“Get out the broom Kyle Busch, you just won at Bristol.” – Rick Allen
“By winning tonight, Kyle Busch made a statement that he can be a contender for the Championship.” – Jeff Burton
BRISTOL, Tenn. – August 19, 2017 – NBC Sports Group presented its eighth week of live 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series racing, with 19 hours of trackside coverage from Bristol Motor Speedway, in Bristol, Tennessee. Coverage was highlighted by this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on NBC. Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota held off Erik Jones in the final laps, to win the race and sweep the weekend. For the second-time in his career, Busch won all three series of the race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
NBC Sports Group’s lead race announcer Rick Allen, 21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton, and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte called the race. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman reported from pit road alongside features contributor Ato Boldon.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. ET on NBC. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
The following are highlights from this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage on NBC and NBCSN.
Burton on the Playoff picture: “By winning tonight, Kyle Busch made a statement that he can be a contender for the Championship.”
Letarte added: “It seems like when the pressure builds, certain cars rise to the top. And again tonight, it was no different.”
Burton on failing to qualify for the Playoffs: “That is the definition of misery. When everyone is going to the Playoffs, getting all the media attention, and you are forgotten. You are not part of the story anymore. It is heartbreaking, after putting that much effort into it, to not make the playoffs.”
Kyle Busch to Snider: “That was a lot harder. Erik Jones put up a hell of a fight.”
Allen on Kyle Busch: “Get out the broom Kyle Busch, you just won at Bristol.”
Letarte with 22 laps to go: “There are a lot of drivers rooting against Erik Jones, because it makes their race for Richmond much more difficult.”
Letarte on Playoff pressure: “As a crew chief, at the start of every season my goal was very simple. Go to Richmond, without having Richmond determine if you make the Playoffs or not. Because otherwise, it can be the most miserable night of the year. The pressure is unbelievable, and includes weeks of sleepless nights. That is what these drivers are trying to avoid.”
Burton on Matt Kenseth’s decision to stay out and earn points for winning Stage 2: “That is his third stage-win. The extra points can be very valuable. We know how quickly things can change. You need to get in as many points as you can, because they can get taken away from you quickly.”
Letarte on the heavy contact between Jeffrey Earnhardt and Austin Dillon: “That is Thunder Valley. Things happen, and they happen in a hurry. Jeffrey Earnhardt had nowhere to go. He was at the top, entering the corner at well over 115 miles per hour. Next thing you know, the No. 3 slides up in front of you.”
Letarte on Erik Jones: “I think we all overlooked this rookie in the No 77. It is easy to do with his teammate Martin Truex Jr. being so fast. He has had consistent runs, and consistent improvement. Coming here, sitting on the pole, and now leading 88 laps so far tonight, is really making a statement.”
Burton added: “He is really coming into his own. He is starting to get into the rhythm of running a full Cup Series schedule. That is difficult to do. The competition is harder than you could ever imagine, at this level. The year is longer than you could ever imagine. If he wins this race, the Playoff picture is completely upside down.”
Letarte on Kyle Busch bumping Kyle Larson to win Stage 1 : “Kyle Busch was polite the first time Larson tried to block the bottom, but the second time he would not have it. He knew he was not going to wreck the No. 42, but he put just enough pressure on him, on corner entry, to move him up the race track and take the position for the stage win.”
Burton added: “Blocking is legal in NASCAR, but that does not mean they cannot knock you out of the way.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Snider before the checkered flag: “As a spectator and a fan, coming here as a kid, this is the best one to come to. There is nothing like the track itself, and that energy you get on a Saturday night. It is old school. I probably won’t go to every single race, every year, for the rest of my life. But, I probably won’t miss a night race at Bristol, no matter how long I live.”
Letarte on Dale Jr.’s chances of securing a win this evening: “His cup car has been really hit or miss in practice, and very slow in qualifying. I’m not going to rule him out, because 500 laps at Bristol shows us that anything is possible. But right now it will have to be a much better driving No. 88, if he expects to get up and contend with some of these favorites.”
NBCSN’s pre-race coverage included Krista Voda’s feature interview with expecting parents Joey and Brittany Logano. Both candidly discussed their trouble conceiving, and how it has added perspective to their life:
Logano: “It’s easy for me to complain about having a horrible season, and having to dig out of it. In the grand scheme of things, it is going to be okay. I think god puts you in situations like this to try and keep your life in perspective. We have a great life.”
Joey & Brittany Logano’s entire interview is available here.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–