NEW YORK (AP) – NBC is adding a 5-second delay to its NASCAR telecasts after Dale Earnhardt Jr. used a vulgarity during a postrace TV interview last weekend.

“We’re disappointed for our viewers to have to do this, but the delay provides a level of protection against anything inappropriate going out over the air,” NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Thursday.

Earnhardt was docked 25 points in the Nextel Cup standings and fined $10,000 for his slip of the tongue in an NBC interview after his victory at Talladega Superspeedway, dropping him to second place with seven races left in the season. He will appeal the point penalty.

Federal regulators have cracked down on objectionable content on TV and radio since Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl. CBS was fined a record $550,000 by the FCC for Jackson’s breast-baring incident.

Networks have installed delays of up to 10 seconds for some programming, and ABC’s “Monday Night Football” is using a 5-second delay this season. But, until now, NBC had decided not to give itself a chance to censor its NASCAR telecasts.

“NASCAR wholeheartedly supports NBC’s decision of instituting a 5-second delay beginning this weekend,” said NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo. “We are confident that NBC will continue to deliver exciting competition content for fans week in and week out regardless.”

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