Driver Jeff Burton Joins NBC's NASCAR Booth, While FS1's Rick Allen Could Be Next
NBC Sports yesterday announced it has reached a multi-year agreement that will see NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton transition out of full-time driving and into an analyst role when the network begins coverage in '15. Burton will assume double duties in '14, racing a schedule of selected NSCS races while also contributing to NASCAR programming on NBCSN. When NBC Sports' coverage of NSCS and Nationwide Series racing begins in '15, Burton will serve as a full-time analyst on NBC and NBCSN (NBC). In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes Burton is the "first entry to fill what is expected to be a three-person booth." Sources said that FS1 announcer Rick Allen "will be officially named this week to the same role for NBC." Sources added that NBC is "looking at a current Cup series crew chief to fulfill its third spot in the booth" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/4). Burton said that it will "be a transition to the television booth, where he can speak freely about drivers he's been racing against since 1988." He added, "I'm used to having to be a little more diplomatic ... because when you're racing against people, you essentially live with them. You've got to make sure you can get along, and I think that's still got to continue. But at the same time, you've got to call it the way you see it" (AP, 12/3). USA TODAY's Jeff Gluck wrote on his Twitter feed, "Rare are the NASCAR-related decisions that are as well-received as NBC Sports' hire of @JeffBurton seems to be."