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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to be guest picker on ESPN ‘College GameDay’ at Bristol

NASCAR’s most popular driver will be the celebrity picker on ESPN’s pregame show.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing Bristol Motor Speedway's integration of NASCAR and college football this weekend, two of NASCAR's most popular figures will appear Saturday morning on ESPN's College GameDay, broadcasting from the half-mile track that's hosting a game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech later that night.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is sidelined the rest of the NASCAR season due to a concussion, will serve as the guest picker at the conclusion of the popular pregame show, while Richard Petty will have an appearance in an earlier segment.

Bristol is a longstanding NASCAR track that hosts two Sprint Cup Series races annually, but has transformed this weekend into a college football venue where a record crowd of 150,000 is expected to attend. Tennessee and Virginia Tech were chosen for the game because the northeastern Tennessee track is roughly halfway between the campuses, which are respectively located in Knoxville and Blacksburg.

Since the checkered flag waved on the Aug. 21 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Bristol has undergone a near-continuous overhaul in preparation for Saturday's game. Most significant is the clearing out of the infield section, which NASCAR teams use for a garage, and the installation of a playing field. Also, grandstands were constructed on the frontstretch and backstretch portions of the track, and two buildings were converted to locker rooms.

College GameDay airs from 9 a.m. to noon ET on ESPN. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, the same time as the Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.