When NBC takes over the Cup telecast duties at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be the newest member of the broadcast booth. And his training has already begun.
Two weeks ago, Earnhardt the rest of the broadcast crew went into one of the suites at Charlotte Motor Speedway to practice calling a race.
“I’ve been nervous about going into the booth for the first time and doing it in front of a live audience at Chicago in July,” Earnhardt said on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America. “So we went to Charlotte. … We are in a suite while the race is going on and we’re watching the broadcast and using that feed. We stand in this booth and basically call the race. It’s allowed me to sort of get in that environment and make mistakes, listen to the feedback that I’m getting from my producers and Sam Flood (Executive Producer, President, Production, NBC & NBCSN) my boss, and sort of clean up some things.”
Earnhardt was a fan before he became a racer and it is that passion for the sport that has made him such a fan favorite. It is also coming out in his approach to being a broadcaster.
“I told those guys, Dale Jarrett and (Steve) Letarte and Rick Allen, ‘y’all are going to have to tether me to the floor when we get to Chicago’ because I’m just so excited about this opportunity to be a fan again.”
On NASCAR America, Earnhardt also revealed that he has recently begun drinking coffee, in part to help with his duties. It turns out that calling a race is not quite as easy as fans might think – especially when one is jacked up on enthusiasm.
“The other thing that I found out just as we did the 600 at Charlotte; we did just the first 200 laps – so half of the race – and I was tired. I never thought, as a driver watching the broadcast that broadcasters get tired. Why would they get tired? They’re just standing there talking. I got wore out because I was so excited at the start of that race.”
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