NBC SPORTS GROUP’S PRESS PASS – WHAT TO WATCH JULY 2- 5 2015

(All times ET)

The “Press Pass” on NBC Sports Group Press Box is a quick overview of upcoming program information and highlights from the NBC Sports Group Communications team.

For live streaming information on NBC Sports Live Extra, and Golf Channel Live Extraclick here.

 

Thursday, July 2

4 p.m. on Golf Channel – PGA Tour: The Greenbrier Classic

4:30 p.m. on Golf Channel – European Tour: Alstom Open de France

5 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR America

6 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR Whelen Series: Riverhead

 

Friday, July 3

9 a.m. on NBCSN – F1 British Grand Prix – Practice 2

12:30 p.m. on Golf Channel – Web.com Tour: Nova Scotia Open

1:30 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR America

2 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice

3 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Practice

4 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice

4 p.m. on Golf Channel – PGA Tour: The Greenbrier Classic

4:30 p.m. on Golf Channel – European Tour: Alstom Open de France

5 p.m. on NBCSN – NBCSN – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Practice

6 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR America

 

Saturday, July 4

7 a.m. on NBCSN – Tour de France Stage 1:  Utrecht

8 a.m. on CNBC – F1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying

8 a.m. on Golf Channel – European Tour: Alstom Open de France

1 p.m. on Golf Channel – PGA Tour: The Greenbrier Classic

2:30 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR XFINITY Series – Qualifying

3 p.m. on NBCSN – Tour de France Stage 1: Utrecht

3 p.m. on Golf Channel – Web.com Tour: Nova Scotia Open

4 p.m. on NBC – Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 2’s

4 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR AMERICA

4:30 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Qualifying

5 p.m. on NBC – Breeder’s Cup Challenge Series

6:30 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR America

7 p.m. on NBCSN – Countdown to Green

7:30 p.m. on NBCSN – Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race

11 p.m. on NBCSN – Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 2’s (Encore)

 

Sunday, July 5

7 a.m. on NBCSN – Tour de France Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans

7:30 a.m. on CNBC – F1 British Grand Prix

7:30 a.m. on Golf Channel – European Tour: Alstom Open de France

Noon on NBCSN – F1 British Grand Prix (Encore)

1 p.m. on Golf Channel – PGA Tour: The Greenbrier Classic

2 p.m. on NBC – Tour de France Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans

2:30 p.m. on NBCSN – GP2 Britain

3 p.m. on Golf Channel – Web.com Tour: Nova Scotia Open

4 p.m. on NBC – NASCAR Special: Chasing 43

5 p.m. on NBC – Global RallyCross

5 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR America

7 p.m. on NBC – Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

8 p.m. on NBCSN – Tour de France Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans

11 p.m. on NBCSN – NASCAR Victory Lap

 

NASCAR

NBC Sports Group begins its 10-year partnership with NASCAR this 4th of July weekend with 23.5 hours of NASCAR coverage. The holiday weekend slate from Daytona International Speedway is highlighted by the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, and the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Weekend coverage of NASCAR begins tonight at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by the NASCAR Whelen Series at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carolyn Manno hosts NASCAR America from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., while Krista Voda, Kyle Petty, Parker Kilgerman, and Dale Jarrett will report from on-site at the Daytona International Speedway. Ralph Sheheen, Ray Evernham, and Derek Pernesiglio host the NASCAR Whelen Series from Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, N.Y.

Coverage continues Friday on NBCSN with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by the NASCAR XFINITY Series – Practice at 2 p.m. ET, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Practice at 3 p.m. ET.

Saturday’s coverage is highlighted by the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Saturday’s coverage of NASCAR on NBCSN begins with NASCAR XFINITY Series – Qualifying at 2:30 p.m. ET, followed by NASCAR America at 4 p.m. ET, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Qualifying at 4:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR America begins at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. ET, leading into the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The 57th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race highlights NBC Sports Group’s Sunday coverage at 7 p.m. ET on NBC. Sunday’s coverage of begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBC with the NASCAR special Chasing 43. NASCAR America begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, leading into the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at 7 p.m. ET on NBC. At the conclusion of the race NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN’s post-race studio show, begins at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Come race time, announcer Rick Allen joins 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte in the NBC Sports broadcast booth to call both primetime events.  NBC Sports’ Krista Voda will sit alongside NASCAR personality Kyle Petty, as well as three-time Daytona 500 champion and Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett, from a state-of-the-art open-air studio located atop pit road to set the stage for both races on NBC Sports Group’s pre-race show, Countdown to Green.

Rutledge Wood, NBC Sports’ NASCAR features reporter and “man about the track,” will present pieces that delve into the experience of attending a race at the famed Daytona International Speedway, and NBCSports.com lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan will be on hand to cover news and timely information affecting the sport.  Motorsports reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, and Dave Burns will cover pit road throughout the 4th of July Weekend telecasts.

 

TOUR DE FRANCE

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 102nd Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious and grueling cycling race, begins this weekend. Live coverage of Stage 1: Utrecht begins Saturday at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN, with an encore presentation at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Sunday coverage of Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans begins at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN, with encore presentations airing at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, and 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, the voices of cycling, call the race action, joined by reporters Steve Schlanger, Jenna Corrado, and Steve Porino.

 

F1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Coverage of the 2015 F1 British Grand Prix begins Friday at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN with F1 British Grand Prix Practice 2, and continues Saturday at 8 a.m. ET on CNBC with the F1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying.

CNBC presents live coverage of the F1 British Grand Prix Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET, with an encore presentation of the F1 British Grand Prix airing at noon ET on NBCSN. Coverage concludes with the GP2 Britain at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Group’s lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s action, alongside analysts David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, and on-site reporter Will Buxton. In addition, Alex Jacques will call the GP2 race from Silverstone.

 

LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS REDBUD

NBC’s live coverage of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – RedBud begins this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage continues with an encore presentation at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Veteran play-by-play voice Jason Weigandt calls the action from RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich, joined by analyst Grant Langston, and pit reporter Georgia Lindsay.

 

BREEDER’S CUP

NBC continues coverage of the Breeder’s Cup Challenge Series this weekend with the Belmont Oaks and Suburban Handicap live on NBC at 5 p.m. ET.

NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series on Saturday features host Laffit Pincay, III, analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey and five-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, and reporters Donna Brothers and Nick Luck. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier serves as handicapper.

 

GOLF

Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage this weekend features the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic, European Tour’s Alstom Open De France, and Web.com Tour’s Nova Scotia Open.

Coverage of the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic begins today at 4 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, and continues Friday at 4 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Bob Papa (play-by-play) and Nick Faldo (analyst) host coverage from the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. Joining Papa and Faldo are Matt Gogel (tower), Phil Parkin and Peter Kostis (on course), and George Savaricas (interviews).

Golf Channel’s coverage of the European Tour’s Alstom Open de France begins today at 4:30 p.m. ET. Coverage continues Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday at 8 a.m. ET, and culminates Sunday with coverage of the final round at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Scott Walker hosts coverage of the Alstom Open de France from Golf Channel’s studio in Orlando, Fla. Calling the action from Le Golf National in Paris, France are Julian Tutt (play-by-play), Denis Hutchinson and Warren Humphreys (analyst), and Ken Brown (on course).

Weekend Coverage of the Web.com tour’s Nova Scotia Open begins Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET, and continues Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

Jerry Foltz (play-by-play) hosts coverage from Ashburn Golf Club in Halifaz, Nova Scotia, Canada. Joining Foltz will be Craig Perks (analyst), Steve Burkowski (tower), Phil Blackmar and Kay Cockerill (on course).

 

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO REPLAY ALL SIXTEEN CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF VICTORIES, ALONG WITH THE CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE/RALLY CELEBRATION!

Relive the “Journey” beginning Sunday, July 12 at 7:00 PM CT

Chicago, IL (July 2, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, will provide its viewers with a special programming gift this summer entitled Chicago Blackhawks: A Championship Journey presented by ChevyDrivesChicago.com and Your Chevy Dealers.

 

Beginning Sunday, July 12 at 7:00 PM CT, this extraordinary, five-day (July 12-16) summertime journey will give viewers the opportunity to relive (and DVR) all of the excitement and glory of the Blackhawks amazing Stanley Cup championship run with complete game replays of every Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoff victory in the Western Conference Round 1 series vs. Nashville, Round 2 vs. Minnesota, the Western Conference Final vs. Anaheim – plus, the heart-pounding 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which earned the Blackhawks their third Stanley Cup Championship in just six years.

 

Comcast SportsNet will televise the first of its 16 Stanley Cup Playoff game replays on Sunday evening, July 12 at 7:00 PM beginning with Game 1 of the Blackhawks opening round series at Nashville, which featured the Blackhawks storming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the game 4-3 in double-OT.  The remaining three wins from this series will air on the following dates/times: (Round 1/Game 3 vs. Nashville – Sun, July 12 at 11:00 PM), (Round 1/Game 4 vs. Nashville – Mon, July 13 at 2:00 PM), and (Round 1/Game 6 vs. Nashville – Mon, July 13 at 7:00 PM).  NOTE: All games from this series were original Comcast SportsNet Chicago telecasts.

 

Over the course of the following four days/nights (featuring the original “NHL on NBC” telecasts), Comcast SportsNet will air all four wins from their Western Conference/Round 2 sweep against Minnesota (starting Tuesday, July 14 at 1:30 PM) and all four wins from their thrilling, seven-game Western Conference Final series against Anaheim (starting Wednesday, July 15 at 12:30 PM).  Then — on Thursday, July 16 beginning at 12 NOON — Comcast SportsNet will carry all four Stanley Cup Final victories against the Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning, including the Stanley Cup championship-clinching Game 6 home ice victory at 6:45 PM, which will feature the post-game, on-ice presentation of the Stanley Cup and Duncan Keith’s reception of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  Additional coverage from Comcast SportsNet’s Blackhawks Postgame Live presented by Hawk Ford will also be included, which features expanded championship celebration coverage from the United Center.  Also on Thursday, July 16, CSN will replay its acclaimed, exclusive-access coverage of the 2015 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Parade & Rally at 9:00 PM.  (NOTE: The entire schedule for Comcast SportsNet’s Chicago Blackhawks: A Championship Journey is included in this announcement.  Game replays will only be made available within Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s regular NHL viewing territory.)

