“This could be Brad’s biggest career win.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Brad Keselowski
“He didn’t lead the most laps, but his pit crew stepped up at the right time and made it happen.” – Jeff Burton on Keselowski
DARLINGTON, S.C. – September 2, 2018 – NBC Sports Group celebrated NASCAR’s throwback weekend and the penultimate race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season, with more than 17 hours of trackside coverage from Darlington Raceway, in Darlington, S.C. Coverage was highlighted by this evening’s Cup Series race on NBCSN, which saw Brad Keselowski and Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford take the checkered flag, and sweep the weekend of Xfinity and Cup Series races at “The Track Too Tough To Tame”.
Taping into Darlington Raceway’s celebration of the seven decades of NASCAR, NBCSN’s race telecast this evening featured the voices of three of the most famous families in the sport, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
Earnhardt Jr., joined fellow NASCAR on NBC analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte in NBC Sports’ “Race Team” booth above the start/finish line, while Petty, Jarrett and NASCAR on NBC race announcer Rick Allen contributed from atop NBC Sports’ “Peacock Pit Box” position on pit road. Petty and Jarrett also joined Earnhardt in the NASCAR on NBC broadcast booth for a portion of the race.
Krista Voda hosted pre- and post-race coverage alongside Petty and Jarrett. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman reported from pit road alongside features reporter Rutledge Wood.
The following are highlights from this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN.
Burton on race winner Brad Keselowski: “He didn’t lead the most laps, but his pit crew stepped up at the right time and made it happen.”
Earnhardt added: “I was thinking this could be Brad’s biggest career win.”
Letarte added: “It couldn’t have come at a better time. He was winless this year, and looking for something when he went out there. I know he had help from his pit crew, but in the end there were multiple laps executed perfectly.”
Burton on the Southern 500: “The energy is back in the Southern 500! It has been back for the last five years. It is awesome to see the fans pack this place.”
Letarte on the big one in the middle of turn three and four, which ended Clint Bowyer’s night: “You talk about the perfect storm, that is it!”
Letarte at lap 309: “We just crossed the three hour mark. All but two of the last 11 races of 2018 were over by now. While it may not seem long at 500, vs. the Coca-Cola 600, this is without a doubt a marathon.”
Burton on driver preparation: “At this race track you have to be conditioned. You have to have taken care of yourself, and put fluids in your body during the week. At this race, if you don’t stay attentive or in the right mind, you are going to hit that wall. This is a place where driver preparation really comes into play.”
Earnhardt added: “When these guys get out of the car tonight you will see a lot of things like you saw after Chicago, guys struggling to compose themselves.”
Burton on Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 car: “It is just surprising to me that Jimmie and the No. 48 can’t jump out of the hole that they are in. Even on a night when they seem to have some speed, nothing is going right.”
Earnhardt as Kyle Larson won the stage: “I wonder if someone got in his ear and said you need to lap the No. 3 car.”
Snider responded: “He just came on the radio and said, ‘I needed to lap the No. 3 car for what happened earlier.’”
Earnhardt as Larson ran third with 50 laps to go: “Larson was so good in that first stage that I thought the battle between Truex and Harvick, and lapped traffic, would allow him to close. But he has not been able to close. He has actually been a tick slower.”
Jarrett added: “You have to wonder if part of it is the damage that he suffered (from contact with Dillon) or has the changeover into the night created a situation that is better for Truex and Harvick.”
Petty on race leader Larson: “Kyle Larson this first part of the race has put on a clinic on where to catch traffic and adjust yourself.”
Jarrett on stage winner Larson: “The problem here for the rest of the field tonight is Kyle Larson. He has done a great job of managing the track.”
Petty added: “All but the first four cars were on one half of the race track. Everyone else was at least a half a track or more down. That is amazing! When you take a driver like Kyle Larson and put him on these tires, it is time over distance. He isn’t trying to bust off fast lap after fast lap. He is trying to duplicate, lap after lap, and make the best times he can.”
Earnhardt on his experience at Darlington early in his career: “I hated this place when I ran here early in my career. I didn’t look forward to coming here. By the end of my career I was in love with it, in love with the history, but also in love with the challenge.”
Earnhardt on Darlington Raceway: “I’ve been going to race tracks all year long, and everywhere I’ve gone that I haven’t won, it never phased me. Never even thought about it. But this weekend, I came into this track and I know that I’m never going to have another chance to try to win a race here.”
Earnhardt on calling a portion of today’s race with Jarrett and Petty: “The opportunity to actually work with you two guys is going to be so much fun for me tonight. I can’t wait to learn a lot and see how you guys approach being in the booth. I know you guys have years and years of experience.”
Jarrett added: “I’m not sure about learning anything, but we will have a good time.”
Petty on the 16 Hall of Famers on stage for driver introductions: “So much of the history of our sport is standing on that stage and up in this booth. So much of the history of our sport is tied to this race track. Without these guys, there is no sport, there is no NASCAR, there is no Darlington.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–