What ‘Drivers Only’ broadcast crew had to say after making history
Eight Monster Energy Series drivers pulled off history without a hitch in Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Pocono Raceway.
FOX Sports made sports broadcasting history by becoming the first network to use an active all-athlete lineup for their on-air fleet.
FOX NASCAR's talented group of announcers and pit reporters were paired with the drivers throughout the day:
Kevin Harvick (Adam Alexander), Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano (Michael Waltrip), Danica Patrick (Shannon Spake), Denny Hamlin (Larry McReynolds), Ryan Blaney (Chris Neville), Erik Jones (Matt Yocum) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Jamie Little).
Take a look at what drivers and the FOX NASCAR crew had to say after making history.
Kevin Harvick (play-by-play announcer)
“I just want to thank everyone from FOX for letting us do this because this has been an experience like none other. Adam (Alexander, FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer) definitely can have his job back, because of leading into commercials, out of the commercials, reading everything … My favorite part of the day was just the race. We had strategy, we had a last-lap pass, we had people bumping and pushing, and it was just a great race to call … We had a lot of time to prepare and I don’t think I used one note that I had written down because there was so much going on. Looking at all that information and seeing everything and having it in your mind definitely was a help, and of course, Adam and Michael and everyone helping us out. I enjoyed it, I know you guys enjoyed it, and we’re just thankful that it’s over.”
Joey Logano (analyst)
“I had a blast. That was a lot of fun. I think (Clint) Bowyer and I maybe had the two easiest jobs. We just got to call the race, kind of what we typically do when we do get to come up here … To see how everyone did – that was probably one of the most fun parts for me, to see the personalities on pit road -- how Denny (Hamlin) and Danica (Patrick) did in the Hollywood Hotel. Everyone did a lot better job than I thought we were going to do, in all honesty. I was pretty proud to see this.”
Clint Bowyer (analyst)
“Well, we haven’t seen it yet. When you go back to watch this (laughing) … The thing I took from this is the appreciation of the professionals who do this and cover our sport and make us look good on a weekly basis. There’s so much that goes into it from the stat guys – they are so on it and feed you information every single lap about what’s going on and where it’s going on. Unfortunately, we did get busted with a couple of breaks in some key moments in the race, but aside from that, just the appreciation of what these guys do to make us look good week-in and week out. It was an experience. That’s for sure.”
Denny Hamlin (network coverage co-host in Hollywood Hotel)
“It’s interesting – it’s much easier to call a race when you have all this information versus when you’re in the car. That’s the biggest thing I noticed – there is so much more information than we see behind the wheel.”
Danica Patrick (network coverage host in Hollywood Hotel)
“It [a race] definitely looks like it unfolds a little bit easier when you’re looking at it [from the Hollywood Hotel]. When you’re in the car, you’re just thinking, ‘Huh?’ It was a great day.”
“I had a great day. Green-flag pit stops, I thought, probably were the craziest. When they decided to duck off turn 3 down pit road as fast as they do and you’re trying to come up with what they’re doing on their pit stops and in their strategy. One of the things I really noticed -- as much as I rely on my spotter when I’m out there racing, I really rely on the spotters down here in the pits. I know Jamie (Little) has a good one with Brian (Cox). They were both tag-teaming it, helping me out and handing me notes and I was trying to relay it to the fans. It was a great opportunity, a great experience and I had a lot of fun. We saw a heck of a battle for the win, so a good day.”
Erik Jones (pit road reporter)
“To experience green-flag pit stops, pit road was definitely a new experience for me, just seeing all the guys coming down, how hectic it was trying to stay up with what every car was doing – not just one. Adjustments and everything else definitely was a lot to see. It was a good experience. Definitely a totally new perspective and respect for the guys who work down on pit road and in the booth. A very cool event. I had a lot of fun and hope I get to do it again sometime.”
Ryan Blaney (pit road reporter; interviewed the winner in Victory Lane)
“The coolest part for me was watching the end of that race. That was so cool. The ending was storybook, pretty much, to watch Brad (Keselowski) drive from where he did to get the lead on the last lap and how he did it, making a couple of bold three-wide moves. That was unbelievable. Then I got to be in Victory Lane with my team. I get to drive this 22 car. That was really cool to see these guys get back in Victory Lane. That was really fun for me. I just can’t thank FOX enough for letting us do it, letting us take over for a day. Chris Neville, as well. He gave me a lot of pointers for today, and I would have been completely lost if it weren’t for him.”
Pam Miller, FOX NASCAR XFINITY Series race producer
“It was so much fun for all of us – the drivers, their announcer ‘coaches’ and our production crew – to put this telecast together. There was so much energy, and it came across in the drivers’ conversations as they told the story of the race. The race went amazingly smoothly, particularly given all the moving parts and new faces. There were a few hectic moments, but we just rolled with them and had a blast.”
Adam Alexander, FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer
“I’ve always been amazed by how drivers can transition from the garage to TV. However, today threw an entirely new weight onto their shoulders. But they all came prepared and executed a race full of storylines quite well. One of the toughest challenges in the booth is strategy. Kevin, Joey and Clint stayed in front of the various strategies throughout the race, while Ricky, Erik and Ryan brought a lot to the table from the pit road side. They asked great questions and offered a perspective that we haven’t seen before.”
Matt Yocum, FOX NASCAR reporter
“I thought it was a fun day for the drivers, especially Erik Jones, who was my teammate for the day, because he got an entirely different perspective on how the sport is covered. From his first live pit stop on the other side of pit wall to interviewing a crew chief about strategy, Erik did a great job covering our area on pit road.”
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Jamie Little, FOX NASCAR reporter
“The drivers all did better than I expected they would. So many subtleties go into being a broadcaster, and timing is one of them. The drivers were pretty good, even with their timing. Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) took his assignment seriously and made it his own. Drivers see and hear things differently than we do. Earlier in the day, Ricky talked to every single driver whose pit he covered. He was well-prepared. Everyone had a blast – from the producers to the broadcasters and drivers. More importantly, our fans seemed to love what they saw, too.”
Chris Neville, FOX NASCAR reporter
“Racing is about consistent evolution. Our FOX NASCAR team tried something never done before on Saturday, and it was a huge success. Fans had the opportunity to see these incredible drivers do something completely foreign to them, and they executed the task like pros.While the drivers got to do something completely different, hopefully their fans got the chance to see an entirely new side of some of our rising stars.”