A week after three-time Cup Series champion and veteran announcer Darrell Waltrip made a one-race return to the FOX Sports broadcast booth for the Bristol dirt race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will likewise make a cameo one-race appearance for the network this weekend at Talladega.
Junior’s appearance in the FOX Sports booth alongside network regulars Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer is notable for a couple of reasons. No. 1 is the fact that Earnhardt Jr. is under contract with NBC Sports, where he’ll return to the booth on a weekly basis later this season just as he has for the past several years. Secondly, Earnhardt’s FOX Sports one-off is noteworthy because, in addition to being a 15-time NASCAR most popular driver, he’s a six-time Cup Series winner at Talladega — a track where the Earnhardt named is beloved like no other due in large part to the exploits of not only Junior but also the third-generation driver’s late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., who went to Victory Lane a record 10 times in Cup competition at the 2.66-mile track. Talladega is also where Earnhardt Sr. captured the last of his 76 career Cup victories in October 2000, prior to his untimely death in February 2001.
Earnhardt Jr., for his part, is eager to help broadcast the race for FOX on Sunday afternoon. “I’m really looking forward to having some fun with Mike, Clint and Larry (McReynolds) and the rest of the team,” the 26-time Cup Series race winner said. “Calling a race from Talladega is an incredibly fun experience. You absolutely have to be on your toes at all times. … It doesn’t take much for all hell to break loose.”