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WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET – The new XFINITY Series, Chase-clinching scenarios, Keselowski

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The announcement that Comcast’s XFINITY brand will replace Nationwide Insurance as entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s junior racing league in 2014 will highlight Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.

Leigh Diffey and Kyle Petty will anchor the show, which is live from 5 to 5:30 pm ET on NBC Sports Network, from our Charlotte studios.

Here’s today’s show rundown:

* In-depth coverage of the NASCAR and Comcast/XFINITY announcement. The 10-year term matches the longest single agreement around title sponsorship of any national series in NASCAR history.

* We’ll hear more about the new XFINITY deal from current Nationwide Series driver Ryan Blaney, NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR COO Brent Dewar.

* Marty Snider reports from the Hendrick Motorsports shop in Concord, NC, to catch up with Atlanta-winning crew chief, Kenny Francis about Sunday night’s race and whether the late win will boost his team’s chances headed into the Chase.

* We look at the Chase-clinching scenarios (if we have a repeat winner at Richmond) for the few drivers who can still qualify for one of the last two remaining berths based on points: Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson.

* Brad Keselowski sits down with our Jeff Burton for the first of two parts of the second installment of our Driver2Driver feature.

* Parker Kligerman uses the new NBC Sports iRacing Simulator to show us the best lines around the track at Richmond International Raceway.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

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Robby Gordon’s stadium trucks series signs Traxxas as new presenting sponsor

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Former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Robby Gordon’s stadium trucks series continues to grow in its second season.

The series, which will be televised for the second straight year on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, will be rebranded this season, now that Traxxas has come on board as a presenting sponsor for the full schedule.

The series will now be known as SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road Series Presented by Traxxas.

“Traxxas has been a major supporter of SST/Formula Off-Road Series since its inception and the brand continues to realize the marketing capabilities of our unique series by taking this presenting role after fielding two trucks in the Series in our first season,” Gordon said in a statement.

The series kicks off a 13-event schedule on March 28-30 in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.). Other cities on the 2014 circuit are Long Beach, Calif., Indianapolis; Detroit; Austin, Texas; Toronto, Canada; Costa Mesa, Calif.; San Diego and the season-ending event Nov. 3-7 in Las Vegas.

Traxxas is one of the largest manufacturers of radio control vehicles in the world – including cars, trucks, boats and helicopters – and touts itself as “the Fastest Name in Radio Control.”

“Being associated with the Formula Off-Road Series provides the perfect forum for Traxxas to showcase the extreme capabilities and incredible fun that our vehicles deliver,” Traxxas President Mike Jenkins said. “The SSTs are fast, jump and fly high, just as their scaled-down Traxxas R/C replicas. The Formula Off-Road Series allows us to market our trucks and cars directly to one of our most targeted groups of customers and put our products in their hands to experience and enjoy.”

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Jeff Burton joins NBC Sports as NASCAR analyst

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One day after joining Michael Waltrip Racing for a part-time testing and driving role in 2014, Jeff Burton has become the first member of NBC Sports Group’s new, on-air talent team for NASCAR.

“Jeff Burton was always the first person we would seek out when there was breaking news or an issue that needed to be covered throughout our previous contract with NASCAR, so he was the first person we called for this role,” said NBC Sports and NBCSN executive producer Sam Flood in a statement.

“His insights, keen observations and many trophies have earned the respect of everyone involved with the sport. He will be an outstanding analyst, and has everyone here looking even more forward to getting started.”

Burton has signed a multi-year agreement with the Group and in 2014, he will contribute to NASCAR programming on NBCSN in addition to his work on the track with MWR.

When the Group’s exclusive coverage of Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series racing begins in 2015, he will become a full-time analyst for NBC and NBCSN.

“This is an exciting new challenge and I am thrilled to be joining the NBC Sports family,” Burton said. “I will prepare for each race as if I were driving in it, and I look forward to sharing my experience, views and insights with all the dedicated and passionate NASCAR fans.”

Regarded as one of the top advocates of NASCAR racing, Burton has won 21 times in the Sprint Cup Series and 27 times in the Nationwide Series.

He has also played a role in increasing overall safety in the sport, and his perspective on the issues facing NASCAR is one of the most valued among drivers, fans, and media alike.

IndyCar TV sked for 2014 released; 13 races to be shown on NBCSN

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The INDYCAR sanctioning body has confirmed that NBCSN will carry 13 IndyCar Series races in 2014, including the final 11 races of the season.

