NASCAR on NBC - A First Look
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NASCAR on NBC - A First Look
NASCAR on NBC – A First Look
Daytona International Speedway – it’s where so many broadcast networks have
debuted their coverage of NASCAR. Sports networks like CBS, ESPN, and Fox have all
started here, even NBC back in 2001. In 2015, though, it was a welcome back for
NBC Sports as they returned to their coverage of NASCAR on NBC after a nine-year
NBC Sports was announced nearly a year and a half prior as the successor to TNT
and ESPN’s coverage of the sport, with coverage of the second half of both the
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series split between the NBC
broadcast network and their cable channel NBCSN. The NASCAR on NBC crew also
picked up coverage of the Hall of Fame inductions, regional touring series, and
Spanish-language coverage. Taking a page from the former Speed network, NBC
Sports was already winning over the diehard fans of the sport.
The next step for the network was to put together an A-list crew and team to cover
the sport. Taking the best of the ESPN and TNT crews, and cherry picking some
members off the NASCAR on Fox team, NASCAR on NBC was set with an experienced
and invigorating crew to welcome back the sport to their airwaves.
Then the rain came.
The worst possible thing that could happen to a race on a new network happened
not once, but twice. First, the NASCAR Xfinity Series debut on NBCSN was delayed by
an hour because of rain. Ultimately, it was a side story compared to the rain delay to
follow the next night for the Cup cars. The Coke Zero 400 did not begin until after 11
pm local time that night. Of course, that was out of the control of the powers that be
Focusing on what they could control, the return of NASCAR on NBC was
orchestrated nearly perfectly. The usually cynical and hate-filled twitterverse had
positive reviews for the broadcast, and everyone fell in love with the new play-by-
play team of Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, and Steve Letarte. Call it relevance, experience,
or less Bill Weber, but it was clear this team was the right choice.
Pit road and the mobile studio were just as solid as their counterparts in the booth.
The reporters et al knew their stuff, and performed the job well. Of course, it helps
that all the team members had prior pit road reporting experience, and all but Kelly
Stavast have covered NASCAR for years. While there were times that Stavast clearly
looked young and fresh on the NASCAR scene, and Marty Snider had his fair share of
verbal gaffes, the pit road will not be riddled with changes like ESPN’s crew was
every year it seemed.
In the end, there are only two key areas for NBC to clean up heading into their next
broadcast weekend at Kentucky:
1. Cut down on the verbal and technical miscues, though this is to be expected
for a new broadcast team.
2. Involve the studio team (Krista Voda, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty) more in the
broadcast. This group was hardly if ever called on during the race itself,
unlike their Fox counterparts. Take a page from their book and use them as
needed, but not to the point where it takes away from the broadcast.
As we strap in for the rest of the NASCAR season with NBC Sports, the team is ready
and they will perform well for the fans, the teams, and the sport. And of course, who
isn’t looking forward to seeing Formula One commentator Leigh Diffey call some
Xfinity Series races.