Documentary ‘NASCAR Seasons: 2001’ debuts Sunday on NBCSN after Martinsville race

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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.”