NASCAR’s most popular driver for almost two decades and running isn’t going anywhere.
NBC formally announced this morning that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be joining their broadcast team next season. Earnhardt previously announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2017 season, and there was much speculation of him taking his talents to the television booth for either NBC or FOX. The deal was first reported by the Sports Business Journal.
“It is a tremendous honor not only to join NBC Sports next year but to begin a new career alongside people who love NASCAR as much as I do,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “To be reunited with Steve Letarte, to be able to call legends like Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty teammates rather than just friends, to be able to continue going to the track and connecting with race fans, it’s a privilege I don’t take lightly. I will devote my heart and soul to this broadcast team and pledge my very best to the millions who watch it.”
Earnhardt’s deal with NBC Universal (not just NBC Sports) will become effective in January. NBC Sports’ deal to broadcast the second half of all Monster Energy NACAR Cup Series (and XFINITY Series) races goes through the 2024 season.
Earnhardt will join forces once again with his former crew chief Steve Letarte at NBC. Letarte has been calling races in the booth with play-by-play announcer Rick Allen and driver analyst Jeff Burton. It isn’t clear yet how NBC wants to insert Earnhardt into the mix, but a four-person booth seems like the most logical move.
“Dale Jr. brings credibility, personality, and popularity to our already winning NASCAR team,” Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production, NBC Sports, said. “Giving him a chance to spread further within other NBC Sports Group properties and throughout the company is an added bonus.”
The 42-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native has been in the television booth before with FOX Sports. He also has worked with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) on occasion.
About the author
Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.