“Less than two months ago Ricky Stenhouse was trying to be a Monster Energy Cup winner. Now he has now won at Daytona.” – Krista Voda
“The Olympics is a spectacle… and Daytona is certainly not far behind.” – Ato Boldon
“That’s how big a win is at Daytona. You keep the entire car as your trophy.” – Rick Allen
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – July 1, 2017 – NBC Sports Group launched its 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing season this evening with live coverage of the Coke Zero 400, from Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford won the race after taking the lead with two laps to go in overtime.
NBC Sports’ lead NASCAR announcer Rick Allen, 21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton, and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte called the race on NBC. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman reported from pit road.
Coverage began at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN with Countdown to Green. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. In addition, Rutledge Wood and four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon served as features contributors.
Coke Zero 400 Results
|1||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||17|
The following are highlights from this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage from Daytona on NBC.
Voda in Victory Lane: “Less than two months ago Ricky Stenhouse was trying to be a Monster Energy Cup winner. Now he has won at Talladega, and he has now won at Daytona.”
Letarte on crash at lap 153 that sent Kyle Larson in the air: “That is what you do, it is six laps to go at Daytona. You have to protect, you have to be aggressive. If the No. 42 can perhaps squeeze the No. 17 and get him to crack out of the throttle, he will have a run down the straightaway.”
Burton: “I think it is important to note that when these cars are inches apart and side-to-side, they do not track straight. When you get beside another car, it can push your car away, sometimes it can pull it in. Sometimes you have no input what so ever. That is close racing late in the race.”
Kligerman on Clint Bowyer with 13 laps to go: “I’m watching the No. 14 of Clint Bowyer, currently in fourth place, do some curious things in the draft. He is plotting, he is mentally noting what the runs do, and he is going to try and use that come the end of this race. That is what you need to do at Superspeedways.”
Burton on Daniel Suarez leading the race with 21 to go: “He is battling to lead this race. Look at his eyes, to the left in the mirror, to the right for the upper mirror. He is using everything he has in his power to keep this lead.”
Burton on Darrell Wallace Jr. running second with 35 laps to go: “When you get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it. That is exactly what he has done here tonight. He has done exactly what The King has told him to do, ‘stay out of trouble, and be in contention late in the race.’”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Snider on ending his night after 106 laps: “I was about to have some more fun, and get back up there and mix it up. Then that happened with the No. 4. It has been a wild night. I did not anticipate this much action and this much torn up sheet metal. There is still a lot of racing left. I didn’t expect all the attention all week. I hope every weekend is not like this, as far as the attention goes. The interaction with the fans does make me feel great. Hopefully we are able to turn that around back on the fans the rest of the season.”
Allen on 2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin: “He actually has a garage that is part of his house… where he keeps his Daytona 500 winning car. It is behind a glass wall, so people who come to visit can see the actual car and the trophy. That’s how big a win is at Daytona. You keep the entire car as your trophy.”
Brad Keselowski to Burton on his Stage 1 win: “Not a bad start, but a long, long way to go.”
Letarte at the conclusion of Stage 1: “That is a lighthearted dress rehearsal of what we are going to see in a few stages. Dale Jr. wanted to win that stage, perhaps not taking every risk possible, knowing that the big prize is still available. A great dress rehearsal for all these drivers to learn what they need to do later in the evening.”
COUNTDOWN TO GREEN PRE-RACE COVERAGE
Dale Jr. on the added pressure he feels this evening: “There is a little pressure that is unusual. Any time you qualify well, or get the pole, it puts a little pressure on you as a driver. But that all goes away once you get in the car and get into the heat of the race. Everyone wants to see us win tonight. It is Daytona. A lot of folks think this might be our best opportunity to win before the Playoffs begin, so it’s a little added pressure. I’ll forget about that about 20 laps into the race.”
Jarrett on the similarities between Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr.: “They were so much alike when driving. If you swapped cars between those two, you would not know which one it was driving. It was eerily similar the way they went about racing.”
Boldon on his first weekend covering NASCAR: “The Olympics is a spectacle… and this (Daytona) is certainly not far behind. I am amazed by the throngs of people and how close they can get to these drivers before tonight’s big race.”
A clip of Boldon’s experiences at Daytona International Speedway is available here.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–