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NASCAR PRESEASON THUNDER TESTING


January 10, 2014


Jeff Burton

Sam Flood

Steve Letarte


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

DAVID HIGDON:  Good morning, everyone.  Appreciate you coming out early for a second day of Daytona International Speedway's NASCAR's Preseason Thunder.
More exciting news to keep you busy today.  I want to introduce a friend and a colleague who I hope you guys all get to know over the next several years, which is Tim Buckman, who will be working for NBC Sports on the NASCAR front.  Some of you may recall him from his FOX days.  He worked there for a while before he decided to get into golf and Callaway.  But we'll forgive him for that.
Tim Buckman.
TIM BUCKMAN:  Thank you very much, David.  And thank you all for being here today.  I know it's a little bit of an earlier start than perhaps what was originally planned, and I know that this news has added a level of complexity to what's already a very busy time for you, so we appreciate you all being here.
When the news cycles get overloaded like this, sometimes it feels like being on the interstate and you run into some traffic due to construction work, and no matter what time of day or night you're always saying, why are they doing this now.
Well, the reason we're doing this now is because all of us at NBC Sports, from Jeff Behnke, our vice president of NASCAR production, to Sam Flood, the executive producer for all of NBC Sports and NBCSN, we are just beyond thrilled to be back in the business of covering NASCAR.  We're thrilled to be here in Daytona this week, which brings a level of excitement unlike any other sports venue on the planet, and two of the things we're really excited about are here in the form of our newest NBC Sports NASCAR analysts in Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton.  Jeff we announced last month.  Steve as you all learned yesterday will be joining us.
So before we open up the room to questions, we're going to ask Sam, then Steve, then Jeff, in that order, to give us some opening remarks, and at that point the room will be all yours.
SAM FLOOD:¬† Thank you all for coming out this morning.¬† We couldn't be happier, as Tim said, to be back in the NASCAR business.¬† The six years I spent on this project the first time around with the NBC/TNT joint venture were six of the most rewarding and exciting years.¬† We learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and met a lot of great people.¬† And two of them are sitting up here next to me now because when we were doing it, we got to know people in the sport, and I knew there were some folks that were must‑see TV, and I said if we ever got back in the sport, there were certain people we'd want on the team to be part of telling the story of this great sport to the nation on TV.
So as we assembled the team, we first looked behind the camera, brought Jeff Behnke in, who's going to live in Charlotte, so having Jeff in Charlotte is going to give us a full‑time presence around all the race teams, race shops, which we think is really, really important.
Then Jeff Burton, any time there was a story, he's the first person we would send a pit reporter down to have a conversation with about because we knew he would have a strong opinion.  It would be unfiltered, and we know that's going to happening when he starts broadcasting for us.
And then Steve has so much personality, so much passion, so much energy that we know, no matter what's going on on the racetrack, even if it's a mellow race, Steve is going to make sure it is not a mellow telecast, and we think that's a great thing, and we think for the viewers, it's going to be an incredible way to experience the race with these two gentlemen.
I'll let Mr.Burton chime in here.  One other thing:  The third member of the team is hiding somewhere in the room, Rick Allen.  He has other responsibilities, but we wanted to get a former track and field athlete in the group that could handle multitasking and deal with a lot of different things, and since he was a decathlete we think he can deal with these two gentlemen and keep Steve and Jeff in line, plus the folks on pit road that we'll be announcing shortly.
I'll hand it off to Mr.Burton at this point.
JEFF BURTON:  And if not he can run away from us really quickly, too, which I'm sure is his instincts.
This to me has been a really exciting process, having a chance to spend some time with Steve and Rick and Marty and Jeff Behnke and Sam and really start to build a team.¬† I mean, that's what this is.¬† It's about being a team.¬† I'm really excited about it.¬† To me it's a natural‑‑ feels really natural to me.¬† Feels like it's meant to be.¬† Really excited to finally get the three guys in the booth together, and to work with Steve to me is going to be a lot of fun.¬† Steve has so much energy, and I'm looking forward to disagreeing with him on the air and having lively debates and proving once again that drivers truly are smarter than crew chiefs.
It's going to be fun, and honestly that's what it needs to be.  It needs to be fun and lighthearted and serious when it needs to be serious.  But this is a sport that has a lot of energy and a lot of excitement, and hopefully we can do a good job of bringing that out and bringing Steve on, Steve and I have talked for a little while about it, and I think both of us are really excited about working together.
This is fun.  It's going to be a good time.  The thing I'm really excited about is if you watch NBC Sports, its professionalism.  It's done right.  It's done in a professional way.  It's not hokey, it's professional.  To me that's a lot for us to live up to.
I'm excited about it, looking forward to it, and really almost wish we could start tomorrow.
STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I mean, I'll follow all that up, I guess.  I'd like to thank Sam and everybody at NBC.  I'm excited about the opportunity.  I don't think it's any secret in the room that I've always enjoyed the broadcast side.  I've always dabbled in it.  I do have a pretty loud and colorful personality and I think it's enjoyable to be on that side of the camera.
I have never been able to do it in a capacity where I feel it was my responsibility to bring much to the broadcast other than my color and expertise because as the color guys when you get invited in as a crew chief you really don't have to prepare much.  It's going to be a new challenge, an exciting challenge.  I think I've learned a lot in 19 years in the garage area of how to prepared for events and be prepared for whatever could come at you, so I do agree with both of them we'll be able to put on great broadcasts, and I think NASCAR has built a great sport.
I've lived in the garage area now for 19 years.  No one ever really gets to script the timing of it all and how you have to do it, but I was the guy too young to be in the garage when I was a tire guy and then I was the guy too young to be in the garage as a crew chief, so I thought it was probably why not be too young to go into television.  I feel it goes along with my track record.
It's an exciting opportunity.  It's one of those that even when we started talking, and I think it was in the press release, Sam and the entire NBC group's excitement is really what swayed me over.  It's not just a PR stunt.  They're very, very excited to be back in the sport.  It's a sport that I obviously not only love but owe really my lifestyle to, my family.  Everything we've ever had has been driven by NASCAR, so I thought this was the next step, and I hope I can take some responsibility to bring that back to the fans.

Q.  Steve, why now get off the pit box, and do you fear you're going to miss the competition side of it?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† Well, I mean, there's all kinds of fears.¬† I think change drives fear in anybody.¬† I'd be lying if not.¬† All I've known is Hendrick Motorsports since I was 16.¬† I've never worked anywhere else.¬† But there's a lot‑‑ I could waste the entire 30 minutes going through all the whys, but really when it comes down to it, probably the No.1 thing is I have an eight‑ and a ten‑year‑old child and I know the commitment it takes to be a top‑level crew chief.¬† I don't know firsthand the commitment that it takes to be great on television, and Sam and these guys are going to teach me that, but in my conversations with Sam, I don't think it's quite the same time commitment and travel commitment.
When it came down to it, the lists are very, very long, but that would have to go to the top of the list.  I've always said, I don't think I've ever hidden it from anyone, that my family has always been my No.1 priority, and it comes down to if I'm going to be unsuccessful in anything I do, being a father shouldn't be on the list, so I'm going to put that one first, and this allows me to put that one first and still be in a sport that I love and join a great team.

Q.  Steve, when making this decision, did you have to battle any feelings of guilt that you've spent 20 years at Hendrick and you've been leading Jr. up progressively better, but if you don't win a championship this year I assume you'd feel like you kind of left something on the table?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† I don't think I'll feel I left something on the table as far as our on‑track activity, but there's without a doubt guilt.¬† When you work somewhere for 19 years‑‑ my shop guy I hired when he was 19 years old.¬† There are guys I've come to work with since I was 16 years old that have raised me.¬† Some of the toughest conversations I've ever had in my life is when ‑‑ and I've had a lot of tough ones as a crew chief, and none of those compare to when I had to sit across the desk from Rick Hendrick, and he already kind of knew the answer.¬† But to tell him the man who's kind of raised me, that was a tough conversation to have, to sit down with my early guys that we're a family, but they understood‑‑ they're my family but they're my second family, and I think we all care about each other enough that they understood that me putting my first family first was what I've always preached to them and what I expect them to do.¬† They're really excited for me.¬† Dale has been super supportive.¬† He's excited, Rick is excited.¬† I think it came out in all their quotes that this is a good move for me.¬† It's an opportunity now for Hendrick to decide what they want to do, and I think it's kind of a win‑win at the moment.

