Over the past year NBC Sports has worked to become the new go-to for the nation's race fans. They've brought us Formula 1, they've brought us IndyCar, they've brought us the batshit insane Stadium Super Trucks, and starting this year they'll also be bringing us rally. Not just any rally, but local rally. That's right, the entire Rally America national championship will be broadcast on NBC Sports.
NBC Sports and Rally America have released an eight episode broadcast schedule, covering the eight rounds of the 2014 championship season. The Sno*Drift rally, which took place the weekend of January 24, will air on April 5, making it the first U.S. rally aired nationally in over five years. This is a big step in the right direction for rally in the States, as national exposure should lead to more recognition, more fans and competitors, and possibly more sponsor and manufacturer involvement. No word on how long each episode will be, but hopefully they'll be at least 1-2 hours, as there is really way too much going on to fit in a 30 minute block.
Here's the full 2014 NBC Sports broadcast schedule:
- 1- Sno*Drift Rally (Atlanta, MI) - Saturday, April 5 @ 2 PM E/T
- 2- Rally in the 100 Acre Wood (Salem, MO) - Sunday, May 3 @ 6 PM E/T
- 3- Oregon Trail Rally (Portland, OR) - Sunday, June 1 @ 6 PM E/T
- 4- Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (Wellsboro, PA) - Saturday, June 28 @ 6 PM
- 5- Mt Washington Hillclimb (Mt Washington, NH) - Saturday, August 2 @ 12:30 PM E/T
- 6- New England Forest Rally (Newry, ME) - Sunday, August 31 @ 5:00 PM E/T
- 7- Ojibwe Forest Rally (Detroit Lakes, MN) - Sunday, October 12 @ 12:30 PM E/T
- 8- Lake Superior Performance Rally (Houghton, MI) - Sunday, November 16 @ 4 PM E/T
UPDATE: Rally America has (finally) sent out a press release about the deal with NBC Sports, which includes a few more details about the upcoming series. According to the release each episode will be an hour long and not just cover the rally but include stories about both national and regional class competitors. That's a lot to fit into an hour but it's good to see the grassroots competitors will get some time in the spotlight as well.
Photos via Rally America facebook page