Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
The Chase is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from New Hampshire on ABC
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for 300 laps on Sunday, Sept. 20, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race will air on ABC. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Degree V12 at 1 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag is at 2:15 p.m.
ESPN’s coverage of the final 11 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will air on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. ESPN’s coverage from New Hampshire includes NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m., and a same-day telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice on Saturday at 6:45 p.m., both on ESPN2.
Dr. Jerry Punch will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage, with analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, co-owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.
Also this week, ESPN2 airs a 30-minute special program previewing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The program airs Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 5:30 p.m. following NASCAR Now.
The New Hampshire race re-airs on ESPN Classic at noon on Monday, Sept. 21. Earlier that day at 8 a.m., ESPN Classic airs an episode of its signature series SportsCentury featuring seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty.
NASCAR Now Previews Chase in Expanded Episode
ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will report from Chase Media Day in New York and from historic Fenway Park in Boston in an expanded one-hour episode on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. ET. Host Mike Massaro will preview the Chase with driver interviews from New York, while members of the Roush Fenway Racing team and some guests from the Boston Red Sox will be interviewed from Boston during the hour as well.
NASCAR on ESPN analysts Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Boris Said will be panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on Monday, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m. with host Allen Bestwick.
Massaro hosts half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. Massaro will be joined by Said for the one-hour weekend edition that airs Sunday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire. The weekend wrap-up edition airs at 10 p.m. Nicole Manske and Marty Smith will report from New Hampshire for both programs. .
NASCAR Now is hosted by Massaro, Bestwick and Manske 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.
Countdown to 1 Begins for NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series begins its Countdown to 1 playoffs as the series visits zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., for the NHRA Carolina Nationals this weekend. ESPN2 will air qualifying and eliminations action on a same-day basis. Qualifying airs Saturday, Sept. 19, at 11 p.m. ET, with eliminations airing Sunday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs Monday, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m. on ESPN Classic.
The most recent addition to the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series was an overwhelming success in its debut last year, when race fans descended on the brand-new facility to enjoy what has been called “the Bellagio of dragstrips.” The event holds a crucial spot on the schedule as the first event of the Countdown to 1. The 10 teams in each category that qualified for this final leg of the championship battle will be looking for strong opening statements to kick off their final pushes for NHRA Full Throttle glory.
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, Dave Rieff and John Kernan 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.
Other NHRA programming airing on ESPN Networks this week includes highlights from the 2004 NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., airing Monday, Sept. 21, at 3 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 on Sunday, Sept. 20, in a half-hour program beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
The programs will feature highlights from an event held in Henry, Ill. The league is sanctioned by the American Tractor Pulling Association.