“I hope it’s not done yet. I think we can do something very special at Homestead.” — Last week’s winner Jeff Gordon on his final three races
“These drivers know what’s at stake and this is the most pressure they’ve faced in their careers.” – Dale Jarrett on today’s playoff race
“This presents an amazing opportunity to show what kind of people we are and what kind of a team we are.” — Joey Logano on following up last week’s dramatic day at Martinsville
NBC presents NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff racing from Texas Motor Speedway this afternoon. Brilliant sunshine in the “Lone Star State” engulfs a 1.5 mile track known for big showdowns as seven Chase drivers are gunning to join Jeff Gordon in the Championship round with just three races remaining.
Sunday afternoon’s coverage kicks off with the Countdown to Green Served by Sonic pre-race showhosted by Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. When the green flag comes out, coverage shifts to the NBC booth, where announcer Rick Allen calls the action alongside Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton.Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns contribute reports from pit road.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Sprint Cup pre-race coverage on NBC.
Voda sets today’s scene from the Countdown to Green pre-race set atop pit road: “Texas Motor Speedway is the same size as other tracks, but it does not race like them. Speeds are lightning fast. Nicknamed, ‘No Limits, Texas’— anything goes here, and usually does. This is the place where, over the last few years, fists have flown and faces have been bloodied. What is going to happen behind us today?”
Jarrett: “The racing today is going to be fast, and we’re going to see tempers flare, even thought the speeds are up at 200 miles per hour. These drivers know what’s at stake and this is the most pressure they’ve faced in their careers.”
Prior to the green flag, Snider caught up with Joey Logano to discuss last week’s on-track collision that resulted in a two-week suspension for Matt Kenseth.
Snider: “How has your team reacted to everything (that took place over the last week)?”
Logano: “I think it has been unbelievable, they really showed their character after the crash last week. They worked hard to get our car back out there. We didn’t gain any points, but we went out there and proved a point. That’s the big thing that we’re here to do today because this presents an amazing opportunity to show what kind of people we are and what kind of a team we are. I’m looking forward to it.”
Back at the pre-race set, Petty adds: “The one key takeaway there was his focus on the team. He’s feeding off the confidence of the team, and the team is feeding off of his confidence. I think he is right between his ears, he is confident and he knows what he can do.”
Last week’s winner, Jeff Gordon, was honored during the pre-race festivities as 24 sky divers descended into the infield to mark Gordon’s final race at Texas Motor Speedway. Earlier in the week, Gordon sat down for a Countdown to Green interview in Charlotte. The following are highlights from the feature:
Gordon on strife within his race team earlier in the year: “That can either destroy you, or bring you closer together, there are only two options.”
Gordon on the win at Martinsville: “I think it was one of the biggest moments, if not the biggest moment in my career, for many different reasons… the Chase, a shot a championship, my team and what we’ve been through this year.”
Gordon on his final season: “I was getting asked about it every weekend, ‘What happens if you don’t win this year?’ All that starts to pile up… I told someone recently, ‘The next time I win a race, they’re going to have to drag me out of Victory Lane.’ And I recognize that (the win at Martinsville) could be my final one. And if it is, that was such a storybook type of finish. I hope it’s not done yet. I think we can do something very special at Homestead.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–