 

From a digital standpoint, fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “BlackhawksTalk” section (csnchicago.com/blackhawks), which includes numerous Stanley Cup game highlights and exclusive interviews, along with a look back at the team’s amazing playoff journey, round-by-round, with game recaps provided by Blackhawks “Insider” Tracey Myers. Fans can also get interactive during all games of Comcast SportsNet’s special marathon presentation of Chicago Blackhawks: A Championship Journey by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #HawksTalk.

 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: A CHAMPIONSHIP JOURNEY

presented by ChevyDrivesChicago.com and Your Chevy Dealers

 

Sunday, July 12

7:00 PM – Round 1/Game 1: Blackhawks at Nashville (4-3 double-OT win — Blackhawks erase three-goal first period deficit; eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Keith scores game-winner)

11:00 PM – Round 1/Game 3: Nashville at Blackhawks (4-2 win — Darling starts in net for first time in career; Toews w/goal & assist in victory)

 

Monday, July 13

2:00 PM – Round 1/Game 4: Nashville at Blackhawks (3-2 triple-OT win — Darling w/50 saves; Seabrook scores thrilling game-winner)

7:00 PM – Round 1/Game 6: Nashville at Blackhawks (4-3 series-clinching win — Keith scores game-winner late in third period)

 

Tuesday, July 14

1:30 PM – Round 2/Game 1: Minnesota at Blackhawks (4-3 win — Wild erase three goal deficit, but Teravainen scores game-winner late in second period to cap win)

3:30 PM – Round 2/Game 2: Minnesota at Blackhawks (4-1 win — Kane w/two goals; Crawford 30 saves)

7:00 PM – Round 2/Game 3: Blackhawks at Minnesota (1-0 win — Crawford w/30 saves in shutout win; Kane scores)

11:00 PM – Round 2/Game 4: Blackhawks at Minnesota (4-3 series-clinching win — Seabrook, Shaw, Kane, Hossa score; Blackhawks hold off late third period flurry by Wild)

 

Wednesday, July 15

12:30 PM – Western Conference Final/Game 2: Blackhawks at Anaheim (3-2 triple-OT win — longest game in Blackhawks franchise history; Crawford w/60 saves; Kruger scores game-winner)

4:00 PM – Western Conference Final/Game 4: Anaheim at Blackhawks (5-4 double-OT win — six total third period goals, three each by Blackhawks & Ducks; Vermette scores game-winner)

9:30 PM – Western Conference Final/Game 6: Anaheim at Blackhawks (5-2 win — Blackhawks force a Game 7 thanks to three, key assists from Keith; Kane w/goal & assist in second period)

11:30 PM – Western Conference Final/Game 7: Blackhawks at Anaheim (5-2 series-clinching win — Blackhawks head back to Stanley Cup Final thanks to two first period goals from Toews; Kane w/three assists)

 

Thursday, July 16

12 NOON – Stanley Cup Final/Game 1: Blackhawks at Tampa Bay (2-1 win — Teravainen w/game-tying goal in third period and notches assist on Vermette’s game-winner)

2:15 PM – Stanley Cup Final/Game 4: Tampa Bay at Blackhawks (2-1 win — Crawford w/24 key saves; Saad scores game-winner in third period)

4:30 PM – Stanley Cup Final/Game 5: Blackhawks at Tampa Bay (2-1 win — pivotal Game 5 victory featured Vermette’s game-winner early in third period; stellar defensive showcase for Hjalmarsson; Crawford w/31 big saves)

6:45 PM – Stanley Cup Final/Game 6: Tampa Bay at Blackhawks (2-0 Stanley Cup Championship-clinching shutout win!…first time Blackhawks win title at home since 1938!…Keith wins Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP!  Highlighted by goals via Keith and Kane, along with 25 saves for Crawford, Blackhawks earn their third Stanley Cup title in just six years!)

9:00 PM – Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup Championship Parade & Rally (replay of Comcast SportsNet’s acclaimed, behind-the-scenes coverage of the historic downtown parade celebration on the streets of downtown Chicago and rally at Soldier Field)

 

All times Central Time

Schedule Subject to Change

 

NBCSN PRESENTS NASCAR EDITION OF “OFF THE GRID” SERIES FROM DAYTONA THIS FRIDAY AT 7 P.M. ET

Hosted by NBC Sports’ NASCAR Features Reporter Rutledge Wood and Motorsports Reporter Kelli Stavast

Off the Grid: Daytona Takes Fans Off the Track and Into the Sights and Sounds of Daytona International Speedway

Interviews with NASCAR Legend Richard Petty, 2015 Daytona 500 Grand Marshal Vince Vaughn, Recent Daytona 500 Winners Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray and Trevor Bayne

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 2, 2015 – NBCSN will debut Off the Grid: Daytona, a NASCAR edition of the NBC Sports Group original program that takes motorsports fans behind the scenes of the world’s most iconic racing destinations, this Friday, July 3 at 7 p.m. ET.

Off the Grid: Daytona gives NASCAR fans an in-depth look at the culture and history surrounding Daytona International Speedway, the site of this weekend’s XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 on NBCSN, and Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on NBC, as NASCAR returns to NBC this weekend for the first time since 2006.

Hosted by NBC Sports’ NASCAR features reporter Rutledge Wood and motorsports reporter Kelli Stavast, Off The Grid: Daytona discusses NASCAR’s roots in Daytona Beach with features and interviews that highlight the unique atmosphere in and around Daytona International Speedway, including:

  • NASCAR legend and seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty
  • Actor and 2015 Daytona 500 grand marshal Vince Vaughn
  • Fishing on Lake Lloyd with recent Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman (2008), and interviews with Jamie McMurray (2010) and Trevor Bayne (2011)
  • Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III
  • Crew Chief for the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car Trent Owens
  • A tour around the infield with fans during the week leading into the Daytona 500
  • The origins of stock car racing on Daytona Beach.

WATCH: Off the Grid: Daytona Trailer

WATCH: History of NASCAR in Daytona Beach Clip

NBCSN will air an episode of Off the Grid profiling Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., later this year. Off the Grid debuted last year on NBCSN and has profiled numerous destinations on the Formula One calendar, including Monaco, Barcelona and Melbourne.

 

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

LADY ELI LEADS INTERNATIONAL FIELD IN BELMONT OAKS ON LIVE BROADCAST OF “BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE SERIES: WIN AND YOU’RE IN” THIS SATURDAY, JULY 4 AT 5 PM ET ON NBC

Telecast Features a Look at Past Month for Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah & Connections, Plus Profile of Chris Mara

Classic Division Horses Tangle in Suburban Handicap

 

STAMFORD — July 2, 2015 — The undefeated Lady Eli, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, leads the field of 14 3-year-old fillies for a berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in the $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1) at Belmont Park on the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” live broadcast this Saturday, July 4 on NBC at 5 p.m.  ET.

The Belmont Oaks, run at 1 ¼ miles, will be the third of 10 telecasts under the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In Series” banner of automatic qualifying races leading into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 30-Oct. 31, which will be televised live on NBCSN and NBC.

NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series on Saturday features host Laffit Pincay, III, analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey and five-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, and reporters Donna Brothers and Nick Luck. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier serves as handicapper.

At the site where history was made one month earlier, the NBC Saturday telecast will revisit American Pharoah’s Belmont Stakes victory with a look at what the horse and connections have been doing since claiming the first Triple Crown in 37 years. In addition, Laffit Pincay will narrate a profile of New York Giants founding family member and executive Chris Mara, who is part owner of Belmont Oaks starter Itsonlyracingdad, a name inspired by Mara’s acting daughters Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.

The Belmont Oaks is part of an outstanding stakes card on Stars and Stripes Day at Belmont. The Independence Day card will also include live NBC coverage of the Suburban Handicap (G2) for 3-year-olds and up, and aiming for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 1 ¼ mile Suburban is led by the 4-year-old Tonalist, winner of the 2014 Belmont Stakes and The Jockey Club Gold Cup.

In the Belmont Oaks, Lady Eli, owned by Sheep Pond Partners and trained by Chad Brown, enters on a five-race win streak dating back to her debut on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course. The daughter of Divine Park was brilliant as a 2-year-old, taking the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf by a combined 5 ¾ lengths in addition to her debut score.

This year, Lady Eli has won both of her starts  in dominant fashion, capturing the Appalachian Stakes (G3) at Keeneland by 2 ½ lengths, and then won the local prep for the Belmont Oaks, the May 31 Wonder Again Stakes, by a convincing half-length after being bottled up for much of the stretch.

“There’s always some pressure when you have an undefeated horse; you’d like to keep it going,” said Brown, who won the inaugural running of the Belmont Oaks in 2014 with Minorette. “She’s given us every indication in the morning that she’s going to continue to run her ‘A’ race, but as she goes on the races are always going to get harder. I’d anticipate this being the most difficult race she’s been in, but she seems like she’s up for it. She continues to improve.”
Lady Eli will break from post 2 and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has been aboard the dark bay filly in all five of her career starts.
Brown will also saddle Consumer Credit, most recently third in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park, and Strict Compliance, winner of the Penn Oaks at Penn National in her latest outing. Junior Alvarado will be aboard Consumer Credit from post 7, while Strict Compliance will have the services of Javier Castellano from post 14.

Lady Eli will also be challenged by Jack Nakkashian’s Spanish Queen, brought in from California by trainer Richard Baltas, who saddled her to victory in the American Oaks by a half-length in her most recent start.  She previously won the Grade 2 Honeymoon at Santa Anita in her previous start.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who finished second and third in last year’s edition of the Oaks, will send out two runners in Pine Needles and Miss Chatelaine. The Clement pair is exiting the Wonder Again, in which Pine Needles finished third after setting the pace and Miss Chatelaine closed to finish sixth.

