Weekend wrap: Tick, tock, Dale Jr. has a Martinsville clock


It would seem that the only thing wrong with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway was the timing.

There had to be at least some fans within the jubilant Junior Nation that had the thought of “If only this had come last week!,” even as they were jumping up and down and blowing their Dale Calls.

Last weekend at Talladega, Earnhardt was eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And in the aftermath, we wondered how he, his outgoing crew chief  Steve Letarte, and his No. 88 team would respond.

What a response they gave.

“It feels good not to sit there and watch everybody else just finish the year off,” Earnhardt said. “I’m glad we were able to get a win, remind ourselves that if we keep working hard, keep trying, maybe we will win the championship like we want to.

“We’re definitely a good enough team. We got to get them breaks, got to keep working, got to stay positive. You can’t get beat down.”

Earnhardt’s inaugural triumph at NASCAR’s shortest track was an undeniable thrill for him.

As you’d expect considering his pedigree, Junior is a student of the sport. He was quite familiar with those Martinsville grandfather clocks – his father, Dale Sr., claimed six Martinsville wins after all – but he had long craved one for himself. To see him claim his own Sunday was fun to watch.

But more importantly, the victory was also a balm for Hendrick Motorsports and team owner Rick Hendrick, which marked the 10-year anniversary of the plane crash that shook the squad to its core.

Add in teammate Jeff Gordon’s runner-up finish, and HMS paid a most fitting tribute to the 10 people that lost their lives on Bull Mountain.

Taking all of that into account – the message sent that the 88 team would finish the year strong, the refreshing celebration from Earnhardt, the poignancy of his victory – you realize that the matter of him winning one week after being knocked out of the title picture doesn’t seem to matter so much.

Chase or no Chase, this win is one that deserves to be remembered for a good long while.

Speaking of the post-season, Earnhardt’s win kept Gordon, one of the eight remaining Chasers, from advancing to the Sprint Cup Championship Race. Time will tell if that comes back to hurt Gordon if he’s unable to advance from the Eliminator Round.

But for now, Gordon sits atop the Chase Grid with a seven-point cushion over the fifth-place cutoff.  Behind him and also in Championship advance positions are Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth.

Newman and Kenseth’s trademark consistency continues to pay off, even with their respective goose-eggs in the win column.

But while Newman heads to Texas with momentum after a third-place finish, Kenseth may have to be on guard after Chase rival Kevin Harvick – who was knocked into the wall by a spinning Kenseth near the midway point on Sunday – vowed that if he didn’t win the Cup, neither would the ’03 Cup champion.

Also in a deep points hole is Brad Keselowski, whose mechanical failure with around 65 laps to go led to a multi-car crash (and a red flag). One week after coming through in a must-win situation at Talladega, he may be facing that same scenario again.

MORE FROM MARTINSVILLE: Will non-Chasers have say in championship?“Smoke” rises for fourth-place finishLogano salvages day for Team PenskeBubba Wallace repeats at M’Ville in NASCAR TrucksMatt Crafton atop Truck Series standings with 3 races to go.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.