'Blink of an Eye' to Hit Select Theaters & Streaming Services in September
Based on the NY Times bestselling book and directed by Paul Taublieb, Blink of an Eye is a documentary about Michael Waltrip, his journey to a complex victory, and his star-crossed friendship with the iconic driver, Dale Earnhardt.
The story begins when Michael leaves his small Kentucky town to follow in the footsteps of his brother Darrell, to make it as race car driver. Michael gets help from the legendary Richard Petty, but then proceeds to race 462 times without a win — the longest losing streak in NASCAR. Despite this, Earnhardt puts him in one of his cars in the 2001 Daytona 500. On the last lap, the running order is Michael in first, Earnhardt’s son Dale Jr. in second, and Earnhardt himself in third. Earnhardt blocks the field of 40 cars behind him to protect Michael and Jr. As Michael takes the checkered flag, Earnhardt is swept up in what looks to be minor crash. Michael is ecstatic and waits for a hug from his friend. It never comes as Earnhardt was killed in his wreck.
In the next weeks, Michael wrestles with guilt and questioning his victory. July that year finds Michael and Jr.back at Daytona for the summer race. Michael yearns for another victory. However, what he proceeds to do, in Earnhardt’s memory, shocks everyone.
The movie opens in theaters nationwide September 12. For more information, visit www.blinkofaneyefilm.com.
RACER - July 17, 2019
Danielle Trotta Joins NBC Sports & Sirius XM NASCAR Radio This Season
Danielle Trotta will join NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage as host of the “Victory Lap” post-race show for select Cup Series races this year.
Trotta made the announcement Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “On Track,” the show she began co-hosting this year with Larry McReynolds.
Trotta has also been with NBC Sports Boston since 2018.
As part of “Victory Lap,” which begins Sunday at 7 p.m. on NBCSN after the Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, fans will be able to call in with questions about the race. Trotta will be joined by AJ Allmendinger and Parker Kligerman this weekend.
“It’ll be fun to continue the conversation,” Trotta said after making the announcement on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I think after the race ends and you hear the driver’s post-race comments and we see the highlights, as a race fan on so many Sundays, I would sit on my couch and want more. I would want more coverage, more conversation, more conjecture and I think that’s exactly what NASCAR “Victory Lap” has always been and will continue to be, and then we take the next step of really wanting the conversation to be interactive and having people call live into the show.”
Additionally you can head Danielle Trotta on her new Sirius XM NASCAR Radio show "On Track" on select week days at 11am Eastern. Danielle's co-host of the program is America's Crew Chief, Larry McReynold's.
NBC Sports - July 16, 2019
704 Games Announces NASCAR Heat 4,
Released Date in September 2019
Racing setups in video games all seem opaque to me. I know that, like a minute adjustment in a bowler’s slide or spin means a difference between the 180 everyone bowls and a league-quality 240, the right brake pressure or differential can turn my back-of-the-pack lap into a competitive one.
So it helps, more than any subreddit or setup guide, to have a NASCAR Cup Series champion on the phone when I need concrete pointers for my video game racing. P.R. for 704 Games put me in touch with Kevin Harvick (stock car racing’s 2014 champion) to talk about the upcoming NASCAR Heat 4, which launches in September and features him and his boss Tony Stewart on the cover. But what I really wanted to know was what I should be looking for in a race car during all those practice sessions I force myself to drive.
“Well, the [base] tire pressure is a little high in the game, and the wedge is a little high, too,” Harvick said, “those are two of the easier things to spot. I kind of feel like I already have an idea of where the car should be when I drive it. But the biggest thing is you definitely don’t want the understeer that is standard [to the base setup]. You need to loosen the car up.
“When my son gets into the game, we make it looser and turn better, because he wants to go flat out and [if they don’t] he’ll end up driving into the wall,” Harvick mused. “When we’re playing we turn it to light damage; you can kind of police yourself a little that way. But tire pressure and wedge [which will loosen the chassis and grip make it more responsive in cornering].”
Thus armed, I took his advice — to my F1 2019 season. Formula One cars don’t have wedge (but they do have rear suspension adjustments, which is what that is, generally), and tire pressure is a little different because those cars don’t drive counterclockwise for the whole race. But hey, Harvick’s advice still translates, and gives me something to fidget with purposefully when I feel like I have the turning radius of a destroyer — which is often.
