Later this year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will hang up his steering wheel. Starting next summer, he’ll pick up a microphone.
Earnhardt will join NBC’s NASCAR coverage on a multiyear deal, starting next season. NBC broadcasts the second half of the Monster Energy Cup and Xfinity series on a deal that runs through the 2024 season.
Earnhardt has won acclaim for his work on broadcasts before, and his “audition tapes” while in the booth for Xfinity races surely provided NBC with the impetus to sign NASCAR’s most popular driver. Whether on air, in interviews, or on Twitter, Earnhardt displays a sense of humor and an awareness of NASCAR history rare among drivers, which should make for some interesting in-race commentary. NBC has not yet disclosed how it will use Earnhardt in its in-race coverage, which currently includes a three-man booth made up of Rick Allen, former driver Jeff Burton, and Earnhardt’s former crew chief Steve Letarte.
NBC confirmed the deal via Twitter on Monday morning:
Welcome to the team, @DaleJr!
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 24, 2017
Worth noting: Earnhardt signed his deal with NBCUniversal, not NBC Sports, meaning Earnhardt could be used in a range of coverage beyond NASCAR. NBC holds the rights to NFL games, the Olympics, and the Kentucky Derby, among other sports, and it’s possible to envision Earnhardt in the mix for any of those. “The agreement with NBCUniversal allows Earnhardt a wide range of opportunities in the company’s media businesses, including movies, television, podcasts, and other areas,” NBC said in a statement.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.