“Fireworks on the racetrack and fireworks overhead, as Denny Hamlin wins The Southern 500.” – Rick Allen
“It’s called ‘The Track Too Tough to Tame’ for a reason. There is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. You have to be on the edge for 500 miles.” – Steve Letarte
DARLINGTON, S.C. – September 3, 2017 – NBC Sports Group celebrated Darlington Raceway’s throwback weekend of racing, with retro themes, graphics and style from the 1985-89 NASCAR era, integrated throughout 19 hours of trackside coverage from “The Track Too Tough to Tame,” in Darlington, South Carolina. Coverage was highlighted by this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on NBCSN. Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won the race, after regaining the lead with three laps to go.
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. Legendary NASCAR broadcasters Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett also returned to the booth, alongside Dale Jarrett, to call a portion of the race. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns reported from pit road alongside features contributor Rutledge Wood.
Coverage began at 4 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. 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 NBCSN.
Dale Jarrett on Denny Hamlin – “You need to have tires and patience if you are going to do well at Darlington, and that strategy played out for Denny Hamlin tonight.”
Letarte on Martin Truex Jr. winning the regular season, and his position entering the Playoffs – “Assuming the points stay close to where they are now, Martin Truex Jr. has roughly a 40-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. That is roughly an entire race. By no means is that a guarantee, but it without a doubt takes the pressure off in Round 1. That has to help. What I love about this system, is the No. 78’s speed, effort and performance all year long will be rewarded throughout the Playoffs.”
Burton added – “That is the best part of the system. It allows you to use the success you have during the regular season, in the Playoffs. It incentivizes the team, the drivers, and everyone involved to race hard for the entire year. And if you do, you will be rewarded for doing so.”
Allen on Denny Hamlin – “Fireworks on the racetrack and fireworks overhead, as Denny Hamlin wins the Southern 500 and completes the sweep at Darlington this weekend.”
Allen on Martin Truex Jr. with 4 laps to go – “It’s like he’s on ice. Martin Truex Jr. is trying to keep the lead on slick tires.”
Letarte on Tony Gibson – “Tony has been in this sport a long time. He was a mentor to me, and has tremendous knowledge of the sport. He taught me so many things about racing, race cars, and leadership that I used when I was a crew chief. I owe a lot to Tony Gibson.”
Squier on Daniel Suarez – “Say what you want about young up-and-coming drivers, this guy is the real deal.”
Dale Jarrett on stage racing – “It was outstanding. Stage racing has changed the way drivers approach this sport, and the way that fans look at it. As Martin Truex Jr. was trying to make the pass during the last lap of Stage 1, I saw everyone in the grandstand get up and look to see what was happening. Before we had stage racing, fans might not have cared very much about a pass during lap 100, even if it was for the lead.”
Squier on Darlington – “It is great to be here. What a special weekend and what a wonderful racetrack.”
Ned Jarrett – “It always brings back a lot of memories every time you come here. There is no other track quite like Darlington Raceway.”
Allen on Stage 1 winner Martin Truex Jr. – “What a run for Martin Truex Jr. That is his 16th stage-win. He has definitely figured out stage racing.”
Allen – “Kevin Harvick has made his way up to second. Harvick really seems to be busting a move every time he works his way around ‘The Lady in Black.’”
Letarte on Clint Bowyer heading to the garage – “This is a huge, huge hit in the race for the Playoffs. We thought it was a must win, but this basically guarantees it. If you are Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth or Jamie McMurray, you cannot give up points here. You need to have a nice big lead heading in to Richmond next week.”
Jarrett on the Bojangles’ Southern 500 – “What a huge event we have going on tonight. We have Hall of Fame drivers here, legends in the sport, and today’s stars in NASCAR. It comes down to 500 miles and who wants it most.”
Letarte – “It’s called ‘The Track Too Tough to Tame’ for a reason. There is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. You have to be on the edge for 500 miles.”
Burton on Richard Petty – “Seeing a smile on The King’s face. That’s what this weekend is all about. Honoring the guys that made this sport.”
Allen on Petty staying on the track for an extra pace lap prior to the race – “I told you The King wasn’t ready to come off the track. He is doing it again. They have added a lap. Richard Petty was supposed to come off the track, but he is staying out there. This was supposed to be an honorary position, but he wants to stay out there and race.”
Burton added – “The King can do anything he wants. The King has led 2,391 laps at Darlington, and you can now add one more to the total.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–