Mike Joy Celebrates Another Achievement With 2023 Daytona 500 [EXCLUSIVE]

FOX Sports Mike Joy will cover his 44th Daytona 500.

FOX Sports host Mike Joy is about to celebrate another achievement. When he heads to the booth for the 2023 Daytona 500, he will mark his 44th time covering the Great American Race.

Joy currently leads FOX’s coverage of the Crown Jewel race. He has worked with a variety of analysts over the years, including recent examples in Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, and Clint Bowyer. This trend will continue in 2023 as he covers his 20th Daytona 500 for FOX.

“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity, first with Motor Racing Network, and then with CBS, and now with Fox,” Joy told Heavy during a December interview. “And I try not to look in the mirror and look back over my shoulder very much, but yeah, it’s been a great run. And every one of those races has been unique and has been special.

“Especially in the way that ours is the only major sport — might even be the only minor sport — that starts its season with its very biggest event. And it’s been that way since 1959 when the speedway first opened. It’s always been special to win the Daytona 500. Or even to compete there in that race, so that will always be special.”

Joy Has Witnessed Some Incredible Moments in History

Mike Joy

FOX SportsMike Joy calls a race for FOX Sports.

With Joy leading the coverage of the Daytona 500 for so long, he has had an opportunity to witness some major moments in NASCAR history — some incredible and others tragic.

Joy was in the booth in 2007 when Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin turned in a photo finish at the superspeedway while Clint Bowyer flipped upside down. He was on hand in 2018 as Austin Dillon spun Aric Almirola in overtime to put the No. 3 back in Victory Lane 20 years after Dale Earnhardt finally won the Crown Jewel race.

One fascinating moment in NASCAR history occurred in 2011. Trevor Bayne, making only his second career Cup Series start, won the Daytona 500 after a late battle with David Gilliland. Bayne received a push from fellow Ford driver Carl Edwards, which ensured that he would win and stun the industry. Though one future Hall of Famer had previously pointed out Bayne as a driver to watch.

“Trevor Bayne, now that’s really interesting. That one because we all know that Leonard Wood is our sport’s Thomas Edison,” Joy said. “He’s just a mechanical genius. And one area where — now Leonard’s no longer the crew chief — but one area where he excelled was in reducing mechanical drag on components.

“He’s never said what he might have done or suggested be done to that car, but everybody knew — Jeff Gordon knew on Thursday — Trevor Bayne was the car to beat. And he drafted with Trevor on Thursday and a little bit on Sunday. So for Carl Edwards to hook up with Trevor Bayne, pretty much guaranteed him on the finish right up there in the top couple of drivers.”

Joy Remains Passionate About His Role

FOX Sports

FOX SportsLarry McReynolds, Mike Joy, and Darrell Waltrip pose together.

Bayne’s win in 2011 and Michael McDowell’s stunning win in 2021 are only two examples of the big moments that Joy has called. There are countless others that have occurred at Daytona International Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and other important tracks.

While Joy has thousands of hours in the booth, he has not become jaded. Joy has continued to showcase his passion for stock car racing. It’s evident on his face during interviews, and the audience can hear it in his voice when he is calling the action for several hours.

There are multiple reasons for this passion. One is his own history as a race car driver. Another is that calling races from the public address system was a pivotal part of his teenage years and as his career progressed.

One major reason is the challenge of presenting important storylines. NASCAR is unique in that there aren’t any close looks at the drivers when they make mistakes or big moves. The fans just see a car. This is a stark difference from the NFL where a quarterback will show his frustrations after throwing an interception.

“It’s just such a fun sport to broadcast and cover,” Joy explained. “I did in college a lot of stick and ball-type sports for public address and for radio. But in racing, there’s 36 balls in play at once. All right, a racetrack is the world’s biggest pinball machine and the story and the action can come from any car in the field at any time.

“And so it’s a tremendous challenge to weave those stories together while telling the story of the race and make the viewer care about who wins instead of well, ‘I like the blue car, or I like the red car.'”

Joy will embrace this challenge once again during the FOX portion of the 2023 season. He will kick off his schedule with the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum on February 4-5. Joy will then head to Daytona International Speedway for the Bluegreen Vacations Duels on February 16 and the Daytona 500 on February 19.

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