NBC’s broadcast of Southern 500 includes throwback theme from announcers to apparel

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Retro paint schemes are only part of the throwback celebration with the Southern 500’s return to Labor Day weekend for the first time since 2003.

NBC, which will broadcast Saturday’s Xfinity race and Sunday night’s Sprint Cup race from Darlington Raceway, also will add to the nostalgia.

Among the nods to years past in Sunday’s broadcast:

  • Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett will call the race at some point, taking over briefly for NBC’s crew of Rick Allen, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte.
  • Features during the Countdown to Green show include Squier’s essay on Darlington Raceway, Kyle Petty talking with Bill Elliott and Chase Elliott on the 30th anniversary of Bill Elliott’s Southern 500 win that also earned him the Winston Million bonus, and Jeff Burton going around the track in the NBC Sports Toyota Camry On Track Car while Petty is on track as well in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 car from 1971.
  • Booth and studio talent will appear in 1970s-era clothing.
  • Also featured throughout the weekend will be retro highlights, graphics and music.

“To bring it back on Labor Day, I think this is perhaps one of the best moves that NASCAR had made in a decade,’’ Squier said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday about the Southern 500’s return to this date.

He isn’t the only one pleased to see the Southern 500 back on this holiday weekend.

“I think it’s hugely important for the sport,’’ Dale Jarrett said. “You can’t ever go back as they say, but we’re proving this weekend that maybe you can for a little bit.’’

Said Burton: “I think it’s so important to kind of understand where you came from to be able to really understand where you’re going. What a perfect weekend to do it. The coolest thing about this weekend is it’s a time where we can celebrate the past. I think with everything that’s going on this weekend from a current standpoint, we also have a lot to celebrate what’s going on right now. If you think about the battle to make the Chase, you think about we’ve seen a lot of teams that looked really good early in the year that don’t look so good now.’’

Said Petty: “I think a lot of times we all wax nostalgically about things that went on and things that happened, but here’s an opportunity to educate fans. When you see that 17 car of Ricky Stenhouse painted up like the old Holman-Moody 17. When you see the 16 car painted up like Tiny Lund and that kid that has just been a fan since 2000 says, ‘Who is Tiny Lund?’ Then it’s an opportunity to educate fans to the history of the sport.’’

Said Letarte: “I think the word ‘education’ is a great point. My first year in the sport was 1995. I was born in 1979. I, as a huge race fan, don’t have a firsthand experience of all this past of NASCAR. When I sit at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and hear these stories and walk through the Hall of Fame and see these pieces written on these great pioneers of our sport, that educates me. I look at this weekend as an awesome opportunity for me to go back and not re-live the past because I wasn’t there to live it the first time. It’s a great opportunity for me to maybe find a little more firsthand appreciation to what has built the sport into what it is.’’

Countdown to Green begins at 3 p.m. ET Saturday followed by the Xfinity race at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. NASCAR America Sunday begins NBC’s broadcast of the Southern 500 at 5 p.m. ET. The race broadcast begins at 7:20 p.m. ET

 

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Kansas preview, Kevin Meendering interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview this weekend’s races at Kansas Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Steve Letarte and Landon Cassill from Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • We’ll react to the penalty handed down to Kyle Larson that makes advancing to the Round of 8 even more challenging.
  • As cut-down day approaches in the Round of 12 for the Cup Series, we’ll look back at drivers who kept their title hopes alive with victories in elimination races.
  • Dillon Welch talks to crew chief Kevin Meendering, who is set to become Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief in 2019.
  • Joey Logano may be racing for a championship, but one of his other main goals is a far more important one: helping the lives of others, especially children. We’ll look at the story behind the Joey Logano Foundation.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Bubba Wallace named to Ebony Power 100

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Bubba Wallace has been named to Ebony Magazine’s Ebony Power 100 for his accomplishments as a NASCAR Cup series driver.

Listed as an “MVP,” Wallace joins other athletes such as Antonio Brown, Stephen Curry and Venus Williams as well as former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. 

The list was created to recognize leaders of color who have positively impacted their community.

“This is quite an honor to be recognized with others in the African-American community,” Wallace said in a press release. “It’s humbling to join a list of the other star athletes, artists and community and national leaders. I’m just trying to be the best driver that I can be and focus on winning races for Richard Petty Motorsports and our partners. To be recognized for some of our accomplishments this season is an honor and I’d like to thank Ebony for the recognition.”

Wallace gained the honor based on his on track performance early in the year, including a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

His off-track accomplishments also played a role in the selection. Wallace has been a notable influencer on social media. Earlier this year, Facebook posted a “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace” docu-series that earned more than five million views.

“We are proud of what Bubba is doing both on and off the track for our race team and our partners,” said Brian Moffitt, CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, in a press release. “We know that we have something very special with him and he continues to break barriers outside our sport to be a first-class athlete, spokesperson and inspiration to many.”

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K&N East champion to make Truck Series debut at Martinsville

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Tyler Ankrum, who won the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series title on Oct. 6, will make his Camping World Truck Series debut next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Ankrum, 17, will drive for DGR-Crosley’s No. 54 truck. Ankrum drove for the team co-owned by David Gilliland in the K&N East series.

Driving the No. 17, Ankrum earned four wins and nine top fives and led the standings for the final 12 races of the season.

The native of San Bernadino, California, had an average finish of 4.8.

Next Saturday’s race will be Ankrum’s second at Martinsville. He competed in a Late Model Stock Car race there in 2014.

“Making my Truck Series debut at Martinsville is huge. So many big names in the sport have made their national series debut at Martinsville,” Ankrum said in a press release. “I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long now, I can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s going to be really cool having (crew chief) Seth (Smith) and my K&N guys there with me.”

Kyle Larson loses 10 points, car chief suspended for Talladega penalty

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Kyle Larson‘s Cup team has been penalized 10 driver and owner points and loses car chief David Bryant to a one-race suspension for a L1 penalty at Talladega Superspeedway.

Crew chief Chad Johnston was also fined $25,000.

The No. 42 team violated Section 10.9.9.d in the rulebook, which notes “Damaged vehicle repair, regardless of how the damage occurred, is permitted to have original body parts removed or reattached in their original location with fasteners and/or tape only.”

Larson spun with seven laps left in Stage 2 due to a flat tire.

Larson, who finished 11th in Sunday’s race and called it “embarrassing at times”, is now 36 points behind the cutoff spot on the playoff grid, making this weekend’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway a must win for Larson.

This is Bryant’s second suspension this season. He missed two races in May for a rear-window violation at Kansas.

NBC Sports has asked Chip Ganassi Racing if it will appeal;there was no immediate response from the team.

John Klausmeier, crew chief on Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 Ford, was fined $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut on the race-winning car.

NASCAR also issued three fines to crew chiefs in the Camping World Truck Series for the same L1 penalty.

Chad Kendrick (Austin Hill‘s No. 02 Chevrolet), Graham Bruce (Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet) and Joel Shear Jr. (Johnny Sauter‘s No. 21 Chevrolet) were fined $5,000 for violating Section 20.4, which notes “Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.”

NASCAR also issued an indefinite suspension to Christopher Justin Chase for violating Sections 12.1.a and 2.11.a in the rulebook, a behavioral level violation.