Dale Earnhardt Jr. Embarrassingly Called Out by NBC NASCAR Team for Making Blunder on Live Television

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. before Cup qualifying

Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t mind making jokes at his own expense. It’s a regular occurrence on the Dale Jr. Download podcast. However, in that situation, he gets to pick and choose what the listening audience hears. 

During this weekend’s Xfinity Series race at the Indianapolis road course, Junior was helplessly at the mercy of NBC’s coverage after he made a mistake on live television and the broadcast went back and replayed the moment with commentary from his broadcast partners.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t enjoy radio-style broadcast

Between the weekends at Watkins Glen and the Indianapolis road course, Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked on his podcast about his feelings working with the radio-style broadcast for NBC on road courses, where one announcer describes the action over a certain portion of the track, before passing it to the next announcer, all the way around the track.

Earnhardt candidly admitted that he’s not a fan of the format because it pushes him out of his comfort zone. 

“I really don’t enjoy doing radio-style that much,” Earnhardt confessed on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download. “It’s kind of fun at The Glen, and we’ll see how it is at Indy. I didn’t enjoy doing it at all at Pocono. Can’t remember where else we’ve done it. It’s fun at The Glen because The Glen is a fun track to go stand over in the Bus Stop and talk about cars and racing. But outside of The Glen, I don’t really know if I’m going to love it. 

“The radio style of calling a race is so much different and foreign to me. You can tell there is a major difference between (Mike) Bagley, that worked the esses for us this weekend and does radio every week. There’s a big difference between how he does it, and how I do it, and how Jeff Burton does it. He’s got a gift to call a race a certain way, and I don’t have that gift. I’m not sure I could develop it. I like TV, and I think there’s a lot about TV that helps me do my job better or be an analyst because I feel at home in the booth.”

Steve Letarte and others call out Earnhardt for blunder on live television

During Saturday’s coverage of the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis, Earnhardt showed why he’s not so fond of the radio-style broadcast when he made a blunder on live television. However, instead of just moving past the mistake, in which Earnhardt feverishly turned around and turned on his microphone, the NBC broadcast replayed the moment again with commentary from his broadcast partners.

“We love the fact that Junior hasn’t missed a step,” announcer Rick Allen said. “He’s still got his quickness.”

“I tell you, great reaction time, great reaction time,” analyst and former Earnhardt crew chief Steve Letarte chimed in as the broadcast reverted back to a few seconds earlier and Earnhardt forgetting to turn on his mic. “Oh, oh, mic button.”

“I did that last week, and y’all didn’t say a thing,” Earnhardt pointed out, which was followed by laughter from the rest of the broadcast team, including Jeff Burton. 

“Getting on air requires much more skill than people realize,” Burton said. 

“Mashing buttons,” Earnhardt replied. 

Indianapolis road course will be remembered for wrong reasons

Earnhardt’s on-air blunder paled in comparison to the huge issues NASCAR had on track during both the Xfinity and Cup Series races. During Saturday’s Xfinity race, the first lap was action-packed as multiple cars hit an orange curb in Turn 6 and launched into the air, seriously damaging multiple cars and ending their days. Unbelievably, that was just a warmup for what was to come Sunday.

Sunday’s Cup Series race entertained fans for the first two stages. It was the final stage where chaos reigned supreme, particularly during the race’s final laps. That’s when a section of the metal curbing on Turn 6 — ironically on the opposite side of the track from the day before — got mangled and caused serious damage to multiple cars in a 10-car pileup, which resulted in a red flag. It was the first of two red flags in the race’s closing laps that took more than an hour to complete.

A weekend at Indianapolis that was supposed to be memorable because it featured the IndyCar Series and Cup Series racing on the same track was indeed memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

By the end of Sunday’s seemingly never-ending race, Earnhardt’s gaffe during Saturday’s broadcast had long been forgotten. 

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