Superstar Racing Experience closing in on inaugural six-race summer season
Allen Bestwick has been around motorsports for over three decades.
He's called the Indy 500 for ABC, and NASCAR races for NBC, TNT, TBS and ESPN. He's been a turn announcer for MRN, and famously called Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 2001 Pepsi 400 win at Daytona.
Safe to say, the longtime broadcaster has seen it all ... until this summer.
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"What makes this series appealing is, it's going to be a lot of fun," Bestwick said. "If you could take everything that you've learned about racing over 30 years, and then they hand you a clean sheet of paper and say, 'Go ahead, design something from scratch that you'll just have a blast with on a Saturday night,' that's what this is.
"I've known about this concept for two years now, and I just said, 'Man, that's going to be fun.'"
Superstar Racing Experience schedule
Bestwick will be the lead announcer for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) racing series, which is set to debut on CBS platforms and Paramount+ this summer.
The new series, which was announced last year, was founded by three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham, among others, and will put an emphasis on head-to-head competition in short, sprint races.
The six-race season will start at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut on June 12 and end July 17 at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
The races will be shown on consecutive Saturday nights and include trips to Knoxville Raceway (Iowa); Eldora (Ohio); Lucas Oil Raceway (Indiana); and Slinger Speedway (Wisconsin).
SRX driver lineup
Drivers from different platforms will compete, including Stewart, Tony Kanaan (IndyCar), Willy T. Ribbs (Trans-Am), Paul Tracy (CART), Helio Castroneves (IndyCar), Bobby Labonte (NASCAR), Bill Elliott (NASCAR), Ernie Francis Jr. (Trans-Am), Michael Waltrip (NASCAR) and Marco Andretti (IndyCar).
"We've got some of the most accomplished, greatest drivers in the history of auto racing, all disciplines in a car built to let them show their skills off, where they're not as dependent on the engineer or the pit crew," said Bestwick. "It's designed for them to show their skills against each other."
Bestwick will be joined on the call by Fox Sports NASCAR and NFL reporter Lindsay Czarniak, NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty and longtime NASCAR pit reporter Matt Yocum.
Former Cup driver Danica Patrick and IndyCar stars James Hinchcliffe and Dario Franchitti will all take turns being driver analysts throughout the season.
"For me, the bottom line is, this is short-track racing," said Daugherty, the five-time NBA All-Star for the Cleveland Cavaliers who is now the part-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing.
"This is what I grew up around and how I got introduced to the sport. I know I'm a big body, a big basketball player, but I grew up racing. And the short tracks is where it's at."
Ray Evernham designing SRX cars
SRX races will be approximately 90 minutes long within a two-hour broadcast period. There won't be any pit stops during the race, but there will be a "halftime" in which drivers and crew chiefs can make adjustments.
Evernham, who won three championships with Jeff Gordon, will prepare the cars for the series, which many hope will resemble the old IROC Series (International Race of Champions) that relied more on a driver's skill and less on car setup.
Evernham worked as an IROC mechanic early in his career, while Stewart won a championship in 2006 before the series folded.
When the series was announced last summer, Evernham told the Associated Press he was looking to build a full-body car that "the racing public can relate to."
“We envision a hybrid of all different series," he added. "We don’t see it looking like a crazy dunebuggy-ish type car. To me, it’s got to be a really cool looking car that also puts it back in the driver’s hands, mechanically-wise and allows it to be more affected by the pedals.”
While New Smyrna Speedway didn't make the cut this year, Evernham did tell the AP that the local short track was being considered.