Q.  Late last year you kept putting us off saying, I've got things in the works, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working.  Did this come before the Michael Waltrip offer, or was the Waltrip test driver deal preceding this?  Which came first?
JEFF BURTON:  This was ahead of everything.  This was pretty far down the road, and it was rattling around in my head before anything else for sure.
SAM FLOOD:  The day we announced the deal, I was on the phone with Jeff.  That's how much we knew Jeff was going to be part of this team and wanted to be part of this team.

Q.  Steve, how did you break the news to Dale Jr.?  When did you do it?  Was this like a phone call or text, or how do you tell somebody like that?
STEVE LETARTE:  You know, I don't know if I can remember the specific time.  That's the unique thing about Dale and I is we have a tough, very strong, professional relationship, but I think our success has really come from our personal relationship that he has taught me a lot about life in the last three years.  I hope I've taught him a lot about how he prepare and how I go through life.  He's an unmarried guy without children, I'm a married guy with children, yet we bounce a lot of stuff off each other.
He was a person that I involved pretty early in the whole thing because I want his opinion.  We're very good at separating the two, what his professional opinion is and what his personal opinion may be separate, no different than mine.
But I don't think there was a specific time, but we've had multiple conversations.¬† To do what we've tried to do the last three years and hopefully will do this year and win a bunch of races and contend for a championship is more than just coming to work and saying hello.¬† We spend a lot of time away from the track together.¬† Not just time, we're very involved in each other's lives, and I hope for that to continue past the end of 2014.¬† But we still have a year to go, and I'm going to‑‑ this opportunity will really let me cherish that year like I would hope where I can really‑‑ when I come down here in a few weeks, this will be my last shot as a crew chief for a Daytona 500 pole, for a 150s win.¬† I've never won a Daytona 500 as a crew chief.¬† Those opportunities I think will make me really enjoy and cherish and put the right foot forward for the next season.

Q.  Is it fair to say that early in the process when you had the opportunity, you went to him, and you were like, hey, what do you think?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† Yeah, ultimately it's my decision, but we trust each other.¬† This is something that I'm not going to go down this path and have him be the last guy to find out.¬† I want him to be the first guy to find out.¬† Behind maybe my wife he's probably the second person I would have told.¬† He's a smart guy.¬† His opinions‑‑ and he didn't‑‑ I wouldn't say he weighed in tremendously, but he listened.¬† Sometimes all you really want somebody to do is listen.¬† He's one of my confidantes.¬† He's one of the guys that we kind of go into battle together, and this is a life‑changing decision, and he's been a life‑changing guy for me.¬† So yeah, I mean, I would say we talked about it.

Q.  Steve, Rick said yesterday that they would address the issue of your successor at the end of the year, but are you going to be involved in that process at all and still contribute in that way?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† That's a great question.¬† I wish I could answer it.¬† I don't think it's up to me.¬† I think it's the best job in the garage that's coming open.¬† I would put it at the top of the list.¬† I think Rick has proven time and time and time again that he is spectacular with people and he finds match‑ups that work.¬† Dale and I are the perfect example.¬† I knew Dale to say hello, but until he said, hey, he's going to be your guy, I rode up to his house and we sat down and talked, we didn't really know anything about each other, and I think it's really blossomed into a great professional relationship and personally.
So I think that's a question for Rick Hendrick, how much he wants to involve me or not involve me.¬† I'd be happy to help him anyway I can, help Dale, help anyone involved.¬† I wasn't making it up when I said they're my second family. ¬†They're going to be my second family even when I leave, when you're there that long.¬† I care about them like family and I'll do anything I can do to help with their decision if they want my help.¬† Sometimes‑‑ Rick is Rick.¬† He's the magician to this.¬† He puts the right people together, so I don't know if he needs my help, but if he wants it, I'll be here.

Q.  I've talked some with Jeff about NBC and what they'll be doing and how it's going to be different and sort of a fresh look and a new take.  What do you look at?  How do you look at what you want to accomplish, how you see the broadcast with you added to it?  I'm sure you've been studying what teams have already done.  What are you thinking you'll add to it and how, in a different way?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† You know, I love racing.¬† I don't have a memory in my life that I wasn't at a racetrack, since I was five years old at Thunder Road in Vermont or the Oxford 250.¬† I've raced.¬† That's all I've ever done.¬† I'm a huge sports fan.¬† I think I understand baseball probably the best, football right behind that, enjoy golf.¬† So I think what I'll be able to do perhaps is‑‑ and I think Jeff can help me on this because he's kind of like me, in a racing family, that Sam and Jeff Behnke and the NBC people, they're experts on broadcast and we're experts on racing, and we're hoping when we combine those two we can come up with the best way to broadcast the race.¬† Racing is very different.¬† Score is not kept.¬† It's not like any other sport.¬† You can't think of another sport where there's not a score, and there's not a score in racing until the final lap, and I think it needs to be covered that way.
It goes back to what I said about the excitement when I met with Sam the first time; he was very clear to me that they aren't just going to put racing on film and show it to the world.  They're going to cover it and broadcast it in a way that makes it exciting for the race fan, and I hope I get a chance to chime in on that.

