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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reveals His Dealbreakers for His Next Broadcast Deal

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

As of right now, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a broadcasting-free agent with his contract at NBC running out, and there is no guarantee that he will be back. While not explicitly addressing his specific situation, Earnhardt Jr. alluded to things that he wants from his next potential broadcasting job. What are Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s potential broadcasting dealbreakers?

UPDATE: He’s no longer a free agent – see where Dale Jr. is headed below.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a 15-time winner of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award who retired after the 2017 season before stepping into broadcasting. He won 26 races throughout his career, and he won back-to-back Xfinity Series Championships in 1998 and 1999.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been a widely popular addition to the NBC booth since he joined in 2018. His podcast the “Dale Jr. Download” and building Dirty Mo Media have made him one of the most recognizable and respected voices in all of NASCAR media.
  • Fans are growing anxious about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s future as a broadcaster. Will he continue to broadcast, and where could he possibly go?

The Dealbreakers

Dale Earnahrdt Jr. discussed some of his philosophy as a broadcaster along with digging into some of what he wants on the Dale Jr Download. His full comments can be found below.

Dealbreaker 1: Broadcasting at the Race Track

If I continue to broadcast in NASCAR, I want to be at the racetrack. I’m never going to work a job where they say, ‘We’re going to have you here in Charlotte and call the race from this remote location’. I need to see the track. I need to see the energy. I need to feel the fans. All that really makes me better 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

This should raise the eyebrows of many broadcasting executives in NASCAR. Since the pandemic, broadcasting companies have begun utilizing more remote broadcasts, and NASCAR is no different. However, fans have not loved these broadcasts.

NASCAR has admitted that they will utilize more remote broadcasts in the future. When NASCAR Studios was opened in the off-season, Brian Herbst, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Media and Production, said regarding remote broadcasts to the Charlotte Observer, “You’ll probably see more of that in the future”. We discuss that story at length in the article below.

Now, in fairness, remote broadcasts have been primarily seen in the lower series. If they move up to the Cup Series, however, Earnhardt Jr. admits that will not take the job. Also, the fact that he said, “If I continue to broadcast NASCAR” cracks the door open that he may not return.

Dealbreaker 2: Reacting to Events Off-Screen

They always told me you know don’t react anything that’s not on the screen. The viewer can’t see it at home. That’s wrong, don’t do that. I don’t believe in that. I think that’s BS. I’m going to react if I see something happening that’s not on the screen. I don’t think that’s a rule that I’m going to abide by.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. wants the freedom to react to something that is happening off the screen if necessary. He goes on to give the example of a radio broadcast where a turn announcer would interrupt the play-by-play if there was an accident in front of them. It seems that regardless of what advice is given to him on this, he will stand firm in his philosophy.

There is some gray area here. On one hand, a broadcaster can point out something exciting happening off-screen. This may help the director to turn the focus of the broadcast to where the action is on the race track. Accidents are the most prominent place this happens, and one example came early in the 2024 Daytona 500 with Mike Joy.

On the other hand, there is nothing that frustrates viewers more than the visuals not matching the audio. If the visual focus is on one thing, and the broadcaster is calling a battle on the other side of the track, it can be very jarring for the listener. There is a balancing act to be played here.

Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. be able to find his broadcasting home for 2025 and beyond? Time will tell, and hte clock is ticking if he wants to return to NBC.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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