While NASCAR is back racing around left at the Brickyard once again following a few years on the infield with a two-week break around the corner when the Summer Olympics will begin next Friday in Paris, France, there has been plenty of chatter lately about the on-air broadcast talent when the next TV rights deal will begin from next year until at least 2031 – especially when you got so many networks covering the races to tune in throughout the year across all three national series levels.

    Whether if it’s on free-to-air or cable or through a mix of both platforms, streaming is set to play a huge role going forward where you would need to tune in from your devices including a Smart TV box for those still wishing to watch through a big TV screen. Not only that, you will also finally be able to see some of the broadcast coverage without ads for the first time but if you wish to subscribe by paying a monthly fee to watch selected Cup races as you would normally do for cable.

    Here’s the broadcast partners who will be part of the 2025-2031 TV rights contract in case you missed it as it was originally announced in November last year:

    • Fox Sports: five free-to-air and nine cable Cup Series races (FS1) during the first-half season, the Daytona 500 and All-Star Race Practice & Qualifying weekend and a full season of Truck Series racing.
    • NBC Sports: four free-to-air and ten cable Cup Series races (USA Network) during the second-half season including the Playoffs and Peacock streaming access to simulcast the network’s last 14 Cup races of the year.
    • The CW, the whole lot of Xfinity Series with all 33 events live and free every race weekend across Practice, Qualifying and Race Day.
    • Amazon Prime: First-half season Practice and Qualifying Cup events except the Daytona 500 and All-Star Race weekend with the first five summer/mid-year Cup races.
    • TNT Sports: Second-half Practice and Qualifying Cup events on TruTV & Max alongside the second five summer/mid-year Cup races with TNT & Max. Note: A sports add-on is required to stream the races on top of any basic Max streaming service plans.

    So far Dale Earnhardt Jr. is already onboard with both Amazon Prime and TNT to be part of their respective commentary booths as an analyst across all ten mid-year Cup races (five for Amazon Prime and five for TNT/Max) off the back of his exit from NBC whose contact was expired and was not retained for renewal at the end of last season.

    Meanwhile, Australia’s own and one NBC Sports’s valuable announcing stalwarts Leigh Diffey, who just called his final IndyCar race the other day at Iowa for NBC whose IndyCar commitments will also be ending soon come mid-September with Fox Sports set to pick it up from next year, is expected to replace Rick Allen as the network’s lead NASCAR Cup Series announcer once he wraps up calling Track and Field at the Summer Olympics in Paris in a few weeks time. It remains to be seen where Rick will end up long-term (could see him come back to FOX’s Truck coverage) as he will continue to call the Xfinity Series races in the meantime including the upcoming Playoffs this year via The CW (with short-term production help from NBC).

    Now here’s some more names in the mix with the likes of Dale Jr’s former crew chief and recent broadcast colleague who is still at NBC Steve Letarte, FOX Sports’s former Race Hub host and Xfinity Series announcer Adam Alexander and ESPN’s veteran NASCAR and sports reporter Marty Smith. Letarte could reunite with Dale Jr. once more this time across Amazon Prime and TNT while Alexander is considered the favourite to commentate the CW’s Xfinity Series races full-time and veteran versatile ESPN reporter Marty Smith might try his hand at hosting/commentating for the first time at Amazon Prime/TNT.

    Marty Smith

    It’s a bit of surprise Marty has been mentioned to possibly host and commentate the Cup races for Amazon/TNT who is so good with his brilliant sports reporting work on ESPN, having been covering several sports on top of NASCAR since ESPN/ABC left the sport a decade ago. Now surely ESPN won’t let him go, but they could give him an opportunity to continue his usual craft of NASCAR elsewhere by expanding his skill-set in both hosting and commentating – which is something he has never done before. But surely, he’ll be keen to steer the ship for a couple of hours during the summer as Amazon/TNT sees him as the perfect candidate to guide race fans into a new era of NASCAR with more viewers beginning to tune in from their devices.

    Yes, I know lots of race fans will begging Allen Bestwick to come back who used to call lots of races for MRN, TNT, NBC and later ESPN/ABC for over many years and decades. However, times have changed since then for a decade now after ESPN left the sport and I don’t think any network out there covering NASCAR would hire him anytime soon. Looks like Marty calling the races is something new should he accept the offer, which is similar to what we currently see with former ESPN colleague Jamie Little over at FOX who now calls the races sometimes in Trucks and ARCA on top of her usual Cup pit reporting gig.

    Adam Alexander and FOX Sports going their separate ways?

    We thought Adam Alexander would initially be the favourite to call the IndyCar races for FOX when the network picked up the rights last month off NBC including the Indianapolis 500 but considering FOX will see their NASCAR content levels slashed going into next year, it’s no surprise considering he’s also the favourite to call the Xfinity Series once again but via The CW who will be carrying the exclusive rights there at the same time from next year. His hometown may be from Indiana but has been covering all of NASCAR everyday in Charlotte over the last decade and his close connection with the sport and the Xfinity Series in particular could continue to see him turning up for many Saturdays and some Fridays throughout the year.

    Also, keep an eye out for veteran racer and current FOX NASCAR analyst Jamie McMurray. He too might be on the lookout elsewhere since Race Hub has just been axed last month and any future FOX NASCAR races (at least the Cup events) would likely be presented 100% on-site rather than splitting the studio and on-track broadcast presentations. That doesn’t mean their famous “Hollywood Hotel” on-site studio is coming back when it was retired back in 2018 with just a couple of on-air talent continuing to be around pit road during the pre and post races. McMurray is someone who always love hanging out in the FOX Charlotte studios also everyday alongside Adam Alexander and Larry McReynolds & although he has been on-site several times before, but not so much since he wants to be closer to home with family. If Amazon/TNT wants to implement some studio coverage and it does come from Charlotte, then no surprise he will want to be part of it with less travel 100%.

    If someone is going to call the Indianapolis 500 race for FOX at least the next couple of years, they might give Mike Joy (the lead NASCAR and Daytona 500 announcer) his wish to see all things Indy. Yes, he might be somewhere in his 70s and isn’t done commentating just yet but he used to call open-wheel racing a long time ago – such as the old IndyCar series in CART as well as Formula 1. Him calling the other 500 mile race in Indy towards the end of May would be the perfect next step to complete his impressive commentary CV while Kevin Lee can fill in for the other races since he’s been with IndyCar for so long.

    Dale Jr and Steve Letarte reunion Part 3?

    And lastly, it would be great to see Dale Jr. and Steve work together as broadcast colleagues once again this time for Amazon Prime and TNT. They’ve forged a successful partnership initially on the race track with Hendrick Motorsports for many years before Steve retired from the pit box a decade ago before they saw each other again on TV with NBC a few years later from when Dale Jr retired at the end of 2017 until his dismissal at the end of 2023. Now it’s no surprise if Steve leaves NBC soon enough to be with him again so they can both make great insightful commentary and content together that the race fans like to receive every week where Dale Jr. has his own Dirty Mo Media business while Steve got his own podcast via Dale Jr when it comes to the day-to-day operations outside weekends. Gotta say this is an offer Letarte cannot refuse as this is a partnership that wouldn’t have gone anywhere had Dale Jr. & Steve not have worked together the first time when they were at Hendrick.

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