NBC Sports and Steve Letarte Brought Their A Game to NASCAR

NBC Sports and Steve Letarte Brought Their A Game to NASCAR

NBC Sports paid what some might consider a fortune to take over the second half of the NASCAR season from ESPN and TNT. Looking at the declining ratings one cannot disagree with that thought. A bunch of races in and it is apparent that NBC intends to make their half of the season a success.

Each and every week Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton have provided great and accurate analysis of what is happening on the track and off. This week it was apparent that it goes much deeper than that. NBC Sports is reporting on the entire NASCAR viewing experience.

At the end of the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Steve Letarte and the NBC crew went back and covered the side skirt on the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth; the race winner.

It might have been shown on TV but it wasn’t noted by the announcers but during a pit stop Matt Kenseth’s team had trouble with a jack and it pulled out the side skirt behind the right front wheel. NASCAR made a big deal about pulling out the side skirts in front of the right rear tire and needless to say comments on Twitter about this was big for quite a while during the race.

NBC came up with the footage and Steve Letarte explained it and why it didn’t matter after the race; more importantly after the interviews of the leading drivers including Matt Kenseth. They even tracked down the crew chief for his explanation.

Steve Letarte said, “The competitor in me saw it in the closing laps and I wanted to know how that side skirt got to where it was. There are some distinct rules that say you cannot flare out these side skirts on purpose but what we’re going to see here on lap 100 pit stop of the 20 of matt Kenseth if you watch tge jack man he attempting to put the jack under the jack post he misses it peals the side skit up he slides it back underneath and catches the post. That is without a doubt not on purpose. If you were going to flare the side skirt out for advantage you would want to do it way closer to the rear tire out underneath the tail pipe that would have been an advantage. That right there is really lucky that the jack man did a good job of not tearing off the entire door off the car he recovered so well that I didn’t even see it on that pit stop but the competitor in me never goes away as I saw him making those laps I wanted to know how that skirt got there and it was definitely a mistake there.

We have reached a new point when NASCAR fans on social media, Twitter that is, are being paid attention to by the TV commentators and/or producers to make sure what is happening is properly covered. What we are talking about is covered and no stone is unturned. The collective eyes on NASCAR are being listened too. It is refreshing. NBC has certainly raised the bar.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 311524 Sean Gardner/Getty Images

3 thoughts on “NBC Sports and Steve Letarte Brought Their A Game to NASCAR”

  1. NA$CAR will let Toyota teams have and do anything they want, You can track the downward spiral of the popularity of the sport with Toyota being approved as a brand.. Gibbs is getting tons of support technically and financially and it shows in the level of competition compared to previous seasons. After following the sport since 1957, I’m done with being a fan.

  2. Steve LeTarte sucks at this! The racing SUCKED! the HIGH DRAG package sucks, I was at Indy, boy did that suck! If I hear its all about track position one more time! NO KIDDING!!!! It’s sad that it all happens in the pits! They sure made a big deal over a little bent sheet metal that could not make any difference as to how the car handled. I’m worn out and tired of bad racing…..

  3. Good article Brian. I feel NBCSN is doing a progressively excellent coverage of the races. I hope they never peak. Unfortunately the SHRILL voice of incessant complaint, far more fun then compliment, may be crowding out acknowledgment of the racing and it’s coverage. I understand that NBCSN is in nearly 40% less homes than Fox or TNT or ESPN so ratings will be down. That the ratings are not currently 40% down indicates to me that other people are seeing an improvement in coverage too and are tuning in more. That is probably why NBCSN was willing to pay such a high price for the TV rights. An attempt to get into more major distributors like comcast of direct tv. With the better coverage, hopefully more demand and they win.
    As utterly boring as Michigan could have been on other channels, I could see the potential, NBCSN presented a race in nearly it’s entire glory. I’ll bet they even pick up on missing Kacy Kanes problem and don’t miss something similar again. And I loved the ‘so what’ attitude toward showing Kenseth stinking up the show, that happens sometimes. And the broadcast booth said so.
    I hope this last race, articles like yours, and the coverage actually showing the racing will induce NASCAR to bend more to the less down force package next year. And it’s really wonderful that NASCAR risks testing of new packages in real time racing.
    I really hope the overall improvements I’ve witnessed and people like you have commented on will overshadow those Shrill voices of complaint and together racing fans, NASCAR, and NBCSN will get what we’re all wishing for, even some of the complainers, better racing. For me, just the better coverage is enough. Of course, I can always hope for more.

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