Friday Fox Sports retracted an earlier statement that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will serve as a driver analyst for the NASCAR Xfinity series broadcast on Fox Sports next season. The announcement was made Wednesday by the broadcast network. In its latest statement Fox said NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver is not currently scheduled to appear as a guest analyst.
“While FOX Sports has had informal conversations with Dale Earnhardt Jr. about joining the FOX Sports NASCAR XFINITY Series booth in the future, as several of his fellow racers did in 2015, nothing has been determined,” the statement read. “We apologize for the confusion.”
In the earlier press release Fox said, “Earnhardt Jr. … made the announcement Saturday in an interview with FOX SPORTS LIVE co-hosts Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait in a video posted in “The Jay and Dan Podcast.”
“I had tweeted that I was interested in doing some XFINITY races, so I think I would like to try it,” Earnhardt was quoted as saying in the statement. “They extended the offer to me that we can give it a shot. I want to go up there next year and watch a few races, or watch one race, and see what I’m getting myself into. It looks like a lot of fun. All the drivers who did it last year (during FOX Sports’ 2015 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES coverage) looked great, sounded great, and they seemed to have a lot of fun doing it.”
“All the drivers who did it … looked great, sounded great, and they seemed to have a lot of fun doing it,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t know if it’s a career path for me — it just depends — or whether I even have any talent in the booth.”
This season the Fox sports booth featured a rotation of drivers that included Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick. Earnhardt has 25 Sprint Cup career victories, eight of which came under the Hendrick Motorsports banner. He has been voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 12 consecutive years.
The driver also announced Wednesday that he and longtime Xfinity series sponsor TaxSlayer.com have extended their partnership adding a one race primary sponsorship for Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in 2016. The company will begin its seventh year as primary sponsor for JR Motorsports, the company owned by Earnhardt that competes primarily in the NASCAR Xfinity series.
TaxSlayer.com will receive primary placement on the Nos. 7 and 88 Chevrolet Camaros for 10 Xfinity races next season. The JR Motorsports Chevy has used a variety of drivers since its inception as a race team in 2002. Among the drivers who have raced in a JR team, in addition to Earnhardt, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick have all raced in a JR Motorsports Chevy. The team has also fielded entries in the Camping World Truck Series and in regional late Model events.
Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway site of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 Earnhardt had no comment on the news. He qualified 11th.