NASCAR on Fox announcer Mike Joy tells Fox 46 that it’s not just the drivers who will be affected by the changes on race day.
When the NASCAR on Fox broadcast team welcomes you on Sunday (3 pm, Fox 46), things will look a bit different.
“This week, we’ll peel back the curtain ’cause we’re in the Steve Burns Studio at Fox Sports in Charlotte.”
Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Larry McReynolds will all be live in the studio and not at Darlington. But they will still have some necessary crew members including a director, camera operators, and a pit reporter at the track.
“We will have one pit reporter instead of our usual 4, and that will be Regan Smith. He’s going to have to function as both a reporter and an interviewer and also be giving us some guidance on how cars seem to be working, who might seem to be having difficulty, who’s rushing up through the field and things that aren’t going to be quite as obvious to Jeff and me.”
You won’t see fans but empty seats mean more camera angles. On the track racing should look the same as always.
“If drivers are little on the cautious side, you may not see a whole lot of action in the first few laps at Darlington, as everybody gets settled down into their race pace, but no these are going to be very competitive races, everybody is there for one reason, to win them.”
Fox is in the fastlane with seven races at two tracks over the span of 10 days, all on the Fox family of networks, and they know it’s a huge responsibility.
“The eyes of all American sports are on Darlington this weekend. To see how NASCAR handles this, to see if you can have an event, and yet maintain social distancing, and put the proper protocols and safety measures in place to have a good safe race, not just for the driver and the pit crews but for everybody involved. I think what we do Sunday will provide a template for other major league sports to be able to get their events back on the field.”
It’s going to look different for local reporters as well. Only a handful of media will be allowed inside the track and post-race interviews with the winner will be conducted via Zoom rather than in victory lane – but it’s all in the name of safety.