Thoughts on Australian-American Leigh Diffey potentially replacing Rick Allen as NBC’s leading NASCAR commentator for their Cup races after the Olympics later this year

by Sports Benches

Here’s another thing happening right now within the world of NASCAR and having heard about Dale Jr heading out the door from NBC lately to Amazon and TNT Sports after his contract has expired at the end of the 2023 season, we could see another change in the commentary box at NASCAR on NBC and Australia’s own Leigh Diffey could be back calling NASCAR races again since 2019 when Homestead last hosted the Championship 4 event under the channel’s additional Hot Pass coverage before it went to Phoenix. But this time he could be there more often on top of his current IndyCar duties towards the end of the 2024 season in Rick Allen’s place, who would call the first couple of races until the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France starts in late July & then hand to Diffey after the Olympics is done. Although it seems Allen will still be there a bit longer by calling all second-tier Xfinity Series races this year regardless of what happens during NBC’s Cup days since it will be their last year covering series before it heads over to CW beginning from 2025-2031. It remains to be seen what the coverage will look like when they will be back onboard for another term but this time only on Cup race days for the last 14 races of the season down from 20. Same thing will apply with Fox who will always still cover the first half season races before Amazon and TNT Sports will take over the mid-season races but will only have Daytona 500 and All-Star practice & qualifying.

From a three-man ex-drivers booth experiment, a recently used four-man commentary team to a joint TV/radio coverage at road course events, having Diffey onboard to call the races as a lead announcer would be the next greatest thing to happen if that’s true where we will have a regular new voice from outside the US to reflect the sport’s fast growing International footprint. You can hear him right now on the main IndyCar broadcast for NBC alongside James Hinchcliffe & Townsend Bell via Stan Sport (Live & on-demand) & 9Go (highlights) here during every IndyCar race. He’s been there to make a name for himself firstly here with the V8s on Network Ten, then did a bit of World Rallying and World Superbikes for the BBC in the UK, but we all know he’s been the most successful at a place he now calls home even as a naturalised citizen in the United States of America – firstly with Fox Sports/Speed followed by NBC where he’s been there for over 10 years now. He’s got the chance to lead the Formula 1 races for the US audience before during the first couple of years before it went to ESPN/ABC as well as the Indianapolis 500, Supercross and IMSA Sportscars a few years later amongst other sports like Rugby Union, Bobsleigh/Luge & also Track and Field where he will be part of NBC’s Olympic team once again for Track & Field later this year.

Regarding Rick Allen, he hasn’t been bad who used to call the whole Truck Series season when Speed Channel existed at the time between 2003 and 2013 and he too deserved to make the step up into calling the higher level races at a network like NBC when they came back again to replace ESPN and ABC back in 2015 – with Mike Joy still not going anywhere at FOX for a little longer until he wishes to retire anytime he likes. But while he has some detractors along the way, lots of people wish Allen Bestwick was still calling the races even after ESPN left. Maybe it could be the perfect time to give Diffey a chance to shine alongside Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton instead of Allen going forward. When NBC successfully renewed the Premier League soccer rights a few years ago that will cover until the 2027-28 season, they replaced Arlo White with Peter Drury as the network’s main commentator while retaining Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux. I’m sure there won’t be much complications for Diffey to balance both IndyCar and NASCAR races like Drury does with the Premier League at both NBC & its Comcast sister company Sky Sports since the network will only be covering on race days at Cup level while still being able to call the Indy 500 should they renew IndyCar again once the current three-year contract is up at the end of the year. Watch this space as his old motorsport colleague Matt White said when we could see Leigh Diffey replace Rick Allen upstairs sooner rather than later.

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