There were two Waltrip brothers involved in the first Gatorade NASCAR race at Daytona today, Darryl doing commentary and Michael driving one of the race cars. Darryl is a former NASCAR champion and was a very decent driver, Michael is more of an egotistical “personality” than he is a driver, and has about as much success driving a race car as I would have being a quarterback for an NFL football team.
Michael managed to crash his race car while leaving the pit after a fuel stop late in the race, which was hardly a stellar display of driving skill because he was pitting all by himself and the crash was totally unassisted, but the announcers managed to fall all over themselves in a manner that made Michael look positively expert.
First, the accident itself was unobserved; all that the audience or announcers saw was Michael’s car hitting the wall. Darryl immediately speculated that Michael must have cut a tire, causing him to spin out. There was no evidence for that, the two tires that could be seen were fully inflated, but Darryl never needs any evidence to start declaiming why a crash is not his brother’s fault.
Then Larry MacReynolds declared that the crash and ensuing caution was a “huge break” for Denny Hamlin and Marcus Ambrose, two drivers who had made pitstops earlier. No, Larry, it would have been were they still on the lead lap, but they had been passed by the leaders just a few minutes ago and were now a lap down and so the caution is of no help to them whatsoever. Perhaps you didn’t notice the leaders passing them, or forgot that they had done so, but since you are narrating the race, noticing and remembering is what you are supposed to do.
Then we see a replay of Michael’s crash and it is clear that he botched the transition from the flat apron to the banked racing surface. Darryl’s “cut tire theory” is blown so he now launches into a theory about how Michael must have picked up some debris on his hot tires which caused him to lose traction and spin out. That theory is visibly weak and no one else picks up on it, but Darryl repeats it several times, becoming more enamored of it each time he repeats it.
Then another announcer sort of spoils Darryl’s moment by telling us that Michael has just apologized to his crew for making a mistake and crashing the car, admitting that the wreck was his fault and saying, “Sorry, guys.”
Darryl is unswayed, saying that “I really think that he picked up debris on his tires,” and repeating his theory as to why the wreck was not his brother’s fault. Where he thinks the debris came from is unclear, as there has been no wreck and Michael has been driving in the racing groove and has not been anywhere that debris would have been being deposited.
This announcing crew sort of reminds me of the trio on the Bob Newhart Show. “Hi, I’m Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” Except the two Darryls never have anything to say.