Network TV Shows Focus on NASCAR

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. went from Victory Lane to an appearance on late-night TV with David Letterman a day later. (Photo: Getty Images)

NASCAR dominated late-night TV viewing Monday with Dale Earnhardt Jr. appearing on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon roasting NASCAR drivers in a segment.

Earnhardt appeared with Letterman as part of Earnhardt’s media tour after winning Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Letterman showed clips of the race, including the final caution when Earnhardt led but had Bear Bond on the front grille of his car. Letterman asked Earnhardt if he worried his engine would overheat in those final laps.

“You would be concerned that it would overheat, but, at the time, we were really low on fuel and I was cycling the engine on and off to save the fuel,’’ Earnhardt said on the show.

Letterman then asked Earnhardt about tactics saving fuel.

“You gas the car and coast up to the pace car, turn off the engine, hold the clutch in and leave it in gear, turn the power back on and let the clutch out and fire it back up when you need to go again,’’ Earnhardt said. “That saves a lot of fuel.’’

Letterman also asked Earnhardt about the final restart and what that was like.

“I’m very nervous,’’ he said. “You don’t want anybody beside you with two laps to go. I was lucky I had my teammate Jeff Gordon in third place. We had to time the restart perfectly to where he could shove me out and get me away from the second-place guy (Brad Keselowski) so the second-place guy couldn’t side draft and drag me down.’’

Letterman then asked Earnhardt about if he was worried Gordon might not help him.

“His first responsibility is to be a company man,’’ Gordon said. “You have to buy into the teammate role at certain points and at that particular instance it was good for both us to work together.’’

On the “Tonight Show,”Fallon has a running bit called “Superlatives” where he gives bogus awards to athletes based on a picture of them. Monday, he turned his focus to NASCAR drivers.

Kyle Busch was given the award “Most Likely to be Grown Up Stewie Griffin from ‘Family Guy.’ “

Clint Bowyer was given the award “Most Likely to Play Han Solo in an Off-Broadway Version of ‘Star Wars: The Musical.’ ‘’

Jamie McMurray was given the award “Most Likely to be Lord Voldemort Before His Botched Nose Job.’’

Marcos Ambrose, Joe Nemechek, Terry Labonte, David Gilliland and Michael Waltrip also were spotlighted.

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