NASCAR: Why did Fox change the broadcast booth?

NASCAR, Fox (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NASCAR, Fox (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Tony Stewart was not in the Fox booth for the third race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

We are now three races into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, four if you include the Busch Light Clash preseason exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Daytona 500 officially got the season underway three Sundays ago, and Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have since hosted races as well.

Three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart joined lead announcer Mike Joy and analyst Clint Bowyer in the Fox booth for the Busch Light Clash and the Daytona 500, just as he did last year. Unlike last year, he was in the booth for the race at Auto Club Speedway.

However, it was Danica Patrick, not Tony Stewart, in the NASCAR on Fox booth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Patrick was also in the booth for this race a year ago.

Changing the broadcast booth is something that Fox did in 2022 as well, and it’s an approach that they confirmed they’d be taking again in 2023 a while back.

Four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who started in the booth since 2016 after retiring from full-time Cup Series competition, left after Fox’s 2021 portion of the schedule to focus on his new role as Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports.

Instead of sticking with a two-person booth, like they did in 2020 with Joy and Gordon after Darrell Waltrip retired and Bowyer was still driving, Fox opted to keep a three-person booth, but without a third full-time analyst.

So they brought in a number of different individuals throughout their portion of the schedule to join Joy and Bowyer, including but not limited to Stewart, Patrick, and Matt Kenseth. Waltrip and Gordon both made brief returns as well.

Many believe that they opted to take the same approach in 2023 so that the third seat would effectively be freed up and without a committed announcer for 2024, which would make it easier to bring in Kevin Harvick full-time.

Harvick, a driver who has long been linked to a broadcasting career after his racing career, recently announced that the 2023 season will indeed be his 23rd and final season behind the wheel, and it was later confirmed that he is set to join the booth full-time next year.

Patrick is set to return to the booth for the season’s fourth race at Phoenix Raceway as well. She was also in the booth for this race last year.

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Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss Sunday’s United Rentals Work United 500! The race is set to be broadcast live from Phoenix Raceway on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.