Q.  Jeff, do you have any thoughts on that last question, as well?
JEFF BURTON:  Well, I think enthusiasm.  I think Steve and I both have a passion for this sport.  It's something that we've both grown up with doing.  It's not something you walk away from.  That's the thing, I can't speak for Steve, but I feel like he feels the same way I do.  We don't want to walk away from the sport.  This is another opportunity in the sport, to bring our enthusiasm to the broadcast and hopefully bring our knowledge.
Steve has worked with some of the best drivers in our sport.  I've driven for some of the best car owners in our sport.  I think we bring a unique perspective, as every broadcaster does.
But ultimately it's about enthusiasm, excitement and facts, honestly facts.  When we're talking, we need to be talking accurately.  When we're talking, people are assuming what we're saying is factual, and we've got to make sure it is because I think that's a disservice to our race fans if we don't know what we're talking about.
Bringing truth to it and making sure we do it with enthusiasm and excitement, which I don't think that's going to be a problem, that really to me is what it's about.
SAM FLOOD:  And we expect them to have the same work ethic, which we know they do from their careers to this point.  But in television Cris Collinsworth is the gold standard for analysts in the NFL, that same work ethic and the way he goes about preparing for a game, he's going to talk with these guys.  He's going to talk about his systems and how he does things and the people he talks to to get ready for the No.1 show in television, Sunday Night Football, and that's part of the DNA that comes with NBC Sports, and these guys are going to be a part of it, and the expectation for greatness every time they do a show, and to do it right and to talk to the right people and have the right information, and with Rick leading the way, we think it's going to be a really good combination.
JEFF BURTON:  I think it's important to note real quickly, we aren't retiring.  We're taking another position in the sport.  I think that needs to be noted.  We're not walking away from work.  We're accepting a new challenge.  Steve and I have talked a lot about this.  We want to outwork everybody.  This isn't a right to do this.  We've earned it, now we've got to go earn it every single day, and that's what he's done as a crew chief.  That's what I feel like I've done as a driver.  We hope to bring that to the broadcast, as well.

Q.¬† Steve, particularly being Dale Jr.'s crew chief, you are probably no stranger to having your decisions second‑guessed, whether it be from fans on Twitter or so forth, but I was just wondering, given the fact that there's‑‑ that you now said I'm leaving at the end of this season, are you ready for people to try to‑‑ everything that doesn't seemingly go right might get blamed on the idea that you're somehow not focused on the job at hand, or do you just approach that the way you've approached it the last three years?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† Well, I think it's a legitimate question.¬† I think people are going to blame all kinds of stuff they want to blame.¬† But like Jeff mentioned, I have been able to work with some of the biggest stars in the sport.¬† Since I was a young kid and became crew chief for Jeff, I've been second‑guessed, and I can assure the group that no one second‑guesses or questions my decisions more than me.¬† I want to be better the next day than I was yesterday, and the only way you do that is to truly look in the mirror and decide what decisions you made.¬† But I also agree, and I tell all my guys this, every day when I get up I look in the mirror and say I'm going to outwork and outperform everyone in my field, and that's my goal.¬† Does that always come through on the racetrack?¬† Does that come through with success in victory lane?¬† Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, and that's what I love about the sport.
Everyone in today's world has the ability with social media and the media to have opinions, and they're great opinions, and I've learned in life you not to not block them out but maybe listen because there's a little truth in every opinion, even if it's not 100 percent true.  I don't think that Rick or Dale or the people that work with me will ever question my effort.  I hope they never would.  I think they know how hard I work, and I would expect the same thing next year.

