“A huge win, the pit crew pulled it off late in the race.” – Jeff Burton on Kyle Larson
“Going into the Playoffs, how is the No. 78 not the favorite? They have taken the fight to the competition all year long.” – Jeff Burton on Martin Truex Jr.
“Hamlin clearly took responsibility for it. Now the question is, how does Truex Jr. react” – Steve Letarte on the last lap contact between Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
RICHMOND, Va. – September 9, 2017 – NBC Sports Group surrounded the final race of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season, with over 17 hours of trackside coverage from Richmond Raceway, in Richmond, Virginia. Coverage was highlighted by this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on NBCSN. Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet won the race in overtime, and secured his fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season.
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 reporter Rutledge Wood.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. ET. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
Sixteen drivers punched their ticket to compete in NASCAR’s Playoffs beginning next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.
2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Drivers
|Martin Truex Jr.|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
The following are highlights from this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage on NBCSN.
Voda in victory lane with Larson: “Kyle Larson gets his first Cup Series win, not on a two-mile track.”
Letarte on the last lap contact between Denny Hamlin and Truex Jr.: “Hamlin clearly took responsibility for it. Now the question is, how does Truex Jr. react. The stakes go up next week, when the Playoffs start.”
Burton on race winner Larson: “A huge win, the pit crew pulled it off late in the race. A good way to start the Playoffs. It is a huge confidence builder. Martin Truex Jr. had a good restart, but Larson had a better one.”
Burton on Truex Jr.’s domination: “Going into the Playoffs, how is the No. 78 not the favorite? They have taken the fight to the competition all year long.”
Letarte added: “Think of Cole Pearn, the crew chief. When they won at a mile-and-a-half earlier this year, the first thing he said was, ‘We want to prove to everybody that we can win everywhere.’”
Letarte on Dale Earnhardt Jr. running third, with 50 laps to go: “There is no reason to try and minimize your losses, you are all in.”
Burton on Matt Kenseth’s race-ending damage: “I do not care how long you do this, you are never going to see everything. You think you have seen it all, and then something like this happens.”
Letarte added: “If I was the crew chief of the No. 20, I know the results cannot be changed, but I would be in the NASCAR trailer after the race to state my case. Not to change the results, but because I feel I owe it to the fan base, the sponsors and the men and women who work on the No. 20 car. As the leader of that car you have to go in there and voice your opinion.”
Letarte on Dale Jr. with 7 laps to go in Stage 2: “I do not think we can say enough about Dale Earnhardt Jr. Much like the No. 77 of Erik Jones, I am not sure he has winning speed yet, but I do not think we have seen him passing cars inside the top 10 in multiple weeks.”
Burton on Matt Kenseth: “Kenseth is not in a must win situation right now, but remember he does not have a ride for next year. Imagine you worked at your job for 45 years, and somebody walks up to you and says, ‘hey, you don’t have a job next year.’ Imagine how that makes you feel. That is how mad Matt Kenseth is right now. He wants to prove to the world and himself, he can do it. He has pride. He is a Champion. He wants to win this stage, and win this race.”
Kligerman on Dale Jr. on lap 114: “Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not had the final Cup Series season that he wanted, but look what he is doing here at Richmond. This is one of his favorite race tracks. He has driven from starting in the 21st position all the way up to the top ten, fighting Kevin Harvick for eighth place.”
Letarte with less than 30 laps to go in Stage 1: “I feel like we see this every week. Don’t look now, with 27 laps to go in Stage 1 and a Playoff point on the line, look who shows up, the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr.”
Burton added: “By Martin Truex Jr. getting all these Playoff points, the other teams need to fight back. The only way to keep him from getting more is to take them yourself.”
Allen setting the scene after the green flag: “The tires will definitely be abused tonight. How long can they last? Who will abuse them the most? Who will get the most out of them?”
Burton in reaction to Nate Ryan’s feature with Jerry Nadeau: “That was a time in our sport, when it was very reactive, to be quite honest. NASCAR has turned from a reactionary company to a very proactive company, and how I see it, probably the leader in safety in motorsports right now.”
Jarrett added: “In this sport we are around crashes all the time, and have been for many years. But when something serious happens it is amazing how quickly the garage area becomes a different place with a different feel.”
Ryan’s entire interview is available here.
Bowyer in his feature interview with Burton: “We had some bumps and bruises along the way this year that I just did not see in my forecast when I got in this car.”
Following the feature, Burton joined the pre-race set and added: “Clint Bowyer is very dedicated to the sport and works hard at it. We have had serious conversations about what his place is in the sport. He wants to be here for a longtime, and when he leaves he wants to be remembered as one of the best. He feels that there is a lot ahead of him.”
Bowyer’s entire interview is available here.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–