NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett to join NASCAR coverage on NBC, NBCSN

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— Three-Time Daytona 500 Champion to Join Krista Voda and Kyle Petty During Pre- and Post-race Coverage, and Contribute to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN

NBC Sports Group has reached an agreement with 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett, who will serve as a pre- and post-race analyst during live coverage of select NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series racing on NBC and NBCSN.

Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, will be among the first to welcome fans to NBC Sports’ 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR’s championship run when he, Krista Voda and Kyle Petty open up NBC’s live pre-race coverage from Daytona International Speedway this 4th of July weekend.

In addition to handling pre- and post-race coverage, Jarrett will also serve as a booth analyst during select NASCAR XFINITY Series races and contribute to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

“We are excited to welcome Dale and his Hall of Fame credentials to our NASCAR broadcast team,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN.  “As a former Champion, his experience and insights will help us set the stage and break down key races throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

The appointment of Jarrett follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff BurtonSteve Letarte and Kyle Petty, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Rutledge Wood.

“I’m very pleased and excited to be a part of NBC Sports and their NASCAR coverage,” said Jarrett. “NBC has assembled an All-Star crew for their coverage, and I’m honored to be a part of this group that will bring NASCAR fans inside the sport we all love.”

Jarrett grew up in and around the sport of NASCAR, eventually turning down a golf scholarship from the University of South Carolina in order to follow in the footsteps of his iconic father, Ned Jarrett, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.

The Newton-Conover, N.C., native earned his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in August 1991 at Michigan International Speedway in a car owned by the famed Wood Brothers.

In the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons that spanned from 1993-2002, Dale achieved 29 of his 32 victories, three Daytona 500 wins, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 1999, and seven seasons among the Top-5 in points. Jarrett raced in his final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in 2007.

He made his final appearance behind the wheel in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge race, and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.  Jarrett joined ESPN full time in 2008, and quickly took over the reins as their lead NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing analyst, a position he held for the last seven seasons.

On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content, beginning this coming 4th of July weekend from Daytona International Speedway.

With this partnership, NBC’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race schedule includes a designation as the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, when the elite national series races through its final 10 events of the season. The Chase culminates with the season-ending championship event, which returns to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.

NASCAR AMERICA premiered in February 2014, following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 victory and NBC Sports Group’s multi-platform coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The weekday 30-minute news and highlights program is dedicated to America’s fascination with speed and stock car racing, and features regular appearances by NBC Sports’ NASCAR experts, as well as a rotation of guest analysts.

Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

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