Two runners from Europe have been entered in the Belmont Oaks: Olorda, a Group 3 winner in France trained by Michael Figge, and Outstanding, who won the Irish Stallion Farms Naas Oaks Trial on June 24 for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

As an added element to the racing action, fans can also get into the excitement of the Belmont Oaks by playing the Million Dollar Finish, which offers them the chance to correctly select the exact order of finish of the Belmont Oaks and win a trip the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The game is free to enter and play, and fans can register and submit their picks for each race online at: http://www.milliondollarfinish.com/. The fantasy player with the highest score for each designated race will win a once-in-a-lifetime VIP trip for two to the sold-out 2015 Breeders’ Cup. Along with the 10 chances to win during the Challenge Series, fans can enter for a shot at the ultimate prize of $1 million during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships by predicting the correct order for the top 10 finishers in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will air on Saturday, October 31 on NBC.

 

ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP

When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 10 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, New York Racing Association, Breeders’ Cup, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.

About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships.  The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 grade I races and purses totaling $26 million, will be held October 30-Oct. 31 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms FacebookTwitter and YouTube 

No purchase necessary to enter or win. The Promotion registration period begins on or about April 28, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends on October 31, 2015 at 5:40 p.m. ET. Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C., who are 18 years of age or older. See Official Rules at www.MillionDollarFinish.com/rules for exact registration times for each race, additional eligibility restrictions, prize descriptions/restrictions/ARVs and complete details. Void where prohibited. PROMOTION IS DEVISED AS A NON-GAMBLING PROMOTION and is intended solely for entertainment purposes. Promotion is sponsored by Breeders’ Cup Limited. Breeders’ Cup Limited is the sole sponsor of the Promotion. NBC Sports and NBCUniversal Media, LLC are not sponsors of the Promotion and are not associated with the administration of the Promotion in any way. Entrants are providing information to sponsors and not to NBC Sports and NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

BYTES: NBC SPORTS DIGITAL POSTS SECOND QUARTER GAINS

NBC SPORTS DIGITAL “BYTES”

July 2, 2015 – Vol. 60

NBC Sports Digital “Bytes” is a collection of highlights, information and metrics for NBC Sports Digital properties. Previous editions can be found on NBCSportsGroupPressbox.com.

NBC Sports Digital Posts Second Quarter Gains

Live content from the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final, Premier League, and Triple Crown horse racing contributed to NBC Sports Group’s digital sites posting an 8% second-quarter gain in time spent on the sites versus the same quarter last year (1.56 billion total minutes vs. 1.45 billion).

Additional second-quarter metric highlights include:

  • Golf Channel Digital posted its best quarter ever for both page views (267 million views) and average monthly unique devices (6 million devices) to site and mobile app.
  •  Short form VOD web content finished the quarter with nearly 18.5 million starts, an increase of 69% over the same period last year (11 million).
  • The “American Pharoah Ends Triple Crown Drought” VOD clip was viewed 1.3 million times – nearly three times more than the top performing VOD clip in the same period last year (“California Chrome Wins Preakness Stakes”; 453,000 starts).

Rotoworld.com Posts Best June Ever

Boosted by coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final, the NBA Finals and MLB, Rotoworld.com posted its best June ever with 3.4 million uniques and 14.1 million visits, up 16% and 8%, respectively, over June 2014. Following are the most-visited player pages on Rotoworld.com during June:

  1. Stephen Curry (NBA, Golden State Warriors)
  2. LeBron James (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
  3. Kyrie Irving (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
  4. Bryce Harper (MLB, Washington Nationals)
  5. Carlos Correa (MLB, Houston Astros)
  6. Joey Gallo (MLB, Texas Rangers)
  7. Byron Buxton (MLB, Minnesota Twins)
  8. Kevin Love (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
  9. Dwyane Wade (NBA, Miami Heat)
  10. Alex Rodriguez (MLB, New York Yankees)

 

NBC Sports Social Media Deploy Around-the-Clock Coverage for NASCAR on NBC Debut

To gear up for the launch of NBC Sports Group’s 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR’s championship run, NBC Sports’ social media team is deploying around-the-clock coverage across all of NBC Sports’ social media platforms this week.

Throughout the week, NBC Sports Group will debut exclusive NASCAR content, including Twitter Takeovers, Vine tours of the track at Daytona, and ‘A Day in the Life’ Instagram takeovers. Click here for more information.

NBC Sports Live Extra Gears Up For NASCAR On NBC with Exclusive Camera Angles and Interactive Features

NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs, will provide racing fans with unparalleled interactive digital access to every NASCAR Sprint Cup series race, including exclusive camera angles, custom diver information, and insider track information. Sprint Cup Series coverage begins with the 57th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola race this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC. Click here for more information.

CSNwashington.com and CSNbaltimore.com Present “Best of the Best”

On Monday, June 29, CSN Mid-Atlantic launched an interactive, multiplatform campaign to determine the top Washington Redskin and Baltimore Raven of the last 50 years. The bracket-style tournaments started with each teams’ 16 greatest players of the Super Bowl era, which will be pared down by fan voting at CSNwashington.com and CSNbaltimore.com over four weekly rounds. The campaign will culminate when the “best-of-the-best” are revealed July 28, the day before NFL training camps kickoff. The matchups and results will be highlighted nightly on “Countdown to Training Camp” and across the network’s digital and social platforms throughout the month-long tournament.

ICYMI on NBC SportsWorld, NBC Sports Digital’s Long-Form Website

Ahead of NASCAR’s  debut on NBC, Joe Posnanski headed out to California to spend time with six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson opens up about how he first fell in love with the sport, what it would mean to pass Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list, and why his Management By Strengths profile test might not have the results that most would expect. Click here for the long form story on NBC SportsWorld.

— NBC SPORTS DIGITAL —

NBC SPORTS GROUP’S “TOUR PASS” – JULY 2

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 2, 2015 – “Tour Pass” on NBC Sports Group Press Box provides a quick, daily overview of Tour de France coverage, plus information and highlights. It will be published weekdays to preview the nightly Tour Primetime show, featuring a look at the day’s most compelling action with new analysis, interviews, and updates. On Fridays, a weekend “Tour Pass” edition will be posted.

Coverage of the Tour de France will be presented on NBC and NBCSN. For more information on NBC Sports Group’s overall Tour de France coverage, click here.

Live coverage of the 2015 Tour de France begins this Saturday, July 4, at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN with Stage 1 in Utrecht, and continues at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Sunday, July 5, NBCSN’s live coverage of Stage 2 from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans begins at 7 a.m. ET and continues at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, wrapping up with Tour Primetime at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBCSN’s live coverage of Stage 3 from Antwerp to Huy begins at 7 a.m. ET on Monday, July 6.

Date Time (ET) Coverage Network
Sat., July 4 7 a.m. – Noon Stage 1:  Utrecht (LIVE) NBCSN
Sat., July 4 3 – 4 p.m. Stage 1:  Utrecht NBC
Sun., July 5 7 a.m. – Noon Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans (LIVE) NBCSN
Sun., July 5 2 – 4 p.m. Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans NBC
Sun., July 5 8 – 11 p.m. Stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans NBCSN
Mon., July 6 7 a.m. – Noon Stage 3: Antwerp to Huy (LIVE) NBCSN

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, the voices of cycling, call the race action for the live shows with reporters Steve SchlangerJenna Corrado, and Steve Porino (‘inside-the-race’). Todd Harris hosts nightly studio coverage with analyst Bob Roll, and former professional cyclists and analysts Christian Vande Velde and Jens Voigt, who makes his Tour de France debut for NBC Sports Group.

TOUR PRIMETIME ON NBCSN

Tour Primetime will air on NBCSN throughout the Tour. The show will take a look at the day’s stage with comprehensive analysis, insights and the most compelling storylines. Highlighting Tour Primetime will be a full replay of the day’s exciting race action complemented by fresh, post-race interviews with riders, telestrator analysis, and strategy segments.

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

— NBC SPORTS GROUP —

TRANSCRIPT: NBC SPORTS GROUP’S NASCAR LAUNCH CONFERENCE CALL

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 1, 2015 – NBC Sports Group’s Chairman, Mark Lazarus, Executive Producer, Sam Flood, President of Programming, Jon Miller, 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton, Daytona 500 champion crew chief Steve Letarte, and race announcer Rick Allen previewed the launch of NASCAR on NBC on a conference call today. NBC’s 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR’s championship run begins this 4th of July weekend from Daytona International Speedway, with the 57th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, July 5, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, and the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Following is a transcript of the call.

THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, everyone, for joining us today as we prepare to launch NBC Sports Group’s ten-year partnership as the home of NASCAR’s championship run over this 4th of July weekend from Daytona International Speedway.

An NBC Sports press release was issued earlier that details more than 23 hours of coverage that will unfold over the holiday weekend, highlighted by a live presentation of the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday night.  Coverage of that event begins at 6:30 p.m. eastern on NBCSN.

Then on Sunday night, NBC presents its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since 2006 with the 57th running of the Coke Zero 400 under the lights at Daytona.  Pre-race coverage on Sunday begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern on NBC.

With us today on this call is the chairman of NBC Sports group, Mr. Mark Lazarus; the executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN, Sam Flood; and the president of programming for NBC Sports, Jon Miller.  We also have 21 time Sprint Cup winning driver and NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Jeff Burton; Daytona 500 winning crew chief and just yesterday he was crowned champion coach of the TODAY Show Pit Stop Challenge, NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Steve Letarte.  We’re also joined by NBC’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race announcer Rick Allen.

MARK LAZARUS:  Thank you.  We are thrilled to be bringing NASCAR back to NBC after this nine year absence, and for the first time ever bringing it to NBC Sports Network.  Having both of these platforms allows us to offer wall-to-wall coverage of each and every weekend over the next 20 weeks for both the XFINITY Series and the Cup Series, practices, qualifying and the races themselves.

We’ve been waiting for this weekend for two years since we first struck our deal.  We want to thank Brian France and his team for the support and we look forward to this very exciting launch of this new property for us.

The deal means a lot to all of us, to our advertisers, our distribution partners, and hopefully to NASCAR fans.  We’re committed to doing the best job possible. All of our predecessors have done a terrific job and we look forward to living up to our end of the bargain.  NASCAR will be an important property for the NBC Sports Group.  We’re going to do the best we can.  We take this responsibility very seriously.

We have an exceptional team both in front of and behind the camera, many of whom you’ll hear from today and over the next few weeks, all led by Sam Flood, our executive producer.  Sam?