Q.  Kind of following up on Jim's question, Steve, this is sort of a unique situation having a crew chief that has a known expiration date but it's not so unique for drivers, and a often times when you have a lame duck driver it doesn't lead to great results and devolves into a morass of ill will and hurt feelings and poor performance.
STEVE LETARTE:  That's a good pep talk.  I'll tell you what, we need to bring you in.  I think we should break on that one.

Q.  How is it going to be different from a crew chief perspective knowing this is it, this is one and done, and you guys don't win a championship?  How are you guys still going to deliver that high level?  Maybe that's part of the answer is that you guys ended last year on such a high note.  Is that almost beneficial that this last season is coming after your best season so far with the 88?
STEVE LETARTE:¬† I think what makes this situation unique compared to any driver situation I can remember is I'm not going to crew chief for another organization, so when I go to Charlotte with Dale Jr., it's going to be our last trip together to Charlotte, and I feel‑‑ like I said earlier, I have the best job in the garage area.¬† I've enjoyed every race we've run together, every practice we've run together.¬† The best part of my job are the four hours on Sunday afternoon we try to go win.
So I think that this is a very different situation because I'm not working on being a broadcaster in 2014, I'm working on filling a trophy case, and to do that we have to win our first race.  Dale and I have had that conversation, and he said it the best, that this will give us an opportunity to really cherish those races and those opportunities, and I think if anything, it might allow us to be better at our jobs because frustration sets in for everyone in the garage area.  It's a tough sport.  If it doesn't set in you don't care enough about your job.
And I think this is one more thing that could maybe drag us out of frustration because you know there's a time stamp on the end of it.  So do you really want to throw away your last trip to Sonoma together?  Do you want to put personal feelings in the way of trying to win the Brickyard?
I think to do that would really‑‑ it would be a shame for what we've built over the last three years, and I don't think it would happen.¬† I think social media and perhaps the media would have more of an issue with it than we would internally on the race team.

Q.  Jeff and Steve, I'm wondering if part of the appeal of this job is you get to sort of keep your current identity?
JEFF BURTON:¬† Part of it is for me.¬† My life has been around being around a racetrack, and you don't have‑‑ there's a timeline on drivers.¬† You don't drive forever, and when this opportunity presented itself, it just felt natural.¬† And yes, some of my dearest friends are in this garage.¬† The lessons of my life, honestly, have been learned in these garages.
So yeah, being able to be a part of it and stay part of it is a huge attraction to me.¬† I would not‑‑ if somebody called me and said would you like to do Sunday Night Football, I probably wouldn't have any interest in that because it's not what I know, it's not my passion.¬† But to be able to stay involved and stay in touch with the people I know and have my identity, of course, that's a huge amount to me.
STEVE LETARTE:¬† You know, I think without a doubt that's the easy and honest truth, that the garage area is my home and has been for a long time.¬† But I will say that I'm excited to take part in television.¬† I am a colorful personality.¬† I don't like to be in‑‑ I think Dale and I get along so well because I fill the conversations with words.¬† I like to talk.¬† I like to talk about the sport.¬† I like to talk to people.¬† Everyone in this room and I probably have a personal relationship where they've talked to me.
I feel I've been given the opportunities to work in this sport, and I feel I have some responsibility to bring those to the fans.¬† I think the fans have built the sport.¬† The fans‑‑ as we all know we have a huge fan base here at Jr. Nation, so they've pushed me crew chief to try to be better, and I feel I'm going to try to take that responsibility to the broadcast booth and deliver back a broadcast about a race that they deserve so they can see it from maybe a different perspective than they have in the past.

Q.  Sam, you have two guys as analysts who are straight out of the garage area.  I'm assuming that's intentional and maybe you're trying to bring a more contemporary feel to your broadcasts?
SAM FLOOD:  More than anything it's these two guys are unique personalities.  Jeff I knew from day one was someone we were going to target, and Steve, I listen to Sirius XM, anytime he was on the radio you stopped and paid attention, and that made me aware how important it was to try and add him to this group.  So I like the fact that they're fresh out of the car.  I like that fact that Jeff is going to be on the racetrack this year.  I like the fact that Steve is going to win a lot of races this year and be able to go back and say we won here last year.  So if those happen the last 20 weeks of the season we'll be fine with that so it'll be better for our telecast.
But I do think the freshness and straight off the track is important to us, but more than anything, it's these guys will tell the story of the race, they're passionate about it, and I think they'll out work anyone, and that's what I really like.  We have a legacy at NBC Sports of really working hard and making the product and making the sport shine.  We've done that with hockey, we've done that with the NFL, we do that with the Premier League.  We want to continue that here.

