Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who has been voted as NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14 straight years will be joining NBC Sports’ NASCAR team in 2018. Earnhardt announced his retirement from the sport earlier this year and is going on a farewell tour of sorts.
NBC says it will utilize Earnhardt in a number of roles on its NASCAR coverage. Sports Business Daily reports that NBC still hasn’t decided how it will use Earnhardt in its NASCAR broadcasts. The Peacock says it will announce the exact specifics at a later date.
This move brings a high-profile driver to NBC and follows Fox’s move a couple of years ago of bringing Jeff Gordon on-board, a move which has paid dividends to its broadcast team. NBC is hoping to see similar benefits with Earnhardt.
The partnership between NBC and Earnhardt will allow the company to use him in its various platforms including movies, TV, podcasts and other areas. And NBC will also partner with Earnhardt in his businesses including Dirty Mo Media and Hammerhead Entertainment.
Earnhardt says he’s happy to join NBC:
“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,” said Earnhardt. “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.”
NBC Sports executives are also happy to have Dale Jr. on board:
“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,” said 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.”
Earnhardt will race in the second half of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series and hopes to add to his total of 26 career victories which include the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500.