Tuesday, January 27th, 2015


One-Hour Special Pairs NFL Legends With NASCAR Stars For Series Of Football And Racing Challenges

 Participants Include NASCAR’s Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards And Matt Kenseth, Along With Retired NFL Players And NBC Analysts Hines Ward and Doug Flutie


STAMFORD, Conn. – January 27, 2015 – NBC Sports’ NASCAR Gridiron Challenge presented by Toyota, a one-hour special pairing NASCAR drivers with former NFL greats in a series of stock car races and a football challenge, debuts Friday, January 30, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following the NASCAR America Hall of Fame Special. A capsule from the Gridiron Challenge will air as part of NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX pre-game show on Sunday, February 1, beginning at Noon ET.

The Gridiron Challenge features six retired NFL greats, including NBC Super Bowl XLIX pre-game analyst Hines Ward, suiting up to compete in races alongside current NASCAR stars at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Viewers will watch as NFL legends experience the thrill of a lifetime learning how to drive official Toyota racecars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. In addition, six NASCAR stars, representing Joe Gibbs’ and Michael Waltrip’s racing teams, will participate in a challenge throwing passes through a Toyota target. The series culminates with a 20-lap competition, where the former NFL players will sit in the passenger seat alongside NASCAR drivers, and race around the track at speeds up to 180 mph.

“The NASCAR Gridiron Challenge is a fun way to promote NASCAR and our upcoming coverage,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer NBC Sports and NBCSN. “This event serves as an example of how numerous NBCUniversal platforms are using Super Bowl XLIX weekend to promote new programming.”

“Toyota has had a long-standing relationship with NASCAR as well as a presence in the Super Bowl with TV commercials and our sponsorship of the Toyota Halftime Report,” said Ed Laukes, Vice President of Marketing, Performance and Guest Experience for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.  “The NASCAR Gridiron Challenge was a natural partnership for us and we think everyone will enjoy seeing these two very different groups of athletes compete in an entirely new, and fun, way on the track and on the field.”

NASCAR on NBC lead announcer Rick Allen will call the action from Charlotte Motor Speedway, alongside NBC Sports Group’s motorsports team of  former NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former crew chief Steve Letarte, and NASCAR America reporter Kelli Stavast. In addition, Coach Joe Gibbs will be present to give tutelage, and award the winners with their trophies.

Retired NFL stars and NASCAR drivers teaming up in the challenge include former Denver Bronco Rod Smith and life-long Broncos fan Kyle Busch, and Ward with NASCAR sprint cup series champion Carl Edwards. Below is a full list of drivers and former players participating in the Gridiron Challenge:


NASCAR Driver Former NFL Player
Matt Kenseth Doug Flutie
Carl Edwards Hines Ward
Denny Hamlin Brian Mitchell
Clint Bowyer Christian Okoye
Daniel Suarez Willie Gault
Kyle Busch Rod Smith


On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, as well as the final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, beginning this coming 4th of July weekend from Daytona International Speedway.

With this partnership, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes a designation as the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, when the elite national series races through its final 10 events of the season. The Chase culminates with the season-ending championship event, which returns to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.