Fox Generating Interest For Xfinity Series Race With "Drivers Only" Broadcast
Fox' decision to use a crew of current NASCAR drivers for its broadcast team for Saturday's Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway has "already paid off given how much favorable pre-race attention the network has received," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Kevin Harvick will "serve as the play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer" during the race, while Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will work the pits. Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin will "host the race coverage from the Hollywood Hotel mobile studio." Fox Sports execs had been "thinking about ways in which they could get drivers involved in their broadcast" since regaining the Xfinity Series in '15. Fox Sports President & COO Eric Shanks last February "met with Harvick to discuss getting a group of drivers to call a singular race." Pocono "turned out to be the best for the schedule of the drivers selected." Fox Sports NASCAR producer Pam Miller said that Harvick was a "natural fit for the play-by-play position given he has the most Fox booth experience among the drivers." Harvick "suggested Logano and Bowyer as analysts because he thought they would make for good on-air foils." Miller said Fox wanted “three interesting and up-and-coming drivers that are on the verge of big things” to report from pit road. Miller indicated that the biggest challenge of the broadcast "will be the mechanics of television for the drivers." Fox' regular Xfinity Series broadcasters will "shadow each of the drivers." Deitsch noted the "toughest thing for Miller’s group will be the mechanics of the broadcast, from getting in and out of commercial to the drivers not stepping on each other when they want to get a comment in" (SI.com, 6/7). In North Carolina, Ben White wrote Harvick "has helped" on Fox broadcasts in the past and he is "scheduled as an analyst" for two upcoming Camping World Truck Series races. Bowyer also has "experience in the booth, having helped with Xfinity race broadcasts in recent weeks" (Lexington DISPATCH, 6/6).