SAM FLOOD:  We couldn’t be more excited.  15 years ago we did our first big race in the old NASCAR NBC contract, and that was in Daytona, and we can’t wait to get back there to do it again.  For the last 15 years we’ve watched FOX set the gold standard and do a wonderful job building the sport, growing the sport and telling the stories of these amazing drivers.

We’ve got a new team that we’ll be putting on the air this weekend.  One of the first phone calls I made after Mark told us we had NASCAR was to Jeff Burton, and for the six years that we covered the sport previously, the first guy we went to in the garage when a story was happening and when there was opinion we wanted to hear, it was Jeff Burton’s. So, we’re looking forward to the rookie broadcaster getting on the air for us this weekend.  And Steve Letarte, was always a crew chief that made you understand what was going on for a stick and ball society, and understand what’s happening inside an engine and with the race car. He tells it in a way that makes it very simple, and I look forward to hearing his work this weekend.  With Rick, playing ringmaster up there in the booth, will be a lot of fun.

This weekend is the first time these three have worked together in a live racing situation.  We’ve rehearsed, we’ve practiced, but it’s a very different situation when we do it for real.  So we’re excited for the opportunity.  It’ll be a learning experience for these guys.  They’re ready, but obviously there will be mistakes.  They’re going to learn, they’re going to get better every week, and we look forward to growing with the sport and our telecast growing on a weekly basis.

Jeff Behnke, who’s day-to-day in charge of this operation, lives in Charlotte near the race teams and has been touching the sport on a daily basis for the last two years, and we’re excited that his vision and planning is all going to come to fruition this weekend in Daytona. Hopefully the weather gods are cooperative and we have perfect weather for great racing under the lights in Daytona, because there’s nothing quite like the spectacle that happens in Daytona twice a year.

JEFF BURTON:  I’m looking forward to Daytona.  I mean, restrictor plate racing is exceptionally exciting.  There’s so much on the fine.  I think that makes the restrictor plate race even that much more exciting, so for me, our first telecast, being able to share all the things that we’ve learned over the last 20, 25, 30 years of our careers with the fans, and do it at Daytona, I don’t know that it could be a more perfect weekend. Because, there’s so much on the line, and there’s so many people that can win this race.  I’m just looking forward to going down there and having fun and enjoying the race.

STEVE LETARTE:  Yeah, I’m looking forward to the opportunity that NBC has provided for me to transition from the pit box to the broadcast booth and be able to watch these races from the other side of the racetrack.  It’s a sport that I’ve grown up in.  I’ve been a part of a race team since I was probably 16-years-old.  It’s all I’ve ever known, and this gives me the opportunity to tell everyone at home the things I’ve learned over these last 20 years and show hopefully the excitement I have for the sport.

I agree with Jeff that Daytona is an unbelievable platform.  We race our Super Bowl here in the spring, but the summer race under the lights is absolutely a spectacle, two and a half mile racetrack with 43 drivers running around 200 miles an hour is something that you have to see to truly believe. I’m excited to climb up into the booth for the first time and work with Jeff and Rick, and get this new career of mine underway.

Sam, I see that you appear to be tinkering with the starting times of some races, Indy at 3:30, Watkins Glen at 2:00, and Michigan at 2:30.  Can you talk about why you’re doing that?  I think in the last year or so, NASCAR got back to 1 p.m. for Sunday races being a pretty traditional starting time.

SAM FLOOD:  Well, I’m going to do the smart thing that a producer does and hand off to the president of programming, Mr. Jon Miller, who worries about when the races start.  I worry about how we tell the story of the race.

JON MILLER:  Thank you, Sam.  You know, obviously when we schedule the races out there, we look to maximize the ratings, maximize the exposure, and give it the best possible lead in that we can.  We’ve got pre-races planned for all of these shows, both on NBC Sports Network and then obviously on NBC, as well, and the goal here is to try to maximize that audience to try to deliver for advertisers as well as make it accessible to as many viewers as possible.

We have the luxury of working with NASCAR on trying to determine the best times for these races to maximize that.  Obviously, we’ll be receptive and responsive if there are weather situations and things like that that come into play, but our goal here is to maximize the audience the best way we can.

Sam, will there be a lot that will be different?  We’ve seen the information coming out about what you’ll do with social media and what the programming might be, but will the fans see anything different, any different feel to it all?

SAM FLOOD:  I think our number one job is to tell the story of the race, and that’s a style that NBC has had for a long, long time, to be storytellers, and our goal is to make you care about each driver in the race and tell you the story of each driver, and how it impacts the team and their chance to compete for the Cup at the end of the year.

We’re not about bells and whistles.  We’re about telling the story. I think that’s our number one objective, to tell a proper story and take advantage of this talent team to tell you what’s happening and why.  Why is the most important question I’ve asked Jeff and Steve to have in front of them, why.  Why one car can’t turn as well as another car turns; why one car is great on pit road and another car is not.  That’s the magic word, and if we answer the “why” question, we’re going to make you care.

Steve, it was fun to watch you on Periscope yesterday and you interviewing Dale Earnhardt Jr. and he was saying, it’s so different, you like all the teams now or something, because you’ll be covering all the teams.  How was it to be interviewing Dale Jr. as a journalist as opposed to being his crew chief?

STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I mean, without a doubt Dale is a very good friend of mine.  We spent a tremendous amount of time together in the garage area and on the same race team trying to compete for wins, so it was a comforting start for me to start in my interview process to cover it with a guy like Dale.  He’s a huge superstar in the sport but also a good friend of mine, and he is the utmost professional.  In the media side, whenever he’s been asked about the sport or even when I spent time with him and interviewed him some yesterday, the way he covers the sport, the way he cares about the sport really comes through with his answers, so it was a unique opportunity for me to sit across from him with a different position, but it felt comfortable and it felt fun, and I look forward to talking to more drivers in the future.

Sam, whether it’s on-air content or on the production side, is there anything that fans can expect to see differently than they would from other networks that have covered NASCAR racing over the years?

SAM FLOOD:  I think the most important thing is, again, staying true to the sport and growing the sport.  We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.  People have done a wonderful job covering this sport for a long time.  FOX obviously has been in this for 15 years.  They won the Emmy for best live series last year.  They understand how to cover NASCAR.  We’re going to build and learn and grow.  We have a great group on pit road that’s going to take you inside the race, tell you why things are happening down there.  I think the booth with the fresh from the pit box, fresh from the car perspective is going to be a nice listen for the audience, but again, they’re learning, we’re learning on the job.  It’s unlike anything else.

There’s no other way to show it than being on the air and doing it for real.  These guys are going to be under live fire telling the stories of these races, and we’re excited about that opportunity.  Our pre-race show is going to touch a ton of topics.  We’ve got some neat stories already planned for this first show.  We’ve moved our pre-race set to the head of the grid, so on Sundays, on Cup days, you are going to be right there at the head of the action, and that’s where Krista [Voda] and Dale [Jarrett] and Kyle [Petty] are going to be for the majority of the races, right there in the middle of the occasion on open set where the fans can be part of the show.  So we think being at the racetrack is such a wonderful experience, and if you go to the racetrack, you’re going to watch NASCAR on television, so we want to showcase how cool it is to be at the racetrack. That’s one of the key agenda points we have in our pre-race show, to bring the fans back to the energy and excitement of the racetrack.

Steve, one of your favorite quotes when you were a crew chief is that “hope is not a strategy,” so I’m curious what have you been doing the last four or five months so that you don’t just have to hope that you do a good job.

STEVE LETARTE:  Yeah, that is one of my favorite quotes, and it really applies to this new position.  Ever since I’ve joined NBC, late at the end of last year in December and moving into 2015, there has been a strategy the whole time.  Sam has laid out a plan and Jeff Behnke and everyone at NBC that has a tremendous amount of experience in creating sports television and of getting practice for Jeff and myself and Rick and doing it in a way that it wasn’t all at once.  We really took it in layers to try to understand the parts of the broadcast I didn’t understand.  I’m very confident I understand racing and the race from my years of experience on the pit box and in the garage, but how to bring that home to the viewer, and much like Sam said, to understand the NBC philosophy of being a storyteller and talking about these stars in the sport.

We have some really great stars that not only drive the cars, but sit on top of the pit box and change the tires.  We have so many great people involved in the sport that they have kind of taught me their philosophy.  It definitely hasn’t been guesswork.  There’s been a strategy to lead up to Daytona, but much like Sam has said on this broadcast, there’s nothing like a live race.  I remember my first race as a crew chief I had a lot to learn, even with all the years of practice, and I would expect the same in this new venture.  A lot of practices under our belt, and now we’re excited to get here this weekend and get some live racing and see how we do when it’s for real.

I’ve seen your Twitter feed, looks like you’ve done some golfing.  Has that been enough to kind of fulfill the competitive juices for you?

STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I think that the golfing helps, and racing with my son helps with the competitive juices, and there’s nothing like Sunday.  I won’t downplay it.  There are very few things in life that are like being a head coach or a crew chief on Sunday and trying to compete for wins.

But the challenge that NBC has placed upon me to do my role within this team is not an insignificant challenge, and that has really allowed me something to not just fulfill my time but your brain and everything you use to try to win races, I’ve been able to apply that to this new job.  I haven’t taken this job just for less work.  I’ve taken this job to be great at it.  I want to be good at television, but that’s not going to happen overnight.  I have a lot to learn, and I’ve leaned on a great team at NBC, and I’m just ready to kind of get it going.

SAM FLOOD:  What’s also nice is that Steve is able to get a little extra cash by playing golf because I understand Rick likes to donate to the Steve Letarte college fund.

STEVE LETARTE:  It’s helped.

Rick, I could open up with how’s your golf game, I guess.

RICK ALLEN:  Actually I did say that because I do want to mention that when Steve and I play golf, and Jeff and I, we’ve all got together and we’ve spent time away from the racetrack to get to know each other. When you have a period of time, four hours or whatever it is, where you can learn more about a person and get to know them away from the racetrack that’s great. We all know that Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton are incredibly knowledgeable about the sport of NASCAR.

