Fox NASCAR Brings Back Star-Studded Cast For ‘Drivers Only’ Race Broadcast At Talladega
“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.”
Those were the words of John Entz, FOX Sports President and Executive Producer of Production, last May when FOX Sports announced it would undertake an unprecedented challenge-broadcasting a NASCAR Xfinity Series race called entirely by active drivers.
Fortunately, there was no fire or loss of transmission signal, so FOX Sports has issued a “callback” to the cast of characters that debuted last June on Fox in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race broadcast from Pocono Raceway. Coming back for the sequel, live on FOX on Saturday, Apr. 28 from Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. ET, are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and newcomers Brad Keselowski and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
“The fan response last year to us blending this unlikely cast of characters and their unique personalities, coupled with the drivers’ feedback, made reuniting this group a no-brainer,” says Pam Miller, FOX Sports’ NASCAR Xfinity Series producer.
“We started talking about the next ‘Drivers Only’ broadcast as soon as the checkered flag waved in Pocono, and we’re thrilled the majority of our motley crew is back.”
Harvick again has the call alongside analysts Bowyer and Logano. Blaney and Jones will welcome rookie Wallace to pit road while Keselowski hosts FOX Sports’ coverage from the Hollywood Hotel for the first time alongside Stenhouse Jr., who worked pit road last year.
“When FOX approached me last year about the Drivers Only broadcast for Pocono, I figured it either was going to be really awesome or really bad, but there was no way I was going to miss being part of it,” says Logano.
“I think we were all pleasantly surprised with how well it went, but that’s thanks to everyone at FOX doing a lot of work to make it as seamless as possible.”
“I had a ton of fun last year,” says Blaney.
“It was good to step out of my comfort zone and see how the broadcast team does it on the road each week. I think doing it at Talladega will be make it even more exciting.”
FOX Sports cherry-picked Pocono for the “pilot” episode by design, but the network now is ready to throw the driver/broadcasters into the deep end at the circuit’s fastest speedway.
“One of the reasons we chose Pocono for our first Drivers Only broadcast is that it tends to lend itself to a little more reaction time for the broadcasters than a track like Talladega does,” Miller says.
“But to be honest, they all handled the entire afternoon so professionally and calmly, providing their own unique insights, that we knew then they are ready for a place like Talladega.”
“I think we’ve all got confidence going into this year’s broadcast but we all know the type of racing that restrictor plates create,” Logano says.
“We’ll all be on the edge of our seats with everyone at home, trying to keep up with the three and four-wide racing. It’s one of the most exciting races of the year for me as a driver, and I can’t wait to call the action from the booth with Kevin and Clint. Plus, it’s awesome to have Brad joining the group in the Hollywood Hotel.”