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.”

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

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Marvin Musquin answered one question at Indianapolis last week, but the biggest one may well plague him for the next six weeks.

Musquin has won a battle, but can he win the war?

After standing on the podium in eight of the first 10 races, Musquin finally showed the field he was capable of winning in Indy when he grabbed the holeshot and led every lap on the way to Victory Lane. He was never seriously challenged and it was the Musquin that Supercross fans expected to see all season.

It was a long time coming. Musquin must have felt like victory was just around the corner after finishing second in the overall standings in Anaheim II’s Triple Crown race. He was third in the first Main that night and second in the last two Mains.

As it turned out, that single race defined his season until last week. Musquin stood on the podium all night, but he finished two spots behind Cooper Webb in the first Main and was one spot back in the second. It was only as time ran out that he was able to beat Webb by a single spot in the third Main. If Musquin had won either of the first two Mains, he would have had the overall victory – denying Webb his first career win in the process.

Webb’s Anaheim win revitalized the rider and gave him the confidence to rattle off four more wins in the next seven races.

Meanwhile, Musquin scored podium finishes in the next seven races, making him almost perfect. In another season, a record like that would have been enough to give him a comfortable points lead. In 2019, he sit 14 markers out of first, which is the points’ equivalent of the difference between first and 11th in one race. In other words, Webb cannot lose the points lead at Seattle unless he finishes outside the top 10 while his teammate wins.

Looking at the numbers another way the scenario is not quite as hopeless. Musquin needs to shave only 2.3 points off Webb’s lead each week to win the championship. Three points separate first and second. Five points differentiates first from third, which is where Webb finished in Indianapolis. Webb is vulnerable as his 10th-place finish at Glendale and an eighth at San Diego attest.

Those bobbles came early and Webb seems to have forgotten how to make a mistake.

A third-place is Webb’s worst finish in the last six weeks and since Anaheim II when Musquin started his impressive string of podium finishes, Webb has recorded an average finish of 2.2. That came with a worst finish of eighth on an extremely muddy and heavy track in San Diego. Musquin has a worst finish of only sixth, but his average of 2.8 still lags behind Webb.

Worse still, since Anaheim II Musquin has finished behind Webb in every race except for the outlier of San Diego.

It is no longer a question of keeping pressure on Webb. Musquin cannot expect his teammate to make a mistake; he has to find a way to pass him on the track. If Webb adds only two points to his lead at Seattle, Musquin’s fate would no longer be in his hands. He would need to gain 3.2 points per race. With that scenario, Webb could finish one spot behind Musquin every week and still win the championship.