Motorsports this week on ESPN and ABC
ESPN on ABC To Televise Indianapolis 500 Live in HD
ESPN on ABC will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Sunday, May 27 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Telecast for the first time in high definition, the coverage will begin at noon ET. The race begins at 1 p.m.
Intriguing story lines abound, including the history-making inclusion of three women (Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno) in the 33-driver field, the return of two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., the continued rise of third-generation driver Marco Andretti and the quest for a repeat victory by defending race winner Sam Hornish Jr.
Marty Reid will anchor the ESPN on ABC telecast, joined in the booth by former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear and 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace for analysis. Jack Arute, Jamie Little, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report from the pits and from Indy’s Gasoline Alley.
Coverage of Indy’s Carburetion Day, the final practice session before the Indianapolis 500, will air at 4 p.m. ET Friday, May 25, on ESPN2. Coverage will include highlights from the annual pit crew competition as well as the Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 race. ESPN2 will air coverage of the annual Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, as well as a special Indianapolis 500 preview show at 7 p.m. Saturday .
ESPN’s IndyCar Series programming will be seen in 208 countries this year. ESPN Networks and Syndication Sales will reach 176 countries, with American Forces Network airing in 32 additional countries.
NASCAR Busch Series at Charlotte Live in Prime Time on ESPN2
ESPN2 will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live in prime time Saturday night from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race starts at 8 p.m.
The 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway has hosted two events each year for the NASCAR Busch Series since its inception in 1982. The races always attract stellar fields of drivers and cars, and defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who rarely drives in the NASCAR Busch Series, will be competing in the 300-mile race at Charlotte. Carl Edwards continues to lead the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.
Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Cup champion and one of the founding drivers of the NASCAR Busch Series, will join two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree in the ESPN booth for analysis during the telecast. Jarrett is filling in for ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace, who will rejoin NASCAR coverage in June. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play duties. Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will serve as pit reporters.
Allen Bestwick, whose multiple roles in ESPN’s NASCAR coverage this season include play-by-play announcer, studio host and pit reporter, will host NASCAR Countdown. “When the green flag waves for a race there's no place I'd rather be than on the air,” said Bestwick, who will be in the anchor position for next month’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Milwaukee. “I'm very lucky to be able to live my dreams every weekend, and serve in a variety of capacities on ESPN telecasts throughout the season."
Bestwick will be joined in ESPN’s pit studio for NASCAR Countdown by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.
In addition to the telecast on ESPN2, ESPN’s signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver a live online simulcast of the event, and a Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network.
NASCAR Now Schedule
NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR will have its expanded Monday edition on the air from 6-7 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN2. The program will have extensive highlights and recaps of the weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and related events from Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and will look ahead to next weekend with updates on the latest news items.
NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes at its regular 6:30 p.m. ET time slot Tuesday and Wednesday, at 5 p.m. Thursday, and at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10 a.m. Sunday with highlights from Saturday night’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Charlotte and a look ahead to that evening’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Sunday night’s edition of the program will air at midnight.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias and Ryan Burr and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR team.
New ESPN2 Television Times Set for Rescheduled NHRA Bristol Event
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have same-day coverage of both qualifying and eliminations for the rescheduled NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event July 6-8 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Qualifying for the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will be televised from 4-6 p.m. ET Saturday, July 7, with final eliminations on the air from 7-9 p.m. Sunday, July 8. NHRA Race Day will air at 11 a.m. July 8 to set the stage for that day’s eliminations.
The next event in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will be the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX, June 1-3 at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kansas. ESPN2 will have same-day coverage of qualifying from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2, with finals coverage from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, June 3.
New Episodes of ESPN2 Garage Programs on Tap for Week
New episodes of seven shows in the ESPN2 Garage block of automotive programming will air this week. Designed to complement ESPN’s extensive coverage of NASCAR, IndyCar, Champ Car and NHRA racing in 2007, ESPN2 Garage is dedicated to the automotive, motorcycle and motorsports worlds. ESPN2 will air more than 1,100 hours of motorsports programming in 2007.
New episodes of the ESPN2 Garage programs Mothers Car Show and SpeedFreaks will debut Wednesday, May 23, and Thursday, May 24, while original episodes of The Bidding Wars, Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars, Hot Rod Television, P.I.P.E.S, and Stacey David’s GearZ will air Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, with replays to air on weekday afternoons the following week.
In addition, Memorial Day will feature a marathon of episodes of the ESPN2 Garage program RM Classic Car Auctions. Episodes will air back-to-back from 2-6 p.m., interrupted at 6 p.m. for the one-hour Monday edition of NASCAR Now. Another episode of RM Classic Car Auctions will air at 7 p.m.
Mothers Car Show will air at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 23. Attending the ISCA O'Reilly World of Wheels in Atlanta, Ga., the Mothers judges view a one-off Baldwin-Motion-built Buick GS and a custom GTO convertible. A previously aired episode will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24.
In the new episode of SpeedFreaks that will air at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24, the Freaks are in Long Beach, Calif., and guests include NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series driver Carl Edwards, Champ Car star Sebastien Bourdais, current American Le Mans Series and former Formula One driver Mika Salo and Champ Car driver Paul Tagliani.
Hot Rod TV will kick off Saturday’s ESPN2 Garage schedule at 10 a.m. Superformance is home to armies of professionals who make replicas like nobody else. Hot Rod TV will show viewers why all of Superformance’s vehicles are aesthetically perfect, dimensionally correct and as reliable as the legendary sport roadsters of the 1960s.
Following at 10:30 a.m. will be a new episode of P.I.P.E.S. Challengers modify their tuner car to race in a “king of the hill” competition, with the eventual series winner taking home a cash prize. The tuner must run on pump gas and achieve a predetermined horsepower and fuel efficiency rating. Viewers will gain insight on how to boost their own car’s performance and make it fuel efficient. A previously aired episode will be shown at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 22.
Stacey David’s GearZ airs at 11 a.m. Saturday. The “Banshee” Miata gets a major face-lift as host Stacey David transforms it. The body parts fly and the cutting continues until slowly, from the mayhem, a car appears that really does look as good and run as fast as a Cobra or Corvette, at a much lower price. A previously aired episode of GearZ will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 22.
A new episode of The Bidding Wars airs at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Seven rare convertibles cross the Kruse Auction stage including 1935 and 1955 Packards, a 1952 Packard Woody, a 1968 Impala SS, a 1966 Mustang, a 1964 T-Bird and rock star Ted Nugent's 2001 Corvette. A previously aired episode will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 23.
A new episode of Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars debuts at 11 a.m. Sunday. Funkmaster Flex has chosen four of the best customizers to compete for the title of Ford’s Best of Show. As work continues, viewers learn that the cast of characters is definitely going to make this an interesting build.
Metric Revolution airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, with 22 of the country’s greatest motorcycle builders facing off in a competition unlike any other. This week cruiser builder Mike Stafford and sport bike builder Adam Canni struggle to build the most radical custom bikes on the planet.