Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series Live Under the Lights from California
The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head west to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for Labor Day weekend, and ESPN and ESPN HD will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Pepsi 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday, Aug. 31, beginning at 7 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Camping World 300 on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 9:45 p.m. Both races are simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The 2-mile oval, formerly known as California Speedway, is located just east of Los Angeles.
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.
Craven, Evernham, Said in NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion
The Monday, Sept. 1, edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, at 5 p.m. ET will include host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and races. Panel members for the show will be former NASCAR driver Ricky Craven and ESPN analysts Ray Evernham and Boris Said. Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m., and at 12:30 a.m. Saturday (late Friday night).
The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Sunday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Fontana, Calif. The weekend wrap-up edition airs Monday, Sept. 1, at 12:30 a.m. (late Sunday night). Said will be an in-studio analyst for the programs.
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 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.
ESPN2 Airing 10 Hours of NHRA U.S. Nationals Coverage
The biggest event of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will have more than 10 hours of coverage on ESPN2 this weekend with the running of the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Expanded qualifying and finals coverage will coincide with the final race to determine the drivers in the NHRA’s Countdown to 1 playoffs.
ESPN2’s coverage begins Sunday, Aug. 31, with a one-hour qualifying wrap-up program at 12:30 a.m. ET. More coverage airs at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Labor Day Monday, ESPN2 will have final eliminations from noon until 2 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.
Each Labor Day weekend, NHRA racers and fans descend on O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis for the biggest, oldest, richest, and most prestigious drag race in the world. The fabled quarter-mile is regarded by many as one of the smoothest on the circuit. The marathon also hosts two high-dollar bonus events, the $100,000-to-win NHRA U.S. Smokeless Showdown for Funny Cars and the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle, which pays $25,000 to the winning Pro Stock Motorcycle rider.
Paul Page will be lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA race winner Mike Dunn. Reporting from the pits will be Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Dave Rieff. Dunn and Rieff also host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m.
IndyCar Series at Detroit’s Belle Isle Circuit on ABC
With only two races left in the 2008 IndyCar Series season, the series moves to the Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit this weekend. ABC will have live coverage of the street circuit event Sunday, Aug. 31, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The battle for the series championship has narrowed down to a race between Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves, and Castroneves took a big bite out of Dixon’s point lead with a victory this past weekend in Sonoma, Calif.
ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband TV network, airs live coverage of IndyCar Series qualifying from Detroit at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30. ESPN360.com and ESPN MobileTV also will simulcast the race.
Marty Reid will be lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by former IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear. Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report from the pits.
Action from the recent Firestone Indy Lights event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., airs Friday, Aug. 29, at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. Bob Jenkins, Mike King and Robbie Buhl call the action for the Indy Racing League’s developmental series.
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 and 2004 seasons 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. 26, fans can watch the action of the 2003 Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals from Pomona, Calif., while Wednesday’s program features the 2004 Checker’s-Schuck’s-Kragen NHRA Nationals at Phoenix. The Mac Tools Gatornationals from Gainesville, Fla., air Thursday with the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals from Las Vegas airing Friday.
ESPN2 is the home for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.