Tha Sports Junkies 101

2016 NASCAR On NBC Media Conference Bites

NBC Sports


NASCAR On NBC opens up it’s portion of the season this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway with the XFINITY Series race Friday night, with the Sprint Cup Race Saturday night. In a media conference held Wednesday afternoon,  NBC Sports Group’s Executive Producer Sam Flood, 21-time Sprint Cup winner Jeff Burton, Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett, Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte, NASCAR royal Kyle Petty and race announcer Rick Allen preview the 2016 launch of NASCAR on NBC with a briefing and some questions from the media. Here is some of what went down.

Opening statements:

Sam Flood: I’m thrilled to get back at it for a second season. Was excited to be part of people’s race weekend last year, and even more now for year two.

Jeff Burton: Great to be back for this year. Racing has been exciting, so it makes everyone involved more excited.

Steve Letarte: There was a lot to learn year one. Now that everyone’s learned and jelled, we feel more conformable for year two.

Rick Allen: Excited to leave off were last season left off. We will continue to build the chemistry from last year into year two.

Kyle Petty: Pre race and Post race tells a story. Tony Stewart’s win last week is a huge personal story that we’ll cover. We’ll continue to also follow Chase Elliot and other guys breaking out this year.

Dale Jarrett: Setting up Pre race excitement is important for the viewer. Storytelling will be better year two. 

Question 1:

(To Sam): What were you trying during the offseason to make year 2 better?

Sam: We were looking at races, trying to see what we did and didn’t like. Trying to make what we didn’t like better. Also, better storytelling of drivers. Booth, Pre/Post Race, and Pit Reporters get the story out better.

Question 2:

(To Sam): With the Olympics on NBC’s networks this year, how do you cross promote to grow audience?

Sam: NASCAR is going to be exposed to millions of viewers not familiar to the sport during Olympic Games. Goal is as games wrap up, new viewers come in during Bristol, Darlington, and throughout the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

Question 3:

(To Jeff, Dale & Kyle): NBCSN is airing the 2001 Pepsi 400 as a social media throwback tonight. Any memories of that race?

Kyle: I don’t remember most of that race. But, i’m excited to watch. I want to get a feel of what races and the cars were like back then again. 

(Dale): Obviously had a stranger feel than usual due to Dale Earnhardt’s death in the 500.

(Jeff): Whats fun about older races is reliving history. Get to learn what you remember the first time, and learn what you didn’t the second time.

Question 4:

(To Sam): With the Olympic Games being a big platform, how does NASCAR Stay relevant during it?

Sam: Stories keep NASCAR relevant during big sporting events. Every week the best faces the best. No other sport does that. No one doesn’t have to wait for the best matchups every week in our sport.

Question 5:

(To Dale, With Jeff later adding in): Both you and your father Ned Jarrett were both champions of our sport and eventually became broadcasters. Did Ned help you in any way with your transition?

Dale: Ned helped me with transition obviously. He said the prep before races was more than it looks. Finding facts, info is hard, but was helped behind the scenes by him.

Jeff: We came from two recognizable families . Knowing about the past and current helps us in the booth with others.

Question 6:

(To Steve): Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally retired Amelia after Talladega this year, is there any impact for a driver losing his best car?

Steve: There’s more of an mental impact from it. But, i was more shocked the brought the car back after the Daytona 500 crash.

Question 7:

(To Sam): From a technology perspective, any improvements for year two with NASCAR On NBC?

Sam: Were going to take advantage of the slow motion, which got some positive feedback. Also, better graphics presentation as we work with Microsoft with improving how we and present data to the viewers.

Closing question:

(To Everyone): What will be different with NASCAR on NBC from year one to year two?

Kyle: Storytelling will be better. We will get inside the drivers, rule changes, and the races with their impacts.

Dale: I’m more older than i was in year one, really only trying to be helpful for Pre race and Post race

Steve: Challenge last year was getting practice to feel comfortable. Other than practice session, there was no other way to prepare. Now, we’ve had an offseason to  get better and practice being more comfortable in the booth.

Jeff: Comfort this year is more than last year. Steve and i never did television before last year. Now, we’re better at it having a year under our belts and the comfort is there for year two.

Rick: Sam contacted us about 3 years ago to get us together and do this. Jeff said we were going to be the best we can be before the news broke. We are better friend and even better broadcast partners now as a result.