Bob, Buhl and Beekhuis

Posted by Iannucci | 1/15/2009 | 19 comments »
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After hearing it first from the braintrust at TSO (subscribe TODAY!), VERSUS has officially announced their team for their IndyCar broadcasts in 2009. Get ready to enjoy Bob Jenkins, Robbie Buhl, and Jon "Yon" Beekuis in the booth, with Robbie Floyd (who?), Lindy Thackston (who??) and the immortal Jack Arute (a-ha!) reporting LIVE from the pits.

I realize there are lots of folks who will be displeased by some of these selections. Some will say Bob Jenkins puts them to sleep, others will complain the all knowing (just ask him) Eddie Cheever is nowhere in this group, and Jack Arute's inclusion will drive his 14 ex-wives completely bananas. To this I say: whatever. If you're watching for the broadcast team and not the racing then you're just plain weird. Weirdo. Yes, you with the diet soda. Just mute the TV and pull up IMS Radio if it bothers you so much.

Personal preferences notwithstanding, I'd venture to say this group is already an improvement over the ESPN broadcasts of last year. In fact, I will say this out loud in the presence of no one but myself right now ... OK, now that that's done allow me to empirically prove this to you.

Jenkins v Marty Reid. Marty Reid is a fun announcer, but let's fact it - he makes people nervous. Working with Reid often rendered Scott Goodyear the most boring man on the continent, which wasn't apparent to me until he demonstrated full consciousness in working a couple of races with Jenkins. After further investigation it was obvious why Goodyear was so pensive. Spooky, isn't it? Advantage Jenkins

Buhl v Goodyear. Robbie Buhl is actually a part-owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which means there are good odds he might actually mention Dreyere & Reinbold Racing on the air. Did everyone forget that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice was still in the league? Buhl will fix this. Advantage Buhl

Beekhuis v no one. For baseball games on radio, no one makes for a great color commentator. This is especially true if the play-by-play man is Vin Scully. For everything else, the more the merrier, unless of course by more you mean "Tony Kornheiser". Fortunately for us "Yon" is not Tony Kornheiser. Advantage Beekhuis

Floyd v Vince Welch. I presume Robbie Floyd speaks English, but other than that I know nothing about Robbie Floyd other than his first name is "Robbie" and his last name is "Floyd". And that alone is enough to make Vince Welch a better pick since there's already a "Robbie" on this broadcast team. Innumerable broadcast disasters lie ahead from the inevitable crosstalk resulting when Jenkins asks "Robbie" a question. Disadvantage Floyd

Thackston v Brienne Pedigo. I'm not going to get into a debate of blondes versus brunettes since it will greatly upset the readheaded readers, so let's just look at the facts. Lindy reads "VERSUS Pit Reporter for the IndyCar series..." while proudly proclaims "Actress, Dancer, Singer, Print Model and Producer". Under many other circumstances the advantage goes to Pedigo, but this is racing. Advantage Thackston

Arute v Arute. There are no losers here, not with the nuclear-tanned Shakespearean musings of the immortal Jack Arute gracing the airwaves. Advantage Arute

No matter how disappointed you might be there's little room to argue that this team won't result in an improvement in broadcast quality and entertainment. Five out of six in the plus column for VERSUS, and if this Robbie Floyd fella starts going by a nickname (I vote for "Scooter") it will be a clean sweep. Now, if we can just get the director to show some shots of passing occurring somewhere other than the front we'll be golden.


  1. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 11:07 AM  

    Just mute the TV and pull up IMS Radio if it bothers you so much.

    hey! that's what I did all last season!! hehe!

    I'm pretty happy with the selection overall. Would prefer Vince over Jack, but meh... can't have everything right?

  2. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 11:22 AM  

    [i]Did everyone forget that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice was still in the league?[/i]

    But is he???

  3. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 11:23 AM  

    Did everyone forget that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice was still in the league?

    But is he???

  4. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 12:07 PM  

    I guess this means they are the 'B' team.

  5. TheDuke // January 15, 2009 12:39 PM  

    I'm quite disapointed actually that Johnny and The Duke from LiveFastRacing weren't asked to be pit reporters, that might have really made the broadcast interesting.

  6. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 12:45 PM  

    Maybe Sam Posey is looking for a job right now?

  7. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 2:45 PM  

    and if this Robbie Floyd fella starts going by a nickname (I vote for "Scooter")

    Nah, I vote for "Pink", because I'm sure nobody has ever called him that.

  8. Unknown // January 15, 2009 3:21 PM  

    I have to disagree with the advantage going to Buhl because he is a team owner, and therefore his team will get more air. That's called media bias. Now if the argument is that he'll offer additional insight, or will have exceptional access because of his role as an owner, that's a whole different story.

  9. pressdog // January 15, 2009 4:17 PM  

    Vinny Welsh got kicked up to the bigs (N-word) by ESPN. Beekhuis is all world. Cheever wouldn't work because he couldn't squeeze his head into the booth. Arute. More obtuse horse-racing metaphors coming up, with a side of cheese grater and a brandished ear of corn to finish. Whatever real fans want to know, Jack is sure to stay far away from. I'd vote for doubling up the hotties and deploying Brie instead of Jack.

