FOX talks Nascar and Rosenthal previews MLB 2012

From FOX Sports –

Virginia is for Drivers: NASCAR on FOX Rolls into Martinsville Sunday at 12:30 PM ET

Prerace Features Jeff Gordon Sit-Down and April Fool’s Look at NASCAR’s Pranksters

Rosenthal Looks into Crystal Ball and Picks 2012 MLB Winners & Losers

NASCAR ON FOX HEADS TO MARTINSVILLE FOR 500 MILES OF SHORT TRACK RACING –There may be no hotter NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver than Tony Stewart. The defending points champion leads the Sprint Cup circuit with two victories. Despite his strong showing, Stewart and the rest of the field will chase points leader Greg Biffle on Sunday, April 1 (12:30 PM ET) when FOX Sports heads to Virginia for NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing From Martinsville.

Coverage starts with the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show hosted by Chris Myers, with up-to-the-minute reports, live interviews with drivers, crewmen and officials shaping the day’s action and analysis from Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is, in the garages and pit road. This week’s show features a sit-down with seven-time Martinsville winner, Jeff Gordon. Also, as we prepare to race on April Fool’s Day, NASCAR on FOX shines a spotlight some of the sport’s pranksters on and off the track.

Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy is alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for reports on teams and pit stops.

SPENCER: JUNIOR CLOSING IN, LEADING HENDRICK ATTACK & ONE TO WATCH IN MARTINSVILLE – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is happy with the direction his team is going in according to FOXSports.com senior NASCAR writer Lee Spencer.  “When the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season started, who bet that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be leading the Hendrick Motorsports contingent in the points standings?  Yet, here we are five weeks into the schedule and NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver is comfortably sitting third,” writes Spencer. “Earnhardt humbly acknowledges his standing among his champion teammates. However, his confidence is rising to the point that Earnhardt’s convinced he can be a contender again.  Junior is not only comfortable in the sense of his position in the standings, he’s completely engaged with crew chief Steve Letarte and the entire No. 88 National Guard team.  Earnhardt feels the team is competitive right now and he’s ‘happy with the direction we’re going.’ Earnhardt loves short-track racing and has proven his proficiency on the half-mile track with nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 24 starts. Still, Earnhardt is searching for that first win at Martinsville, but considering it’s been 134 races without a victory for the driver, any trophy would be welcomed.”

To read Spencer’s column, visit http://tinyurl.com/7j7j4d5.

ROSENTHAL: POSTSEASON PROGNOSTICATION IS PERILOUS – With the MLB season leading off today in Japan, MLB on FOX and FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal dove into the always tricky world of preseason predictions. “My World Series pick was the Red Sox over the Atlanta Braves (I had the Braves winning the NL wild card). Gag One and Gag Two, in the Dr. Seuss re-telling of the ’11 season,” Rosenthal writes. “My usual excuse stands — predictions are all but impossible without knowing which players will get injured or traded.” With that said, Rosenthal sees the Detroit Tigers as the cream of the crop. “The Tigers aren’t perfect — Austin Jackson isn’t a true leadoff man, and the team’s lack of speed, defensive prowess and a proven fifth starter are concerns. But Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Co. will mash, Justin Verlander heads a formidable front four and the bullpen should be even better with the addition of righty Octavio Dotel. The Tigers last season extended the Rangers to six games in the ALCS in an all-but-crippled state. This year, they will complete the job — and restore my credibility, once and for all.

To read how Rosenthal sees a Tigers over Diamondbacks World Series and more, click here: http://on-msn.com/HdNXFl

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