No. 14 Haas Automation Ford driver Clint Bowyer will pay extra attention to FOX Sports 1’s coverage of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Dover (Del.) Speedway.
Bowyer would typically watch the Xfinity Series race to learn lessons he plans to apply Sunday when he races the No. 14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Dover’s concrete, mile oval. He’ll do that again Saturday in Delaware, but he’ll also be watching the broadcast knowing, the following week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the entire Xfinity race broadcast will fall on the shoulders of he and several Cup drivers.
Eight drivers will make up the entire on-air team during the Pocono Xfinity Series race, although the network’s regular broadcasters will be standing by for assistance. SHR teammate Kevin Harvick will be the play-by-play announcer, and he will be joined in the main broadcast booth by Joey Logano and Bowyer. Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be pit reporters, and Denny Hamlin and fellow SHR driver Danica Patrick will work in the network’s “Hollywood Hotel” mobile studio.
“I think it is going to be a heck of a lot of fun and, yes, I am excited,” said Bowyer, who estimates he, Harvick and Logano will have the easiest jobs. “But, we are going to mess this up.
“For us in the booth, it’s going to be pretty easy to talk about the race because that’s what we do whether we’re in the booth, in the garage or in our motorhomes. We’re always talking about racing. All of that will come pretty easy. We’re just going to have to do our homework.”
Bowyer, who served as the Xfinity Series analyst for FOX at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last weekend, said he already has an inkling of how his boothmates will perform during the broadcast.
“I think Harvick will be good because he’ll put in the research, time and energy,” Bowyer said. “I will probably be terrible and Joey (Logano) will be somewhere in-between.”
FOX said it will be the first time a national broadcast of a live sporting event will exclusively feature a broadcast crew made up of active athletes who compete in the same sport.
Bowyer predicts the most entertaining moments of the broadcast will come from Jones, Blaney and Stenhouse, who’ll man pit road and the garage in charge of reporting on race strategy and interviewing drivers who exit the race.
“I can’t imagine having to go interview a driver after he just crashed because I know how pissed you are – it really is a touchy situation,” said Bowyer, who couldn’t resist a zinger at his friend Stenhouse. “Usually, they (television networks) send a cute girl to try to get you to talk about the incident. So when you see a guy like Ricky show up with a microphone, I’m sure none of those guys are really going to want to talk to him.”
While Saturday will be fun, Sunday will be all business for Bowyer, who enters his 23rd race at Dover. He’s enjoyed success on the Monster Mile, posting two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. After 12 races, the No. 14 team is ninth in points in Bowyer’s first season replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart, who retired from NASCAR racing at the end of the 2016 season.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to some of these tracks a second time,” Bowyer said. “We’ll have notes on what worked and didn’t work and have a base of information. Right now we’re going to these tracks for the first time as a group. I think we’ve done OK, but all of us expect even better performances in the second half of the season.”