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NASCAR Nationwide Series Season Opens at Daytona on ESPN2
The 2009 season for the NASCAR Nationwide Series kicks off this weekend, and ESPN2 will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Camping World 300 from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 14, beginning at noon ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett, one of the founding drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace, three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty, a winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

ESPN2 also will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying Friday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. and final practice Thursday, Feb. 12, at 9:30 a.m.

NASCAR Now Live from Daytona All Week

NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, originates from Daytona International Speedway with daily one-hour episodes the week of the Daytona 500. The program airs at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 10, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The one-hour weekend edition airs at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15, with a preview of that day’s Daytona 500 and a review of the previous day’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300. Allen Bestwick hosts the programs from Daytona.

The Monday, Feb. 16, edition of NASCAR Now at 5 p.m. will feature Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion to wrap up Daytona Speedweeks. Panel members will include ESPN NASCAR analysts Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Ricky Craven. 

NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Mike Massaro and Bestwick. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. 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, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch.

Special Episode of SportsCenter Airs from Daytona

ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter will present a one-hour special from Daytona International Speedway on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, the eve of NASCAR’s Daytona 500. Hosted by Allen Bestwick, with analysts Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty, SportsCenter at Daytona presented by Wrangler will preview the Great American Race with analysis, opinion, and interviews with three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon and former race winners Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. 

SportsCenter at Daytona also will present a feature on the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Daytona 500, the first 500-mile race to be broadcast live on national television (CBS) which featured a final lap crash and subsequent fight between Cale Yarborough and brothers Donnie and Bobby Allison. Additionally, reporter Marty Smith will moderate a roundtable discussion with defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

ESPN2 Airing NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series Preview Shows

ESPN2 airs season preview shows for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series on Tuesday, Feb. 10, starting at 3 p.m. with the 30-minute Sprint Cup preview. The Nationwide Series program airs at 3:30 p.m.

ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. ESPN also will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ABC.

ESPN Classic Airs Five Classic Daytona 500 Races

Starting at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 15, the eve of the  Daytona 500 , ESPN Classic televises highlights of five of the best Daytona 500 races of all time – 1979, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2007.

In addition, ESPN Classic re-airs an episode of its signature series SportsCentury featuring seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty on Friday, Feb. 13, at 9 a.m., and an episode with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Monday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m.

NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Action Sunday on ESPN2

Action from the NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series airs Sunday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The program features racing from the series’ event at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., that opened the 2009 season

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