Part-time driver for MWR in 2014, Jeff Burton will make transition into the TV booth
LAS VEGAS — Jeff Burton will transition from behind the wheel to behind the microphone, becoming part of the NBC broadcast team when the network returns as a NASCAR television partner beginning in 2015.
Sam Flood, executive producer of NBC and NBC Sports Network, made the announcement Tuesday at the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, which kicked off Champion’s Week. When NBC regained NASCAR television rights, Flood said, he knew his first phone call had to be to Burton. [pullquote]”I’m used to having to be a little more diplomatic. Because when you race against people, you essentially live with them. You’ve got to make sure you get along. But at the same time, you’ve got to call it the way you see it.”[/pullquote]
“It will be a change,” said Burton, who will race a limited schedule in 2014 with Michael Waltrip Racing. “I’m used to having to be a little more diplomatic. Because when you race against people, you essentially live with them. You’ve got to make sure you get along. But at the same time, you’ve got to call it the way you see it.”
In July, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached an agreement that grants NBC Universal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional and Touring Series events, and other live content beginning in 2015. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBC Sports Network.
Monday, NBC named Jeff Behnke as its vice president of NASCAR production. Behnke worked in NASCAR production for over two decades during a long tenure at Turner Sports, parent company of TNT. He will operate out of Charlotte, N.C., marking the first time the head of a network’s NASCAR production team will be based in the sport’s hub.
Flood said more talent announcements will follow, perhaps as early as Wednesday.