Jimmie Johnson & Clint Bowyer among notable NASCAR drivers fighting for Playoff berth at The Brickyard Sunday at 2 P.M. ET on NBC

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has one final shot to secure his place in the 2019 Playoffs at one of the most iconic race tracks in the world, as NBC Sports presents live coverage of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. This weekend’s live NASCAR coverage from Indianapolis also features the Xfinity Series Indiana 250 this Saturday, September 7, at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Johnson has never missed the Playoffs since the format began in 2004, but enters this weekend’s final race of the 2019 regular season 18 points behind Daniel Suarez for the final spot. Johnson was on pace for a top-five finish at Darlington but was collected in a late-race wreck. Clint Bowyer climbed into Playoff position with a sixth-place finish at Darlington last weekend. Only two of the 16 Playoff spots remain up for grabs entering this Sunday’s regular-season finale at Indianapolis.

Pos. Driver Mfr. Points Clear Wins at Indianapolis
15 No. 14 Clint Bowyer Ford +8 0
16 No. 41 Daniel Suarez* Ford 0 0
      *PLAYOFF CUTOFF LINE*
17 No. 6 Ryan Newman Ford 0 1 (2013)
18 No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet -18 4 (’06, ’08, ’09, ’12)

*Suarez holds tie-breaker with Newman (better top finish)

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, clinched the regular-season title at Darlington last weekend with his third-place finish. Busch’s teammate Erik Jones clinched his spot in the Playoffs by taking the checkered flag at Darlington for his first win of 2019 season.

NASCAR CUP SERIES RACING FROM INDIANAPOLIS – SUNDAY AT 2 P.M. ET ON NBC

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage begins Friday at 5 p.m. ET with the NASCAR America Fan Friday on NBCSN live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, originating from the Peacock Pit Box amongst the fans at Indy.

Cup Series coverage continues Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN with the first practice followed by final practice at 1:30 p.m. ET. Final practice will re-air Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Qualifying airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately followed by a special presentation of the Dale Jr. Download at 11:30 a.m. ET with special guest Brad Keselowski. Pre-race coverage will continue at 12:30 p.m. with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Live coverage of the Big Machine Vodka 400 begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Wrapping up race-day coverage, NBCSN will present a half-hour post-race show at 6 p.m. ET, followed by NASCAR Victory Lap at 6:30 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage will include the latest installment of the “Behind The Driver” feature with Clint Bowyer.

NBC Sports will present the final “Radio Style” broadcast the 2019 NASCAR season.  With announcers positioned from vantage points around the track, the assignments at The Brickyard will be:

  • Main broadcast booth – Lead race announcer Rick Allen and Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte
  • Turn 2 – Veteran MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announcer Mike Bagley
  •  Turn 3 – Racing legend and two-time Daytona 500 Champion Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Turn 4 – 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton

Serving in their customary race day roles, NASCAR on NBC pit reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, and Dave Burns will contribute coverage from pit road. Rutledge Wood will also be on hand with special features in and around the racetrack.

Host Danielle Trotta, NBCSports.com lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan and motorsport analyst and current driver Parker Kligerman will host Victory Lap, taking calls from fans and discussing the biggest stories of the race weekend. Kligerman will be racing the No. 96 car for Gaunt Brothers Racing in the Big Machine Vodka 400 and contributing live from Indy.

NBC SPORTS’ 2019 NASCAR VIEWERSHIP ON NBCSN UP 5% VS. 2018

With one race left in the regular season, NBC Sports’ 2019 NASCAR coverage on NBCSN (eight races) has delivered a Total Audience Delivery of 2.499 million average viewers, up 5% vs. the first eight races on NBCSN in 2018 (2.383 million).

Viewership gains on NBCSN come despite a three-plus hour rain delay to start NBC Sports’ portion of the 2019 season at Chicagoland, and are highlighted by increases at Michigan (2.929 million, up 14%) and Bristol (2.539 million, up 8%). This year’s lone race on NBC, which was scheduled for Saturday, July 6 in primetime, was postponed until noon the following Sunday due to rain.

