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The Chase Begins: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from New Hampshire on ABC

After a season of racing, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs begins this week with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. ESPN on ABC will have live coverage of all 10 races that make up the Chase, beginning with Sunday’s event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. The telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at 1 p.m. with NASCAR Countdown on ABC and ABC HD.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at NHMS on Friday, Sept. 12, at noon, as well as qualifying later that day at 3 p.m. More NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on Saturday, Sept. 13, will be televised live at 9 a.m., and same-day coverage of final practice airs at 6 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer, 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 buildup to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, a special 30-minute Chase preview show airs Friday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Bodine, Evernham on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion

The Monday, Sept. 15, edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, at 5 p.m. ET will feature host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and races. Panel members will include NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Todd Bodine, ESPN analyst and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Ray Evernham and ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro.

Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Friday of this week at 5 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Sunday, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The weekend wrap-up edition airs Sunday night at 10 p.m. Bodine also will appear on the two Sunday shows.

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.

Cindy McCain’s Love of Auto Racing Featured on ESPN Newsmagazine E:60 Tuesday

ESPN's primetime newsmagazine E:60 airs Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. ET, and will include a feature on the passion for auto racing of Cindy McCain, wife of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.

In the piece, Cindy McCain and her son, Jack, discuss their participation in the sport of drifting, in which drivers compete in controlled slides. She also is shown during her recent visits to NASCAR Sprint Cup and IndyCar Series races.

Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Marathon, Previous Homestead Races Air on ESPN Classic

ESPN Classic gears up for the beginning of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with multiple hours of NASCAR-related programming this week.

On Friday, Sept. 13, ESPN Classic airs a marathon of all five episodes of the popular series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s move from the race team started by his father to Hendrick Motorsports. The marathon begins at 2:30 p.m. ET.

On Tuesday, Sept. 9, ESPN Classic begins a three-day series of re-airs of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season-ending event from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The races air at 1 p.m. daily.

Tuesday’s program features the 2007 Ford 400 in which Jimmie Johnson clinched his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title while Matt Kenseth scored the race win. On Wednesday, fans can watch the 2004 Ford 400, won by Greg Biffle, in which Kurt Busch won the championship in the inaugural year of the Chase.

The series ends Wednesday with the 2005 Ford 400, also won by Biffle, with Tony Stewart taking the championship.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Makes Debut at New Charlotte Facility as Countdown Begins

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series’ Countdown to 1 playoffs begin this week as the series makes its debut at the new zMax Dragway @ Concord with the NHRA Carolinas Nationals. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have same-day coverage of qualifying and final eliminations for the event at the track located across from Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C. Qualifying coverage airs Saturday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. ET, with eliminations coverage airing Sunday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. Eliminations re-air Monday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband television network, will stream live coverage of eliminations rounds from the final six events of the 2008 season.

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.

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