Fox’s 2024 NASCAR coverage is going to look a bit different in 2024 with Kevin Harvick joining the booth alongside Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer. However, Larry McReynolds will still be there in 2024, and Adam Alexander told Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy during a special edition of NASCAR Race Hub that Joy and McReynolds would, “Join Kevin and Clint booth side in 2024”. Now, McReynolds essentially acted as an auxiliary booth member in 2023, so, this quote may mean nothing. However, it does open up an interesting conversation about whether or not McReynolds should join the Fox booth in person in 2024.
The Evolution of Larry McReynolds’ Fox Role
When Larry McReynolds first joined Fox in 2001, it was as a traditional color commentator. He was the crew chief analyst for 15 years until his role changed some in 2016. Jeff Gordon joined the Fox booth at that point, and McReynolds was back in the studio.
At that point, his role shifted to being a studio analyst, and, eventually, a unique crew chief analyst off-site. He became like a team member in the War Room of a typical NASCAR team with data in front of them and unique analysis.
Now, McReynolds has spent plenty of time in both roles. On top of that, the four-man-booth has become NBC’s standard broadcast with Rick Allen, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Steve Letarte, and Jeff Burton. With this becoming more common and Fox being heavily criticized in 2023, would another change be McReynolds returning to the in-person booth for 2024?
The Argument For McReynolds Being in Person
Having a broadcaster on-site has plenty of benefits to it. First off, a broadcaster can feed off of the energy and the atmosphere of the race happening in front of them. Secondly, it allows the broadcaster to have the entire race in front of them right in their lap instead of whatever is on a TV feed.
On top of that, working together with the different broadcasters in person helps to build chemistry with different broadcasters. Instead of just showing up at a studio and seeing fellow broadcasters there for production meetings, you are on site with them, preparing with them, able to bounce prep ideas and thoughts off of them at a moment’s notice.
Chemistry is very important when broadcasting, and it is easier to build when a broadcaster is on-site with their counterparts. It’s tough to quantify with exact numbers or exact science, but, anyone who has broadcasted before understands that being on-site can make the job a lot easier. However, McReynolds’ role is very unique.
The Argument For McReynolds’ 2023 Role
Larry McReynolds is a crew chief analyst, and, what his current role allows him to do is channel what information a current crew chief has. He currently broadcasts the races within his current “War Room” which has all of the information that a race team would typically have at the shop on race day. This allows McReynolds to see what crew chiefs are seeing at the moment, and it allows him to give a more informed analysis.
His job is not to describe the action going on on track or see what a driver is trying to do. His job is to get into the mind of a modern NASCAR crew chief and try to predict what they will try to do. That is something McReynolds is very good at.
While it sacrifices some of the benefits of being there in person, it adds a new perspective to the broadcast that people do not always think about. It’s different, and it allows McReynolds to stay on the broadcast while not enduring the mammoth travel schedule that following the NASCAR circuit requires. It’s understandable then why McReynolds may like this setup himself.
There are plenty of benefits to both sides of this argument. Will and should McReynolds return to the booth in person in 2024?