Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series Racing Under the Lights at Richmond
The NASCAR Nationwide Series was born on short tracks racing at night, and the series returns to its roots for the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, May 1, at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will have a live, high definition telecast of the 250-lap race on the 0.750-mile track beginning 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 Saturday, May 2, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage from Richmond, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake 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 the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.
Craven, LaJoie on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable
ESPN NASCAR analysts Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and NASCAR Now reporter Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News, will be panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on ESPN2 on Monday, May 4, at 5 p.m. ET. They will join host Allen Bestwick on ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition, hosted by Mike Massaro, airs Saturday, May 2, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Richmond International Raceway. Craven will join Massaro on the set, while Nicole Manske and Marty Smith will report from Richmond.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Manske, 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, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. The NASCAR on ESPN team event coverage team of Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Spake and Vince Welch also make frequent contributions to NASCAR Now.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing from St. Louis on ESPN2
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series travels to Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis this weekend, and ESPN2 will air qualifying and eliminations action on a same-day basis. Qualifying from the O’Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals airs Saturday, May 2, at 6 p.m. ET, with eliminations airing Sunday at 7 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs Monday, May 4, at 5 p.m. on ESPN Classic.
Contested in the shadow of the famed St. Louis arch at multipurpose Gateway, the event moved to cooler May climes in 2007 after a change in the schedule from its traditional summer date. Since its inception, the event has become known for surprise winners. The Madison, Ill., quarter-mile hosts the fourth event of the season for riders in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
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 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
AMA Supercross Star James Stewart To Be Profiled on ESPN’s E:60
ESPN's award-winning primetime newsmagazine E:60 will profile AMA Supercross star James Stewart in the episode airing Tuesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. ET. The program, which launched in October 2007, combines investigative reporting, in-depth profiles of intriguing sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. These stories are presented in a fresh and innovative format that incorporates producer/correspondent meetings.
Stewart is often called the “Tiger Woods” of his sport and is arguably the most dominant athlete in competition today. The first African-American in history to win a major motorsports title, Stewart has not only broken numerous records, he has broken racial barriers as well. He now earns more than $10 million annually and is on the verge of winning his second AMA Supercross championship.
But Stewart’s rise to the top was not easy. His father collected cans to help pay for his son’s racing. And James had to come to terms with being different, both in the all-black neighborhood where he grew up and on the all-white racetracks where he competed. Now one of the most popular riders in Supercross, Stewart for the first time talks openly with E:60’s Michael Smith about the racism he has endured at the racetrack. On the track, he wins with a style all his own, and off the track, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
ESPN Classic Airs NASCAR, NHRA Events on May 4
NASCAR and NHRA fans will have a chance to go back in time and see some classic events of the past on Monday, May 4, as ESPN Classic presents a pair of events from both motorsports sanctioning bodies.
The 1995 NAPA 500, a NASCAR Winston Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, airs at 2 p.m. ET. Darrell Waltrip was fastest qualifier but Dale Earnhardt drove to victory as Jeff Gordon clinched his first NASCAR championship.
Also on Monday, drag racing fans can watch highlights of the 2003 Checkers-Schuck’s-Kragen NHRA Nationals from Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. The one-hour program airs at 1 p.m.
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 on Sunday, May 3, at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
The program will feature highlights from an event held in Hamburg, N.Y. The league is sanctioned by the American Tractor Pulling Association.