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An NBC affiliate in Chicago was forced to delete a tweet promoting a NASCAR All-Star race after fans alerted them of a major photo gaffe.
NBC Chicago took to Twitter Wednesday to tout NASCAR’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway later that night, noting that the sport would be hosting the “largest sporting event crowd” since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. But in its effort to make a visual reference to the crowds in the speedway’s grandstand, the NBC owned-and-operated affiliate used a photo featuring the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
— Will Lester (@WillLesterPhoto) July 16, 2020
The image showed Earnhardt in 1999 standing in the foreground of a photo which included the half-empty grandstand.
But the beloved driver for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing died in 2001 after a wreck during a race at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
Fans quickly reacted to the NBC Chicago error, as hundreds of comments flooded the Twitter page.
The hilarity of mass media coverage of motor sports….this picture is at least 20 years old. pic.twitter.com/DJdcJyDA4l
— Derek McCord (@DerekDeedok) July 16, 2020
Dale Earnhardt is reincarnated?
— Paul Knight (@Gaga_In_Fla) July 16, 2020
Hey, geniuses, that’s a picture of Dale Earnhardt, who died in 2001.
— LiberalCatsUnited (@CatsnBooks) July 16, 2020
If 2020 hasn’t been crazy enough, apparently they brought Dale Earnhardt back from the dead!
Remember, just because it’s on the internet DOES NOT mean it is true. Do your own research from numerous sources.
— Josh Prymak (@redtarget14) July 16, 2020
— Billy Sullivan (@billysullivan88) July 16, 2020
Earnhardt’s son and NBC Sports analyst, Dale Earnhardt Jr., did not offer any social media comments but Bristol Motor Speedway’s official Twitter account tried to help out.
— BristolMotorSpeedway (@BMSupdates) July 16, 2020
Wednesday’s race in Bristol, Tennessee was NASCAR’s largest event with actual fans since the pandemic shut down sporting and other gatherings back in March. Approximately 20,000 people were in attendance at the venue which holds over 140,000, according to the Associated Press. Up to 30,000 fans were allowed to attend, with social distance guidelines in effect.
Chase Elliott won the $1 million All-Star race which was moved from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Tonight felt like an event again and I felt like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months,” Elliott said. “It felt good to have NASCAR back. NASCAR is about the fans. I felt like the vibe was back.”
NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace, who made headlines for an incident with an alleged noose in his garage stall at Talladega, was reportedly booed upon introduction and cheered after he wrecked out of the race.
Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed. NASCAR still has a lot of work to do to back up its position. The group Justice 4 Diversity held signs along Speedway Blvd. after the race.
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) July 16, 2020
A plane flying over the Tennessee track ahead of the race was reportedly pulling a banner of the Confederate flag.
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