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The Chase is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live in Prime Time from Charlotte on ABC

With the only prime time event in the Chase, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs continues this week with the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the series visits Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., for racing under the lights. ESPN on ABC’s high-definition telecast of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 begins at 7 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ABC will have live coverage of all 10 races that make up the Chase.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air live, prime-time coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying from Charlotte on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m., and coverage of final practice on Friday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 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.

The race will re-air Sunday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Friday Prime Time

ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live, prime-time telecast of the 300-mile event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Oct. 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. After the Charlotte event, only four races will remain in the 2008 season for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will join lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch for the race telecast, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race show with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.

ESPN2 also will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice from Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m., and coverage of qualifying on Friday at 3 p.m.

NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion

The Monday, Oct. 13, 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 ESPN analysts and reporters.

Episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Friday of this week at 5 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Saturday, Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The weekend wrap-up edition airs Sunday morning at 12:30 a.m. (late Saturday night). 

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.

ESPN Classic Showing One of NASCAR’s Greatest Races – 1983 Carolina 500

North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., hosted NASCAR races for more than 30 years, and none were more thrilling and competitive than the 1983 Carolina 500 won by Richard Petty. NASCAR fans can watch highlights from the event on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic.

Petty ended a 43-race winless streak when he nipped Bill Elliott at the finish.

NHRA Countdown to 1 Continues in Virginia on ESPN2

As the 2008 season for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series nears its conclusion, the Countdown to 1 playoffs continue this weekend with the NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, Va. ESPN2 will have same-day coverage of qualifying and eliminations. Qualifying coverage airs Saturday, Oct. 11, at 11:30 p.m. ET, while eliminations coverage airs Sunday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs on ESPN Classic on Monday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m.

In addition, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature live events network, streams live coverage of eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing returned to Virginia in 2006 with a race that shattered professional performance barriers, and the 2007 follow-up also produced eye-popping performances. The track’s reputation for being able to handle all that the teams can dish out makes it a perfect venue for the Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock teams to begin their crucial three-race run to the world titles.

Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn also c-host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.

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