MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES Live Sunday on FOX; NASCAR XFINITY SERIES Live Saturday on FS1
McReynolds & Darrell Waltrip React to New All-Star Race Rules
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, with FOX Sports set to offer more than 18 hours of live action from the half-mile concrete oval. Included are FOX’s live race coverage of the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES on Sunday, April 15 (2:00 PM ET) and FS1’s live telecast of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES on Saturday, April 14 (1:00 PM ET).
Below is programming information for the weekend ahead, as well as quotes from FOX NASCAR analysts Larry McReynolds and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR’s winningest driver of all-time at Bristol with 12 victories. Additionally, included are McReynolds’ and Waltrip’s thoughts on the new rules and format for the May 19 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE (live on FS1 at 8:00 PM ET), announced on tonight’s NASCAR RACE HUB on FS1.
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
• Date/Time: Sunday, April 15 (2:00 PM ET)
• Network: FOX
• Announcers: Mike Joy, Hall of Famer and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds
• Pit reporters: Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum
• Pre-race: 1:30 PM ET on FOX; hosted by Chris Myers with Michael Waltrip, Gordon and Darrell Waltrip
• NASCAR RACEDAY (12:30 PM ET on FS1); hosted by John Robert with analysts Jeff Hammond and Regan Smith; reporting by Kenny Wallace
o NASCAR RACEDAY offers: an essay on the weekend Alan Kulwicki was killed, voiced by his then-hauler driver Peter Jellen; a “Where’s Wallace” piece from the Tennessee/Virginia state line with Kenny Wallace; a feature on the life and career of Kasey Kahne; and live interviews with Kyle Busch and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
• Hosts: Myers and Michael Waltrip
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
• Date/Time: Saturday, April 14 (1:00 PM ET)
• Network: FS1
• Announcers: Adam Alexander, Michael Waltrip and driver analyst Joey Logano
• Pit reporters: Jamie Little and Regan Smith
• Pre-race: NASCAR RACEDAY-XFINITY (12:30 PM ET on FS1); hosted by Shannon Spake and Larry McReynolds; reporting by Kenny Wallace
• Post-race: 3:30-4:00 PM ET on FS1
• Hosts: Spake and McReynolds
FOX NASCAR QUOTES
What is your reaction to the news that Cup Series teams will run restrictor plates in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
“I am thrilled to hear NASCAR is looking at this package for the Cup Series teams. The All-Star Race is the perfect place to do it. We all know how good a race the Truck Series puts on everywhere it goes, and this package lends itself a bit to that look, with the increased downforce and drag, the vehicles poking a bigger hole in the air and less horsepower. When I saw the XFINITY race at Indianapolis with this package last year, I was convinced we have to try this somehow, somewhere with the Cup cars. I’m even more excited there are no gimmicks – no mandatory pit stops, no field inversion, no average-finish math involved. Just a straight-up race for $1 million.”
“I’ll be as interested as anyone to see how restrictor plates do in the All-Star Race. We know they will slow the cars down on the straightaways, but I’m not sure about the corners. I think back to New Hampshire when NASCAR issued restrictor plates, and I wonder if a team will figure out a setup and stink up the show. But I love the fact this is like a big R&D project where teams can throw whatever they want at it. We’ll see what the results are, and if they’re good, we may do it again. If they’re not, then NASCAR probably will scrap the idea for the future. One thing is certain – when they’re racing for $1 million, teams will give it their best shot.”
If the All-Star Race rules package is a success, would you support NASCAR trying it in the Cup Series in another race down the road?
“I don’t know if it would be used again in 2018, even if it’s a raging success, but if it turns out well, it would be advantageous to try it at any track a mile-and-a-half or two miles in length. It may not improve the on-track product, but it certainly won’t make it worse. I’d like to see NASCAR give it a shot at a track like Pocono or Michigan this year if it performs well in the All-Star Race, because those tracks aren’t in the Playoffs. Maybe even Indianapolis. But we’ll see what we get in a few weeks at Charlotte.”
