NBC is giving its NASCAR broadcast coverage a significant boost with the addition of the sports most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Earnhardt will join the network’s coverage starting in 2018. A media conference call took place earlier today to make the announcement official.
In his new role, Earnhardt will be featured in a variety of ways on the network’s NASCAR coverage. Specifics though have yet to be provided.
One interesting twist to the arrangement is that the contract stipulates Earnhardt will be afforded a wide range of opportunities in the company’s media businesses, including movies, television, podcasts, and other areas. That indicates that Earnhardt will be able to expand his public profile beyond the world of racing.
“We are excited to welcome Dale Jr. to our team – both on and off the track,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “As a company, NBCUniversal allows for talent to stretch themselves across not just their field of expertise, but across other areas of their interests in the media world.”
“Dale Jr. brings credibility, personality, and popularity to our already winning NASCAR team,” added Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President of Production, NBC Sports. “Giving him a chance to spread further within other NBC Sports Group properties and throughout the company is an added bonus.”
“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. “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 is a third-generation driver with 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500. He’s tied for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was one of the most dominant drivers of all-time, winning seven Cup titles and a total of 76 Cup races.