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Why is NBC’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. on FOX’s NASCAR Talladega airing today?

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is skipping school.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 21: NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks during the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 21, 2022 in Charlotte, NL North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The NASCAR commentator on NBC Sports joins FOX Sports’ broadcast team for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in a one-time appearance for the marquee race.

Earnhardt has six victories at NASCAR’s longest track, behind only his father Dale Sr.’s 10 and is the only driver to win at the track four times in a row.

According to The Athletic, FOX Sports executives contacted their NBC colleagues in early April to ask if they would loan him out for his expertise.

“I haven’t lost sight of how rare it is for your lead analyst to appear on another network,” Brad Zager, Fox Sports president of production and operations and executive producer, told The Athletic. “I would totally understand them saying no, right? He’s their guy. They’re paying him for the exclusivity and to appear on these NASCAR shows on NBC. So the headline is, ‘Thank you, NBC’, of course.”

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – APRIL 07: Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Hellmann’s Fridge Hunters Chevrolet, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Call 811 Before You Dig 250 powered by Call 811.com at Martinsville Speedway on April 07, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“Dale joining us in the pit speaks volumes about his love of the NASCAR sport, and there is absolutely no one more equipped to call a race at Talladega,” Zager said in a press release.

Earnhardt will join Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer in the pit for the race before heading home to wait for NBC Sports to resume Cup Series coverage with the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26.

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The Geico 500 is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

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