NASCAR AMERICA: Thursday round-up (VIDEO)

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More analysis on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new crew chief, Greg Ives, took center stage on Thursday’s NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s current crew chief, is stepping away from racing to join NBCSN’s NASCAR crew at the end of the year, but he is more than excited for Greg Ives to take over as Earnhardt Jr.’s new chief.

Greg Ives was named as the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team for the 2015 NASCAR season. Ives says he and Junior hit it off quickly due to their all-business mentality and their ability to have fun together off of the track.

Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick discusses taking on Mobil 1 as his primary sponsor at Pocono Raceway, and the NASCAR AMERICA guys analyze what lies ahead for Harvick leading up to the race.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski