“These are all Playoff guys racing each other, crashing each other, and taking points from each other.” – Jeff Burton on the “Big One”
“It’s like riding a skateboard on a sidewalk at 160 mph.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the “Monster Mile”
DOVER, Del. – October 7, 2018 – NBC Sports Group’s presentation of the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs continued this week with more than 15 hours of trackside coverage from Dover International Speedway. Coverage was highlighted by this afternoon’s Cup Series race on NBCSN, which saw Chase Elliott and No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy take the checkered flag. The win marked Elliott’s second career win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR on NBC’s lead race announcer Rick Allen called the action alongside NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr., from NBC Sports’ traditional broadcast booth above the start/finish line. Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte teamed with “The Mayor” of NASCAR Jeff Burton from NBC Sports’ second booth. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns reported from pit road.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green before green flag racing began at 2 p.m. ET. Krista Voda hosted pre- and post-race coverage alongside auto racing icon Kyle Petty, and Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN.
Earnhardt on Playoff drivers below the cutline: “You have to feel bad for Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer, guys who were running up front all day long, with a great opportunity to put themselves in a really good situation going into Talladega. Now they go into Talladega behind and in real trouble.”
Letarte added: “This was a tale of two races. Harvick dominates, and then we get into the final stage and it turns into a bit of chaos.”
Earnhardt on Elliott: “He doesn’t have to worry about Talladega, that has to be the best feeling for Chase Elliott.”
Burton on the “Big One” in the final laps: “These are all Playoff guys racing each other, crashing each other and taking points from each other.”
Letarte as Playoff contender Clint Bowyer hit the wall with eight laps to go: “This car is not going to finish the day. It is going to be costly for Bowyer.”
Burton as Aric Almirola led the field: “He has come so close so many times this year. He knows 47 laps is an eternity. It is a long way before the end of this race. So much could still happen.”
Earnhardt as Almirola ran second: “He is the only one within the organization who hasn’t won a race. So there is a little pressure there. His teammates have success in winning, and he wants to win as well. It’s his first year with this organization and he wants to show them that they made the right choice to hire him here.”
Allen with 28 laps to go: “Track position, track position, track position. Everyone wants it but right now only one has it, and that’s Kevin Harvick.”
Letarte on all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers competing in the Round of 12: “It is hard to believe that having all four cars in (the Playoffs) could be a negative, but there are only so many resources. And right now how could you have a favorite, all four cars have done what they have been asked to do as a company. They continue to compete in the Playoffs.”
Letarte on Jimmie Johnson: “Jimmie Johnson is a seven-time champ with 83 wins. He is a dominating force, and has been for his entire career. I can’t think of a competitor that is more professional in the down times than Jimmie Johnson.”
Letarte on Johnson’s pre-race lower ball joint failure: “That is so disappointing and shocking that it would fail in the pace laps. But Dale you talked about it at the top of the show, this place is hard on equipment.”
Letarte on Johnson’s suspension issues before the green flag: “I can’t fathom, I can’t understand. It didn’t run more than 45 mph before it fell apart. It has to be some sort of crazy parts failure or some sort of mechanical mistake. But either way the field is bunching up. We are going to see the green flag without Jimmie Johnson.”
Letarte on today’s favorite: “Kyle Larson and this No. 42 car has been in my mind the best car all weekend long. He is the guy to beat.”
Burton on the Round of 12: “Talladega is next week. You can almost bet you are going to be in a crash. So you have to leave here with a great finish.”
Earnhardt on the rough track conditions: “It’s like riding a skateboard on a sidewalk at 160 mph.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–