“It is like a heavyweight battle. Whatever one can do, the other can do better. They continue to up the ante week in and week out.” – Steve Letarte on the “Big Three”
“These three are bringing each other to a higher and higher level almost every single week.” – Jeff Burton
BROOKLYN, Mich. – August 12, 2018 – NBC Sports Group stepped on the gas for its seventh week of live 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing, with more than nine hours of trackside coverage from Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn, Mich. Coverage was highlighted by this afternoon’s Consumers Energy 400 on NBCSN, which saw Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford dominate the field and take the checkered flag. The victory was Harvick’s seventh win of the season.
NASCAR on NBC’s lead race announcer Rick Allen called the action alongside Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte, from NBC Sports’ broadcast booth above the start/finish line. Motorsports icon and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr., and 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton, provided additional insight from NBCSN’s “Drivers Booth.” Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns reported from pit road.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage from NASCAR on NBC’s new state of the art “Peacock Pit Box” alongside auto racing icon Kyle Petty.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN.
Letarte on the “Big Three”: “Harvick didn’t just win the race, he won every stage and proved why perhaps he is the favorite. It is like a heavyweight battle. Whatever one can do, the other can do better. They continue to up the ante week in and week out.”
Letarte on the playoff standings: “It doesn’t seem like anyone (outside of the Top 16) can get traction. A win from outside the Top 16 could really shake up the drivers.”
Earnhardt on Harvick’s son Keelan riding to victory lane with him: “That is a hell of an experience for a kid. Kevin too, to be able to have his son with him. That is incredible.”
Burton on the “Big Three”: “It is fascinating to me that they keep one-upping each other, and as they do they leave the field further behind. It is crazy how these three are bringing each other to a higher and higher level almost every single week.”
Allen on Truex with 44 laps to go: “He has had an eventful day.”
Letarte added: “He spun out and ran out of gas, other than that the status quo. He has done a great job of recovering from all of that. Is still on the lead lap, and is up to the 17th position.”
Burton on Ty Dillon hitting the on-track debris and ending his day: “Ty is racing someone. He is not looking at the race track. You are not looking at the race track. You are looking at the car to the left, to the right and the line that you want to be in. You are looking in the mirror. You are not expecting something to be sitting in the middle of the race track.”
Letarte on the playoff standings: “The ‘Big Three’ are starting to get such a lead in the playoff standings, it doesn’t guarantee anything, but it has got to make them feel a lot better about the first couple stages of the playoffs.”
Letarte as Truex slowed down and gave up the lead to save fuel with 11 laps to go: “That to me looks like a driver that maybe wants to draft. He is going to try and stretch it. This is going to be great fuel economy out of the No. 78.”
Burton on Erik Jones complaining about his loose car: “This is the worst the track is going to be. The first run of the race is always the worst. It is slick. If you tighten it up too much, then halfway through the race it will be too tight. It is hard to know how loose you can start, and deal with it through the early runs.”
Letarte added: “It is hard as a young driver. As a crew chief, this is where you have to go into coach mode. It is not about the adjustment, it is about trying to help that driver see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Petty on Jones: “If they continue this momentum that they have, they are Championship caliber. Think about it, we keep talking about the “Big Three” and who is the fourth? There really is not a fourth. But there are guys like Erik Jones. Five out of the last six races he has finished in the Top 10. That is what you have to do to make it to Homestead. If you aren’t winning, you have to point them to death. That is what he is doing. He is gaining valuable points every week.”
Petty in reaction to the “driver to driver” interview with Kyle Larson: “We have seen him run places and do things here at Michigan that I don’t think we have ever seen from any of the great drivers who have run here.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–