FOX Sports used a unique booth setup with rotating guests during the 2022 NASCAR season. The expectation is that this will continue across the three national series in 2023.
The first 16 points-paying races of the 2022 Cup Series schedule, as well as the Busch Light Clash and the All-Star Race, featured two main figures in the FOX Sports booth. Mike Joy did play-by-play while Clint Bowyer was the primary analyst. The third seat featured a wide variety of guest analysts.
The expectation is that this setup will continue for the 2023 season. Joy and Bowyer will both be back for the full FOX Sports portion of the schedule while a variety of guests should join them. Additionally, the Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series booths are also expected to continue featuring guest analysts during the 2023 season.
The rotating booth in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series is nothing new for FOX Sports. The broadcast partner has often relied on drivers to provide analysis of key moments early in the season. There have been many guests that joined Adam Alexander including Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones, and Daniel Suarez.
Several Guests Joined Joy & Bowyer During the 2022 Season
A major change took place after the 2021 season, Bowyer’s first in the FOX Sports booth. Analyst Jeff Gordon stepped away to focus on his role as vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports while FOX Sports opted to replace him with several analysts.
The season kicked off with Tony Stewart joining the booth for two races. He made his debut during the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum and then he returned for the Daytona 500. Stewart expanded his schedule with the race at Circuit of the Americas, and then he capped off the FOX portion of the schedule by joining the booth at Sonoma Raceway.
The list of guest analysts also featured Michael Waltrip at World Wide Technology Raceway, Matt Kenseth at Auto Club Speedway, Jamie McMurray at Kansas Speedway, and Danica Patrick at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.
Following the appearance of Patrick, FOX Sports brought in a guest analyst that wasn’t known for time behind the wheel. Seven-time champion crew chief Chad Knaus joined the booth for races at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway.
The FOX Schedule Featured Some Special Appearances
With a rotating booth, there were many opportunities for FOX Sports to create some unique partnerships or reunions. The broadcast partner took full advantage during several big races, which included Gordon’s return at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The biggest example is the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the leap from NBC Sports to FOX Sports for one race, and he helped call the action at a track where he has extensive success.
Additionally, Larry McReynolds returned to the booth at Dover Motor Speedway while Darrell Waltrip returned at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt). The Throwback Weekend race at Darlington Raceway had Richard Petty, Bill Elliott, and Bobby Labonte each joining the booth for one stage.
There are no known guests that will join FOX Sports for the 2023 season. Any announcements would not take place until closer to the Busch Light Clash. Though Labonte previously told Heavy that he would like to get more opportunities.
“So I got down there — and I’ll tell you what — I really didn’t know what to expect,” Labonte explained in June. “You know, I wasn’t sure. Obviously, [I’ve] been around this all my life, but I didn’t know what to expect. And I just thought that it was so much fun. I just felt like I was less nervous than I thought I’d be. And it’s obviously just kind of talking about what you’re seeing.
“And so I thoroughly enjoyed it way more than I anticipated going into it because I wasn’t sure of all the dynamics. And I got to know kind of like what’s going on and when we feel comfortable here and there. I love the opportunity that it presented itself. And whether it leads to another one, more, half a stage, or whatever. Who knows? But I felt more comfortable doing that than I anticipated. It was a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity.”