Race winner Brad Keselowski in Victory Lane: “I went into that corner high, just ready for something to happen and opportunity struck.”
Steve Letarte: “What I love about the XFINITY Series is how these up and coming talents challenge the Cup regulars.”
Austin Dillon on his eventful weekend in Daytona: “So many crazy things happen there. There’s always a story line at Daytona.”
Ty Dillon on watching his brother’s crash: “That was probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. I grabbed [my wife] and just held her… I was shaking in bed for a long time.”
SPARTA, Ky. – July 10, 2015 – NBCSN presents two NASCAR races in primetime this weekend from Kentucky Speedway. Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Racing from Kentucky, Presented by K&N, began with the Countdown to Green pre-race show hosted by Krista Voda, who worked alongside former driver Kyle Petty and championship crew chief Ray Evernham. When the engines fired and the green flag came out, coverage shifted to the booth where 21-time Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte joined race announcer Rick Allen to call the action.
The following are highlights from tonight’s XFINITY pre-race and race coverage on NBCSN.
Countdown to Green host Krista Voda introduced a preview of an in-depth segment that will air during tomorrow’s Sprint Cup pre-race show surrounding last week’s XFINITY race winner Austin Dillon, who heroically walked away from a terrifying last-lap crash on Monday morning: “By now you’ve likely seen the video from Daytona. We’re talking about the Sprint Cup race, and we’re not going to sugar coat it, Austin Dillon is lucky to be alive. He won the XFINITY Series race last week, he is not in the race here tonight, but he was on track during the Sprint Cup Series practice sessions today. What a tale of two different nights for Austin Dillon last week in Daytona.”
Dillon: “Those were emotional highs and lows. You have to be able to drive the peaks and valleys I guess… That was probably the best face that I’ve ever seen on my grandfather (Richard Childress) with his smile on Saturday night, and then on Sunday, walking into the infield care center and seeing him teary eyed and worried… So many crazy things happen there. There’s always a story line at Daytona.”
After the preview, Ray Evernham offered his reaction: “I actually heard Austin say that getting back in the car today made him feel good… I think it’s actually going to be harder on his family to watch him race tomorrow than it will be on him.”
Petty added: “We’ve talked to Richard Childress and we’ve heard the emotion in his voice. Something like that… when you turn off the lights at 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night, you see those images over and over again. You see your grandson… you see your son. That’s a very tough thing to live with, believe me. I can empathize with Richard, and with Austin, having gone through that in my own life.”
Austin’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, behind the wheel of the No. 3 car Friday night in the XFINITY race at Kentucky, caught up with reporter Rutledge Wood to discuss the experience of watching his brother’s epic crash at Daytona: “I was home… and woke my wife up to watch the last couple of laps of the race. I saw the crash. Then I saw his car sitting there. That was probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. I grabbed [my wife] and just held her. Once I saw the guys go out there and give the thumbs up… I still hadn’t gotten over it. I was still in shock. I was shaking in bed for a long time, until I heard his voice and was able to talk to him later that night. It was just really emotional. You never want to see anything like that, especially if it’s your brother.”
Driver Brian Scott connected with reporter Mike Massaro to discuss last week’s disappointing encounter with the wall at Daytona that cost him a chance to earn his first XFINITY Series victory. Scott: “I’m looking forward to getting that last race off my mind. It has made me sick all week. Obviously, a terrible outcome because of a mistake that I made. We had such a dominant car, I wish like anything that I could go back there and re-do it.”
Burton on racing at Kentucky Speedway: “This is probably the roughest track that the XFINITY Series runs on… the front straightaway is exceptionally rough. Turn three is the hardest part in my opinion because you get in the corner, but there’s no banking. It takes forever for the banking to start. So the entrance to that corner is very important. If you overdrive the entry, you’re going to be too loose and you’ll never get to the middle like you need to.”
Letarte adds: “We have a great field of young, up and coming XFINITY drivers, but we’ve also got four Sprint Cup stars in the mix tonight (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Paul Menard). These four Cup drivers have 128 XFINITY wins combined between the four of them. I think with the limited practice time and the tough race track, it’s going to be a tall task for one of the XFINITY regulars to try and compete with these four greats… But that’s what I love about the XFINITY Series, these up and coming talents challenge the Cup regulars at every track we go to.”
With less than 40 laps to go, Burton remarks on Chris Buescher’s decision to pit due to a worsening vibration: “That is such a hard decision for a driver. It happens so many times when you’re behind the wheel of a race car. You feel a big vibration and bring the car into the pits, but then the pit crew says that there’s nothing wrong. You feel terrible because you pitted for no reason, but you just know that there is something wrong.”
Burton on Brad Keselowski’s pass of Erik Jones with 7 laps to go: “You see them driving into turn three, [Jones’] No. 20 takes the bottom. That was the wrong choice, as [David Starr] also chose the bottom, which slows him down. Here comes the No. 22 of Keselowski who makes a big move, takes it three-wide and clears the 20 for the lead.”
Race winner Brad Keselowski met with reporter Dave Burns in Victory Lane: “That was a hell of a finish, wasn’t it Dave? I’m really happy and proud of my guys here… I just caught a little break, to be honest. One of the lapped cars (David Starr) blocked in Erik. He had done a heck of a job and sometimes things don’t go your way. I went into that corner high, just ready for something to happen and opportunity struck.”
Runner-up Erik Jones with reporter Marty Snider: “Well, I wish I would have known that the lapped car was going to the bottom, and then we would have gone to the top… It was a bummer that it didn’t work out, but it was nice to be running up front with Kyle and Brad.”
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