Adam Alexander (MRN Radio PR Photo)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fans will recognize a familiar voice during SPEED's telecasts in 2007. Adam Alexander is following the footsteps of Eli Gold and Allen Bestwick and making the move from Motor Racing Network's radio broadcasts of NASCAR events to television.
Alexander's career path to Truck Series television is similar to that of another member of the SPEED on-air crew. Like play-by-play voice Rick Allen, Alexander got his start in motorsports calling the action at local short tracks near his Evansville, Indiana home. Having crossed paths with some of the sport's most famous names and power brokers on the local motorsports beat, Alexander soon had the opportunity to join the MRN team. The years at MRN gave him the chance to call the pit road action in all three of NASCAR's nationally touring series, and now he brings that expertise to television. And for the first time in his career, he will have an opportunity to concentrate on one series throughout the year.
We sat down with Alexander during a break in the action at the recent Preseason Thunder test sessions at Daytona International Speedway for an exclusive Q&A.
Charles Krall: Adam, you're going to be the new face on the SPEED broadcasts of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2007. A lot of people might not recognize your face, but if they have listened to MRN in the past they will recognize the voice. How has the transition been from radio to television?
Adam Alexander: I think the most exciting this is that when I worked with MRN is that we bounced around quite a bit and didn't ever get a chance to work with one series. Some weeks you're working with the Cup and Busch series, and some weeks you're off doing just the Trucks. Getting to work with SPEED exclusively with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and being at every event, getting to know the drivers and the crew chiefs, it is very exciting and it further helps you do your job. What I am probably looking forward to the most is developing those relationships that help you do your job and helps better the on air product.
CK: We always talk when we come to Daytona, whether it is for the test or whether it's when we come back for the race, about the new team combinations and team chemistry. It is a major component to a race team's success, but it is also a key component to the television crew's success as well. How have you felt working with Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, Ray Dunlap and Krista Voda? Have they made you feel like you are part of the team and part of the family already?
AA: That was really the thing that made me most at home when I did a couple of races with them last fall. Those folks are all so easy to get along with and so easy to be around. Obviously when you go on the air it is a very professional operation, so the transition for me has been very easy. I am very thankful to have had that opportunity to work with them last year because there won't be as many curveballs thrown my way once we start the season in Daytona. They are a great group. They have been doing this (television) a lot longer than I have and they have always been very open to sharing information and their experiences. It has been a really good transition.
CK: We know the backgrounds of the rest of the SPEED crew; Rick Allen was a track announcer before joining the on-air crew, Phil Parsons is a former racecar driver, Ray Dunlap worked as the PR director for ARCA before moving to television, and Krista Voda came to the Truck Series after hosting Totally NASCAR on Fox Sports Net. What is your racing background?
AA: I was working in local television in Evansville, Indiana and then started to do some announcing at Tri-State Speedway, a little quarter-mile dirt track just north of Evansville in Haubstadt. I was doing racing there and met a guy by the name of Bob Stobbs. Bob worked with Moog Chassis Parts, and he knew some guys at MRN. He introduced me to them and got the ball rolling. Eventually I started working with MRN, but having grown up near Indianapolis I've been around racing since I was a kid and always followed the Indianapolis 500. And doing local sports in Evansville, we were right across the river from Owensboro, Kentucky, and whether you liked racing or not you had to cover it because of all of the successful drivers that were from there. I've always had a love for racing, but now it's all changed because this is how I make a living.
CK: Working with MRN you have had a lot of experience working not only with the Trucks, but with the Busch Series and Cup Series as well. Whenever someone has made that transition from a full-time Cup or Busch schedule to a Truck schedule, they are always surprised at the laid back atmosphere and the fact that we all seem to know each other and it seems like we're all one big family. Have you found this to be a more open garage versus some of the tension you've felt in the Cup and Busch garages?
AA: I think you sense when you're in the Truck Series garage that there is a little less pressure than in the other garage areas. Everybody knows there isn't as much money on the line - and everyone knows that there is a lot of money on the line, but it's not at the level of the Cup or Busch series. I think that does create a more laid back atmosphere. And that is really refreshing for someone in my position. I don't have all of those relationships with those in the garage area like Rick, Phil, Ray and Krista do, so it is really important for me to meet those people and create those relationships to do enhance the job we do. It is really nice to see these people who are happy to see you and are willing to help you out and help your knowledge not only on the technical side but on the relationship side.
CK: Now, we need to put you on the spot. Two things, who do you think is going to be tough when we come back here to Daytona in February, and who do you think is going to be tough once we reach Homestead in November.
AA: I would be surprised if you aren't talking about the same people. You look at what Roush has done in the off-season, and the acquisition of Travis Kvapil is big. Obviously he is a former series champion, but arguably he is driving for the best team he's ever been with here in the Truck Series. When you look at what's happened here in testing certainly they have gotten their things together. Before testing I would have also said to keep an eye on Erik Darnell because of how strong they finished off the season. You could see at the end of last year they really had it figured out. There haven't been that many changes in personnel over there so that certainly helps them.
You also have to look at the Germain guys. I think you always think the champion has a chance to do it again unless something dramatic changes, and it hasn't over there. I also think Ted Musgrave will look even better than he did last year because now they have had an opportunity to work together. And then you have Johnny Benson now working with Trip Bruce, and had a couple of things gone his way down the stretch last year he could have been champion.
I think a combination of those two teams will be tough. It would appear out of the gate that Chevrolet is struggling, but there is some depth there that will help them as some season goes on. I think there are a lot of wild cards, but if you had to map it out early what Germain has built there as an organization with Todd (Bodine) and Ted and then Roush with Travis and Erik now with a year under his belt.
CK: Adam, we certainly enjoy the fact you'll be here all season long. Welcome to the series and we look forward to working with you and the entire SPEED team all season long.
AA: I look forward to being a part of it full time. It is great being around here with the Truck Series and I appreciate you having me.