Darrell Waltrip Weighs in on Latest Sprint Cup News

NASCAR's "West Coast Swing" concludes its third of three consecutive stops this weekend at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) after competing in Las Vegas and Phoenix. FOX Sports offers 18 hours of live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES from Fontana, culminating with the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES race live on FOX on Sunday, March 22 (3:30 PM ET), with pre-race coverage beginning at 3:00 PM ET on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY.

Mike Joy leads the FOX NASCAR booth from the one-mile track with analysis from NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and former crew chief Larry McReynolds. The trio is joined on pit road by Jamie Little, Chris Neville and Matt Yocum. Chris Myers hosts the network's coverage alongside analyst Michael Waltrip. Myers also hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY from the famed Hollywood Hotel alongside Darrell and Michael Waltrip.

Adam Alexander calls the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, March 21 (4:00 PM ET) alongside Michael Waltrip and NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES driver Clint Bowyer. Reporting from the pits are Vince Welch, Little and Yocum. NASCAR RACEDAY – XFINITY, FOX Sports 1's pre-race show, airs at 3:30 PM ET, hosted by Danielle Trotta alongside analysts McReynolds and Kenny Wallace. Bowyer is one of five NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES drivers announced as part of a rotation in the FOX and FOX Sports 1 booth for FOX Sports' coverage of the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season. Also scheduled as guest analysts this season are defending NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Kevin Harvick, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, 2012 champ Brad Keselowski and Danica Patrick. This season, FOX Sports adds coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES for the first 14 races of the year. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 10 of the events while FOX broadcasts the races from Phoenix, Talladega, Charlotte and Dover.

NASCAR RACEDAY kicks off Sunday's coverage at 2:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1, and includes: A feature on 2014 Baja 1000 winner Rob MacCachren giving Greg Biffle lessons in off-road truck racing out west; NASCAR RACEDAY cameras follow Kevin Harvick back to his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif.; the "24 Salute" piece flashes back to Jeff Gordon's win at Fontana in 1997 in the speedway's inaugural race; and interviews with Jimmie Johnson and Gordon.

FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go, offers live streaming of all NASCAR programming in 2015. Customers of participating video providers may access the live streams of the race through the FOX Sports GO app for iOS devices, as well as on desktops through FOXSportsGO.com. For the latest NASCAR news and information, please visit www.FOXSports.com and follow @NASCARonFOX on Twitter.

Below are quotes from FOX NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip on the week's headlines and the race ahead, as well as the full FOX NASCAR programming schedule from Fontana:

WALTRIP ON HIS PICK TO WIN AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY:

"I'd really like to see Kevin Harvick do the sweep and win all three West Coast races. He's a West Coast guy, loves the area and Auto Club Speedway is a home track for him. Harvick has Fontana dialed in, and given the way he is running, he has the opportunity to make it a clean sweep out west, which would be phenomenal. Joey Logano will be tough, as will Jimmie Johnson, based on his Atlanta performance. Jeff Gordon should be fast and could finally get his season moving in the right direction at Fontana."

WALTRIP ON HOW LONG HARVICK REALISTICALLY CAN KEEP UP THE DOMINANCE HE IS DISPLAYING:

"That's a good question and one the team internally is asking itself. It's the same one the media and fans are asking. How long can this performance and good luck keep up? I don't see any stopping this team because they have no real weakness. Some teams are good most everywhere but might struggle on short tracks or superspeedways. The No. 4 team is good on every type of track. Teams with a crew chief and driver like the No. 4 has can go on streaks for a long time. What they don't want to do, though, and they're probably thinking about, is burning up all their good luck during the regular season and not having any left for the Chase."

WALTRIP ON WHICH DRIVER & TEAM COME THE CLOSEST TO BEING IN THE NO. 4 TEAM'S LEAGUE:

"We've been to four different types of tracks to start the season and go to a fifth different type this weekend at Fontana. They all have different configurations and sizes, but Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team have been stellar at every one. No other team can say that. Jamie McMurray has been competitive, as has Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon has been fast but can't get the finishes to match. The closest to matching Harvick has been his old team at Richard Childress Racing with the No. 31 team and Ryan Newman. But nobody has equaled the performance of the No. 4 since last year. No one can compete with them."

WALTRIP ON WHAT KURT BUSCH PROVED WITH HIS PERFORMANCE AT PHOENIX:

"On Sunday at Phoenix, I saw a guy who has had his share of struggles and realizes this has to be a turning point. He cannot have any more issues and he knows that. He has been given opportunities a couple of times and now it's time to put everything behind him and be a solid race car driver. He's full of incredible skill but it's imperative he gets his personal life cleaned up. He knows this and knows he can't screw it up. His run on Sunday proved that. He put his head down and got the job done. Now he needs to focus on racing and keep grinding. This return to the car has to be the turning point for Kurt."

WALTRIP ON THE ISSUES PLAGUING JOE GIBBS RACING:

"Joe Gibbs Racing has a few problems that probably started with adding a fourth team and moving around crew chiefs. Most of their driver/crew chief combinations are new this year. Then Kyle Busch got hurt and they brought in David Ragan as a substitute driver, which only added to the changes within that organization in 2015. The only constant from last year to this year is Matt Kenseth and Jason Ratcliff. But in my experience, if the team is convinced they're down on horsepower, that becomes their excuse. Anytime you start complaining that your aerodynamics or power is off, it hurts your performance because you use that as a crutch and think those perceived issues are preventing you from doing well. Instead, they should work with what they have and take advantage of their resources. But if you're making excuses about why you're not performing, that's hard to overcome."

WALTRIP ON WHETHER HE EXPECTS TO SEE MORE CUP SERIES TEAMS BUILDING XFINITY SERIES CARS OR MORE CUP DRIVERS RUNNING XFINITY SERIES RACES BECAUSE OF THE SIMILARITIES IN THE CARS ACROSS SERIES THIS YEAR:

"I really do expect to see more Cup drivers running XFINITY races this season because the Cup cars are closer to the XFINITY cars than they've been in years, if not ever. These guys see Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others racing on Saturday and doing well, and then turning around on Sunday and running well again. Car owners and crew chiefs will want their drivers to have that same advantage. The horsepower numbers are closer this year, they run on a very similar tire and the aerodynamics are closer than before. So, if I had a team, particularly with a struggling driver, I'd try to put him in an XFINITY car every week."

Leave a Reply