Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes weekend off after fiery plane crash in Tennessee
Bristol is upon us once again for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Phil Allaway, TV critic and author of the weekly Couch Potato Tuesday column at Frontstretch, is here to show you what to look for in NASCAR TV coverage for Saturday night's Monster Energy Cup Series race.
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, Tenn.)
TV: NBCSN, coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM Channel 90
Coverage on Saturday will begin with NASCAR America Saturday at 6 p.m. (all times ET) on NBCSN, followed by Countdown to Green. Race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Pre-race coverage will include a "Behind the Driver" feature with Kevin Harvick. There will also be a look back at the infamous 1999 Goody's Headache Powders 500, where Dale Earnhardt "rattled Terry Labonte's cage" all over turn 2 on the final lap. Longtime NASCAR fans will likely clearly remember that race. It's one of the rare instances where there was widespread disapproval (at least in the stands) for Earnhardt's actions; he entered victory lane to a chorus of boos.
As for me, I watched the whole race flag-to-flag. Earnhardt was just about the only driver that could consistently pass on the outside all night, which was very rare for the "Old Bristol" with the original concrete. Of note, the only reason Labonte was behind Earnhardt was that he had been spun out of the lead by Darrell Waltrip with 12 laps remaining while racing back to a caution that was caused by Jeremy Mayfield crashing.
Thursday's plane crash in Elizabethton, Tenn., has forced a change for this weekend. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has elected to sit the weekend out, for obvious reasons. As a result, it will be the trio of Rick Allen, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte in the booth for both races this weekend.
Radio coverage on PRN Radio is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. with a two-hour pre-race show. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. and will join PRN Radio's pre-race show in progress at 6:30 p.m. They will also have a post-race show that is scheduled to run until midnight.