In what is believed to be an unprecedented move in national sports broadcasting, FOX Sports announced today that its live broadcast of the June 10 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race from Pocono Raceway (1:00 PM ET on FOX) will be called entirely by active MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers. The race broadcast is thought to be the first time a nationally televised live sporting event has featured an on-air team comprised strictly of athletes actively competing in that sport.
Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR premier series and two-time NASCAR XFINITY SERIES champion, serves as the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports at Pocono alongside analysts Joey Logano (2015 Daytona 500 champion and a part of four NASCAR XFINITY SERIES owners championships) and Clint Bowyer (2008 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES champion). Ryan Blaney, (2014 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES Most Popular Driver), Erik Jones (2015 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES champion) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two-time NASCAR XFINITY SERIES champion) cover pit road, while Danica Patrick (2013 Daytona 500 pole champion and first female to lead a NASCAR race under green) and Denny Hamlin (2016 Daytona 500 champion) host FOX race coverage from the Hollywood Hotel mobile studio.
“This is something FOX Sports has talked about doing for a long time,” said John Entz, FOX Sports President & Executive Producer, Production. “Several of these competitors already have joined us in the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES booth and done a heck of a job, and we see a lot of promise in the newcomers. Regardless of their TV experience, we have one goal for all -- go out and have a blast. As long as no one sets fire to the FOX Sports booth or pulls the plug that knocks us off the air, the drivers have free rein.”
Harvick, Bowyer, Hamlin, Logano and Patrick have served as driver analysts for FOX Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES at some point since the network began rotating prominent MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers in the booth beginning with the 2015 season. Additionally, Blaney and Stenhouse have contributed as driver analysts on FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB, the sport’s most-watched daily NASCAR news and information program. Pocono marks Jones’ debut as part of a national race broadcast.
Still slated to offer analysis in the FOX Sports NASCAR XFINITY SERIES booth in 2017, alongside regular FOX Sports broadcasters Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip, are Bowyer at Charlotte on May 27 (1:00 PM ET on FS1) and Logano at Dover on June 3 (1:00 PM ET on FS1).
"Pocono definitely is going to be different, but I am looking forward to the challenge and the fun it’s going to be for everyone,” said Pam Milller, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race producer for FOX Sports. “For the most part, this group has broadcasting experience, so the goal will be to keep the telecast moving between all the personalities and making sure every driver’s unique views and personal experiences come through on the air. We want the viewer to feel like they are sitting with a group of friends having a racing conversation. These friends just happen to compete on the track each week."
Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray made their FOX NASCAR booth debuts earlier this season, in addition to two appearances by Brad Keselowski. Logano helped call the Richmond race, while Harvick offered analysis at Daytona, Phoenix, Bristol and Talladega, as well as the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES stop at Martinsville. Harvick also is scheduled as an analyst for the upcoming Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
In appreciation of the drivers’ participation, FOX Sports will make a donation to each driver’s individual foundation or charity of choice (see attachment).
FOX Sports PR