Harvick genuinely sounded interested in helping another driver out. As a dad to a six-year-old, he’s constantly on that duty when his kid wants to race in the game. “We’ll go to Bristol one week, and the next day he’ll say to me, ‘Dad you want to run 15 [laps] at Bristol versus me?’” Harvick said, genuinely amused at the idea he was competing against his son, not the other way around. “He’ll tell you he thinks he can race because of this game,” Harvick said.
Hey, I get it, I think I can race because of these games, too, and I’m older than Harvick. The NASCAR Heat series has been something of a boutique product in sports video gaming, since Monster Games and and 704 resurrected the license in 2016. But where it has succeeded most is in its career mode iterations, which have steadily added features and things to do, like tuning a chassis around a very solid engine of gameplay and on-the-track action. Last year’s Heat 3 broadened the career mode into a kind of mogul setup, with the player able to perform driver/owner duties of racing in multiple series and developing and maintaining rides for them.
Harvick’s been there, owning a race team with entries in the Xfinity and Trucks series from 2004 to 2011. He now drives for Tony Stewart, who owns Eldora Speedway, the dirt track that’s appeared in NASCAR Heat since 2017. Dirt racing, in the form of the fictitious Xtreme Dirt Tour, will include the very real livery for Stewart’s No. 14 Late Model, according to a news release announcing NASCAR Heat 4’s September launch.
In the same announcement 704 Games president Colin Smith said this year’s addition is again building off its players’ requests and suggestions, which drove a lot of the past two editions — trucks and split-screen racing in Heat 2, and the career revamps and dirt series from last year. “Over the years the NASCAR video game has built a large and passionate fan base, and when developing this game we made sure many of their voices were heard,” Smith said in the statement. “We have incorporated a number of features and improvements recommended by the NASCAR Heat community.”
That means players will be able to start their career driving in any of the four series (Xtreme Dirt, Camping World Trucks, Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) where in last year’s NASCAR Heat 3 they started on the lower rungs and worked their way up. That provided a realistic progression and more varied experience, particularly in career’s early goings, at the expense of a very long, somewhat grindy preamble to the bigtime.
NASCAR Heat 4 will also incorporate more granular, but noticeable details, like the Toyota Supra in the Xfinity Series and the night race at Martinsville (for offline racing only, until the 2020 season begins). There will also be different tire models for its track types, so drivers can get their scuffs or stickers on more suited to New Hampshire’s flat roller-skating rink or Charlotte’s super-high banked turns. Just remember to fool with the tire pressure, per Harvick’s advice, once you try out the new compounds.
704 did not mention a launch date more specific than the September window. It’ll return on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, and it’s available for preorder right now.
Polygon - July 6, 2019
Darrell Waltrip’s Retirement Highlights Stock Car Racing’s Existential Questions
Sunday marks the end of an era in stock car racing. The bigger question lies in what replaces it.
This weekend, Fox Sports will conclude its half of the season broadcasting NASCAR’s premier racing series. When Fox Sports’ broadcast season concludes, so will the commentating career of Darrell Waltrip. The Hall of Fame driver, and three-time Cup champion, announced earlier this year he would step away from the booth after 19 years as a broadcaster.
A recent ESPN article profiling Waltrip on his impending retirement noted that “for the first time in 47 years, [he] doesn’t know what’s next.” The analogy could apply to the entire sport.
Waltrip’s first race in the broadcast booth, in 2001, proved memorable in ways both good and bad. Most tragically, Dale Earnhardt, Sr.—a seven-time champion and icon of the sport—died in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. While celebrating his brother Michael Waltrip’s first Cup victory in that race, Darrell couldn’t stop thinking about Earnhardt’s wrecked car, hoping against hope that his dear friend would emerge from it unscathed.
The 2001 Daytona 500 also served as a milestone for why Waltrip entered the broadcast booth. Fox Sports had for the first time won the rights to televise NASCAR races, and hired Waltrip as one of its analysts. Observers saw the move as solidifying stock car racing’s rise to compete with the “Big Four” traditional North American sports, an expansion of the sport beyond its roots in the rural South.
Yet even as NASCAR spent the 1990s and 2000s extending its footprint nationwide—adding races in locales like New Hampshire and California, while eliminating some events held in the Carolinas—Waltrip still hearkened back to the sport’s roots. The Owensboro, Kentucky native started racing in 1972. While he continued racing until 2000, most of Waltrip’s success, along with his three championships (1981, 1982, and 1985) came far earlier.