On whether his win at Texas and his extended points lead afford Kyle Busch any additional momentum headed into Bristol this weekend:
“Aside from his Texas win, Kyle Busch’s last five races were all spectacular, so you’ve got to believe the confidence is there. He celebrated that win, but I guarantee you that if he doesn’t win at Bristol, he will be miserable again. But that’s Kyle Busch, and that’s what we love about him.”
On his first impressions of Bristol Motor Speedway as a driver:
“The first time I competed at Bristol was in an old Mercury with Jake Elder. Going in, Jake told me, ‘You know this place is notorious for wearing out drivers and you have to be a tough SOB to run 500 laps.’ I had been running a fiberglass seat in my late model races, and Jake told me I wouldn’t last 50 laps in that seat at Bristol. I laughed at him, but boy, was I wrong. Only 50 laps into the race, I was patting my helmet, the signal that I needed a relief driver. I was falling out of the seat, with my arms killing me, my neck breaking and me feeling like I was going to die. That fiberglass seat was eating me up, cutting me all over because of all the force on the driver at Bristol. I came in, and Dick Brooks got in my car for 50 or 100 laps. I got back in afterward, backed it down to pace myself and learned a valuable lesson. Five-hundred laps at Bristol is the most grueling thing you’ll ever do. It literally takes everything a driver has to hang on there.”
Who in the current field of drivers is best-suited for Bristol and the driving style it requires?
“I never in my life thought someone could win three races in a weekend there, but Kyle Busch has. I don’t know how he physically does it because all those laps in one weekend don’t appear to affect him all that much. Kyle stays up on the wheel and gets the job done. Just finishing three races there in one weekend is an accomplishment, but dominating, leading the most laps and winning is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen a driver do there.”
Who is your pick to win Sunday’s race?
“Kyle Busch because he is always good at Bristol, he has been running extremely well the past few weeks and won last weekend. But I don’t think he will run away with the race, as Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski should be strong. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the young drivers, such as Chase Elliott, William Byron and Erik Jones, have a solid day. But I’ll take Kyle Busch for the win.”
Some Cup Series teams have had issues with the newly mandated pit guns in recent weeks, and Kevin Harvick this week expressed his displeasure with them. Where do you stand on this topic? Should they be regulated or should teams again be allowed to build their own?
“I’m often puzzled when NASCAR regulates something in the interest of saving teams money because that often isn’t the result. It’s hard to believe cost-savings could be applicable now, after teams for years have spent money to research and develop pit guns and have been reaping the fruits of their labor. They have dumped so much money into building reliable, custom-made guns for their pit crew members, so why regulate them now? These pit guns are inferior to what many teams had, which was a custom piece, and are putting undue burden on pit crews. Let the teams supply their own.”
Are there any surprises in the point standings headed into Bristol?
“Jimmie Johnson still is not even in the top 20 in points. In fact, the top Hendrick Motorsports driver is Alex Bowman in 14th. We saw a little glimmer of hope for that organization at Texas, but still a lot of work to be done.”
FOX NASCAR AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE
(All times live/Eastern unless otherwise indicated & subject to change)
Friday, April 13
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES practice (12:00-1:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES practice (1:00-2:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION (2:00-3:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES final practice (3:00-4:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION (4:00-4:30 PM) (FS1)
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES qualifying (4:30-6:00 PM) (FS1)
Saturday, April 14
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES practice (8:30-9:30 AM) (FS1)
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES qualifying (9:30-10:30 AM) (FS1)
NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION (10:30-11:00 AM) (FS1)
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES final practice (11:00 AM-12:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION (12:00-12:30 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR RACEDAY-NXS (12:30-1:00 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES Racing (1:00-3:30 PM) (FS1)
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES post-race (3:30-4:00 PM) (FS1)
Sunday, April 15
NASCAR RACEDAY (12:30-1:30 PM) (FS1)
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PRE-RACE (1:30-2:00 PM) (FOX)
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES Racing (2:00-5:30 PM) (FOX)