was very impressed by Kyle Petty's performance in the booth. Kyle brings a ton of information and recent driving experience to the game. Kyle is a very candid color commentator and I appreciated him being in the booth to balance out the tooth-ache like pain that I felt almost every time Bill Webber opened his mouth.
It's not that I don't like Bill Webber. I think he's a good guy, but I believe strongly that he should be a pit road reporter, rather than a lap by lap anchor. If Bestwick was still with TNT, I'd vote for him. Bestwick is with ESPN now, and doing a decent job, but I wish they'd let him do more.
And as far as ESPN goes, I really like Dr. Jerry Punch. I like Rusty Wallace, but only to a certain point. I get the feeling that the rest of the crew will not criticize anything that Steven Wallace does on the track for fear of creating an embarrassing situation for owner/father Rusty. On the whole, I really prefer Dale Jarrett on the Busch series broadcasts. He has done a great job filling in for Rusty this year.
Kyle Petty just adds something to the broadcast, at least for me. He's a very open person, and he's candid in his comments. As a fan, it's nice to see drivers in the booth saying what they think while events are unfolding. Kyle has been awesome on Speed TV's Trading Paint, and he's a very good replacement for Benny Parsons in the TNT booth this season. I hope that whenever Kyle retires, he'll be back in the booth with TNT or some other network. Kyle Petty has been driving since 1979 on a professional basis, and his knowledge, experience, and ability to articulate his thoughts will be a blessing to all the fans out there, for hopefully a very long time.
Kyle's first appearance in the booth was complicated by a long rain delay, which makes for some scrambling by the producers of the broadcast. They all have to keep the audience interested, and Kyle performed superbly in his interviews, one edited, one not, with David Pearson and then when he talked live to his father, the King, Richard Petty.
I think Kyle is going to be great on TNT, and I hope we see him in the booth a lot when he finally hangs up the helmet for the last time.