NBC Sports’ NASCAR analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. and INDYCAR Series reigning champion Josef Newgarden joined NBC Sports commentator Leigh Diffey on yesterday’s episode of Countdown to Crossover, a week-long daily digital series featuring NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA drivers with NBC Sports commentators to preview the historic NASCAR/INDYCAR crossover weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4-5. The series runs through Friday, July 3.
Earnhardt Jr., Newgarden and Diffey discuss the significance of the crossover weekend and how it may pave the way for drivers from both series to try new experiences and race different cars.
Additional guests slated to appear on Countdown to Crossover include Kurt Busch and Scott Dixon. Episodes premiere on daily on NBCSports.com and the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel.
Following are excerpts from the episode:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the crossover weekend: “I think there is so much admiration between the two series. The drivers, there’s a lot of curiosity about what each car drives like and how the drivers would fare crossing over … This is opening up a lot of possibilities and opportunities not only for the two series to join together at the race track, but also the drivers to move around and try new things.”
Josef Newgarden: “We’re (the drivers) the winners this weekend. I love it, this is a dream situation for me … I’m so thrilled, I think this is going to be an amazing testbed for the future. I really hope this becomes the new norm.”
Earnhardt Jr. on the possibility of testing an INDYCAR: “Yeah, of course. You definitely want to take that opportunity to try the car and see what it’s all about. It’s going to be something unfamiliar and fun.”
Newgarden on the possibility of racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series: “I hope so. I’ve been trying to be patient, I understand I’ve been hired to drive INDYCARs and do the job there. I think I need to get an INDY 500 (victory) under my belt. If we’re able to win that race, maybe that’ll be the pivot point. Man, you tell me I can run a stock car under the lights at Bristol (Motor Speedway), I’m there, let’s go! You don’t have to give me practice, I would take that opportunity handover any day. I want to drive a stock car so bad, I’d love the challenge of it. I’d love to understand what those guys experience. It doesn’t matter where, but if I had a choice, Bristol would be my spot.”
NBC Sports’ race coverage of the historic crossover weekend includes nearly 20 hours of coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold.
Following is this week’s racing coverage across NBC Sports:
|Friday, July 3||INDYCAR Practice 1||11:30 a.m.||NBC Sports Gold|
|Countdown to Crossover||12 p.m.||Digital*|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series First Practice||1:30 p.m.||TrackPass & NBC Sports app|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice||3 p.m.||TrackPass & NBC Sports app|
|INDYCAR Qualifying||4:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Saturday, July 4||INDYCAR Warmup||9 a.m.||NBC Sports Gold|
|INDYCAR GMR Grand Prix||12 p.m.||NBC|
|Countdown to Green||2 p.m.||NBC|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Indianapolis||3 p.m.||NBC|
|IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Daytona||6 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sunday, July 5||NASCAR America||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Countdown to Green||3:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR Cup Series Race – Indianapolis||4 p.m.||NBC|
|NASCAR Cup Series Post-Race Show||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
*Episodes are available on NBCSports.com and the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel