Earlier today at Daytona International Speedway, FOX NASCAR race announcer Mike Joy and analysts Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds were joined by race producer Barry Landis to preview the upcoming 2016 NASCAR season and Sunday’s DAYTONA 500 on FOX (1:00 PM ET). Below are highlights:
Jeff Gordon on his first official week in the FOX broadcast booth last weekend for the SPRINT UNLIMITED:
“I don’t think anyone, certainly the drivers and competitors, really have an idea just how much goes into these broadcasts, and that’s been the most impressive part to me.
I feel like I moved from an elite race team to an elite broadcast team, because it’s so similar in the way they prepare – in the information that’s being gathered; everybody’s idea-sharing; there are just all these different departments that are bringing all these unique things together to then bring it to the fans, and it’s quite an overwhelming undertaking. But, it’s really impressive -- being part of it, and I’m really honored to be part of it.”
Gordon on Chase Elliott winning the pole position for the DAYTONA 500 in the No. 24 car:
“When we were in the booth, there was nothing but gleaming pride coming out of me. I was so proud of them and of being a part of this process of bringing Chase to that group. We had meetings in March after a race and we’d be in a debrief talking about the race and I’d say, ‘Hey, just a note, this is for Chase, tell him that this part of the track or in this moment he needs to think about this.
So we’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I’ve been 100% supportive. He’s a great kid and he’s going to be a superstar in the sport. I also know that there are (No.) 24 fans out there that were really on the fence about whether they should keep the 24 or not keep the 24, but as soon as that car was on the pole, every one of those 24 fans were like ‘yes!’ – and they’re on board.
Between the team and Chase, I was just so proud of them that I wanted to go down there and tell them what a great job they did. I was happy that I was able to see them because the garage was closing so I was able to get in there for about 10-15 minutes …When the 24 drove out there on Saturday to do the first 500 qualifying practice - that was a big moment. When they won the pole I was happy for them, but at the same time I’m going, ‘Yeah, wow, it’s sinking in that I’m not going to be driving that car anymore.’”
Darrell Waltrip added:
“He (Gordon) turned to me and he looked at me with a really blank look on his face and he said, ‘Well, I guess it wasn’t the driver.’ I said ‘Welcome to TV brother.’”
Barry Landis on the chemistry between all members of the broadcast booth and adding Jeff Gordon:
“I feel good about it. We hit the ground running. It wasn’t a huge concern, bringing in Jeff, because having worked with these guys for 16 years, they are the ultimate team players.
It wasn’t anything that we were nervous about. We certainly know plenty about Jeff – as a matter of fact, we know more about him than the other way around, and he’s figuring that out as we go along. We weren’t concerned with it at all, really, because we spent some time in the off-season, threw in a little bit of a rehearsal, had some good hang time, and at the end of the day, everybody’s agenda with this group is to entertain and bring the race home to the best of their ability.
When you have that kind of goal, egos don’t get in the way. It’s amazing to me, given what they’ve accomplished over the years, that they really are ego-less, which is fantastic …The chemistry was almost instant, and it’s only going to continue to build. It’s nothing that we have to work extremely hard at because, like I said, at the end of the day, they all love the sport, and everybody wants to share that passion with people at home.”
Mike Joy on grading Gordon’s first weekend in the booth:
“On enthusiasm, A+. On effort and preparation, A +. We don’t worry about the mechanics of broadcasting because we didn’t hire him to be a professional broadcaster. We have a couple of those on staff. You know we want his knowledge and his enthusiasm, and I think already the short answer is we’re getting a lot more than we bargained for.”
Waltrip on what Gordon brings to the booth:
“You know how Bill Elliott is helping Chase? Chase is an incredibly talented race-car driver, but his dad is right there to help him with things that maybe he, the blind obvious sometimes, things that he’s not aware of. And that’s almost like how I feel about Jeff, we can learn off of each other, his enthusiasm is contagious. I thought I was jacked up, I thought I was coming down here drinking a couple of mountain dews vibrating out of my shoes, until I run into him. It’s been a real good awakening for me. I’m going to gain as much from this as he is. Standing beside of him and what he sees and what he says really helps me think about things in a different perspective that maybe I haven’t thought about before.”
“He’s latched onto the FOX philosophy real quickly, and that’s that we tell the story, we explain why, but most importantly, have fun. You know the philosophy of the three of us for the last 15 years is you know what we’re like three guys sitting on a couch watching the race, having fun and talking about it. Now we just added another member to our couch and it’s almost been seamless. When Eric Shanks (FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer) called me in May and was telling me the vision he had of what he wanted to do, and he started to explain it, I said ‘Eric – timeout. If you can hire Jeff Gordon to be a part of our broadcast team that is a no brainer.’”