Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Chicago on ESPN
The NASCAR Nationwide Series is making its only appearance of 2008 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and ESPN will have live, prime-time coverage of the 300-mile event Friday, July 11, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast from the 1.5-mile track also airs in high definition on ESPN HD.
Dr. Jerry Punch will be ESPN2’s lead announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center.
Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a former winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the ESPN pit studio. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski joins ESPN’s coverage team as In-Race Reporter. Keselowski will talk to Wallace on the race’s pace laps and during caution periods.
ESPN2 also airs coverage of qualifying for the event at 4 p.m. on Friday, and coverage of final practice on Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m.
Evernham, Said, Massaro on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable
ESPN analyst and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Ray Evernham will appear on the weekly roundtable discussion on NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, Monday, July 14, at 5:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR driver Boris Said, also a NASCAR Now analyst, and ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro also join host Allen Bestwick in an hour-long discussion of the latest NASCAR news.
The Tuesday, July 8, edition of the program will originate from Petty Enterprises in the Charlotte, N.C., area, celebrating the 50th anniversary of “King” Richard Petty’s first NASCAR race. ESPN’s Shannon Spake will be on hand to talk to Petty and others. The one-hour program airs at 6 p.m.
Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air this week on Wednesday at 6 p.m., and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. leading into coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway. The one-hour weekend edition airs Saturday at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Chicagoland.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Ryan Burr, Nicole Manske and Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, ESPN.com reporters Terry Blount and David Newton and D.J. Copp, a member of Bobby Labonte’s NASCAR team.
NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Spake.
Jeff Hammond Featured on ESPN2’s Driven to Hunt Sunday
Former NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond will be featured on an episode of the ESPN2 series Driven to Hunt on Sunday, July 13, at 7 a.m. ET. The program repeats at 9:30 a.m.
Hammond heads to the mountains of New Mexico for a Rocky Mountain Elk hunt. The third day finds him in a stalk of his life for a once-in-a-lifetime bull.
Each week, Driven to Hunt will invite a prominent NASCAR personality on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt. From drivers to team owners to the over-the-wall gang, hunting is what they dream about. Guests this season include drivers Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Terry and Bobby Labonte and Kerry Earnhardt, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.
IndyCar Series Races Under the Lights in Music City on ESPN
After a string of races on short ovals and road courses, the IndyCar Series makes its only appearance of the 2008 season at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend and ESPN will have live coverage of the event Saturday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET. A replay airs Monday, July 14, at 9 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
Scott Dixon, winner of the 2008 Indianapolis 500 and the leading winner in the series this season, won last year’s IndyCar Series event on the 1.33-mile, concrete-surfaced track. Marty Reid will call the action, joined for analysis by former IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear. Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch report from the pits.
Also on the air this week is action from the Firestone Indy Lights Series, the developmental series for the IndyCar Series. Highlights from the recent event at Watkins Glen, N.Y., air Thursday, July 10, at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Moves to Denver on ESPN2
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series moves to Bandimere Speedway near Denver this weekend, and ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have coverage of qualifying and final eliminations for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Qualifying coverage airs Saturday, July 12, at 10 p.m. ET, with eliminations coverage airing Sunday, July 13, at 8 p.m. Eliminations re-air Monday, July 14, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
The second half of the season kicks off with the first of three consecutive weekends of racing and one of its greatest challenges. Teams travel high and deep into the Rocky Mountains to more than 5,800 feet, where the altitude affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics. Crews must make changes to established power-making combinations and battle lack of downforce to tackle the environs. The event is testament to the skill and adaptability of the racers.
Paul Page anchors coverage for ESPN2, with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn co-host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
NHRA Fans Can Relive Events on ESPN Classic
Fans of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will have opportunities all week to relive some of the great events of the 2005 season as ESPN Classic opens the archives and brings the events back to life on TV. The programs air at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday through Friday of this week, and Monday of next week.
On Tuesday, July 8, fans can watch the action of the 2005 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals from Denver, while Wednesday’s program features the Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals from Seattle. The Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals from Sonoma, Calif., air Thursday with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals from Brainerd, Minn., airing Friday.
ESPN2 is the home for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.