NBCSN and NASCAR Productions will present a documentary about the 2001 NASCAR season on Sunday following the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. The documentary is scheduled to premiere at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The 60-minute feature, “NASCAR Seasons: 2001,” takes viewers back to one of the most tumultuous years in the sport’s history. The season began with the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in the Daytona 500 and later saw memorable victories by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Pepsi 400 and in the first race following the September 11th attacks.
The documentary “candidly presents the events through rarely seen archival footage and new interviews with those who experienced the season firsthand,” describes a press release. Those interviewed include 2001 Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The documentary includes interviews with former NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, and longtime NASCAR senior executive Mike Helton.
Below are interview excerpts from the special.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his father’s impact: “When mainstream media was covering the death of my dad, how much attention that got kind of blew me away. Because I don’t even know if dad had an idea of what he was to the world, or what he was to this country.”
Helton on delaying the first race after September 11, 2001: “Sports and entertainment are good compliments to a healing process. But there is a time and a place. I think we landed on you simply have to be aware of the fact that the magnitude of that day was one that deserved peace and quiet.”
NBCSN will air live a press conference held by NASCAR industry stakeholders to discuss the upcoming 2017 season at 6 p.m. ET Monday.
The announcement will be attended by NASCAR executives, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, NASCAR team representatives and NASCAR track representatives.
The press conference is being held at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Kurt and Kyle Busch are in Miami this weekend to take part in the international auto racing competition, Race of Champions. The exhibition event is two days and pits drivers from every major auto racing league against each other.
The Busch brothers are the only NASCAR representatives in the competition. They are joined multiple Formula One drivers, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi, Ryan-Hunter Reay, James Hinchciffe and Tony Kanaan and action sports star Travis Pastrana. Prior to the start of the races, all of the drivers got psyched up together.
And right before the event began, Kurt Busch showed off his new No. 41 Monster Energy Ford by doing donuts in the middle of the race course.
But when it came time to race Kurt Busch’s had a tough day. He and former Formula One driver David Coulthard competed in the vehicles used in the NASCAR Euro Series and Coulthard crossed the finish line with a healthy lead over the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.
Kyle Busch was marginally better in his first race against F1 driver Jenson Button, who won but with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver right at Button’s rear wheel.
But Kyle Busch bounced back in his second race and defeated Hinchcliffe, which advanced him out of the first round. But he was eliminated from the competition when he was swept by Coulthard in the next round.
In Kurt Busch’s second race, he faced Hunter-Reay, who was one of his teammates when he competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Busch won, but he wasn’t able to advance to the next round.
The competition was eventually won by Montoya, who is taking part in the Race of Champions for the first time.
Both Busch brothers will be back on Sunday to compete for the Nations Cup.
Kyle Busch is entered into the third annual SRL Winter Showdown, a Super Late Model race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.
Busch, who is competing in the Race of Champions this weekend in Miami, will drive the No. 51 Toyota Camry sponsored by JBL in the Feb. 11 race.
Busch and his competitors will be trying to claim the $30,000 prize for winning the race. Kyle Busch Motorsports had a presence in last year’s Showdown when Todd Gilliland competed for the team.
“They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told Speed51.com. “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.”
Busch is quite successful in his Super Late Model career, having won the Snowball Derby, CRA SpeedFest, the Oxford 250, the Winchester 400 and the Battle at Berlin in recent years.
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Last night, the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted its eighth class, including Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks.
The night was filled with current and future Hall of Famers celebrating the history of the sport and the lives of the five inductees.
MORE: Benny Parsons’ Hall of Fame induction an emotional celebration
MORE: Mark Martin went from a “broken man” to a Hall of Famer
Here’s a look at how the night played out on social media with observations on the inductees from current NASCAR drivers and one message from future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
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