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NHRA Full Throttle Series and ESPN partner for ninth straight season
The worldwide leader in sports television will join forces with NHRA for a ninth consecutive season in 2009 as ESPN2 returns as the exclusive network of the 24-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. ESPN2 is now available in more than 96 million households.

The partnership that began in 2001 has grown stronger with each year of the relationship. In 2008, the fast-growing NHRA Full Throttle Series delivered 9 percent ratings growth on its Sunday eliminations broadcast.

The 2009 season begins in Southern California with the 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Feb. 5-8. It will conclude back in Pomona with the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Nov. 12-15, the sixth and final race in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to 1, and like each of the previous five races in the NHRA playoffs, it will be shown in prime time (7-10 p.m. ET).

In all, the network will dedicate more than 120 hours of original programming to the world's quickest, fastest, and most intense motorsport with live or same-day coverage of qualifying and eliminations on Sundays.
Sixteen of the 24 races will begin or end in the 7-10 p.m. ET time slot, and all 24 of the races will be presented once again in high definition.

Additionally, the popular pre-race show that debuted in 2007, NHRA Race Day presented by Lucas Oil, will be back in 2009 and again will be produced on-site to allow fans attending the Sunday race a chance to watch – and participate in – the show. It will air Sundays from each of the 24 NHRA Full Throttle Series events.

Highlights of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD include consistent time slots Sunday evening for the final eliminations rounds, with a majority in the coveted Sunday night prime-time slot. In addition, the network will dedicate 10 hours of coverage to the world's most prestigious drag race, the 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at historic O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-7.

Paul Page returns to the broadcast booth alongside former drag racer Mike Dunn, who will provide expert analysis and insight on the racing action. Dave Rieff and Gary Gerould will return as pit reporters. Joining them at select races throughout the year will be veteran announcer John Kernan, who joined the NHRA broadcast team in 2007. 

NHRA Race Day presented by Lucas Oil will be hosted once again by Rieff and Dunn and originate from NHRA's Nitro Alley. NHRA Race Day presented by Lucas Oil sets up the day for fans at home with must-see matchups, interviews with the stars of the sport, driver features, news and analysis, a review of qualifying, and what to watch for during the all-important Sunday eliminations action. 

This year's schedule includes four qualifying shows that will repeat on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD Sunday morning. Those shows are from the events in Phoenix, Gainesville, Reading, and Memphis, all of which have non-prime-time original airtime slots Saturday night.

In addition to coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing will be aired and distributed internationally through ESPN International.

2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series television schedule


Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals, Pomona Qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, Feb. 7
Eliminations, 6:30-10 p.m., Feb. 8
NHRA Race Day, 11:30 a.m., Feb. 8
NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix Qualifying, 2-4 a.m., Feb. 22
Qualifying (re-air), 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Feb. 22
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Feb. 22
NHRA Race Day, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 22
ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville Qualifying, 2-4 a.m., March 15
Qualifying (re-air), 10-11:30 a.m., March 15
Eliminations, (ESPN), 3-6 p.m., March 15
NHRA Race Day, 11:30 a.m., March 15
O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals, Houston Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., March 28
Eliminations, 4:30-7:30 p.m., March 29
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., March 29
SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., April 4
Eliminations, 4-7 p.m., April 5
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., April 5
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta Qualifying, 6-8 p.m., April 18
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., April 19
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., April 19
O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals, Madison Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., May 2
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., May 3
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., May 3
NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., May 16
. Eliminations, 7-10:30 p.m., May 17
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., May 17
O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, Topeka Qualifying, 9:30-11:30 p.m., May 30
Eliminations, 4-7 p.m., May 31
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., May 31
NHRA Route 66 Nationals, Chicago Qualifying, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., June 6
Eliminations, 4-7 p.m., June 7
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., June 7
NHRA SuperNationals, Englishtown Qualifying, 7-8 p.m., 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., June 13
Eliminations, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., June 14
NHRA Race Day, noon, June 14
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., June 27
Eliminations, 8-11 p.m., June 28
NHRA Race Day, noon, June 28
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver Qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, July 11
Eliminations, 8-11 p.m., July 12
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., July 12
NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle Qualifying, 7-9 p.m., July 18
Eliminations, 9 p.m.-midnight, July 19
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., July 19
Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals, Sonoma Qualifying, 9 p.m.-midnight, July 25
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., July 26
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., July 26
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd Qualifying, 6-7 p.m., Aug. 15
Eliminations, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., Aug. 16
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Aug. 16
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, Reading Qualifying, 1-3 a.m., Aug. 23
Qualifying (re-air), 10-11:30 a.m., Aug. 23
Eliminations, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., Aug. 23
NHRA Race Day, 11:30 a.m., Aug. 23
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis Qualifying, 11 p.m.-midnight, Sept. 5
Qualifying, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 6
Qualifying, 5-7 p.m., Sept. 6
Eliminations, 1:30-6 p.m., Sept. 7
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Sept. 6
NHRA Nationals, Charlotte Qualifying, 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., Sept.19
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Sept. 20
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Sept. 20
O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Dallas Qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, Sept. 26
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Sept. 27
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Sept. 27
O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals, Memphis Qualifying, 1-3 a.m., Oct. 4
Qualifying (re-air), 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Oct. 4
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Oct. 4
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Oct. 4
NHRA Virginia Nationals, Richmond Qualifying, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Oct. 10
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Oct. 11
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Oct. 11
NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas Qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, Oct. 31
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Nov. 1
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Nov. 1
Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona Qualifying, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Nov. 14
Eliminations, 7-10 p.m., Nov. 15
NHRA Race Day, 11 a.m., Nov. 15

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