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08/12/08
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Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Michigan on ESPN

The 2-mile Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., has long carried a reputation as one of NASCAR’s most competitive racetracks, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its second and final appearance of the season at the track this weekend. ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 400-mile race on Sunday, August 17, at 1 p.m. ET. The race also airs in high definition on ESPN HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The race replays on Monday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. on ESPN Classic.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

As part of the week’s buildup to the event, ESPN Classic airs the 1990 Champion Spark Plug 400 race at Michigan on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 2 p.m. The race originally aired on ESPN and was won by Mark Martin.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Michigan on ESPN2

ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on Saturday, Aug. 16, beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast also airs in high definition on ESPN2 HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes.

Denny Hamlin won last year’s 250-mile event at MIS for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Sixteen different drivers have won since the series began racing at MIS in 1992.

Lead announcer for ESPN2 will be Dr. Jerry Punch, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. 

NASCAR Now Visits Joe Gibbs Racing Wednesday

NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, will visit the headquarters of one of the top teams in NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing, for a special hour-long program on Wednesday, August 13, at 5 p.m. ET. NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith will be on-site in Huntersville, N.C., with Nicole Manske hosting the program from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn.

In addition to a look back at the history of JGR since its inception in 1991, NASCAR Now will have live interviews with the man who started it all, Joe Gibbs, along with his son, J.D. Gibbs, who now runs the entire operation. NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch and his crew chief Steve Addington also will be live guests, along with Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin, 18-year-old NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Joey Logano and Camping World East driver Marc Davis. 

 
Smith also takes a tour of the shop with Tony Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, as tour guide to give viewers an inside look at the inner workings of JGR. Smith talks with Zipadelli about his experience at JGR and his relationship with Stewart, who is leaving JGR at the end of the season. Smith also sits down with Stewart to discuss his years at JGR, this season and his future. 

 
The Monday, Aug. 18, edition of NASCAR Now at 5 p.m. will include host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and races. Panel members for the show will include former NASCAR driver Ricky Craven, ESPN analyst Ray Evernham and ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro. A half-hour episode of NASCAR Now airs Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 5:30 p.m., with the Wednesday and Thursday editions at 5 p.m. The program with Friday’s news airs at midnight on Saturday, Aug. 16 (late Friday night).

The one-hour weekend editions of NASCAR Now air Sunday, Aug. 17, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan, and at 1 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 18 (late Sunday night) with the weekend wrap-up.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Ryan Burr, Nicole Manske and Allen 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 Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton and D.J. Copp, a member of the Petty Enterprises 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 Shannon Spake.

Randy Moss’ NASCAR Venture Featured on ESPN Newsmagazine E:60 Tuesday

ESPN's primetime newsmagazine E:60 will return for 14 weekly episodes beginning Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. ET. The multi-subject program, on a scheduled break since May 13, will air each Tuesday at that time through Nov. 11.

On Tuesday’s episode, E:60 cameras follow New England Patriots Pro Bowl wide receiver Randy Moss as he begins his venture as a race team owner in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series. In the process, Moss explains why he decided to become a team owner, the challenges of establishing himself in the sport and what his ownership means for minorities in NASCAR. 

E:60 was given an all-access look as Moss announced his deal at Daytona, made his initial visit to his race shop in Charlotte, N.C., and attended his first race as NASCAR team owner in Kentucky. E:60’s Rachel Nichols reports.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at Reading on ESPN2

As the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series moves closer to its Countdown to 1 playoffs, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have coverage of qualifying and final eliminations for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals from Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Penn., this weekend. Qualifying coverage airs Saturday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. ET, with eliminations coverage airing Sunday, Aug. 17, at 10 p.m. Eliminations re-air Monday, Aug. 18, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

Held in mid-September since its inception in 1985, the race moved to an August date last year. Maple Grove Raceway has a long history of record performances, including the first side-by-side four-second and 300-mph Top Fuel passes. It’s also the final event for Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors to earn points toward participation in the NHRA U.S. Smokeless Showdown and Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle bonus events, held at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Paul Page anchors coverage for ESPN2, with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, John Kernan 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 2003 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.

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, fans can watch the action of the 2003 Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals from Columbus, Ohio, while Wednesday’s program features the Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals from St. Louis. The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Denver air Thursday with the Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals from Seattle airing Friday. 

ESPN2 is the home for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Firestone Indy Lights Action from Kentucky on ESPN2

ESPN2 will show action from the recent Firestone Indy Lights Series race at Kentucky Speedway near Cincinnati on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 3 p.m. ET. The series is the developmental series for the IndyCar Series.

Bob Jenkins, Mike King and Robbie Buhl call the action.

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