Race Weekend Central

FOX Sports Announces Drivers-Only Broadcast at Pocono XFINITY Race

Your favorite Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are coming to the broadcast booth. And pit road, for that matter.

On Friday (May 19), FOX Sports announced that the broadcast of the XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway on June 10 will be a special drivers-only broadcast.  That means all aspects of on-air work will be covered by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars.

Kevin Harvick will be situated in the broadcast booth with play-by-play duties.  He will be assisted by analysts Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer.

Meanwhile, pit road will also see its share of drivers taking TV turns; the trio of Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will report from pit road during the broadcast.

Finally, the Hollywood Hotel mobile studio will be occupied by Denny Hamlin and Danica Patrick.

This, of course, precludes any of these drivers from running the race in any capacity, as some of the group has at different points of the 2017 season.

The experiment should be interesting to watch, particularly Harvick’s performance due to having never done play-by-play, but Fox Sports seems to be taking a casual approach to the broadcast.

“We want the viewer to feel like they are sitting with a group of friends having a racing conversation,” said Pam Miller, the race producer for Fox Sports’ coverage of the XFINITY Series. “These friends just happen to compete on the track each week.”

“Regardless of their TV experience, we have one goal for all — go out and have a blast,” said John Entz, president of Fox Sports and an executive producer on production. “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.”

Pocono will not be the first time that an XFINITY Series broadcast has seen an on-air crew experiment.  Back in 2009, ESPN 2’s broadcast of the then-Nationwide Series CarFax 250 at Michigan International Speedway had a special Backseat Drivers edition booth with Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace in the booth.  The broadcast was marketed as not having a play-by-play commentator along with the notion of watching a race with buddies.  Pit road and the infield studio were still staffed with the regulars at the time (Allen Bestwick in the Pit Studio, while Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch worked the pits).

The broadcast is planned for a 1 p.m. ET start on FOX, with the green flag set for 1:19 p.m.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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