“Race fans deserve to see races that matter. Race fans deserve to see races that are going to impact the Championship.” – Jeff Burton
“Now with stages during the event there are more opportunities to have an effect.” – Steve Letarte on increased crew chief impact
STAMFORD, Conn. – January 23, 2017 – In collaboration with NASCAR, NBCSN and FS1 presented a special simulcast this evening to announce strategic adjustments to the competition format of all three NASCAR national series in 2017. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, and NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell, announced the enhanced race format.
France and O’Donnell were joined by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keslowski and Denny Hamlin, along with NASCAR team and track representatives.
NASCAR’s official release detailing the adjustments is available here.
NASCAR on NBCSN’s Krista Voda, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte alongside FOX Sports’ Adam Alexander, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds contributed to the presentation from the Charlotte Convention Center, in Charlotte, N.C.
The following are highlights from this evening’s live simulcast on NBCSN and FS1:
NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton: “Race fans deserve to see races that matter. Race fans deserve to see races that are going to impact the Championship. The ‘win and you’re in’ is great, but it also took the drivers and the teams off the hook a little bit. Now the drivers and teams, after they have gotten a win, still have a reason to go race and gain points.”
NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Gordon: “Having everyone’s input from team principles, track operators, owners, drivers, NASCAR and networks was a pretty amazing experience. I think what came out of it was this balance between what the fans were asking for, and what we can do to make the races even more exciting.”
Burton’s and Gordon’s full comments are available here.
NASCAR on NBC analyst and former crew chief Steve Letarte: “On top of the pit box you only had so many opportunities to change the course of the event. Now with stages during the event there are more opportunities to have an effect.”
Letarte’s full comments are available here.
Burton: “I’m in my second year of doing this, and I can promise you there is a tremendous amount of effort put in by the networks to bring as much racing as possible to the fans. This (new format) gives us a chance to go to a television break at the right time, so the fans miss as little green flag racing as possible.”
Driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “I was in a unique position this past season to be a driver and a fan. This definitely creates a lot of interest in every event, every single week, where it was needed. There will be a lot on the line. It will be interesting to watch these crew chiefs try to figure out the strategies that will help their drivers obtain the most points for each stage.”
Driver of Penske’s No. 2 Brad Keselowski: “If we created motorsports from scratch today this is exactly how we would have done it. It is something I’m very proud of.”
Driver of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 Denny Hamlin: “You don’t have to know how a watch works, you just have to know what time it is. I think you are going to see better racing on the race track and that is all that matters.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–