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NBC to try a booth without a play-by-play announcer for New Hampshire race

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (L) and Jeff Burton (R) will be part of NBC’s experiment at New Hampshire. Brad Keselowski (C) will be driving in the race. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

NBC’s addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a race analyst is leading to an intriguing experiment for the July 22 Cup Series race at New Hampshire.

According to the Associated Press, NBC will go with a three-analyst booth for the race. That means play-by-play announcer Rick Allen will instead be on pit road and the booth will include Junior, former driver Jeff Burton and former crew chief Steve Letarte. The broadcast could be similar to the players-only broadcasts that TNT does for NBA games. Those broadcasts feature exclusively former players calling the games.

Allen, Burton and Letarte have been a part of NBC’s NASCAR coverage since the network took over the second half of the NASCAR schedule in 2014. Junior joined the network this year after he retired from Cup Series competition.

“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 told the AP. “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.”

Junior’s addition to NBC’s telecasts has been enjoyable. While Letarte and Burton were easily the best analyst combination before Junior arrived, Junior has elevated the analysis on NBC’s telecasts even further above Fox’s NASCAR analysis.

We’re excited to see how the three-analyst booth works for the race. New Hampshire isn’t always the most-anticipated stop on the Cup Series schedule so the experiment is at least something new for NASCAR fans to look forward to.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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