“He’s going to be a superstar, and has a long future in this sport.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Chase Elliott
“We saw it today, the hunger was in his eyes.” – Rick Allen on Elliott
“This is the Chase Elliott we believed we were going to see this season.” – Jeff Burton
Watkins Glen, NY. – August 5, 2018 – NBC Sports Group surrounded its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series road course race of 2018 with a multifaceted presentation and more than 16 hours of trackside coverage from historic Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Coverage was highlighted by this afternoon’s race on NBC, which saw Chase Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet take the checkered flag and secure his first career Cup Series victory.
Combining NBC Sports Group, MRN (Motor Racing Network) and SiriusXM’s expertise covering live NASCAR races, this afternoon’s race telecasts was called from multiple vantage points throughout the historic 2.45 – mile road course.
NASCAR on NBC’s lead race announcer Rick Allen, and Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte, called the race from NBC Sports’ traditional broadcast booth above the start-finish line. Allen and Letarte were joined by NASCAR on NBC analysts and iconic former drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton, as well as Veteran MRN and SiriusXM radio announcer Mike Bagley, who contributed to the race telecast from three individual locations around the track. In total, NBC Sports’ lap-by-lap race coverage was called from four different vantage points around the road course.
Serving in their customary race day roles, NASCAR on NBC pit reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, and Dave Burns contributed coverage from pit road, alongside features reporter Rutledge Wood.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage from NASCAR on NBC’s new state of the art “Peacock Pit Box” alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
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The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBC.
Earnhardt on Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.: “It was an honor to watch those guys battle it out at the end. Seeing all the guys and other drivers come up to Chase after the race, that shows you what kind of person he is. Chase is a good kid and a great guy. He’s going to be a superstar. It took him a while to get his first win, but he has a long future in this sport.”
Allen on Elliott: “We saw it a year ago when he exchanged words with Denny Hamlin in Martinsville. We said right then that his attitude had changed. He became hungrier. We saw it today, the hunger was in his eyes.”
Burton: “My heart rate is still up long after the end of the race. Those were an intense last few laps. Chase had a champion coming to take that win from him, and he held him off. Chase had to beat one of the best road racers in the sport, to get his first win. He beat Martin Truex Jr., one of the best, and that should be an awesome feeling.”
Burton on Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott on lap 52: “They have driven away from third place. There is a huge distance between them and the rest of the field. It’s not even close.”
Earnhardt on Elliott: “Chase Elliott is driving the race of his life. His heart has to be in his throat, but he’s doing great.”
Burton on the battle between Elliott and Busch on lap 27: “He wants his first win, and he wants to do it against the best in the business.”
Letarte as Elliott passed Busch: “You might be looking at the most popular driver of 2018. That was clearly a popular move. The crowd here loved it.”
Burton on Elliott winning the stage: “This is the Chase Elliott we believed we were going to see this season. So much optimism going in to the season, then quite a bit of frustration. Sometimes frustration can lead to growth, and that’s clearly what we have seen in Chase. He’s showing us all right now how talented he is.”
Letarte on decision by Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus not to pit prior to end of stage: “I really love this choice by Chad Knaus. It purely comes down to the playoff picture. Jimmie Johnson needs points, and gets nine points for finishing second. We knew there were going to be priorities going in to Watkins Glen. Decisions were going to have to be made. He came in to the race only 107 points above the playoff cut line. Anything can happen, and points can come and go very quickly.”
Letarte: “It may only seem like 90 laps, but it can be grueling on this track, especially in this heat.”
Jarrett on the “Big Three”: “They get it done on every single type of racetrack. In other sports, great athletes typically compete on the same type of field or court every week. The ‘Big Three’ have faced all different types of tracks and obstacles, and continue to prove themselves as the drivers to beat.”
Petty added: “I’ve been around this sport a long time, and I’ve never seen three guys separate themselves from the field like this. When you can mention Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in the same breath as Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Richard Petty, that’s a huge statement. That is a huge thing in this sport. They are our heroes, they are the superstars and legends of NASCAR. That is who we should compare them to. They are pushing each other to be better and better each week. This is a rare opportunity for us to watch greatness rise to the top, above all of these other drivers.”
Petty on Daniel Suarez: “I love everything about him. I love his heart, I love his passion, and I love his desire. He has the ability to put his ego on the shelf and focus on what’s important. His opportunity is coming, and he’s going to show us all why he’s a winner.”
Earnhardt on Watkins Glen: “This racetrack, no matter where you are, is incredibly beautiful. It’s a sellout crowd and we see why. All of my life as a driver, when I was sitting in the bus lot at night waiting to race, I was so envious of all the fans on the infield. It just looks like they are having so much fun.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–