WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Darian Grubb returns, Trent Owens, NASCAR’s top pit crews

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NASCAR America is nationwide today, as we follow all 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers on a massive media blitz from one coast to the other.

Among the highlights of the trip, where every driver visits a different North American city, was an appearance by six-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson this morning on the TODAY show.

Back in our Charlotte studios, Rick Allen and Kyle Petty hold down the fort as we look at some of the other highlight’s on today’s edition of NASCAR America:

* Kelli Stavast traveled to the Joe Gibbs Racing shop in Huntersville, N.C., to chat with Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. Grubb returns atop the pit box this weekend in the Chase opener at Chicagoland following a six-race suspension levied after the Brickyard 400.

* Natalie Sather visited the Richard Petty Motorsports shop in Concord, N.C., to chat with Chase driver Aric Almirola’s crew chief, Trent Owens, about the No. 43 team’s underdog chances in this year’s playoffs.

* Marty Snider sits down with longtime NASCAR pit crew member Mark “Hollywood” Armstrong to get his top 5 pit crews in NASCAR right now – and one of them is brand new!

* Parker Kligerman uses the NBC iRacing Simulator to demonstrate the best away around this weekend’s host track, Chicagoland Speedway.

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.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski