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A.J. Allmendinger joins NBC Sports as motorsports analyst

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A.J. Allmendinger has joined the NBC Sports Group in a multiyear deal as part of its motorsports coverage, the network announced Wednesday.

Allmendinger, who spent the last 12 years competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, will begin his work with NBC in January.

Allmendinger will work on the various properties across NBC Sports’ motorsports portfolio, including as a booth analyst for the network’s exclusive coverage of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. He also will contribute regularly to NBCSN’s NASCAR America.

Allmendinger will make his broadcast debut during NBC Sports’ coverage of the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 26, where he is also expected to race as part of Meyer Shank Racing (MSR).

“I couldn’t be more excited to begin this new chapter in my life alongside some of the most knowledgeable and influential voices in motorsports, and to be a part of NBC Sports’ second-to-none coverage,” Allmendinger said in a release.

During his NASCAR career, Allmendinger earned one Cup win and two Xfinity Series wins, all on road courses.

In addition to his years of NASCAR experience, Allmendinger brings knowledge from his time in sports cars and open-wheel racing.

In 2012, Allmendinger was part of the overall winning team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In 2006, he earned five wins and placed third overall in the Champ Car World Series.

“A.J. loves to race and is passionate about IMSA,” Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ Executive Producer and President of Production, said in a release. “His career as a driver across IMSA, NASCAR and Open Wheel will bring a unique mix of experience and insight to the NBC Sports team.”

NASCAR America: Examining potential Cup rivalries for 2019

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In the second half of 2018, budding rivalries began to take shape that might bear fruit in 2019 according to the NASCAR America analysts.

Kyle Petty thinks next year’s greatest rivalry will be Joey Logano versus the field. He raised the ire of Martin Truex Jr. with a bump-and-run move to win at Martinsville. The next week, Aric Almirola had harsh words for how he raced at Texas.

“It’s Joey Logano versus everybody,” Petty said. “I say that because … Joey Logano is only 28 years old. He’s in the middle. We talk about Chase Elliott turning 22 or 23. We talk about William Byron turning 21. … We talk about Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex (Jr.) and those guys being 39, 40, 41 … He’s right in the middle, so he’s getting it from both sides.”

“A rivalry that might be brewing that nobody else is thinking about would be Jimmie Johnson versus Chad Knaus,” Parker Kligerman said on Wednesday’s show. “Which one of them goes out and gets a win without each other first.”

Kligerman believes Johnson’s greatest rival may be time, however.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: 2019 Odds revealed for championship, Daytona 500

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Despite winning the 2018 championship, Joey Logano did not top the Westagate Las Vegas Superbook odds to win the title again in 2019.

Westagate believes the Big 3 from 2018 will pick up where they left off with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch listed as co-favorites at 9-2 odds. Martin Truex Jr., who will become Busch’s teammate next year, is listed at 6-1.

Joey Logano is listed at 10-1 along with his Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.

The ranking left NASCAR America analysts Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman perplexed.

“This team has been there every other year,” Kyle Petty said. “That’s their third time. They win in their third time. These other guys have only won one time since they’ve been there.”

Logano can take some consolation in the fact that Vegas is giving him a more equal shot at winning the season opening Daytona 500. He is listed at 8-1 along with Keselowski and Harvick.

Anyone looking for an early longshot should note that Austin Dillon, last year’s Daytona 500 winner, has only 40-1 odds of winning a second consecutive 500.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: New rules level 2019 Cup playing field

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A significantly altered rules package for 2019 has the potential to create new opportunities for teams, according to NASCAR America analyst Parker Kligerman.

Last year, relatively minor changes in the body style caused Chevrolet to begin the season with little momentum and allowed Ford to get a head start. Teams now have several large changes that need to be factored into the handling of their cars.

“With a new package, it’s a bit of a reset,” Kligerman said on Wednesday’s show. “No one exactly knows what is going to be best. Everyone is going to show up at Daytona and then go on to Atlanta and say ‘all right, what’s best? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.’

“They’re going to do the best simulation, the best research they can, but when you have that unknown – that X-Factor – that just opens up that door for teams to catch up to other teams and for bigger teams to make a mistake and not really hit it right off the bat.”

According to Kligerman, this could result in an extremely tight race in the middle of the pack. Last year Richard Childress Racing placed one of its drivers in the playoffs on the strength of Austin Dillon‘s Daytona 500 win. Teammate Ryan Newman finished the season 17th in the standings.

Only 68 points behind, Roush Fenway Racing finished 18th with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The Wood Brothers and Paul Menard were nine points behind in 19th.

JTG Daugherty finished 22nd (AJ Allmendinger) and 24th (Chris Buescher).

“We’re talking about the rule change condensing the field and maybe giving midfield teams a chance to catch up. And when I look at teams that would be right there in the middle – your fringe playoff contenders – I look at (Richard Childress Racing). And now the other side of that is if some of those teams behind them are able to catch up more, it puts more competition. … It almost condenses the field and gives them some teams they weren’t fighting with before catching up.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Tyler Reddick interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman from the Stamford Studio.

On today’s show:

  • Champion’s Week in Las Vegas is in full mode. We’ll continue to look at those events which defined the season in our “18 Moments from 2018”

 

  • We’ll hear from 2018 Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick on his title-winning performance at Miami and his recent move to Richard Childress Racing.

 

  • Carolyn, Kyle and Parker also discuss potential rivalries that we could see blossom in 2019.

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.