My job is to make sure their knowledge comes out easiest, and I’ve got to figure out how to get that out of them the easiest way I can.  So knowing them personally, knowing them as well as I can, I think, has helped me formulate the way that we can discuss things in the booth and we can bring the race to the people in a conversational manner.

We joke about it, and we have a lot of fun, and obviously we spend a lot of time together, not in the race setting, and I think it’s helped us an enormous amount.  So, I’m very excited about being able to get up into the booth with two very good friends of mine and call a race and just have a lot of fun.  And if it’s cost me a couple bucks on the golf course, then so be it.

Sam, I wanted to ask you from a production standpoint, I guess, are there any issues or concerns this weekend specifically that might be due to the ongoing Daytona Rising project?  Have you had to work around anything because of the construction and everything that’s going on down there?

SAM FLOOD:  Yeah, there are obviously a lot of different elements to the broadcast because of the construction, but the track has been wonderful about accommodating us.  They’ve created a special booth for us that we’ll be calling the race from for Rick, Jeff and Steve.  They’ve got their cappuccino maker in there, they’ve got the hot tub, so they’re all set up there in this temporary booth space, and they’ll be able to see the track very well.  They’re just a little off the finish line, so it’s not quite like they’ll be when Daytona Rising is completed, but I think the racetrack has been incredibly accommodating working with us to make sure we have the camera positions we want and to make sure all the assets are in place for us to televise the race to the best of our ability.

Sam, you guys haven’t been televising NASCAR races for a few years now.  How has the sport changed since you guys were here last?  What have you noticed?

SAM FLOOD:  Well, the 99 is no longer driven by Jeff Burton.  That’s how long ago it was since I was producing the sport.

I think the technology continues to improve.  The stories have changed.  There’s a younger generation of drivers coming in that we’re going to have the opportunity over this contract to get America to get to know them, some great young drivers and the established stars are still there, and they’re great stars, and they’re great personalities, and what I always loved about NASCAR was the people.  You’ve got the drivers and the crew chiefs and these teams that work so well together, and the fascinating ownership groups that oversee the various race groups.

We’ll be able to tell those stories for a long time and build the new stories, and that’s what makes this sport so special.  Every race is an all-star game because the stars are out there every week.

In other sports, if your elite athlete isn’t there or it’s not a matchup of two marquee teams, it’s not as big an event.  Well, all the stars come out to play every race in this sport, and they go head to head in every race, so you really get to see the best on a weekly basis.  And to have the last 20 races of the season and to have the 10 races of the Chase is a pretty cool deal and pretty exciting, and we’re very blessed that Mark was able to get this deal done with NASCAR so we’re able to tell these stories when the pressure is on the line, the race to the Chase, leading up to Richmond, and then those 10 races to the Chase, there’s nothing quite like the drama, and the new system and format that NASCAR put in place last year is wonderful.  I think it’ll be fun for us to see how it evolves this year, now that the teams have had a year to learn how to compete in the Chase.

Sam, for years in order to follow the positions of the cars on the racetrack, they ran a banner across the top, and in recent months or years, I don’t know how long it’s been going on, they put columns of three positions.  Which system are you going to use?

SAM FLOOD:  We’re going to use the band across the top.

Thank you, and thank goodness because the other was very annoying, especially if you have not a very large TV.  We NASCAR reporters can’t afford real big TVs so you lose half the picture when you run those three deep columns.  Thank you.

SAM FLOOD:  No problem.

Steve, this morning Dale Jr. basically jokingly on one of your media appearances said, “the future of the sport is in your hands,” but in many ways that is true.  As you have thought about this opportunity and your predecessors, Benny Parsons, the Darrell Waltrips who were able to take what they knew and loved about the sport and present it to the current generation in a way that was interesting, what do you think about this current generation, the millennial generation?  What is it about NASCAR Sprint Cup racing that they will find interesting, and what do you want to do to try to unlock that interest of fans that are potential fans, not fans just yet?

STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I think first, you’re absolutely right.  I don’t think Jeff or myself or Rick for that matter takes it very lightly at all, the responsibility that we have to cover this sport for our fan base, for the partners, for the sponsors, for everyone who’s involved.  You mentioned some great names there with DW and Benny and guys that have really set the bar on covering this sport with passion and excitement and have done a great job of telling the stories.

And I think as the fan base has changed or really as the world in general has changed and there’s a different wave of people, what entertains them and what excites them, NASCAR is still on the list.  NASCAR is a very exciting sport, and there’s a tremendous amount of stars and great stories in the sport, and I think that is our key in putting on the show. The show is not the guys in the booth or the reporters.  Our job is to bring the sport home, which are the drivers and the crew chiefs.  That’s our goal, and I’m hoping at my age, I’m young, I’m 36, even with 20 years in the sport.  I got a very early start; I became a crew chief in my mid-20s, so I’m on the younger side of people that have that much experience.  I’m hoping that helps me connect maybe with the younger crowd, and I think that I see races different than other people, different than even Jeff in the booth, and that’s one of the coolest things I’ve found just with these practices and spending time is Jeff Burton is a driver’s driver and he watches the races from a driver’s standpoint and he points things out to me that even with 20 years’ experience I didn’t see the race that way, and he’s told me the same about myself, when I point things out as a crew chief, he finds that entertaining because it’s new to him, and I think Rick is a great kind of conductor to make sure that we both have our chance to put our points in there, and we’re going to disagree and we’re going to agree and we’re going to try to just explain what’s going on at the racetrack and the whys of it.

We have great directors, and they know how to get the cameras in the right places, and it’s going to be entertaining to watch, and we’re just going to try to fill those great pictures with the whys and our expertise from years in the sport.

SAM FLOOD:  Just to chime in real quickly on the thought of audience and the diversity of the audience and the younger audience, we’ve hired in the pre-race show, I talked about the stars and the cars.  There are also the racetracks themselves and the cities these tracks are in are stars in their own right, and Rutledge Wood has joined our team, and part of his task is to make the tracks stars and make people understand why it’s cool to go to Bristol, why you’ve got to make a trip at some point to Talladega when you’re a true NASCAR fan, why you have to experience a race in Watkins Glen.  That’s all part of what his job is going to be, and then take you to some of the cool cultural elements that are around these racetracks and places you need to go.  What’s that one spot you have to stop by in you’re in Martinsville.  We all know about the hot dog, but there’s more to it than that, and if anyone can discover those things, it’s Rutledge, and that’s of the reasons he’s on board, to give a different view and a different take on these racetracks and these locations.

Sam, the second screen experience that everybody has kind of come to know and love, watching your big screen on the wall while watching your little screen in your lap and monitoring different things, what different things can we expect?  What kind of integration are you planning?  Will there be social media interaction with hosts or reporters?  Will there be a way to wrap all that together for the super die-hards to gain more information than just what’s on the primary screen?

SAM FLOOD:  The super die-hards and I’d say even the casual fan, should go to Live Extra and look at our digital offers.  It’s going to be very deep, a lot of different views of the race, a lot of different ways to consume the race in new ways, both statistical information and visual, so you’re going to be able to see a number of different cameras, camera angles, and audio that you wouldn’t otherwise hear, so I think it’s a neat new opportunity, and our digital group is rolling it out this weekend.  They’ve shown me a lot of the elements.  I’m very excited about them.  It’s a very smart plan, and hopefully it is as good an experience as we expect it to be.

Jeff and Steve, I’m just interested in I know you haven’t done a real race but you’ve done some practices and stuff.  What’s been different about the television aspect that you might not have known coming in?  What’s been easier or more difficult?  What’s been different than your expectations?

JEFF BURTON:  Well, I think for me the complexity of it, the number of people that it takes, the number of different jobs that are out there that are required to be done.  When you watch TV and you see a stat pop up on the screen, you really take that for granted.  You don’t realize the number of people that had to go and do research and all the things that went into getting that stat that we take for granted.

The understanding, and this by the way was really good for me, the understanding that you’re part of a team, that I always knew there were a group of people that did television, that made it happen, but I didn’t understand it was so many people and what everybody did, and coming from a sports background, being part of a team for 35 years of my life, to experience that was good for me because it showed me that I am still part of a team.

That was the most surprising thing.  You know, I’ve watched races when I was driving, just because there was an XFINITY race that I wasn’t in, I didn’t go play golf on Saturday afternoon, I watched the race.  I’m a huge race fan.  I love racing, so I’ve watched a lot of racing, but just understanding more how it all worked and how it gets put together, that’s been fascinating, and we’re still learning it.  We went to Michigan a few weeks ago, and I think Steve and I were both like, ‘what do you do?’ and ‘what do you do?,’ and we don’t know.  That’s been fascinating to me.

STEVE LETARTE:  Yeah, I’m going to echo Jeff’s comments.  For years everyone always asks what motivates a driver and a crew chief and everyone has different motivations, but what motivated me on top of the pit box was to know that I had 500 teammates back at Hendrick Motorsports that had put their blood, sweat and tears into that race car that I was taking to the racetrack and it was my responsibility to get the most out of it on a Sunday afternoon.  That’s something I didn’t know it was going to exist or how would you replace it, and really what I’ve learned is it didn’t disappear.

Now with the NBC family, when we go to the racetrack and we see this large group of people, and even before the racetrack when we sit in meetings in Stamford at NBC Sports and sit with the graphics people and sit with all the people that make this show go on, it has given me the same sort of responsibility, the feeling of responsibility to these men and women who have done their jobs, who have done a tremendous job of getting us to this weekend.  I mean, this has been, as they said at the top of the call, a two year buildup, and here we are, and we’re still going to learn, and we’re not going to get everything right here in Daytona, but I get to stand up there and cover these races, and I know that there are a tremendous list of talented people that have done their jobs, and I think that will push Jeff and I to continue to study, continue to practice, continue to review tape, continue to try to become as good in our new field as we were in our old field, and that challenge is very exciting.

Jeff, I guess when you were a driver, the media, we often sought you out for your comments, your perspective on a great many subjects, but back when you were driving, could you have imagined being in the booth and really calling a race and really doing it as a full time job?

JEFF BURTON:  Well, you know, whatever I’ve ever done, I’ve just focused 100 percent on that.  And so when I was in the XFINITY Series, and I know most people don’t believe this, but it’s true, I wasn’t focused on being a Cup driver, I was focused on being an XFINITY driver, so when I was driving a Cup car, I was focused on that.

