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DATE News (chronologically)
03/16/09
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Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC

NASCAR Nationwide Series from Bristol on ABC

The NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its first appearance of the 2009 season on ABC this weekend when ESPN on ABC has live, high definition coverage of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 21, beginning at 2 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Sunday, March 22, at 8 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

ESPN2 will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at Bristol on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. along with same-day coverage of final practice airing Friday, March 20, at 6 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lap-by-lap announcer, 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, 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 champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

NASCAR Star Jeff Burton to Appear on ABC’s General Hospital

NASCAR driver Jeff Burton drives into Port Charles and the ABC daytime drama General Hospital in an episode that airs Wednesday, March 18, at 3 p.m. ET.

In the storyline, Burton visits neighborhood tavern Jake's where he has a conversation with bartender Coleman (Blake Gibbons) when Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) arrives and despite being a race car enthusiast, the neurosurgeon does not recognize the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star and a comedic beat ensues. 

ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour was on set with Burton to capture the racer in action. Alipour’s story is available at http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3974929.

Burton on receiving the call: "My initial reaction was, why do they want me?" Burton said. "Because I'm certainly not a good actor, and I don't have a Hollywood face by any means. When I go to the beach, whales gather around."

General Hospital celebrates 46 years of broadcasting on April 1, 2009, and is the longest-running dramatic serial on the ABC Television Network, having aired more than 11,000 episodes. A winner of a record 10 Emmys for Best Daytime Drama, General Hospital consistently rates as one of the top daytime programs with Women 18-49 and Women 18-34. 

Jarrett, Petree, Evernham on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion

The Monday, March 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 Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Ray Evernham. 

Episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m., with the Thursday show expanded to one hour to preview the Scotts Saturday Night Special at Bristol Motor Speedway, a race featuring legendary drivers of NASCAR. The show airs at 6 p.m. Friday. The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Sunday, March 22, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol. 

NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Mike Massaro and Allen 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. Frequent contributions to the program are also made by the NASCAR on ESPN event coverage team team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch.

NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Featured Saturday on ESPN2

Action from the NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series airs Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The program features racing from the ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Dave Rieff hosts the coverage for ESPN2.

Featuring race vehicles that range from 5-second Top Alcohol Dragsters and Top Alcohol Funny Cars to 15-second Stockers, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series is the premier Sportsman series in drag racing. Eight categories are included in the series, which is showcased at select NHRA national events.

Documentary on 24 Hours of Le Mans Airs Friday on ESPN

Truth in 24, a feature film-length documentary on the Audi team at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, airs Friday, March 20, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The telecast marks the first public distribution of the film.

Narrated by British actor Jason Statham, the film was co-produced by NFL Films and Intersport and was made with nearly unlimited access to the Audi team during the prestigious French sports car endurance racing classic.

Two races of the 2009 season for the American Le Mans Series will air on ABC this year, beginning with the April 4 event at St. Petersburg, Fla., and including a tape-delayed telecast of the event from Long Beach, Calif., on April 19.

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