“They come here as race car drivers, but once they get out on that track, they are pilots flying planes.” – Kyle Petty on 200 MPH racing at Talladega
“As a driver you close your eyes and pray. I have done both of those, sometimes at the same time.” – Dale Jarrett on getting caught up in “The Big One”
“You go to Talladega and it is all in God’s hands.” — Kyle Busch prior to the green flag
STAMFORD, Conn. — Oct. 25, 2015 — NBCSN presents the second elimination race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Playoffs from the biggest, baddest track on the circuit this afternoon: Talladega’s 2.66 mile super speedway in the heart of Alabama. With only five races left before the Championship in Miami, Talladega presents an action-packed and at times terrifying test for the 11 drivers seeking to secure their place in the Round of Eight.
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 from the “Dega” 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.
Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier voiced a special Talladega feature on the 500 most dangerous miles on the NASCAR circuit, available here.
Petty on the superspeedway’s tradition: “I think that first race (In 1969) set the tone for the chaos that has become Talladega ever sense…So many crazy things happen here. We always say, ‘expect the unexpected.’”
Jarrett on getting caught up in “The Big One” at Talladega: “As a driver you close your eyes and pray. I have done both of those, sometimes at the same time.”
Petty on the 200 MPH racing at Talladega: “They come here as race car drivers, but once they get out on that track, they are pilots flying planes.”
Kyle Busch to Snider before the green flag: “You go to Talladega and it is all in God’s hands.”
Petty on unavoidable accidents: “There are two types of accidents. There is one accident that happens in front of you, and there is the one you get in by everyone trying to avoid the first one.”
Carl Edwards to Massaro before the race: “I have decided that when the green flag drops I’m going to just do what feels best at the time. I don’t think you can have a specific plan.”
NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton visited the NASCAR on NBCSN pre-race set on pit road this afternoon, prior to the green flag. The following are excerpts from that segment.
Petty: “This being an elimination race, does it make it harder to officiate? Because these calls today determine whether a driver is ‘in’ or ‘out’ (of the Playoffs).”
Helton: “In every race, we want to get it right. But certainly, when you’re in this type of a format… we spend a lot of time talking about ‘what ifs.’ The hope is that we’ve thought about every scenario and say, ‘Okay, how would we react to that?’ But as you guys know, anything can happen, especially in Talladega. We try to be as prepared as we can be every week, but there is a certain amount of pressure during the Chase that we need to step up to.”
In response to Voda’s question about expanded restart zones, Helton offered: “Restarts in general are complicated… The size of the restart zone is what it is— it could be five feet or it can be 500 feet, and you’re still going to have challenges if the drivers don’t respect each other’s position. Until we come up with the technology, which we are working hard on, to make it very black and white, so that every driver understands their scenario within that restart and understands their responsibility and the ramifications of it, restarts are going to be a challenge. But we try to give and take enough to make it reasonable, and so far everybody has reacted well to it.”
Burton during his NBC Sports’ Toyota Camry On Track Car lap: “Here at Talladega I think a spotter is even more important than a crew chief.”
Letarte talked with his former teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. about being a student of the car at Talladega. The pre-race feature can be accessed here.
Pole-sitter Gordon to Burns on teammate Earnhardt Jr.: “We know Jr. is going to be extremely aggressive. He has to win this race, and we recognize that. We are going to try and dictate (the race) as long as we can. We will see when he gets up there. Helping him out helps us too.”
Brad Keselowski to Burton during the pace lap: “We might be seven points above the cut line, but if someone wins the race that cut line moves up to basically zero for us. So we need to go out there, run up front all day and put ourselves in a position to not worry about points.”
– NBC SPORTS GROUP –