When Sam reached out to me, you know, then I had to start thinking about it.  And when I started thinking about it, it was very compelling to me.  It was very interesting to me because it gave me the opportunity to stay involved in a sport that I truly love.  I mean, I love motorsports, I love NASCAR; being a part of that family means something to me.  And when I did drive, I didn’t want to just be a driver, I wanted to leave the sport in a place that was better than when I got to it.  And I wasn’t the only one that did that, but I wanted to do that, too, because a lot of people did that for me.

So when this opportunity presented itself, it allowed me to do all those things.  I wasn’t looking to quit working, I was just looking to not drive, I was looking to do something else, and this has given me an opportunity to go do something that still involves the thing that I really enjoy doing.

10 years ago could I have imagined it, no, not at all.  Two years ago, I started imagining that maybe I could do it and Sam convinced me that I could, so here we are.  I’m really excited about it, the opportunity to explain more than just the obvious, the opportunity to    as Sam said earlier, to answer the question why.  That’s going to be fun.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s taken on it feels like it’s been just yesterday when Sam and I first had our conversation.  But it’s here now, and I’m excited about getting going.

How do you think these new rules, particularly at a track like Kentucky, how do you think they might affect the racing?

JEFF BURTON:  That’s a great question.  Steve and I are going to go, we’re going early to watch the open practices.  We want to get as much information as we can.  Steve and I have both been involved in a lot of tests throughout the years of taking downforce away, adding downforce.  We have been part of a lot of those things.

I think it’s clear that taking downforce away is something that all the drivers want to do.  I also think it’s clear that all the drivers want to add some mechanical grip in some form or fashion with the reduction in downforce.  If those things can happen coincidentally, I think there’s a chance that the racing will improve.  When I say improve, that’s a very broad topic.  If people want to see more passing, if people want to see closer racing, there is potential for less downforce and more mechanical grip to make that happen.  I don’t think there’s the potential for that with just less downforce, so there’s got to be an addition of tire grip, and I know Goodyear has worked really hard on the tire going to Kentucky.  So I don’t want to call it a test because it’s a real race, but this is the first time that I’m aware of that we’re really taking downforce away and tried to add mechanical grip at the same time.

So if those things happen, we could see an improvement.  If nothing else, it’s going to be really interesting to see who can do a good job of this, and let me tell you something:  Every race matters, and I’ll go back to a long time ago, they put restrictor plates on the cars at New Hampshire.  Our team embraced that.  We said, hey, let’s go make it work.  We went and tested, we went and worked, we qualified second and led every lap of that race, and everybody said that was because of the restrictor plate.  It was because of the opportunity that the restrictor plate presented.

What I’m interested in seeing next week is what team takes this opportunity, what group takes this opportunity, doesn’t complain about it, doesn’t whine about it, isn’t happy about it, nothing, just sees it as an opportunity and does the best job with it, because no matter what the rules are, somebody is going to get that trophy, and so to me, that’s the more fascinating part of the race, who takes advantage of this opportunity, because this is a change.

To my knowledge NASCAR has never done this with the exception of that restrictor plate race, where they make a major change and say, hey, it’s potentially just for this one race.  It’s just really, really to me it’s exceptionally interesting who can take advantage of it.

Rick, when you were calling races at Eagle Raceway, did you ever think you’d reach kind of the pinnacle of announcing in Motorsports, and what was it about that experience at Eagle is that kind of led you to want to go down this road?

RICK ALLEN:  Well, when I was announcing dirt racing, dirt track racing, at Eagle Raceway just outside of Lincoln, I was doing it as a weekend job.  My first priority was being the public address announcer for the University of Nebraska for basketball and all the other sports.  It wasn’t a main focus of mine, and I guess I didn’t have aspirations of actually even being on television until  I mean, amazingly, Sam Flood called my house and said, hey, you know, we’ve heard that you might be interested in being a part of broadcasting and doing television.  Sam was smart enough at the time to let FOX hire me and teach me the ways of television so that 12 years later I could be doing what I’m doing working with this team and working once again with Sam Flood here with NBC Sports.

It’s a dream come true.  I’ve always wanted to,  I’ve always wanted to excel and be at the pinnacle of whatever I’m doing, and that’s what I consider doing now with NBC Sports is working with one of the most talented groups of people I’ve ever been around, calling the highest level of motorsports.  So I’m very excited about it. I never dreamed that it could become a reality, but now that it’s only four days away, it’s definitely a reality and it’s a lot of fun.

Outside of the different circuits and the drivers, what’s been the biggest adjustment for you in getting ready for the Sprint Cup and XFINITY series and just NBC?

RICK ALLEN:  I don’t know if it’s an adjustment or if it’s just the fact of getting to know people better.  I think one of the biggest things that has happened over my career is I’ve become very close with all of the people that I’ve worked with, and I think that helps me in my job because I know discussions that I can have with the people that I work with.  And when we’re on the air and we’re discussing something in particular, I can refer back to the fact that Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte both have sons that are right now involved in racing. Steve Letarte’s son was upside down in a go kart not very long ago, and we were able to kind of share that experience and how it went, and that’s something that I will have in the back of my mind.  That was an experience that I’m sure scared him a little bit as a father.

So he’s going to be able to bring that out if we see an accident, where something takes place, or the excellence that it took for Jeff’s son Harrison to win in the late models and the races.  Those are things that we can pull that out because we get to know each other better.

So I think the biggest change for me is just getting to know the people better than just being coworkers.  I consider them friends, close friends, all of the people that I work with, so that we can carry on a conversation during a broadcast as opposed to just give the information that’s taking place on the track.  It’s going to feel like you’re sitting down on the couch with us and watching the race, that you’re sitting next to us and we’re discussing the race with you, and that’s because the chemistry that we have isn’t just coworkers, it’s friends.

Jeff and Steve, I’ve known Jeff since South Boston Speedway way back in the 1980s, the two of you have grown up in a racing career and learned and learned and learned.  How challenging is what you faced then compared to the challenges of what you face now?

JEFF BURTON:  Well, we want to be really good at this.  You know, we don’t and I say we, I’m talking about everybody at NBC,  we want to do a really good job, and we know we’re going to make mistakes along the way.  But we know it’s going to be hard.

We can there’s two ways you can approach this. You can approach it as a part time job or you can approach it as a full time job and want to be really, really good at it, and that’s the way we’re all approaching it, so there are going to be challenges, there are going to be a lot of them, because we care.  I owe it to everyone that I work with to do the very best job I can, and everyone that works with me owes that to me. That’s the accountability in this thing.

To be quite honest with you, and I’m going to speak    one thing I know about myself, it’s really smart to know what you don’t know, and there’s a lot I don’t know.  Some of the challenges that are going to be in front of me, I don’t even know what they are yet.  To this date the hardest thing has been just learning when to talk, like when do I talk, when does Steve    just getting that flow working, which I think that went pretty quick.  But I think the biggest challenge is ahead of us.  I think the longer we’re around this sport, the more we’re going to have to work.  It’s not the opposite.

I think two years from now, we’re going to have to work harder to know the stories, to know the things in the garage that we know now because we’ve been so involved in it.  So I think when I accepted this position, I knew that this was a job that was going to take a lot of effort, but I didn’t understand and still today don’t understand all the challenges because I’m new at it.

But I do know that we will have to work in 2017, 2018.  We’re going to have to work in those years harder than what we’re working now to make sure we are really involved and that we really understand, because we owe it to the fans to know what we’re talking about.  And to me, that’s the challenge that I know, but I know there’s a lot of challenges that I don’t know and that I don’t understand.

STEVE LETARTE:  Yeah, I’ll simply say that I truly believe that the position doesn’t determine how challenging it is, it’s the person that holds the position.  With all the years I’ve had at my former position and my former job, I felt just as much pressure when I was the tire guy for Evernham as I did when I was the car chief for Robbie Loomis, as I did when I was the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., because that’s how I’ve been raised.  My father raised me if you’re going to do something, do it to the absolute best of your ability, and that pressure to perform, the challenge that you put ahead of yourself, it didn’t change through all those positions, so I don’t expect it to change in this new position.  I expect it to be just as difficult, just as challenging, because that’s my goal is to make it difficult and make it challenging because I didn’t take this job to just cruise through it.  I took this job to be great at it, and that’s what Sam expects, that’s what the NASCAR fans expect, and I’m very new at it, and much like Jeff said, there’s a tremendous amount I don’t know, and that I think is what makes Daytona is exciting here in a few days is it’s real, it’s here, it’s not practice anymore, and I think it’s time. I feel prepared, and I’m sure when the race is over on Sunday, I’ll have a whole new list of things that I need to prepare for differently than when I go to Kentucky.  If I don’t, then I’ll be disappointed that I wasn’t as hard on myself as I should be

As a race car driver and as a crew chief, some of the greatest moments are standing in victory lane and collecting that trophy and the checkered flag and everything.  Will every race you do as an announcer almost be like a victory lane to start off with?

STEVE LETARTE:  Well, first I would say as a crew chief, I know it would mean obvious that it’s victory lane, but there’s a tremendous amount or list of victories that I’ve had that are not only on the racetrack.  There are people that I’ve hired young in age that have turned into great engineers and crew chiefs on other race teams.  There are a lot of people that I’ve been able to affect.  It’s not just winning on Sunday.  There’s a lot more to the position that I held, and I think that when I go back and listen to some of the practices we’ve done, there have been some small victories in there of segments or an exciting part of the race or pit strategy that I’ve explained that I felt like we really did a good job at, and then I have a list of those same moments that were not very well covered.

So I think that you have to look at every opportunity as a small victory and kind of try to stack them together and make it into a good production.

JEFF BURTON:  Yeah, I think in racing, it’s really easy to know who won.  Just look in victory lane.  I think for us, I think we’re going to feel good about it or we’re going to feel bad about it, and like Steve said, there’s going to be points of every race that we do really good, there’s going to be points of races that we don’t do good, and hopefully the longer we do it we’ll have less points in the races that we don’t do so well.