  10. Iannucci // January 15, 2009 5:35 PM  

    "Pink" Floyd. I like the way you're thinking, mmack. Let's get noted Pink Floyd fan John Oreovicz on board with this and make it happen.

  11. Anonymous // January 15, 2009 8:21 PM  

    Is the IRL racing? or is it just a bunch of wanna bee drivers?Have any of you heard of Formula 1?

  12. The SpeedGeek // January 16, 2009 9:36 AM  

    At the risk of sounding like a Pressdog Boot Licker (I'm copyrighting that), I'm totally in that guy's camp here. Arute could be upgraded in just about every category other than the well-documented "unintentional hilarity" one. I'm more of a fan of the "insight" and "avoiding non-sequitors" categories in a pit reporter, myself. I'd actually take Brie with her mic turned off over the Jackster, though I'd obviously prefer Johnny and The Duke over any of the other non-Welch options. And I'm definitely OK with that booth trio. Jenkins is the Right Guy for The Job. We're in good hands there.

    Hey, Mr. Annonymous! Thanks for that mind blowing insight on F1 vs. IndyCar! Man, I bet nobody else here had thought of that before! Tell me, if F1 really far superior racing if there's no such thing as "passing"? Or if one team obviously gets preferential treatment from the sanctioning body over the other nine teams? Your thoughts?

  13. Leigh O'Gorman // January 16, 2009 9:37 PM  

    In all fairness last years ESPN coverage of the IRL was far superior to ITV's (Britain) Formula 1 presentation.
    They somehow managed to invent new lows with regards to patronising an audience

    The only thing that annoyed me on ESPN sometimes was the way Marty Reid would occasionally interrupt Scott Goodyear mid-sentence.

    You've gotta love Jack Arute though - the guy is amazing. Shame Murray Walker isn't commentating anymore though...

    Loving the IRL now - unfortunately Eurosport never showed the IRL and dropped CART a few years ago and American single-seaters really dropped off the map over here (Ireland / UK) as a result.

    By the way - I'm loving the IRL blog.
    I find IndyCar's website isn't great for news, so such a blog as this is nice to come across.
    Fantastic stuff...

  14. Anonymous // January 16, 2009 11:30 PM  

    Bob Jenkins put me to sleep the one race he called this year. He was beyond boring. Why cant they take a cue from Speed and their F1 coverage and let them tell it like it is. Those guys couldn't be more entertaining. What am I missing with Jenkins? Why is he so popular?

    Steve in Glendale, AZ

  15. Anonymous // January 17, 2009 8:52 AM  

    Speedgeek,what do you mean no passing in f1,have you ever watched an f1 race? There may not be that many chances,but thats what makes it exciting.Unlike IRL,or NASCAR,in f1 you dont get 50plus chances to get to the front.If you are a lap down in f1 your done! In IRL or NASCAR,if your a lap down you still have a great chance,just go faster in your circle!BORING!Enjoy!

  16. The SpeedGeek // January 17, 2009 9:30 AM  

    Man, how can I argue with such a well written retort with such impeccable grammar as that? /bowing down/

    Or...possibly I have seen an F1 race or two. Or maybe almost every single F1 race since 1991. Here's a thought: F1 isn't IRL. IRL isn't F1. They're totally different, like hamburgers and poached sea bass (insert Bourdais joke here), and a lot of people here like both (that's the racing bit, not the food bit). Of course, it is The Internets, so possibly you're a tool-y troll looking for a rise from the hamburger crowd. You got it, buddy, and I apologize to everybody else for indulging this guy. Sometimes I just can't let things go.

    Of course, if Jeff would just embrace his F1 Fever and make this "My Name is IRL and I'm an F1", we could have avoided this whole thing. I'm putting this one on you, Ianucci.

  17. Pat W // January 17, 2009 12:57 PM  

    I might have to 'source' a Versus race to hear this line-up. I wonder if the Int'l feed will feature them or another team? A minor point for most readers here but lots of people want to know.
    Beekhuis is an excellent signing.

    Andy: Never Feed The Trolls! You're completely wrong of course, the racing in F1 has been much better since 2005 or so. But the whole F1 vs Indy thing is a futile argument anyway. They're just different.

    Leigh: For all of ITV's crimes in inflicting Hamilton-Mania on us, it was still better than ESPN. Sky Sports shows IRL almost always live but I agree AOW is falling off-radar. It needs to be on Eurosport.

  18. Leigh O'Gorman // January 17, 2009 1:35 PM  


    True - as much as James Allen annoyed me (tbh I've always thought Brundle was excellent), the actual presentation that ITV was top notch and I hope the BBC follow their lead in that respect.

    It would be great if the IRL found itself on Eurosport (preferably with Ben Edwards and John Watson commentating), but the fact the Sky are showing it at all is a bonus.

  19. Anonymous // January 18, 2009 5:53 PM  

    Speedgeek! ??????????,Enjoy Your IRL! TickTock!TickTock!