Waltrip’s southern twang, and frequent stories about old-time legends like David Pearson and Richard Petty, grated on some. His signature call at the start of each race—“Boogity! Boogity! Boogity! Let’s go racin,’ boys!”—won imitators (including one of the most, umm, spirited pre-race prayers ever) but also detractors. Just before Waltrip announced his retirement, an Associated Press column encouraged his departure, arguing that his “carnival-like yukkfest is stale.”
Case in point: From time to time, crew members fail to attach all the lug nuts to a tire, causing the tire to fall from a car during a race. This would generally prompt Waltrip to hum, to no one in particular: “You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.”
One can certainly make an argument for an end to Waltrip’s brand of down-home humor, as part of another attempt to broaden NASCAR’s audience. But how—and to what end?
The sport has tried rules changes over the past several years, in the hopes of generating better racing and more sustained fan interest. But the changes have only confused long-standing fans. Also, the tens of thousands of empty seats at races demonstrate the sport has yet to regain many of the fans it lost during the Great Recession. The week Waltrip announced his retirement, the event at Bristol Motor Speedway, long a track on any NASCAR fan’s bucket list, showed fans filling barely one-quarter of its 146,000 seats.
Waltrip admitted the problem in his interview with ESPN last month: “I’ve had so many crossroads in my career, and that’s where NASCAR is, at a crossroads….We’re at a crossroads with drivers, with sponsors, everything. And when you’re at a crossroads, it’s up to leadership to decide, are we going up or down? I question decisions every day that are made by NASCAR.”
Ultimately, the sport can only attempt to put the best racing product on the track, and hope that fans respond. But even Waltrip admitted that those efforts might result in some changes that he—and perhaps some of NASCAR’s traditional fan base—might not fully embrace: “It’s probably a good time for me to step aside. Because I’m old-school and it will never be the way it was. And I don’t think I can tolerate it the way it’s going to be.”
The Federalist - June 21, 2019
No Replacement Planned For DW in Fox Sports Booth in 2020, Harvick in 2021?
Darrell Waltrip will broadcast his final NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race this coming weekend at Sonoma Raceway after the NASCAR Hall of Farmer announced in April that he will retire at season's end. Darrell has been in the broadcast booth for over 18 years when Fox Sports started to broadcast NASCAR races in 2001.
In an interview that Adam Stern with the Sport Business Journal had with Fox Sports CEO, Erik Shanks, there are no plans to have a replacement for DW for the 2020 season. That doesn't mean we wouldn't see the possible return of Larry McReynold's in the both or the promotion of Darrell's brother, Michael Waltrip into the announcer booth.
This does seem to make way for the potential rumor that broke the first week of April that Kevin Harvick could be headed to the Fox Sports booth sooner rather than later. Harvick's contract is up after the 2020 and has been in the broadcaster booth already for most Xfinity Series races this season. Harvick has also taken the lead announcer role for all three NASCAR driver broadcasts for the Xfinity Series, so he is already skilled in the broadcast booth.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - June 18, 2019
NASCAR Drivers Only Broadcast For
Xfinity Series Race at Charlotte
On the heels of highly popular “Drivers Only” broadcasts at Pocono (2017) and Talladega (2018), FOX NASCAR puts its eight-driver team to the test at Charlotte on Saturday for the third-consecutive year – this time with a twist.
Chad Knaus joins the FOX Sports lineup on Saturday for the “Drivers Only + Chad” NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race telecast, live on FS1 at 1:00 PM ET, joining all eight returning drivers from last season.
For the third time, Kevin Harvick has the call alongside analysts Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano. Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace cover pit road, while Brad Keselowski returns to host from FOX Sports’ virtual studio in Charlotte alongside analysts Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Knaus.
Jayski.com - May 20, 2019
Jayski.com Return After ESPN Split in January
Monday afternoon the NASCAR world was excited to once again see the Jayski Silly Season Site return online.
The site was originally created by Jay Adamczyk in the early 1990's and quickly became a go-to place for fans and NASCAR Insiders to gather news and rumors around the NASCAR world.
In March of 2007 the website was sold to ESPN who owned the website as Jay Amdamczyk continued to manage the page with help from Scott Page, and Amanda Brooks. In January of 2019 ESPN closed the page, and Jayski was thought to disappear forever.
Thankfully in early spring of this year, Jay was able to acquire back the domain name and created a private partnership with NASCAR Digital Media to relaunch a new website this week.
