NASCAR on FOX’s broadcasters Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Mike Joy joined FOX Sports Chairman David Hill and President Ed Goren to preview this weekend’s Daytona 500 action and FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2009 season today during a media conference call. For a full replay of the Q&A, dial 719/457-0820 and enter passcode 9428606 when prompted.
Darrell Waltrip on Jimmie Johnson’s chances of making NASCAR history and winning a fourth straight Points Championship: “Three in a row is pretty special because only one other person, Cale Yarborough, has ever done it in the history of NASCAR. If you win four championships in a row, you have put yourself in a class by yourself. Until somebody proves to me they have what it takes to do what he and Chad Knaus can do, which is make no mistakes in the last ten races, I’m going to bet on Jimmie Johnson.”
David Hill on the economic state of NASCAR : “We have been very gratified that advertisers are stepping up to the plate. It’s like every year – sponsors come and sponsors go. We’re very, very comfortable about where we are. Any sports’ popularity is going to be related to the number of people who sit and watch it. NASCAR’s popularity remains strong. We had an increase in ratings last year and we’re hoping that we get an increase in ratings this year.”
Larry McReynolds on how Jimmie Johnson uses the regular season to prepare for the Chase for the Championship: “Before the Chase format, you used to win the championship one race at a time. That’s not true anymore. You win the championship now in 10 races. You have the luxury in those first 26 races to get yourself in only the top-12. When the final 10 get there, you want to have done all of your homework, preparation and be ready to attack.”
Mike Joy on how NASCAR’s drivers make opportunities for themselves: “There are several start-up teams, like Joe Nemechek’s and Jeremy Mayfield’s, that didn’t exist 30 days ago. In Mayfield’s case, he didn’t arrive with an established team for the Daytona 500, so he put a team together. Every person working on his car now was laid off last fall by a team. Every problem creates an opportunity somewhere else.”
Jeff Hammond on the unique relationship between Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus: “When it comes to Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, they have the most one-dimensional team. They’re all thinking alike, they all react as one. They don’t beat themselves. They are about as perfect a race team you could draw on paper.”