Franchitti open to potential broadcast role

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While Dario Franchitti discussed the process leading up to his retirement and recalled some of his best racing memories, he also addressed the future during his media availability on Thursday.

The Scot seems to desire a future team role with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but when asked of the potential to go into broadcasting, Franchitti admitted it held some interest.

“Yeah, I’m open to it, absolutely,” Franchitti said. “If it was done in the right way, yes, I would be open to it.  I think whatever you do, though, you’ve got to do it properly.  That’s something I’d have to take into account.  Could I work with a team 100% and give 100% to that and be totally focused on that?  Broadcast, too.

“Could I do those things?  If I could, then I’d be interested in it.  There’s no point in doing anything half-assed.  Not the way I do things.  The guys here would get pretty pissed off pretty quickly.

“The reason for me to do something here would be to add something to the team.  The team here is pretty successful.  That’s an understatement obviously.  I have to add something if I’m going to come along.”

In 2013, Leigh Diffey anchored all of the NBCSN IndyCar broadcasts (except Long Beach due to another commitment) alongside full-time analyst Townsend Bell and third analysts Wally Dallenbach (most races), David Hobbs (Milwaukee), Steve Matchett (Toronto), Ryan Briscoe (Mid-Ohio) Gil de Ferran (Indianapolis 500 qualifying), Jon Beekhuis (Indianapolis 500 qualifying and Brazil) and Robin Miller (Brazil). Beekhuis, Miller, Kevin Lee, Marty Snider, Will Buxton and Brian Till patrolled pit lane throughout the year.

The ABC broadcasts have a vacancy for lead announcer with Marty Reid not returning to that post in 2014. Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. were color analysts alongside Reid in 2013, with Rick DeBruhl, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Dr. Jerry Punch in the pits.

NBCSN will broadcast 13 of the 18 IndyCar races in 2014, with Long Beach and Barber in April and the last 11 in a row starting with the Saturday night race, June 7, at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Cooper Webb leaps from obscurity to Supercross lead

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Cooper Webb could not even locate the radar tower before the 2019 season began – let alone expect to see his number dead center in the radar screen.

His ascent to 450 competition came with little fanfare. Finishing 13th in Supercross in 2017 and then eighth in Motocross, Webb did not turn many heads as a rookie. Last year was more of the same.

Through Round 7 at Arlington, Webb failed to record a single top five. That elusive result would come the following week at Tampa with a fourth-place finish. Two weeks later, he stood on the podium at Daytona for the only the second time in his Supercross 450s career. But at season’s end, Webb was only ninth in the standings in both Supercross and Motocross.

No one expected much from him when Anaheim rolled around this year.

Webb started the season much the same as he ended 2018. A fifth-place finish in Anaheim I in muddy and equalizing conditions was followed by a modest 10th at Glendale, but the rider from North Carolina believed in himself.

In professional racing, nothing is more difficult than winning the first race. Webb’s first taste of victory came in Heat 1 of the Triple Crown at Anaheim II. Everyone remained skeptical – it was only one heat race after all. The skepticism turned to interest when he won Heat 2. Then Webb finished third in Heat 3 to take the overall victory. It was his first win in the 450 class.

That was all it took to unleash his potential. Webb won the following week in Oakland and then again two weeks later in Minneapolis.

The Supercross riders left Minnesota and headed straight down Interstate 35 to Arlington with four of them separated by two points. All eyes were focused on Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin – and, oh yeah Webb who sat in second.

Someone was likely to stumble in Arlington and the odds on favorite to do so was Webb. That seemed to be confirmed once the feature started. While the three more experienced riders led by Tomac scooted away from the field, Webb was mired outside the top five for the first six lap.

It was Tomac who tripped and fell, however. Webb passed the stricken rider and surged to fifth on Lap 7. He was in fourth by Lap 10 and third on Lap 16.  As Webb and teammate Musquin battled for the second, they slowly reeled in the leader Roczen. Once Webb broke free on the conflict with the runner-up position firmly his, he could see the red plate on Roczen’s Honda like a cape being waved in front of a bull.

Webb charged through the final six laps getting closer and closer until he edged Roczen for the closest finish in Supercross history. It was Webb’s fourth victory of the season, coming only four weeks after he scored his first career win.

Relive the final laps in the video posted above.

As incredible as Webb’s rise to the points lead is, it has been done before.

Last year Jason Anderson seemingly came out of nowhere to lead the standings after Round 2. Anderson held the advantage for the remainder of the year, while Webb has been part of a game of hot potato in which no one seems to want to don the red plate for more than a week.

The pressure continues to mount. Webb now has a two-point advantage over Roczen, who is the only rider to sweep the top five this season.

Webb’s advantage over third is a mere four points, while Musquin has a current five-race streak of podium finishes to his credit.

Tomac’s trouble in Texas serves as a cautionary tale that a single loss of focus can be devastating and Webb still lacks the seat time of his three principal rivals, but last week’s incredible come-from-behind victory is showing that Webb is riding above experience level.

Follow the complete Supercross and Motocross seasons on NBC Sports, Gold.