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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 46: Steve Newmark

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When he was exploring the possibility of entering NASCAR as a car owner, Fenway Sports Group co-founder John Henry attended a race weekend as a guest of Jack Roush.

In the Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Sprint Cup races, Roush’s teams swept the weekend.

“I think John said, ‘I don’t know why I want to start my own team. I just want part of your team,’” Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said on the latest episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast.

Before joining the team as an executive six years ago, Newmark, who worked as a lawyer on business in auto racing and sports, helped broker the deal that led to the formation of Roush Fenway Racing in 2007. Roush sold a stake of his championship team to Henry’s FSG, which has owned the Red Sox since 2002 and now has worldwide sports interests ranging from the Liverpool football club of English Premier League to LeBron James’ marketing firm.

Unprecedented in its complexity and scope, the merger with Roush required a major learning curve for FSG.

“I think the biggest impediment was NASCAR was so foreign to all the business folks on the Red Sox side,” Newmark said. “Most of them had exposure to the NFL and the NBA. They all have their nuances, but the models are somewhat similar. It was very difficult to educate them because they had very entrenched views about how leagues are run. We were so fundamentally different from that.”

In its 10th season of working together, Newmark said the race team works weekly with the FSG sales team in building business and sponsorships.

“They have a much greater understanding of how to sell NASCAR,” said Newmark, who recently provided a business update to Henry in a suite at Fenway Park during a Red Sox-Yankees game. “We do interface with the Red Sox quite a bit.

“Overall, the relationship continues to be probably a model partnership.”

Other topics discussed by Newmark on the podcast:

–The origins of the Race Team Alliance, from the early meetings among NASCAR power brokers to the list of names considered for the group;

–Behind the scenes of the negotiations that led to landmark charter deal for teams this season;

–The evolving role of Jack Roush from iron-fisted manager to a more genteel mentor.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Here are time codes for easy referencing while listening to the podcast:

steve-newmark-time-codes

 

Jimmie Johnson to start in the rear after gear change

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INDIANAPOLIS – Jimmie Johnson‘s bid for a record-tying fifth Brickyard 400 will have to begin at the back of the 40-car field.

Johnson qualified fourth Saturday but stated on Twitter that he’ll have to go to the rear of the field because they had to change the rear gear.

Although track position is pivotal at Indianapolis Motor Speedway because passing is difficult, optimists can view Johnson’s woes as a good sign. He has scored two of his three wins this season – Texas and Dover – after starting in the rear.

Also starting at the rear today is Cole Whitt (rear gear change) and Joey Gase (engine change). Whitt qualified 34th. Gase qualified 38th.

Today’s race is on NBC. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green.

 

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Today’s Cup race at Indianapolis: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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The NASCAR Cup Series takes part in the 24th annual Brickyard 400 today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It marks one year since Kyle Busch earned his last Cup win, when he claimed his second Brickyard 400 in a row. Busch starts from the pole for the second year in a row.

Here’s all the important info you need ahead of the race, which airs on NBC.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:32 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:44 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 160 laps (400 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 20

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 50. Stage 2 ends on Lap 100.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 1:55 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Carly Pearce will perform the Anthem at 2:26 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will broadcast on radio and the Performance Racing Network at 1:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the IMSRN/PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 89 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Kyle Busch started from the pole and led 149 of the race’s 170 total laps. It was his second win in a row in the race. Matt Kenseth finished second, Jimmie Johnson finished third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the full starting lineup.

Get a humorous look at life in the pits in, what else, ‘The Pits’ on NBC livestream

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Life in the pits can sometimes, well … really be the pits.

But it can also be a hilarious look at life in NASCAR, as well.

That’s the premise behind “The Pits,” a three-part “mockumentary-style series” that spoofs the life of the fictitious SONIC pit crew in NASCAR.

“The Pits” debuts Sunday on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. After each 2-3 minute episode airs, replays will be available on NBCSports.com and also the NASCAR on NBC Facebook page.

The first episode airs during this Sunday’s live stream of the Brickyard 400, which will be televised on NBC.

Episode 1 follows pit pro Rita, who falls for tire specialist Max, but Max’s only affection is for SONIC Pretzel Dogs.

The other two episodes of The Pits will livestream Saturday night, August 19, during the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and during the Sunday, October 15 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“The Pits” is produced for NBC Sports Group and SONIC Drive-In by The Kicker, with shareable content running across NBC Sports Digital assets.

Starting lineup for 24th annual Brickyard 400

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Kyle Busch will lead the Brickyard 400 to the green flag Sunday for the second year in a row.

He earned his fourth pole of the year and is seeking his first Cup win since the 2016 Brickyard 400.

Following Busch in the starting lineup is Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin is the only driver in the top five who hasn’t won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Click here for the full starting lineup.