Diffey, Allmendinger, Fish lead NBC Sports’ 2019 IMSA broadcast team

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NBC Sports’ exclusive coverage begins on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 with the 57th running of iconic Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona on NBCSN

STAMFORD, Conn. – When the 50th anniversary of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) season begins on Saturday, Jan. 26, NBC Sports will utilize a commentator team led by play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey, former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger (analyst) and former IMSA GT driver and analystCalvin Fish.

Diffey, Allmendinger, and Fish will make their IMSA broadcast debut for NBC Sports from the 57th running of the iconic Rolex 24 at Daytona, as a world-class field of drivers take to the Daytona International Speedway as part of more than 100 hours of IMSA programming set to air across NBC Sports’ platforms in 2019.

Additional details regarding analysts and pit crew reporters will be announced at a later date.

“Leigh has a unique ability to communicate all of the stories and battles taking place throughout a race,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President of Production, NBC Sports. “A.J. will bring a fresh perspective from the driver’s seat to the booth, while Calvin’s familiarity with IMSA both as a racer and analyst will combine for an informed and entertaining listen.”

Since joining NBC Sports in 2013, Diffey has served as the lead play-by-play voice for the network’s IndyCar and Formula One coverage. Prior to joining NBC Sports, Diffey called both the GRAND-Am Rolex SportsCar Series and American Le Mans Series from 2003-12.

Fish previously served as an analyst on FOX Sports’ IMSA coverage, and was IMSA’s GTO class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1990.

Allmendinger joined NBC Sports after competing in NASCAR for 13 seasons, most recently driving JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevy in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 2012, Allmendinger was part of the overall-winning team in the Rolex 24 at Dayton

As part of a six-year partnership announced in April, NBC Sports will present 12 races across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app throughout 2019. Race highlights include the 12 Hours of Sebring from Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on March 16; the Grand Prix of Long Beach from the Long Beach Street Circuit on April 13; and the penultimate race of the season from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 15.

Announcer bios:

LEIGH DIFFEY: Diffey joined NBC Sports Group in 2013 as the play-by-play voice for Formula One and is currently NBC Sports’ lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator. Diffey has also handled play-by-play duties for the PENN Relays track and field meet, Olympic skeleton, luge and bobsled at PyeongChang 2018 and Sochi 2014, and rowing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Twitter@leighdiffey

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Allmendinger joined NBC Sports in December 2018 after competing in NASCAR for 13 seasons, most recently driving JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevy in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He garnered his first career Cup Series win in 2014, and made his first playoff appearance that same year. Allmendinger also drove part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he earned two victories (both in 2013). In 2012, Allmendinger was part of the overall-winning team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In 2006, he earned five wins and placed third overall in the Champ Car World Series. Twitter@AJDinger

CALVIN FISH: Fish, a former Indy Lights and IMSA GT driver, among other series, joins NBC Sports after serving as a motorsports analyst for FOX Sports. Fish was a frequent member of FOX Sports’ annual coverage of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, as well as FOX Sports’ presentation of the FIA World Endurance Championship. In his racing career, he competed across several domestic and international motorsports series, and was IMSA’s GTO class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1990. Twitter – @calvinfish

IMSA ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP:

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

 

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

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Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
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Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
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Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2