Thoughts on The CW getting early access later this year with Rick Allen calling the Xfinity races there which could mean a Cup promotion in the NBC booth for Leigh Diffey

by Sports Benches

So there we have it, CW’s NASCAR coverage will now make its debut relatively early in the last couple of races during the Xfinity Series later this year rather than the start of 2025 just to preview what their coverage looks like ahead of a full season slate every weekend of the season going forward on free-to-air. Although in the interim, NBC will help them out with the production and on-air talent until the NASCAR in-house media team takes the baton with Rick Allen calling the races alongside Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte. That means, we could see our Aussie own Leigh Diffey stepping up now into Allen’s spot as NBC’s NASCAR lead announcer when it comes to calling Cup races once the Paris Olympics is over in August – which is the only category the network will keep airing for another couple of years during the 2nd half season until at least 2031. Don’t forget the next IndyCar rights cycle after this season also hasn’t been decided yet as Diffey will call another Indy 500 race for the sixth time later next month and we don’t know if this is going to be his last depending on whether NBC stays there or not.

Great to see NASCAR and NBC granting early access to the CW whose channel is fast growing with plenty of sports happening now on their menu since last year other than being well known for producing tons of scripted content over the years, so NASCAR fans can find the time by tuning in to The CW in order to enjoy watching the Xfinity races without having to pay for a subscription – which is a huge plus since that ground-breaking announcement late last year. If the CW can perform at its best over the next couple of years, then no doubt they can challenge FOX after this for the first half Cup rights from 2032 and beyond. It’s too early to say but again you never know since fans aren’t happy with the way FOX shows NASCAR these days.

In regards to on-air talent, we all know how good Rick Allen called the Truck Series back then when FOX used to have a 24/7 motorsports channel called Speed before NBC gave him the chance to call the top-tier races after regaining the rights off ESPN/ABC nearly 10 years ago. But then he had some criticisms while fans still wish they rather listen to Allen Bestwick, so after 10 years throughout the current rights cycle that is about to end soon – it’s best for NBC to have a change of voice upstairs with Diffey getting a go at the main event races & Allen finding his ground again only in the second-tier races by associating himself with the CW. Allen can also help out beyond announcing within the sport’s media outlet as well as calling some College Basketball games & maybe College Track and Field (he used to be a college athlete there back in his day for his university in Nebraska) for The CW, having also commentated Triathlon too that isn’t necessarily tied up to NBC. Other than that, I do expect to see a whole new group of faces by next year other than Allen on NASCAR’s CW 2nd-tier coverage & sure Diffey will do a great job if officially being given the promotion to close out the Cup season while he can still call the Indy 500.

I wish Dale Earnhardt Jr. stayed at NBC with Diffey as his colour commentator though, even if it’s a two-man booth which would sound so refreshing alongside Parker Kilgerman for the all important selected races despite still having an full-time Xfinity ride. But things change where we will get to see Dale Jr on the air again but via Amazon and TNT from next year.

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