Motorsports This Week on ESPN
NASCAR Nationwide Series Season from California on ESPN2
After starting the 2009 season at Daytona, the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues on the other side of the country this weekend with a 300-mile event at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Live, flag-to-flag coverage presented by GoDaddy.com airs Saturday, Feb. 21, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD 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 lap-by-lap 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 and Brad Daugherty, a winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.
Evernham, Craven, LaJoie on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion
The Monday, Feb. 23, 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 NASCAR analysts Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie.
Episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Sunday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Fontana, Calif.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Mike Massaro 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, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, 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.
ESPN Classic Takes NASCAR Fans Back to 1985
The late Dale Earnhardt was a master of the high-banked Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway during his career, and NASCAR fans can take a trip down memory lane to see one of the Intimidator’s masterful performances when ESPN Classic shows highlights of the 1985 Valleydale 500 from Bristol on Monday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m. ET.
Earnhardt won the race despite a steering problem that caused him to manhandle his Chevrolet around the half-mile track for most of the race.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at Phoenix
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its annual appearance at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix this weekend, and ESPN2 will have coverage of qualifying and eliminations from the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD air qualifying action on Sunday, Feb. 22, at midnight ET (late Saturday night), and coverage of eliminations later that day at 7 p.m. NHRA fans have a second chance to watch qualifying at 11 a.m. Sunday. Finals re-air Monday, Feb. 23, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
NHRA’s annual duel in the desert has been a Southwest fixture since 1985, when it joined the tour in a late fall slot. Since 1990, it has been the second stop on the tour’s westward march and a place for teams to redeem mistakes made at the opener. Charlie Allen, a former Funny Car racer, constructed a track that makes people forget it sits at 1,100 feet above sea level. The facility is also known for its annual preseason tests and Tony Schumacher’s historic 330-mph quarter-mile blast in 1999.
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
Other NHRA action on the ESPN Networks this week includes the NHRA Pro Modified Series, with highlights from events at Indianapolis and Memphis airing Monday, Feb. 23, starting at 4 p.m. on ESPN Classic.
Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Action Airs Sunday on ESPN2
The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, which features modified trucks, tractors and other vehicles, will be in action in a 30-minute program on Sunday, Feb. 22, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The program will feature highlights from an event last year in Indianapolis. The league is sanctioned by the American Tractor Pulling Association.