The homepage welcomes back views, and mentions there is a lot of information still to be posted in the near future.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - May 13, 2019
Darrell Waltrip Announces Retirement as Broadcaster in the Fox Sports Booth
After living life in the fast lane for the last 60 years, Darrell Waltrip is backing off the throttle.
The 72-year-old NASCAR legend and Franklin resident says he will cross the finish line of his television broadcasting career at the end of Fox Sports' NASCAR race coverage this season, which ends on June 23 with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, California.
Waltrip, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame who has been in the booth since 2001, picked this week to make the announcement as he prepares to call the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he experienced his greatest success as a driver.
What better place for a memorable occasion than where some of his fondest memories took place? Waltrip won 12 times, including seven straight races from 1981-84, at Bristol.
"Bristol is my house. I've got 12 wins at Bristol, I've got a grandstand that has 43,000 seats in my honor at Bristol," Waltrip said. "It's in Tennessee. I love that racetrack. It's been good to me. I could've waited until Charlotte or somewhere else down the road, but it's been hanging over my head. I just wanted to clear the air, let people know what my plans are and then other people can make plans accordingly. Like who's going to take my place or is somebody going to take my place?"
Replacing Waltrip, who shares the booth with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon, won't be easy. His familiar catchphrase "Boogity, boogity, boogity — let's go racing, boys!" will be missed as much as his witty commentary and wealth of NASCAR knowledge.
“Darrell has been the heart and soul of the Fox NASCAR booth since day one, so it’s incredibly bittersweet to know this is his final season,” said Fox Sports CEO & executive producer Eric Shanks. “DW’s unmatched charisma and passion helped Fox Sports build its fan base when we first arrived at Daytona in 2001, and he has been the cornerstone of our NASCAR coverage ever since."
The Nashville Tennessean - April 4, 2019
When Jeff Gordon joined FOX Sports’ NASCAR broadcast team in 2016, Darrell Waltrip said his reaction was, “Oh boy.”
Not because he didn’t want to work with Gordon, but Waltrip said he just wasn’t sure if they’d work well together with him being almost 25 years older than Gordon. He also wanted to tease Gordon a bit, but he wasn’t sure how the newly retired driver would take that either.
Waltrip admitted “it was a little awkward to start,” but with the duo in their fourth season broadcasting together, along with Mike Joy, they’ve become great friends. And rather than hindering them, he thinks their generational differences actually complement each other on air.
“At first, I was afraid to pick on him because I didn’t know how he was going to react because my impression was he might not necessarily think that was funny,” said Waltrip. “But as we worked together and have become really good friends, I can now pick on him and make fun of him.”
However, Darrell Waltrip has been rumored this entire weekend that he could end up retiring at the end of 2019. We broke the story earlier this week that Kevin Harvick was rumored to replace Waltrip in the Fox booth as early as next year, but Stewart Hass Racing quickly squashed those rumors. It is likely that Waltrip could move on after this season, but no word who could become his replacement.
For the Win - March 29, 2019
Harvick to Replace Darrell Waltrip
in Fox booth? Not yet
Jenna Fryer with The Associated Press tweeted on Monday that Kevin Harvick is expected to replace Darrell Waltrip in the the Fox Sports booth starting in 2020. Those rumors were quickly squashed by someone close to Stewart Hass Racing saying they plan to keep Kevin Harvick with the organization for years to come.
However there may be more to look into this story.
There have been several changes in the Fox Sports booth recently, and we might see some more coming very soon. In 2017 Fox moved Larry McRenyolds out of the booth in replace for Jeff Gordon after his retirement in 2016. McRenyolds still holds an important on-air role with Fox Sports during its NASCAR coverage.
Over the off season there was quite a bit of more shuffling around of on air personnel. Fox let Jeff Hamond, and John Roberts go, and Chris Meyers was unassigned a NASCAR role with Fox, but still highlights other sports. There was the elimination of "The Hollywood Hotel" and much of the broadcast is now done live in a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fox Sports has hired several new analyst for all of the races in Ricky Craven, and Jamie McMurray.
It is being rumored that Darrell Waltrip's contract is up at the end of the 2019 season, and this could be his last. If DW leaves Fox Sports, who will fill that position in the future?
Harvick, who has been announcing all Xfinity Races for Fox Sports this season would seem like a good fit now or in the future, however he is still under contract with Stewart Hass Racing through the 2020 season.
The Racing Insiders Staff Report - March 28, 2019