“I think this has become the most difficult race track on the circuit.” – Jeff Burton
“It is like ‘Survivor.’ You have to somehow make it to Miami, without making too many enemies, so that you have a chance in the race.” – Steve Letarte
“Logano is really shaping up to be a championship contender.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Fort Worth, TX. – November 4, 2018 – NBC Sports Group’s presentation of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 continued this week with 18 hours of trackside coverage from Texas Motor Speedway, in Fort Worth, Texas. Coverage was highlighted by this afternoon’s Cup Series Playoff race on NBCSN, which saw Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford take the checkered flag. The win secured Harvick a position in the Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
NBC Sports Group’s lead race announcer Rick Allen paired with “The Mayor” of NASCAR Jeff Burton to call the race from NBC Sports’ traditional broadcast booth above the start-finish line. Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte and NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr. contributed analysis from NBC Sports’ second broadcast booth.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2:30 p.m. ET. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage on NBCSN.
Letarte on race winner Kevin Harvick: “When it mattered most, I don’t think we saw anyone dominate the top line like Kevin Harvick did on that final lap.”
Burton added: “I think this race track just suits Kevin Harvick so well.”
Earnhardt on third place finisher Logano: “Logano is really shaping up, over these last couple weeks, to be a championship contender. We haven’t talked about him all season, and here he is when it counts.”
Letarte on Aric Almirola’s frustration with Logano: “It is like ‘Survivor.’ You have to somehow make it to Miami, without making too many enemies, so that you have a chance in the race.”
Earnhardt on Harvick’s pass for the lead with 17 laps to go: “I cannot believe how good that No. 4 car is through one and two. To drive up behind Blaney be in the dirty air and continue to get to him, wow!”
Earnhardt on Ryan Blaney’s restart with 24 laps to go: “Impressive. I thought that maybe Blaney had learned something from that last restart. On the outside groove, maybe he could push Harvick a little harder, and he does!”
Burton on Joey Logano: “I know what Joey did last week was controversial and some people didn’t like that he moved Martin Truex out of the way to win Martinsville. But you know who loved it, those guys that work on that race car. They know that guy right there is going to do anything he can to win them a Championship. When you work for a guy like that it motivates you. You want to do well for that guy.”
Burton on Logano’s pit crew: “This No. 22 pit crew, they have been on fire. The pitted in fourth and came out with the lead. They have picked up seven spots the last two stops, and eight spots last week. You talk about winning Championships, Joey can win the Championship because of this pit crew.”
Letarte on NASCAR’s communication failure which caused Jimmie Johnson to unnecessarily start from the back: “I’m confident that this is something we are going to hear addressed after the race, and something that NASCAR is going to have to clean up moving forward. There is just too much on the line to have that sort of mistake.”
Earnhardt on Johnson spinning out at the beginning of the stage: “This is just not the way these cars are supposed to drive. These drivers don’t deal with these kinds of conditions anywhere else, at any other race track, where they are spinning out before they ever get into the corner.”
Letarte on the difficulty of Texas Motor Speedway due to the immensely different ends of the track: “It is a compromise for the crew chief, because they can’t make the car drive great at both ends.”
Burton added: “It is a huge challenge. It was done on purpose. The reason they did it is because they were trying to create an opportunity for drivers to pass. Make both ends of the race track differently, maybe your car is really good in three and four, and someone else’s car is good in one and two.”
Burton on Texas Motor Speedway: “I think this has become the most difficult race track on the circuit, because of the differences between turn one and two, compared to turn three and four.”
Jarrett on four Stewart-Haas Racing cars competing for three spots in the Round of 4: “They might cooperate until they crank the engines today, and then it is every man for himself.”
Petty added: “I am amazed at how they continue, even here in Texas, to share. They are still an open book”
This afternoon’s pre-race coverage included a special preview of NBC Sports’ new web series “Coffee with Kyle.” The first video interview, set to debut tomorrow on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel, features Kyle Petty’s interview with three-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart.
Petty in reaction to his conversation with Stewart: “He loves this sport, and it comes across in this interview. It was enlightening to sit and talk to him about so many aspects of it.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–