Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast added to NBC’s NASCAR on-air team

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NBC Sports Group has announced that reporters Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast have been added as contributors to NBC and NBCSN’s upcoming studio and live race coverage of NASCAR. Both Snider and Stavast will be based out of Charlotte, N.C., the hub of the NASCAR industry.

A release from the Group states that no further “broadcaster-related” announcements are expected “in the near term.” Snider and Stavast join lead announcer Rick Allen and analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte as part of the NBC team.

Snider was part of NBC’s most recent coverage of NASCAR from 2001-2006 and has been a reporter for TNT’s Sprint Cup coverage for over a decade. He has also covered other sports for NBC/NBCSN, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the IndyCar Series, where he’ll continue on as NBCSN’s lead pit reporter.

“Marty is a talented motorsports reporter with longstanding relationships throughout the sport,” NBC/NBCSN executive producer Sam Flood said in the release. “He was a part of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning NASCAR broadcast team during our last partnership, and we are happy to have him back with us on the NASCAR beat.”

Stavast has covered a wide variety of motorsport disciplines, from sports cars (GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series) to off-road races and leagues such as the Baja 1000 and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. She also works as a reporter for NBC’s auto show coverage from Los Angeles, New York and Detroit.

“Kelli’s motorsports work has been impressive, so much so that she will also contribute to NBC Sports’ upcoming IndyCar coverage,” said Flood. “Her immersion into the racing community in Charlotte will pay dividends as she strengthens her relationships with those in and around the sport.”

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.