Goodyear 400 FOX Bet Super 6: Veteran exec shares NASCAR insights, picks
"The stressful parts? The stressful parts are the things that you can't control. I can't control the weather. Can't control how the races turn out. But I've learned over the years you control what you can control, and then you just move on."
That's how Steven Craddock — the super savvy SVP of Production at FOX Sports — describes what it's like thriving in his position as the No. 1 liaison between the network and NASCAR ahead of the Goodyear 400 at Darlington on FS1.
The exciting parts of the gig, however, far outweigh any obstacles that pop up during the marathon that is NASCAR's hectic season.
"It's like the Super Bowl every week," the 30-year FOX Sports veteran raves. "And I get to be a part of this major sporting event where I hang out with the likes of Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. They, and so many of our other NASCAR stars, are easy to talk to and easily accessible.
"It's just fun."
And to say that this weekend's Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway will be fun is a gross understatement. It's throwback weekend, Steve explained, so everyone from talent to drivers will be decked out in yesteryear's nostalgic digs.
"Some of the cars will be painted in throwback themes and the drivers will be sporting throwback helmets."
An ode to old school NASCAR will be a welcome sight for enthusiastic spectators — especially considering Darlington's charmed history.
"This track has been around since 1950; it's a traditional southern mainstay," Craddock noted. "And it's a true drivers track. People don't win there by accident. That's one of the reasons I think Regan [Smith] is lucky for winning there. Not because he's not a good driver but because if you look at people who have won at Darlington, they're the best of the best."
An accomplished professional whose genius has touched several FOX Sports properties from the Speed Channel to regional networks, Steve credits much of his success as an SVP to the support he receives from teammates. Graphics, sales and production teams, according to Steve, are responsible for making the real magic happen.
But over the course of his television career, he's had a literal front seat to countless magical moments. Perhaps the most compelling was a ride-along with a NASCAR legend.
"I spent a day with the late Tim Richmond back when I was a camera operator. We went on a boat that he drove, and then we went for a ride on the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I was sitting in the car, shooting him with no seatbelt, no safety equipment. Nothing. Then, he said 'Do you have what you need?'
And that's when things escalated.
"He told me to put the camera down, so I did. And then he floored it, and we did four laps wide open around the speedway. He was laughing the whole time, and I was fighting mad when I got out the car because I was so scared.
"Now that I've lived through it, I can say, 'Holy cow, what a talent, what an experience!'"
While we can't give you that kind of thrill, we can give you a chance to win up to $5K playing FOX Bet Super 6.
FOX Bet Super 6 is a free-to-play contest where you can pick six different outcomes in the NASCAR Stage 2 Contest featuring the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway to win Clint Bowyer's $5,000. Just download the FOX Bet Super 6 app on your phone or mobile device, make your picks and submit your selections before the race gets underway this Sunday.
Remember, playing FOX Bet Super 6 is always free, it's easy and it's fun. And by the way, people really do win!
Before you make your plays for this weekend's race at Darlington on FS1, dive into Steve's picks.
Goodyear 400: Steven Craddock's picks
Which of these drivers will have the better finish at the end of the race?
Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick
"I'm gonna say Denny Hamlin. He's a four-time Darlington winner. The Toyotas from Joe Gibbs racing are all performing well right now. And Denny is just doing everything right. But if he doesn't make a mistake, he's my pick."
Prediction: Denny Hamlin
Which manufacturer — Chevrolet or Ford — will have the most cars on the lead lap at the end of Stage 2 and how many will they have?
1-3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12+
"Chevy because they're performing better right now."
Prediction: Chevrolet, 1-3
Which of these drivers — Kyle Larson or Joey Logano — will have the fastest lap by the end of Stage 2 and how many yellow laps will there be?
0-7, 8-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25, 26+
"Larson because he's fast."
Prediction: Larson, 8-11
Which team — Stewart-Haas Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing — will have the most laps led by the end of Stage 2 and how many laps will they lead?
1-13, 14-20, 21-26, 27-33, 34-40, 41-47, 48-54, 55-61, 62-66, 67+
"Here, I'm going to go Joe Gibbs. During this part of the season, that team is performing better than Stewart-Haas right now."
Prediction: Joe Gibbs Racing, 67+
Which driver — Martin Truex Jr. or Ross Chastain — will have the better finish at the end of Stage 2 and by how many positions?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-10, 11-14, 15+
"I'm gonna say Martin Truex Jr., even though Ross is leading in points. I think they're both going to be in the top 10, so it won't be by a lot."
Prediction: Martin Truex Jr., 4
Which driver — Tyler Reddick or Kevin Harvick — will have the better finish at the end of the race and by how many positions?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-10, 11-14, 15+
"I'm going to go with Harvick and be a homer because I'm cheering for Kevin to do well. Actually, I'm going to flip. I'm going to go Tyler Reddick.
"Harvick is having a cold season, and I know Tyler is really good at Darlington. I'm picking Tyler based on history and based on how they're performing this year."
Prediction: Tyler Reddick, 8-10
One more prediction… and how to play
And Steve's bold prediction for the rest of the NASCAR season? He's throwing his chips on a driver who's gotten to Victory Lane recently.
"I'm going to predict that Denny Hamlin will win the championship this year. He hasn't won a championship, he's got a win this season, and he's been in the final four several years.
"And that's pretty bold."
It's now time for you to make your bold picks for the Goodyear 400 and play for a chance at winning Clint Bowyer's $5K!
Download the FOX Bet Super 6 app and submit your selections for the NASCAR Stage 2 Contest now. Then be sure to share your picks with us by tagging @FOXSuper6 and @EricaReneeD and using the #EricaSuper6 hashtag across all social media platforms.
Download the FOX Bet Super 6 app for your chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events each and every week! Just make your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!
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