Q.  Steve, when it's all over at Homestead after four years with Dale, what are the things that you hope you leave with Dale?  Certainly we've seen the progression of this team and of Dale and maybe fair or unfair you've gotten a lot of credit for it.  The lessons over these past four years, what do you want to leave with Dale so he can continue to strive and further himself and have more and more chances of success?
STEVE LETARTE:  Well, I think two big things.  I think the first is their success in 2015 should be over the top.  I appreciate the credit I'm given within the 88, but I'm just a really, really small part of it.  Dale is an internal leader within the team without even asking him to be.  The guys on the team, they need very little direction to try to be the best.  They do a lot on their own.
So I think that their success in 2015 will mean a lot to me.  I hope that when I leave they can be as successful or more successful than we were as a team.  And then just the friendships, all the friendships I've created, I'd like for them to continue.  I hope that moving forward into my new career that I can maintain the friendships as friendships and not be seen that I'm trying to leverage them to help my new position, but Dale and I are friends.  I hope to spend time together and support him in any way I can in his new venture.
But this team, it's a great group of guys with great drivers.  They're going to win a lot of races whether I'm on the pit box or not.

Q.  Jeff and Steve both, for your entire careers your focus has been on individual teams, what's best for the 31, what's best for the 88 or whatever.  Is it going to be difficult for you guys to step back and see the sport as a whole and the changes in it and understand what's going on in it, just basically because you're looking at it differently now?
JEFF BURTON:  I think that's a really good question, and I think that I got exposed to that a lot in trying to help move the ball a little bit from a safety standpoint.  I got exposed to that some.
I think that for the most part you'd be surprised how many drivers and crew chiefs, and we really talk about what's best for the sport.  Ultimately what we really care about is what's best for us, but there's probably more conversation about that than you realize.  I think there's a healthy respect in the garage for understanding that if the sport isn't in good shape and the fans aren't happy that we've got a problem.
And I think that's evolved as the economy went down and viewership started going down.  I think we have more appreciation of that today than we did say 10 years ago.
Yeah, it is going to be a transition, but at the same time we also‑‑ we want to be the best‑‑ we want to be the best in this business.¬† We want to do a better job than our competition.¬† We want to be the best.¬† It's kind of like being‑‑ he crew chiefs the 88, but he also wants the 24 to run well.¬† You know what I mean?
I think there's a little bit of a shift in our thought process but not as big as you would think.
STEVE LETARTE:  Yeah, I think there's really two parts to that.  The first is how will I be able to see the sport from a global standpoint.  I think I've been very fortunate to work with probably the two best ambassadors or two of the biggest ambassadors for NASCAR.  I think Jeff Gordon has had a great year, but I don't think anyone in the room here would ever question what he's done for the sport on a global level, not even a personal level.  He's very involved.  He's always been involved, and I think just like Jeff said here, I think everyone in that garage area takes ownership in the brand of NASCAR and they do everything they can do to try to push it forward.  I think Jeff did that, and there's no doubt in my mind that Dale Jr. does that.  He is one of the faces of NASCAR, definitely the most popular face.  I don't think he takes that lightly.  I think he understands his role with it, and he's taught me that I have a role within it, our team has a role within it.
The second part of my question is I still feel like I have a team.  That's the beauty of this.  And after talking to Sam I understood it, and that excites me.  We will have a team just like we do as a race team.  Our goal isn't to win the race, our goals are different.  But we still have a team that we kind of go into battle with, and when the race is put on, this team has a responsibility to be the best out there.  You heard Sam say it multiple times about work ethic and Jeff say it about preparation.  That's not something I feel I would ever be able to shut off.
My joke is always you can hire any position on a race team by having them go clean a room because no matter what job you do, whether you're a race car driver or a crew chief or a media person, it becomes a job at some point.  Our friends are golfers, and they'll say, you want to ruin a great hobby, make it your job.  That's the truth, it's our jobs, and we all don't love them every single day.  You can't.  So what carries you through those days are your responsibilities, your work ethic and how you've been raised, and I think that that will force Jeff and I to see the sport as it needs to be seen from the broadcast booth and it will force the team that NBC has assembled to be the best on television.
DAVID HIGDON:  Again, thank you very much, everyone, for being here.  Really appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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