XFINITY SERIES RACING FROM INDIANAPOLIS – SATURDAY AT 2:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBC Sports’ Xfinity Series coverage from Indianapolis begins Friday with first practice at 2 p.m. ET, followed by final practice at 4 p.m. ET which will be on NBCSN. Race day coverage kicks off Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with qualifying, followed by live Xfinity Series racing at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Tyler Reddick (1,062 points, 4 wins), Christopher Bell (1,011 points, and 6 wins) and Cole Custer (926 points, 6 wins) are the top three drivers in the Xfinity Series.

NBC Sports will also utilize a “Radio Style” broadcast for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on NBCSN, with Kligerman replacing Earnhardt Jr. on Turn 3. Dillon Welch will join NBC Sports’ team of pit reporters for the race as well.

BRAD KESELOWSKI FEATURED GUEST ON DALE JR. DOWNLOAD SUNDAY AT 11:30 A.M. ET ON NBCSN

A special episode of the Dale Jr. Download featuring Brad Keselowski will air Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN immediately following Cup Series qualifying. Keselowski currently sits in sixth place in the Monster Energy Cup Series regular-season standings and has clinched a spot in the Playoffs thanks to three wins this season. He will discuss his victory at the Brickyard last year, thoughts on the current playoff standings, and where he sees the rest of the season going.

Produced on-site at Dirty Mo Media Studios in Mooresville, N.C., the Dale Jr. Download on NBCSN takes viewers couch-side for the taping of the motorsports icon’s weekly podcast, featuring unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and insight that fans have come to expect from Dale Jr.

JACKPOT FOR “NASCAR PICK ‘EM” FREE-TO-PLAY GAME ON NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR APP AT HIGHEST SO FAR WITH $40,000 JACKPOT

  • More than 45,000 players participated in NBC Sports’ free-to-play NASCAR Pick ’Em game at Darlington, but none were able to record a perfect score, so the jackpot now swells to $40,000 for this weekend’s race in Indianapolis.  For each race stage, pick the driver that will have the best finish from a group of four drivers.
  • Then, out of the entire field, pick which drivers will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – in exact order.

NBC SPORTS AND NASCAR #MYTRACKMYROOTS GRASSROOTS RACING TOUR

NBC Sports and NASCAR have partnered to launch the #MyTrackMyRoots Grassroots Racing Tour – a grassroots initiative which celebrates and promotes local tracks across America that have launched the dreams and careers of NASCAR drivers and continue to cultivate a passion for racing in their local communities.

Current and former drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Gander Outdoor Truck Series have joined with NBC Sports and NASCAR to spearhead a nationwide initiative to visit and promote more than 500 local tracks across the country over the next four months. This week, #MyTrackMyRoots will feature current NASCAR driver Ryan Newman. Click here for more details.

Following is this week’s NASCAR programming across NBC Sports:

DATE COVERAGE TIME (ET) NETWORK
Wed., September 4 NASCAR America Motormouths 5 p.m. NBCSN
Thur., September 5 NASCAR America Motorsports Hour 5 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., September 6 NASCAR Xfinity Series First Practice – Indianapolis 2 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice – Indianapolis 4 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR America Fan Friday 5 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., September 7 NASCAR Cup Series First Practice - Indianapolis 11 a.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying – Indianapolis 12 p.m. NBCSN
  Racing Roots Denny Hamlin 1 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice – Indianapolis 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Countdown to Green 2:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Indianapolis   3 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Post-Race Show 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., September 8 NASCAR Cup Series Practice Re-air 9:30 a.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Indianapolis 10:30 a.m. NBCSN
  Dale Jr. Download w/ Brad Keselowski 11:30 a.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR America Pre-Race Show 12:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Countdown to Green 1:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Race – Indianapolis 2 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Post-Race Show 6 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Victory Lap 6:30 p.m. NBCSN

NBC SPORTS’ NASCAR COVERAGE

The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports’ NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials.

NBC Sports PR

Speedway Digest Staff

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