But I think that goes to what we were talking about earlier, is that we have to be willing.  In a race, it’s real easy.  We won, we finished second, we finished third. For us to know what we did, we’ve got to go back and take time to go back and review the race. We’ve got to be willing to listen to the constructive criticism. We’ve got to be willing to criticize ourselves and critique ourselves.

It’s going to be harder in this situation to know if we won or not, right?  But the key is the willingness to do that, and that’s just a matter of taking the time to do it and not having an ego big enough where you’re willing to listen.

First off, I want to direct my question to Jeff, Steve and Rick to talk about Kyle Busch’s return.  It’s the first race since Daytona, and obviously that’s going to be a sticking point    not a sticking point but something that will be of much discussion, so I wanted to get your perspective on that as far as a driver approach, a crew chief approach, and what do you think is going through his head and how you think he’ll be preparing for this race as opposed to the other people.

JEFF BURTON:  Well, I think that he will be putting a tremendous effort into winning this race.  I thought we saw that Sunday.  I know from personal experience that when you have something done or you did something to yourself at a particular racetrack, it makes you want to win that next race that much more, because now you’ve conquered something that you felt like conquered you.

So I expect a tremendous effort.  Some people think, well, he’ll be scared to race a restrictor plate.  There’s nothing scared in Kyle Busch.  I expect him to put a huge effort out there to try to win this race, and he needs as many points as he can.  It’s very clear to him and that team that they’ve got part 1 done in their quest to make the Chase, but they’ve got to have great finishes for the next 10 weeks to make it happen.

Steve, is there anything you can say as a former crew chief that would kind of ease a driver’s tension if he has any tension about going back to a place like that?

STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I think that what makes drivers special, what makes these superstars very unique and what makes their stories necessary to be told is they are unlike you and I.  They are a unique breed.  That’s why they’re behind the wheel.  Not only do they have a remarkable talent. You know, I love racing.  If I could drive, I would.  As a little kid, I wanted to be a driver.  Anyone who loves racing as a little kid wants to be the driver.  I don’t have the ability to do it.  These guys that we watch on Sunday do.  They have an uncanny ability to drive a race car in a level of competition that I can’t dream of.

But what also makes them unique is their mental toughness, and I think Kyle Busch has been talked about a lot over the years for some of his emotional explosions on the radio, but I think what we’ve seen in the last six or eight weeks with his return, Sonoma was spectacular but I was impressed when he got back into a race car in Charlotte and was so unbelievably fast in a new package that he has never driven.  To be in the top 5 in practices, that proved to me that it was only a question of when he proved on Sunday that that question has now been answered, and I think coming back to Daytona will be special because I agree with Jeff, he’s going to want to conquer the place that forced him to sit out of a race car.  But other than that, I think he is. I guarantee he’s coming off the plane here expecting to win, putting forth a winning effort, and that’s what makes him and the other 42 people that will fine up on Sunday very unique individuals.

Jeff, Steve and Rick, do you have a favorite?  Do you have anybody that you think should be the person to pick as far as the race this coming Sunday?

STEVE LETARTE:  We’ll see how practice goes.

RICK ALLEN:  You guys jumped all over that question, didn’t you.

 

 

NBC SPORTS GROUP PRESENTS COMPREHENSIVE LIVE COVERAGE OF FORMULA ONE BRITISH GRAND PRIX ON CNBC, NBCSN AND “NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA” THIS WEEKEND

F1 British Grand Prix – Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on CNBC – Encore Presentation Airs Sunday at Noon ET on NBCSN

NBCSN, CNBC and NBC Sports Live Extra Combine to Present Coverage of F1 Practice and Qualifying

IndyCar MAVTV 500 is Most-Watched IndyCar Race on NBCSN Since 2011

Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship RedBud National – Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC

NBC Sports Group Launches NASCAR Coverage with XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series Events From Daytona on NBC and NBCSN This Weekend

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 1, 2015 – NBC Sports Group continues its presentation of the 2015 Formula One season this weekend with comprehensive coverage of the British Grand Prix from historic Silverstone Circuit on CNBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, with race coverage airing this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.

NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will also combine to present coverage of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this weekend from the RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich., with live coverage airing at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.

In addition, NBC Sports Group launches its NASCAR coverage this weekend from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., with coverage of the XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by the Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Click here for more information.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide comprehensive streaming coverage of this week’s Formula One, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and NASCAR events on NBC and NBCSN.

 

F1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY AT 7:30 P.M. ET ON CNBC

CNBC presents live coverage of the F1 British Grand Prix this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, as Nico Rosberg looks to close the gap on Mercedes teammate and British-born Lewis Hamilton in the driver standings. Hamilton (169 points) leads Rosberg by just 10 points heading into this weekend’s British Grand Prix, following Rosberg’s win at the Austrian Grand Prix on June 21. Rosberg has won three of the last four races, after Hamilton won three of four grand prix to start the 2015 campaign. Both Hamilton (2014 & 2008) and Rosberg (2013) have previously won the British Grand Prix, including the last two.

Coverage begins on Friday morning at 5 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra with Practice 1, followed by NBCSN’s coverage of Practice 2 on NBCSN at 9 a.m. ET. CNBC airs qualifying at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday morning, as well as live coverage of the British Grand Prix on Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET. NBCSN will also air an encore presentation of the race on Sunday at noon ET.

Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s action, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, England. In addition, Alex Jacques calls the GP2 race from Silverstone which airs Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 

INDYCAR MAVTV 500 IS MOST-WATCHED INDYCAR RACE ON NBCSN SINCE 2011

NBCSN’s coverage of Saturday’s thrilling IndyCar MAVTV 500 (4:27-7:29 p.m. ET) at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., which set an IndyCar record for most lead changes (80) in a single race, averaged 512,000 viewers, making it the most-watched IndyCar race on NBCSN since 2011 (Grand Prix of Baltimore; 591,000). Viewership of Saturday’s MAVTV 500 on NBCSN was up 83% vs. last year’s race, which served as the season finale on Saturday, Aug. 30 (10:09 p.m.-1:06 a.m. ET, 280,000 viewers).

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series continues on Sunday, July 12, with the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 from the historic Milwaukee Mile.

 

LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP REDBUD NATIONAL – SATURDAY AT 4 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBC will present live coverage of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET from RedBud National in Michigan, in the seventh round of the 12-race championship series. Justin Barcia notched the first win of his 450 Class career last week at Budds Creek National, while Marvin Musquin won in the 250 Class for his second consecutive victory.

Coverage begins on NBC Sports Live Extra with practice at 10:30 a.m. ET, followed by pre-race coverage on Live Extra at noon ET. Coverage of Moto 1’s begins on MAVTV at 1 p.m. ET, followed by Moto 2’s on NBC at 4 p.m. ET.

Veteran play-by-play voice Jason Weigandt, analyst and two-time AMA Pro Motocross Champion Grant Langston, and pit reporter Georgia Lindsay will call the action from RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich.

Following is NBC Sports Group’s F1 and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross coverage for this week:

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Fri., July 3 F1 British Grand Prix – Practice 1 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
  F1 British Grand Prix – Practice 2 9 a.m. NBCSN
Sat., July 4 F1 British Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
  F1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. CNBC
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Practice 10:30 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
  F1 British Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) Noon NBCSN
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Pre-Show Noon NBC Sports Live Extra
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 1’s 1 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 2’s 3 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 2’s 4 p.m. NBC
  Lucas Oil Pro Motocross RedBud – Moto 2’s (Encore) 11 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., July 5 F1 British Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. CNBC
  F1 British Grand Prix (Encore) Noon NBCSN
  GP2 Britain 2:30 p.m. NBCSN


MOTORSPORTS ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA:
NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will stream this week’s Formula One, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and NASCAR coverage via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play and Windows Store, Roku Channel Store and Apple TV.

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

 

GOLF CHANNEL POSTS MOST-WATCHED SECOND QUARTER, TYING 2013

Through First Half of 2015, Golf Channel Continues as No. 1 Most Affluent Network in Television

Golf Channel Digital Posts Best Quarter Ever for Page Views and Unique Visitors

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 1, 2015) – Golf Channel tied its most-watched second quarter ever and served 23.5 million unique viewers, which was driven by increases across the network’s live events and news programming schedules. For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 124,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel in the second quarter, representing a 3% increase compared to second quarter 2014 (120,000) and tying second quarter 2013 as most-watched second quarter ever. This represents a 44% increase since Golf Channel joined NBC Sports Group, according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

GOLF CHANNEL SECOND QUARTER VIEWERSHIP COMPARISON

2015                124,000

2014                120,000           +3%

2013                124,000           Tied For Most-Watched

2012                115,000           +8%

2011                89,000             +39%

2010                86,000             +44%

Additionally, Golf Channel continues as the No. 1 most-affluent network in all of television with the highest median household income for total day viewership (#2 NBCSN). Golf Channel also was the No. 1 most-affluent network in all of television in primetime (#2 NBCSN).

Golf Channel’s second quarter highlights include:

  • PGA TOUR live coverage on Golf Channel is +9% YOY, +13% with P25-54.
  • PGA TOUR live coverage on Golf Channel on NBC is +26% YOY, +27% with P25-54.
  • Golf Channel posted its most-watched April ever and the network’s most-watched month since August 2013.
  • Golf Channel posted its second most-watched Masters Week, behind 2013. +33% with total viewers, +28% with P25-54.
  • Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship’s live coverage from Augusta National was +20% YOY, +34% with P25-54.
  • Golf Central’s Live from THE PLAYERS and early round coverage propelled Golf Channel to draw 8.1 million viewers throughout the week, making it the third most-viewed week on Golf Channel since August 2013, trailing only the past two Masters weeks.
  • With 174,000 average viewers per minute across PLAYERS week, it is the second most-watched PLAYERS week ever on Golf Channel.
  • As part of Golf Channel’s 25 consecutive days of live golf, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships lifted their timeslots more than 100% from the prior four week averages and reached more than 3 million unique viewers.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship aired across Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC, reaching almost 6 million unique viewers and averaging 292,000 viewers per minute, making it the second-best women’s major in the past year.
  • Golf Central’s Live from the U.S. Open was the second most-watched ever from this event, behind 2012, the last time the event was held on the West Coast.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS BEST QUARTER EVER FOR PAGE VIEWS AND UNIQUE VISITORS

Golf Channel Digital generated record traffic via GolfChannel.com and mobile apps, according to Adobe Site Catalyst:

  • Golf Channel Digital 267 million page views (+42% YOY) – Best Quarter Ever
  • Golf Channel Digital 18 million unique visitors (+43% YOY) – Best Quarter Ever
  • Golf Channel Digital 11.7 million video starts (+30% YOY) – Best Second Quarter Ever

Golf Live Extra streaming highlights include:

  • Second Quarter streamed 24.3 million live minutes (+16% YOY, +67% vs. 1stQ 2015).
  • Coverage of the THE PLAYERS on Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC was the most-streamed PGA TOUR event on NBC Sports Live Extra and Golf Live Extra since the 2014 Ryder Cup with 7.4 million live minutes, 150,000 unique devices and 213,000 visits.
  • PGA TOUR events in second quarter drew 1.9 million live minutes (+25% YOY, +54% vs. 1stQ 2015), 43,000 unique devices (19% YOY, +46% vs. 1stQ 2015), and 63,000 visits (28% YOY, +49% vs. 1stQ 2015).

UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS ON GOLF CHANNEL AND GOLF CHANNEL ON NBC

Golf Channel will carry momentum of this record viewership and traffic into third quarter with a slate of live golf coverage and in-depth news and analysis, including:

  • Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open – NBC Sports Group will dedicate more than 25 hours of live tournament coverage, including the conclusion of third and final round play on Golf Channel on NBC.
  • Golf Central Live From St. Andrews – Golf Channel’s signature Golf Central news program will originate on-site from the home of golf with more than 25 live hours of news and analysis throughout Open Championship week during Golf Central Live From St. Andrews.
  • Golf Central Live From the PGA ChampionshipGolf Central’s Live From the PGA Championship news program will feature more than 40 hours of wraparound news coverage from Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.
  • FEDEX CUP Playoffs – NBC Sports Group will present the final three events of the 2015 FedExCup Playoffs beginning with the Deutsche Bank Championship (Sept. 4-7) outside of Boston, and continuing with the BMW Championship (Sept. 17-20) outside of Chicago, before culminating in the 30-man-field TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (Sept. 24-27) in Atlanta. Golf Channel will have early-round and lead-in coverage of the first FEDEX CUP Playoff event, The Barclays (Aug 27-30).
  • Evian Championship – Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC will air a combined 22 hours of coverage – the most hours in tournament history – of the LPGA’s fifth and final major of 2015, the Evian Championship, from Evian les Bains, France, Sept. 9-13.
  • Solheim Cup – From the first tee shot until the final putt drops, Golf Channel will televise more than 27 hours of the biennial Solheim Cup matches from Germany, Sept. 18-20, which pits the game’s top female players from Europe and U.S.A. in three days of match-play competition.

ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL

Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available in more than 200 million homes in more than 80 countries and 11 languages around the world. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, as well as a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s highest-quality news, instruction and original content. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by GolfChannel.com, are the leading golf destinations on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, a golf course ratings and review portal for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.

Linear TV Source: Nielsen Live+Same Day US HH Rtg and P2+ 000’s and reach w/6 minute qualifier vs. prior comparable days/weeks/quarters/years.

Digital Source: Adobe Site Catalyst

– NBC Sports Group –

NBC SPORTS GROUP CELEBRATES NASCAR’S RETURN WITH 23.5 HOURS OF HOLIDAY WEEKEND COVERAGE

Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Sunday, July 5, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC

Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Saturday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Each Race Proceeded by Countdown to Green Pre-Race Show

Chasing 43: One-Hour Special on the Legacy of Richard Petty’s #43 Car Debuts Sun. at 4 p.m. ET on NBC

4th of July Weekend Coverage Begins Fri., Jul 3, at 2 p.m. ET

with NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice

NBC Sports Live Extra to Stream Coverage

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 1, 2015 – NBC Sports Group begins its 10-year partnership with NASCAR this 4th of July weekend with 23.5 hours of NASCAR coverage. The holiday weekend slate from Daytona International Speedway is highlighted by the 57th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, July 5, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, and the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Profiles and features included within this weekend’s telecasts:

  • A profile on Kyle Busch, who triumphantly returned to racing at the end of May after a serious crash at the XFINITY Series race in Daytona this past February.
  • A feature with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sits down with with his former crew chief and NBC Sports Group NASCAR analyst Steve Letarte to talk about his passion for watching classic NASCAR races and recent engagement.
  • Jeff Burton takes viewers around a lap at Daytona in the NBC Sports Toyota Camry.

Come race time, announcer Rick Allen joins 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte in the NBC Sports broadcast booth to call both primetime events.  NBC Sports’ Krista Voda will sit alongside NASCAR personality Kyle Petty, as well as three-time Daytona 500 champion and Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett, from a state-of-the-art open-air studio located atop pit road to set the stage for both races on NBC Sports Group’s pre-race show, Countdown to Green.

Rutledge Wood, NBC Sports’ NASCAR features reporter and “man about the track,” will present pieces that delve into the experience of attending a race at the famed Daytona International Speedway, and NBCSports.com lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan will be on hand to cover news and timely information affecting the sport.  Motorsports reporters Marty SniderKelli StavastMike Massaro, and Dave Burns will cover pit road throughout the 4th of July Weekend telecasts.

In addition, NBCSN presents special on-site editions of NASCAR AMERICA, a news and highlights program dedicated to America’s fascination with speed and stock car racing, this week, beginning Friday, July 3 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The program features regular appearances by NBC Sports’ NASCAR experts, as well as a rotation of guest analysts.

Click here for more information on NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR broadcast team.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs, will provide racing fans with unparalleled interactive digital access to every NASCAR Sprint Cup series race, including exclusive camera angles, custom diver information, and insider track information.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream NASCAR coverage on NBC and NBCSN via “TV Everywhere,” providing added value to subscribers, and making high quality content available both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store and Apple TV. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra.

Click here for more information on NBC Sports Live Extra’s NASCAR offerings.

CHASING 43

This Sunday July 5, at 4 p.m. ET, NBC presents Chasing 43, a one-hour special on the legacy of Richard Petty’s famed No. 43 car. Petty captured a record 200 wins in the 43, including seven Daytona 500s.  While Petty himself has long stepped out from behind the wheel, the car remains in action and still wears Petty Blue, but with a new sponsor in Smithfield Foods on the hood, and with a new team in the pits and garage.

The piece includes interviews with driver Aric Almirola,  who won last year’s Coke Zero 400 in the No. 43, 30 years to the weekend of ‘the King’s’ fabled 200th win on the same track.  Petty’s nephew, crew chief Trent Owens, is also interviewed.

NASCAR VICTORY LAP

Following NBC’s Sunday night coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at 11 p.m. ET, NBCSN will debut NASCAR Victory Lap, a new weekly one-hour NASCAR program, recapping the biggest moments of each weekend’s Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series races on NBC and NBCSN. The premiere of NASCAR Victory Lap will air on-site in Daytona, continuing Sundays at 11 p.m. ET through the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 22.

Click here for more information on NASCAR Victory Lap.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To gear up for the launch of NBC Sports Group’s 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR’s championship run, NBC Sports Social Media will deploy around-the-clock coverage across all of NBC Sports’ social media platforms this week, including Twitter takeovers, Periscope Q&As, Vine tours of the track at Daytona, and ‘A Day in the Life’ Instagram takeover.

Click here for more information on NBC Sports Group’s social media plans.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND NBCUNIVERSAL PROGRAMMING

NBC Sports Group and NBCUniversal will surround the launch of NASCAR on NBC with its “Big Event Strategy” to leverage NBCUniversal’s robust collection of broadcast and cable networks, websites, radio and social media platforms, and additional promotional assets to drive further awareness of the launch.

NBC Sports Group’s cross-channel promotional campaign for NASCAR on NBC will include advertising and editorial support on television, radio, online and on-site, and will include NBC, NBCSN, USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Golf Channel, Syfy, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Cloo, Chiller, Esquire, The Weather Channel, Comcast Spotlight, and the collection of NBCUniversal television, radio and digital networks.

Click here for a full list of programming.

BUMPER NARCARS HIT THE ROAD

NBC Sports Group is launching a national “Bumper NASCAR” tour at races nationwide. Fans can face off, pedal-to-metal, just like their favorite drivers on a custom track located within the Fan Zones of NASCAR venues throughout the 2015 season.  Daytona International Speedway marks the first stop on the season-long tour, with the Bumper NASCAR activation open to fans as they head to the track for the Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series and Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races throughout the weekend.

Below is the schedule for NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage this week (all times ET):

Date Time Event Network
Wed., July 1 6 p.m. NASCAR K&N Series – Sonoma NBCSN
Thurs., July 2 5 p.m. NASCAR AMERICA NBCSN
Thurs., July 2 6 p.m. NASCAR Whelen Series – Riverhead NBCSN
Fri., July 3 1:30 p.m. NASCAR AMERICA NBCSN
Fri., July 3 2 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series – Practice NBCSN
Fri., July 3 3 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Practice NBCSN
Fri., July 3 4 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series – Final Practice NBCSN
Fri., July 3 5 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Final Practice NBCSN
Fri., July 3 6 p.m. NASCAR AMERICA NBCSN
Sat., July 4 2:30 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series – Qualifying NBCSN
Sat., July 4 4 p.m. NASCAR AMERICA NBCSN
Sat., July 4 4:30 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Qualifying NBCSN
Sat., July 4 6:30 p.m. Subway Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race NBCSN
Sun., July 5 4 p.m. Chasing 43 NBC
Sun., July 5 5 p.m. NASCAR AMERICA NBCSN
Sun., July 5 7 p.m. Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race NBC
Sun., July 5 11 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lap NBCSN

On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content, beginning this coming 4th of July weekend from Daytona International Speedway.

With this partnership, NBC’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race schedule includes a designation as the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, when the elite national series races through its final 10 events of the season. The Chase culminates with the season-ending championship event, which returns to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.

NASCAR AMERICA is NBCSN’s weekday 30-minute news and highlights program dedicated to America’s fascination with speed and stock car racing, and features regular appearances by NBC Sports’ NASCAR experts, as well as a rotation of guest analysts.

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–