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Earnhardt leads all-analyst NASCAR booth in New Hampshire

(AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

By DAN GELSTON

AP Sports Writer

(AP) -- NBC Sports is going with an all-analyst lineup headlined by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The network will use three analysts in the broadcast booth for next week's NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earnhardt, the 15-time most popular NASCAR driver, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte will be the only broadcasters for the July 22 race at the Magic Mile.

Rick Allen, the lead play-by-play announcer for NASCAR on NBC since 2015, will call the second-tier Xfinity Series race and will contribute to NBC's Cup Series practice and race coverage. NBC Sports said Allen will be back in his normal role for the next race.

Earnhardt's name value and blossoming effort behind the mic has made NBC willing to mix up its broadcast formula. Earnhardt has been an early star on NBC thanks partly to his "slide job!" exclamation at his debut race.

"We can't just rely on the race to do all the work," Earnhardt said. "It's important for the production and us in the booth and everyone else to just kind of bring the fan into the experience and make them feel like they're getting something unique."

With four announcers crowding the booth this season, NBC said it could afford to find unique ways to use them. Last week, the network had Letarte chiming in from a spot on pit road.

"We have a multi-option offense, and are again excited to try a different booth setup for our NASCAR Cup Series race broadcast in New Hampshire," NBC Sports executive Sam Flood said. "We're putting people in positions to make it fun for the audience, and the `NBC Race Team Broadcast' will bring a unique and different perspective to the race."

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Updated July 14, 2018

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