Sunday, July 15th, 2018


“In the stats it will look like the same win as last year, but it wasn’t as easy.” – Jeff Burton on Martin Truex Jr.’s Second Consecutive Win at Kentucky


“It is hard to pinpoint which one of the ‘Big Three’ is the best car right now.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.


“It is like watching a three-tiered game of tic-tac-toe.” – Kyle Petty on Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick


SPARTA, Ky. – July 14, 2018 – NBC Sports Group rolled into its third week of 2018 NASCAR on NBC racing with 16 hours of trackside coverage from Kentucky Speedway, in Sparta, Ky. Coverage was highlighted by this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on NBCSN, which saw Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, dominate the race to take the team’s second consecutive checkered flag at Kentucky Speedway.


NBC Sports’ lead race announcer Rick Allen called the action alongside 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton. Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte called the race from a second booth alongside NBC Sports’ newest on-air contributor Dale Earnhardt Jr. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman reported from pit road.


Coverage began on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. ET. Krista Voda anchored pre-race coverage from NASCAR on NBC’s new state of the art “Peacock Pit Box” alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.




NASCAR on NBC analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte will take over NBC Sports’ broadcast booth for an analyst-only call of next Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 22 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


Combining their decades of experience behind the wheel and in the garage, Earnhardt, Burton and Letarte will bring viewers a fresh perspective of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, through informal stories, conversation and race commentary. Lead NASCAR on NBC race announcer Rick Allen will contribute to next Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice and race coverage from “The Magic Mile,” adding a fresh perspective from pit road. Allen, Burton, Earnhardt and Letarte will return to the broadcast booths for NBCSN’s telecast of the Cup race at Pocono Raceway on July 29.




Position Driver Car#
1 Martin Truex Jr. 78
2 Ryan Blaney 12
3 Brad Keselowski 2
4 Kyle Busch 18
5 Kevin Harvick 4




Position Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 799
2 Kevin Harvick 740
3 Martin Truex Jr. 689
4 Joey Logano 648
5 Brad Keselowski 630
6 Clint Bowyer 629
7 Kurt Busch 601
8 Kyle Larson 581
9 Denny Hamlin 559
10 Ryan Blaney 546
11 Aric Almirola 534
12 Jimmie Johnson 484
13 Erik Jones 480
14 Chase Elliott 469
15 Alex Bowman 427
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 418


The following are highlights from this evening’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race coverage on NBCSN.




Jarrett on Truex Jr.’s successful season: “We haven’t talked as much about Truex as we did last year. But actually, if you look at the stats to this point, they are better than they were last year. They have more top-fives, they are doing everything that they did before, and maybe even a little bit better.”


Petty on the “Big Three”: “It is interesting watching these three, because I don’t think you can talk about one without talking about the other. It is like watching a three-tiered game of tic-tac-toe. One makes a move the other makes a counter move.”




Burton on the continued domination by the “Big Three”: “What we have seen so far is that they have all found a way to step up. What I’m waiting for is who is going to step up outside of those guys?”


Letarte added: “It is worth noting this was the last true mile-and-a-half before the playoffs. This was the time to show what you had before you enter the playoffs and head to Las Vegas. The Penske cars took a step up. Right now I think they are perhaps the next closest to those three guys that win all the races.”


Earnhardt added: “One thing I have learned being in the booth already is, it is hard to pinpoint which one of the big three is the best car right now. It seems like each week one of them shows up and outruns the other.”


Burton as Truex Jr. took the checkered flag for the second consecutive year: “In the stats it will look like the same win as last year, but it wasn’t as easy as it was last year.”




Earnhardt as Ryan Blaney ran third with 12 laps to go: “He is having a good run tonight. This is what we anticipated from him all season. We just really haven’t seen it. With the domination of Stewart-Haas Racing, no one has really had a chance to get up there and run well.”


Letarte added: “Truex, Kyle Busch and Harvick. They are always in the top five it seems like. Regardless of who the new contender is, the ‘Big Three’ get that label because they perform week in and week out.”




Allen as Truex Jr. won the stage: “Martin Truex Jr. dominated the race a year ago, and he is doing it again.”


Letarte on the “Big Three” as Truex led the stage: “These guys continue to dominate every stat line that we look at.”


Burton on the pre-playoff pressure: “We have had seven winners in 2018. There are only eight races left to go before the playoffs start, and there are nine playoff spots available. So the intensity is there. If you don’t go out and compete, you may not make the playoffs. Points still matter even for the guys that are already in the playoffs. They have to race every lap, every position matters.”




Jarrett in reaction to Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s pre-race comments about Kyle Busch: “It seems like (Ricky) is backing up a little bit, which is not unusual. Especially when you start saying things, and then you want to back off, and defuse things a little bit. The timing was terrible. I am going to stick with that. I have no problem with a driver being aggressive, but the timing to go and talk about it wasn’t good.”


Petty added: “We have all done it. I have backed up. You get mouthy in front of a camera and back up. Once you make comments, they are out there. I still believe the sanctioning body needs to get these two together and sit them down and talk to them. Where is the line? Do we wait for something to happen on the race track? That is what a sanctioning body does.”


NASCAR on NBC’s pre-race coverage included a special feature on 19-time winner in NASCAR’s premier series, and 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Davey Allison.

Petty on Allison: 
“His impact on the sport 25 years later is evident in each one of the current drivers’. He left a lasting impression on what a Cup driver should be, how a cup driver should act, and what excellence is.”