“Fans will know that NBC Sports Network is our home for the final 11 races of the season, including two doubleheaders, as we build up to another exciting championship,” said Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles in a statement.

NBCSN will begin its coverage next year with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13, 2014 and will carry the next race on April 27, 2014 at Barber Motorsports Park.

They’ll pick up the schedule again for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7, 2014 and continue all the way to the Aug. 30, 2014 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Additionally, NBCSN will have coverage of Indianapolis 500 Carb Day on May 23, 2014.

“We’re pleased to again present a record 13 races to IndyCar’s passionate fan base on NBCSN, including Long Beach, Barber, two doubleheaders and the final 11 races of the season,” NBC Sports/NBCSN president of programming Jon Miller said.

All NBCSN races will also be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra for online and mobile devices.

2014 IndyCar Series Television Schedule
March 30 – Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
April 13 – Streets of Long Beach, California, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
April 27 – Barber Motorsports Park, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
May 10 – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
May 17 – Indianapolis 500 qualifying, 4 p.m. ET, ABC
May 18 – Indianapolis 500 qualifying, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
May 23 – Indianapolis 500 Carb Day, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN
May 25 – 98th Indianapolis 500, 11 a.m. ET, ABC
May 31/June 1 – Belle Isle Park, Detroit, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
June 7 – Texas Motor Speedway, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
June 28/29 – Reliant Park, Houston, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN
July 6 – Pocono Raceway, Noon ET, NBCSN
July 12  – Iowa Speedway, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
July 19/20 – Streets of Toronto, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Aug. 3 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Aug. 17 – Milwaukee Mile, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Aug. 24 – Sonoma Raceway, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Aug. 30 – Auto Club Speedway, 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Houston history: Past results for IndyCar drivers/owners on streets

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Houston returns to an IndyCar calendar for the third time this weekend, after prior runs downtown from 1998 through 2001, and the revived course configuration at Reliant Park outside the home stadium of the Houston Texans having had two races in 2006 and 2007. You can see the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston twinbill Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, on NBCSN.

Here’s a rundown of current IndyCar drivers and team owners, and their past results on either course. Oriol Servia is the only driver who will have had race experience on both courses heading into this weekend.

RELIANT PARK STREET COURSE, 2006-2007

Eight of the 24 drivers in the IndyCar races this weekend have past experience at Reliant Park. Sebastien Bourdais won both races, Graham Rahal scored his first open-wheel podium, and James Hinchcliffe and Simona de Silvestro cut their teeth in Atlantics but have yet to race in Houston in the main event.

CHAMP CAR

  • 2007: Sebastien Bourdais (Started 1st, Finished 1st), Graham Rahal (6/2), Oriol Servia (5/4), Simon Pagenaud (7/5), Justin Wilson (3/10), Will Power (2/11)
  • 2006: Bourdais (5/1), Wilson (7/5), Power (10/7), Servia (8/12)

FORMULA ATLANTIC

  • 2007: James Hinchcliffe (2/3), Simona de Silvestro (13/15)
  • 2006: Pagenaud (4/2), Hinchcliffe (5/4), Rahal (3/15)

HOUSTON DOWNTOWN COURSE, 1998-2001

Five current drivers – Servia, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan – raced on Houston’s downtown course over four years. Three owners – Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta – have driving experience there as well. Franchitti has a win and three podiums here with Vasser also scoring a win and Kanaan securing his second career podium as a rookie in 1998.

CART

  • 01: Dario Franchitti (Started 6/Finished 2), Helio Castroneves (4/5), Jimmy Vasser (24/11), Tony Kanaan (10/12), Bryan Herta (22/13), Scott Dixon (7/18), Michael Andretti (12/21), Oriol Servia (17/26)
  • 00: Vasser (3/1), Castroneves (4/5), Servia (15/9), Kanaan (10/10), Andretti (5/13), Franchitti (2/25)
  • 99: Franchitti (4/2), Andretti (11/3), Herta (2/5), Kanaan (8/9), Vasser (16/20), Castroneves (19/26)
  • 98: Franchitti (2/1), Kanaan (11/3), Vasser (3/4), Herta (6/8), Castroneves (17/24), Andretti (13/28)

A single Indy Lights race was also held at Houston in 2000, won by Casey Mears. NBC Sports Network analyst Townsend Bell finished second in that race to his Dorricott Racing teammate; Dixon finished 15th, a rare off day in his championship-winning season driving for Bruce McCaw’s PacWest Racing.