NASCAR: Dale Jr. decision was only the beginning, more changes loom

Leigh Diffey is set to replace Rick Allen in the NASCAR Cup Series broadcast booth after the break for the Summer Olympics, marking another change for NBC.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently opted not to return for what would have been a seventh season in the NBC broadcast booth as a commentator during NASCAR Cup Series races, instead signing a deal with Amazon Prime Video and Warner Brothers Discovery that is set to begin in 2025.

But the 15-time Most Popular Driver's departure from NBC, which he joined in 2018 after retiring from full-time Cup Series competition, is not the only change being made to the broadcast booth during the network's portion of this year's broadcast schedule.

The switch from Fox to NBC is set to take place after the race at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 9, and before the first ever Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, June 16.

Due to the Summer Olympics in Paris, there is a three-week break after the Cup Series' scheduled return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Sunday, July 21.

NBC makes NASCAR announcer change

After the first Brickyard 400 since 2020, the Cup Series is not scheduled to be in action again until the race at Richmond Raceway on Sunday, August 11. At that point, the NBC broadcast booth is set to have a new lead announcer: longtime NBC motorsports announcer Leigh Diffey.

Rick Allen, who has served in the role since 2015, is set to continue as the lead announcer for all of NBC's Cup Series races up until the three-week Olympics break. He is also set to continue calling Xfinity Series races.

Both Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte are set to return for their 10th consecutive seasons as analysts in the NBC booth, though who will replace Earnhardt as the fourth member has not yet been determined.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s NASCAR broadcasting future

As a part of NASCAR's new media deal, Amazon Prime Video and TNT Sports are both set to join current partners Fox and NBC. Following Fox's season-opening 14-race stint, Amazon Prime Video is then set to carry the next five races in a streaming-only deal.

After that, TNT Sports is set to cover the next five, with those five events set to be shown live on both TNT and the B/R Sports tier on the Max Streaming Service. NBC is then set to wrap up the season with the final 14 races. The total comes out to 38 races, not 36, due to the inclusion of the preseason Busch Light Clash exhibition race and the All-Star Race.

Next. NASCAR team confirms rare Cup Series appearance, first since 2022. NASCAR team confirms rare Cup Series appearance, first since 2022. dark

NBC's portion of this year's broadcast schedule consists of 10 races on NBC and 10 on USA Network, which replaced NBC Sports Network as the alternative NBCUniversal-owned channel during this portion of the schedule following NBC Sports Network's shutdown at the end of 2021.