Why is NBC’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. on FOX’s NASCAR Talladega broadcast today?
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is playing hooky.
The NASCAR on NBC Sports commentator is joining the FOX Sports broadcast team for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in a one-off appearance for the marquee race.
Earnhardt had six wins at NASCAR’s longest track, trailing only his father Dale Sr.’s 10 and he is the only driver who has won at the track four times in a row.
According to The Athletic, FOX Sports executives reached out to their colleagues at NBC in early April to ask if they wouldn’t mind loaning him for his expertise.
“It’s not lost on me how rare this is to have your lead analyst appear on another network,” Brad Zager, Fox Sports president of production and operation and executive producer, told The Athletic. “I totally would have understood them saying no, right? That’s their guy. They pay him for exclusivity and to appear on those NASCAR broadcasts on NBC. So, the headline is, ‘Thank You, NBC,’ for sure.”
“Dale joining us in the booth says so much about his love of the sport of NASCAR, and there is absolutely no one more equipped to call a race at Talladega,” Zager said in a press release.
Earnhardt will join Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer in the booth for the race before heading home to wait until NBC Sports picks up coverage of the Cup Series with the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26.
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The Geico 500 is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.