NBC Sports presents “Kurt Busch: 36” on June 8th

3 Comments
source:
Credit: NBC Sports

NBC Sports announced today that it will present an all-access look into the intense preparation, 200+ MPH competition and extreme logistics surrounding Kurt Busch’s upcoming attempt to win IndyCar’s famed Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

The 30-minute special, featuring in-depth interviews, on-track footage, team communications and a seat right next to Busch throughout his races against drivers from two elite series, pulsating travel conditions and the limits of his own endurance, will debut on Sunday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

A 60-minute “director’s cut” of KURT BUSCH: 36 will air the following day, Monday, June 9, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-winning NASCAR production team, led by Executive Producer Sam Flood, teams with the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions to create KURT BUSCH: 36. The program furthers NBCSN’s successful line of “:36” documentaries that chronicle the 36 hours that cover the lead-up, completion and aftermath of a major sporting event. KURT BUSCH: 36 takes the series to another level as it encapsulates two races.

“This attempt at ‘The Double’ ranks among the most unique undertakings in all of sports, because it involves so many factors and storylines, each of which will play out over the course of two iconic races,” said Flood. “We’re looking forward to chronicling the drama and excitement that will build throughout Kurt’s attempt at history.”

The special marks another NASCAR-related programming highlight for NBC Sports Group since reaching an agreement for NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series racing last July. NBCSN launched its daily 5:00 p.m. ET motorsports show, NASCAR AMERICA, in February following the 2014 DAYTONA 500 and coverage of the Sochi Olympics.

“Kurt Busch’s attempt at ‘The Double’ is a challenging endeavor that speaks to the highly competitive spirit of NASCAR drivers,” said Tally Hair, Managing Director, NASCAR Productions. “The special will provide fans with an exclusive, up-close-and-personal look into what will be a grueling but amazing story for Kurt Busch and the racing world.”

Busch, a 25-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner, is currently training to become just the fourth driver to attempt “The Double” by racing in both IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. This is a feat so grueling that only 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart has ever successfully completed all 1100 miles.  No driver attempting to race “The Double” has ever won either event on the day of the attempt.

Busch confirmed that he will drive a Dallara-Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport at Indy on May 25. Upon completion of the Indianapolis 500, Busch then immediately flies approximately 430 miles to Charlotte, N.C. to fulfill his full-time job of driving the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in NASCAR’s longest race of the year.

Porsche ready for final LMP1 outing in Bahrain

Photo: Porsche
Leave a comment

At the conclusion of this weekend’s Six Hours of Bahrain, Porsche’s four-year run in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship will come to a close. The pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids will roll off from first and third after Friday’s qualifying, and will look to add one more win to their final tally.

Despite its short stint, Porsche more than made its mark on the class and the championship, immediately jumping to the fore and challenging young hotshots Toyota, race winners in 2012 and 2013 and LMP1 champions in 2014, and long-time stalwarts Audi, which introduced its first LMP1 entry in 1999 and quickly became the predominant force in the LMP category.

The 2014 season saw Porsche score four poles and a race win before embarking on a remarkable three-year stretch from 2015 to 2017, in which they scored three straight 24 Hours of Le Mans wins and three straight WEC driver and manufacturer championships (they wrapped the 2017 titles at the previous race in Shanghai.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of the LMP1 effort, detailed that the early days of the program were a little rocky, given the complex hybrid technology they were working with, but that they were able to find their stride relatively quickly.

“Back then (in 2014), we developed from zero a highly complex hybrid racecar on a Formula One level. The early days were extremely demanding, especially as we had to set up the infrastructure, including new buildings, at the same time, plus assembling a team of 260 excellent people. The timing was really tight and the 2014 Le Mans race came way too early for us. But since then, we have managed maximum success. I’m incredibly proud of this team and I hope that we can conclude the era of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with a good race in Bahrain.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl added that having the championships wrapped up will make the final weekend more enjoyable, as they won’t have the pressure of racing with the championships in mind.

“I feel a big relief that the pressure of defending the manufacturers’ and drivers’ world championship titles is resolved before our last race. The emotions of the farewell under the stress of the title battle would have been extremely hard for the team,” Seidl revealed.

Further, he added that Toyota’s TS050, which debuted last year, made their task all the more challenging as they worked to developed the Porsche 919 Hybrid –  the same basic car that they launched in 2014.

“In Toyota this year, we are facing a competitor who developed an all-new car for 2016. We, instead, kept developing our existing car. That we still won Le Mans as well as both championship titles is thanks to outstanding driver performances, many detailed improvements and the operational strength of our team,” Seidl asserted. “Now we have to get ourselves together and focus on this last race. We want to leave the stage not only as world champions but also with a performance that is satisfying for all of us. Six hours of reliability and faultless work are big challenges of men and machine. Safety has the highest priority. Only after the checkered flag can we allow our reflective feelings to break through.”

In terms of approaching Porsche’s LMP1 swan song, some drivers are taking different approaches. For example, Nick Tandy, driver of the No.1 entry with Neel Jani and André Lotterer, isn’t putting much thought into the farewell and is focusing entirely on the race.

“I prefer not to think about the farewell yet,” Tandy quipped. “The Bahrain race is very interesting anyway because we are racing from day into night. It is normally very hot for the car, the drivers and especially the tires. It is a challenging race to finish the season at. I haven’t been there since 2015 but I was on the podium back then when I came second in the LMP2 class. So this year’s target is to make it onto the LMP1 podium.”

Conversely, newly crowned champion Brendon Hartley, driver of the No. 2 entry with fellow champions Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard, freely expressed his emotions about the end of the Porsche LMP1 program.

“Going to Bahrain will be emotional for all of us. Especially as we arrive as World Champions with less pressure now,” asserted Hartley, who has also endured a busy stretch since the Petit Le Mans on October 7 that has seen him racing every weekend across the WEC, Formula 1, and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. “I have so many incredible memories and experiences with the 919 Hybrid, teammates and all the boys and girls from the Porsche LMP Team. We shared something very special together. After developing the Porsche 919 for more than four years, it’s an absolute dream to drive so we will all be enjoying every last lap with this awesome machine. On one side there will be a lot of sadness, but on the other hand we will be giving everything to give this project the ultimate send off it deserves.”

Porsche’s LMP1 effort won races in each of its four seasons, totaling 17 victories between it’s entries.

Follow @KyleMLavigne