Motorsport News

FOX Sports Shines with Battle Coverage

2024 Cup Darlington I racing III - Brad Keselowski, No. 6 RFK Racing Ford, and Tyler Reddick, No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota (Credit: NKP)

Given what we have these days at Darlington Raceway, it was not all that long ago that the track was something of a dead man walking.

2003 seemed to be it for Darlington as we knew it, as NASCAR moved the Southern 500 to November (it was the penultimate race of the season in 2004). Then, as part of a substantial schedule realignment, the race moved to Mother’s Day Weekend and the track was cut down to one date.

Now, Darlington is pretty safe on the NASCAR schedule with two races once again. Sunday (May 12) saw the NASCAR Cup Series back on Mother’s Day weekend for its first visit of the year. It’s pretty obvious what this race will likely be remembered for, so let’s start there.

As you know by now, Sunday’s Goodyear 400 came down to a fight between Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick for the lead. Before that, it was Reddick and Brad Keselowski who were fighting it out. There was a lot of side-by-side battling for the lead at a place that is (by modern standards) very narrow and difficult to pass at. Despite this, these three ran side-by-side for quite a while.

This battle on FOX Sports 1 was primarily covered via aerial shots. This approach meant that viewers were able to better identify the runs. Reddick’s aggressive move for the lead on lap 284 was easily seen by viewers. They could tell that he went too hard into turn 4. The track using music from Days of Thunder after the race was rather fitting because the shot looked just like when Cole Trickle put Russ Wheeler in the wall at the end of the Daytona 500 in the film. Never seen that before in a Cup race.

I have no complaints about the coverage here. This was good racing and FOX Sports brought its A-game to this battle. It doesn’t often step up to this degree.

Throwback weekend often means a special guest in the broadcast booth. In this case, it was two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte during stage 2. I don’t have any problem with Labonte, but he kind of lived up to his Ice Man moniker. He was there the whole stage and I sort of forgot that he was there at times. He didn’t speak up all that much and the booth went out of their way to involve him.

Now, was that Labonte being uncomfortable in the booth setting or did he feel that he couldn’t really contribute? I’m not sure. I think it’s more that it isn’t his scene.

Post-race coverage was clearly centered on the confrontation between Buescher and Reddick on pit road after the race….

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