Winner Kyle Busch from Victory Lane: “I just got close enough to make [Blaney] mess up.”
Runner-up Ryan Blaney to reporter Mike Massaro: “We had it won, and the driver gave it away.”
Jeff Burton: “Ryan Blaney is a really good, young race car driver. He just made a mistake.”
Indianapolis, I.N. – July 25, 2015 – NBC presented its first NASCAR XFINITY Series race of 2015 earlier today from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Saturday afternoon’s festivities began with Countdown to Green hosted by Krista Voda, who worked alongside NASCAR on NBC analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
When the engines fired and the green flag dropped, coverage for the XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 shifted to the booth where race announcer Rick Allen, 21-time Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton, and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte called the action.
Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro patrolled pit road at the Brickyard during the NBC broadcast, which culminated in dramatic fashion as Kyle Busch executed a thrilling last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney for the victory and an opportunity to kiss the bricks.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s XFINITY pre-race and race coverage on NBC.
Jarrett on the excitement of racing at Indy: “I get chills every time I drive through that tunnel and come in here…Knowing that you are at the most famous motorsports venue in the world makes it even more special.”
Petty on Chase Elliott’s opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his father, Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, and capture a checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: “It is incredibly special to go to Victory Lane with your father and stand beside him as he hoists the trophy. To be able to go back to that same racetrack years later, win the race and hoist the trophy yourself while your dad is standing next to you? You can take all the money that you make and it all gets spent, but those memories and those pictures last a lifetime.”
Petty on the new aerodynamics package: “Everybody here is going to be learning on the fly, not only the drivers. I’m betting the crew members, drivers and engineers over in the Cup garage are walking pit road talking…This is going to be a learning experience for all of NASCAR, for both of these divisions. Not just the XFINITY series. The XFINITY drivers are the test rabbits. They are the ones we are sending out first to see what they are going to do. What we see today will be reflected in the race tomorrow.”
Burton on the new aerodynamics package: “How is your car going to drive when you enter turn one? We don’t know because we haven’t done this with forty cars on a race track at the same time. I would be a little nervous.”
Burton on Daniel Suarez as he closed in on race leader Kyle Busch: “Here’s a young driver in Daniel Suarez, who is making his first start at one of the most historic race tracks in all of the world, and he has a chance to beat Kyle Busch, one of the best drivers in NASCAR. That is what today is all about and the essence of the XFINITY Series. Mixing these younger drivers and more experienced drivers together on the same race track.”
Letarte on Kyle Busch’s miscommunication with his crew chief: “The basic questions between a driver and a crew chief when pit road opens are, what do you need on your chassis and are we or are we not pitting. Sometimes when you make things more complicated than that, it doesn’t work out. Keeping things simple is sometimes the better way.”
Letarte on crew chief strategy: “This is a 180 mile-an-hour chess game. These crew chiefs not only have to have a good strategy, but the driver has to be on board. All the moving parts and pieces have to align. Kyle Busch looks like he is in great shape. But, Kyle Larson back in 17th he has more fuel. We have no idea which strategy is going to pay off until we see when or how the cautions fall.”
Following Erik Jones’ interview with Snider, during which he owned up to the fact that the wreck that ended his day and triggered the race’s third caution flag was his fault, Burton offered: “I like a race car driver that will just say, ‘You know what, I messed up. I was trying hard, but I lost it.’ I like that. No excuses, just own up to it, learn from it, and move on.”
With seven laps to go Burton comments on current race leader Ryan Blaney: “If you are Blaney in the No. 22, this is what you dream about. You are in Indy– these are the opportunities you hope you get. We have all seen Blaney grow and become a better race car driver. This is the opportunity he has wanted for a long time.”
Burton on Ryan Blaney after Kyle Busch’s last lap pass: “Ryan Blaney is a really good, young race car driver, he just made a mistake. Getting over it will take a long time. You are broken hearted, but you just have to learn from it and move on.”
Letarte added: “It’s all about momentum here at Indy, and it didn’t take much more than a small bobble and the No. 54 was there. Kyle is a veteran driver and rode in the back a little to cool his stuff, but he was there when it mattered.”
Burton followed: “It all started a few laps before that. Blaney had a good lead, but caught a lapped car… I think that [No. 70 car of Derrike Cope’s] had to slow way down in the straightaway and get completely out of the way, so that he wasn’t involved. That slowed Blaney down, and then he missed turn 2, which opened the door for Kyle Busch. So a lapped car presented an opportunity for Kyle Busch, but at the end of the day, Blaney just missed his mark.”
Blaney to Massaro after the race: “[Kyle Busch] got around us. It is my fault. Team Penske did a great job, giving us a good car to drive from 11th to the lead. We had it won, and the driver gave it away.”
Winner Kyle Busch from Victory Lane: “I just got close enough to make him mess up. I made him get tight around (turn) two, and I was able to capitalize underneath him…We should have won this thing going away, but I guess we had to make it exciting.”
Kyle Busch’s XFINITY crew-chief Chris Gayle on winning in the Brickyard: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I thought we had the best car all day, and then I was worried when we lost it on the restart. It is why you don’t give up, you just never know. There are lapped cars there are lots of reasons to get back in it, and you just have to utilize that opportunity. It is incredible. There isn’t a bigger one for me.”
Snider on the drivers’ post-race exhaustion: “We have all known these drivers a long time and I don’t think I’ve seen more drivers as exhausted as they are today getting out of their cars. It is going to make for an interesting tomorrow, that is for sure.”
NBCSN’s NASCAR coverage continues tomorrow afternoon with a 60-minute edition of NASCAR America Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, followed by the Countdown to Green, Served by Sonic pre-race show at 3 p.m. ET. At 3:30 p.m. ET, coverage shifts to the broadcast booth as NBCSN presents Sprint Cup Racing from the Brickyard Presented by Golden Corral.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–