“Harvick and Logano are two of the guys with bull’s-eyes on their backs today.” – Krista Voda on heightened tension going into this afternoon’s race
“I think we see him perform better when his back is up against the wall, when everyone is pointing a finger at him.” – Kyle Petty on Brad Keselowski
“We come here with confidence and a great race car.” – Jeff Gordon to Marty Snider before the green flag
RIDGEWAY, Va. — Nov. 1, 2015 — NBCSN kicks off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Round of Eight this afternoon from Martinsville Speedway. With only four races left before the 2015 champion is crowned, Martinsville’s “Half Mile of Mayhem” is a critical stop for the eight remaining Chase drivers. Coming off of three consecutive wins, Joey Logano looks to continue his streak from the pole position this afternoon.
NBCSN’s two-hour NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-race coverage began with NASCAR America Sunday presented by DraftKings, followed by Countdown to Green Served by Sonic. Krista Voda hosted the pre-race action alongside NASCAR on NBCSN analysts Kyle Petty and NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett. Rick Allen calls this afternoon’s Sprint Cup race alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte and 21-time Sprint Cup winner Jeff Burton. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns contribute from pit road.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-race coverage on NBCSN.
Jarrett on Jeff Gordon’s final race at Martinsville: “He is going to get a lot of respect on this short track that other drivers may not. He has earned that respect and that could serve him well in these 500 laps.”
Petty on Joey Logano’s winning streak: “He has sent a message, and then he comes to the first race of the Round of Eight and sits on the pole. I think he is rewriting his book…Currently he has won half of the Chase races.”
Jarrett on NASCAR becoming a nationally popular sport: “It was known as a southern sport for a lot of reasons, one being many of the drivers were from the south. But now that is not the case whatsoever, and I think that has drawn a lot of fans from a lot of different parts of the country.”
Brad Keselowski to Snider before this afternoon’s race: “I’m not worried about last week. I am worried about today.”
Petty on Keselowski’s performance under pressure: “I think we see him perform better when his back is up against the wall, when everyone is pointing a finger at him.”
Burton on the first Round of Eight race: “All eight drivers think this is their round… I think even though Joey Logano was so good in the previous round. That doesn’t mean it is going to transfer into this one because the tracks in this round are so different.”
Letarte on why Martinsville is so special: “It comes down to where you grow up. You grow up racing on Saturday night short tracks. You don’t grow up on mile and a half speedways. So while those bigger tracks are spectacular and fun to race at, when you come to Martinsville it is not about horsepower, it’s not about downforce. It is about mechanical grip, driving style and pit opportunities. There are so many opportunities for a crew chief to affect the race.”
Jarrett on Martin Truex Jr.: “Part of being successful in this sport is perseverance. There is no better example than Martin Truex Jr. doing that as a driver and a person. I commend him.”
Pole sitter Joey Logano to Massaro before climbing into his car: “A lot of times this track can fool you.”
Voda on heightened tension going into this afternoon’s race: “Harvick and Logano are two of the guys with bull’s-eyes on their backs today.”
Petty on paybacks at Martinsville: “This is only the second year of the Chase and I saw things in the Chase last year and so far this year I’ve never seen in 50 years of racing.”
Jeff Gordon to Snider before the green flag: “We come here with confidence and a great race car.”
Letarte on a difficult race situation in Martinsville: “This is going to be a tough balance for race teams. Not only do we have a relatively green race track, with the rain there is no rubber on the track it is going to be hard on the tires. But there is no guarantee we are going to race 500 laps with this drizzle in the air.”
– NBC SPORTS GROUP –