In his first year of retirement, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has kept busy. After joining NBC for their Super Bowl coverage, followed by being named the grand marshal of the Daytona 500, the former NASCAR driver is on his way to South Korea to begin his Olympic assignment.
Unsure of what his exact role will be, Earnhardt doesn’t appear to be concerned about being told how he’ll be used when he arrives at the games.
“I know that they won’t set me up to fail,” Earnhardt told Dan Gelston of The Associated Press. “They want to have good TV and they’re not going to put me in position where I won’t be able to somehow help deliver that. We’re going to have some fun. Whatever that is, we’ll find out in the very last minute.”
With racing events in speed skating, bobsled, luge and other sports, NBC has multiple ways they can utilize insight from Earnhardt, but there’s no doubt they hope his popularity will garner a new audience.
Voted NASCAR’s most popular driver for 15 straight years, Jr.’s work for NBC will eventually shift to his expertise. After the Olympics, Earnhardt will join NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily news show each weekday. Fox owns the NASCAR race broadcast for the first half of the season, but NBC takes over in July which will see Jr. in the booth.
In the meantime, Jr. has kept his focus on the Olympics. Awaiting his role in South Korea, Earnhardt recalled what NBC Sports executive Same Flood told him. “He said just don’t get here and not know what’s happened. I’ve been watching everything and learning a lot. Hopefully, when I get there, we’re going to have some fun.”