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Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway, a dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, will host a NASCAR truck series race tonight.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR will return to NBC in 2015, ending its eight-year partnership with both ESPN and Turner Sports.
The 10-year deal with NBC Sports Group announced Tuesday begins in 2015 and gives the network the final 20 Sprint Cup Series races of the season and final 19 Nationwide races. NBC last broadcast races in 2006 before ESPN took over its portion of the schedule.
“We are back. We are thrilled to be back,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. He said of all the deals made since Comcast Corp. purchased NBC, the NASCAR deal “is one that we’ve really been focused on, one that we have wanted to have the opportunity to be able to sit at the table when contractual opportunities came due.”
“The quantity of content that this deal provides and the quality of content that this provides is really a game changer for us for our entire group, and we can’t wait to get started,” Lazarus added.
The deal makes NBC Sports Group the premier motorsports network with NASCAR, Formula One and IndyCar among its properties — a trifecta Lazarus said made NBC the motorsports leader.
“I believe with us now being the home to the second half of the NASCAR season, the home for cable for Indy and the home to Formula 1, that we are probably the most dominant home for motorsports, and that that circulation of motorsports fans will be good for all,” he said.
A previous relationship with Lazarus, who was formerly with Turner Sports, and the ability to be part of NBC’s sports properties attracted NASCAR.
NBC will air seven Cup races, while 13 will be on the NBC Sports Network. The Nationwide Series will have four events on NBC and 15 on NBC Sports Network.
There are still three Sprint Cup races to be sold, which Herbst believes will move quickly. Lazarus said NBC purchased everything made available to the network, which means the three events not currently held by Fox were not offered.
The rights to the first half of the Nationwide schedule have not been publicly announced, but NASCAR chairman Brian France let slip in a Tuesday conference call with reporters that there will be Nationwide races on Fox Sports 1.
“We will have both Cup and Nationwide on FOX Sports 1 at some level,” France said during the call. ESPN currently broadcasts the entire Nationwide schedule.
If correct, Fox would be the leading candidate for the three remaining unsold Cup races.
NASCAR set to dust off dirt-track racing
Time to attach the mud flaps. NASCAR is set for an off-road detour through the dirt.
The Truck Series is headed for the Eldora Speedway half-mile dirt track for a one-night only special designed to reconnect NASCAR with its early roots and give fans raised on asphalt and stock cars a taste of the wild races run in the dust.
The last time one of NASCAR’s top touring series competed on dirt was Sept. 30, 1970, when Richard Petty won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (called the Grand National Division at that time) race at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.
The dirt drought ends when the trucks race tonight at Tony Stewart-owned Eldora in Rossburg, Ohio.
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