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DATE News (chronologically)
07/20/10
tv news
ESPN Launching NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage at Indianapolis  
SportsCenter, NASCAR Now Among Multimedia Platforms Surrounding Brickyard

With a revised schedule and new post-race elements, ESPN launches its coverage of the final 17 races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 25, at 1 p.m. ET. ESPN’s multimedia platforms will surround the race telecast on television, radio and online.

The telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and follows the one-hour NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon. The green flag flies at 1:19 p.m. and following the race, additional reports, analysis and interviews from Indianapolis will air on ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter, as will be the case for all 14 races airing on ESPN this season.

The Indianapolis race is the first of 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup events to be produced by ESPN to close out the 2010 NASCAR season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Of the 17 races, 14 will air on ESPN and three on ABC.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is such an iconic and storied venue and is an ideal location for us to launch our NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “We applaud the changes that NASCAR has made this season and look forward to serving NASCAR fans across our multimedia platforms during the run to the championship."

Five former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions will be an integral part of ESPN’s coverage team at the Brickyard, including analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion, who will work with two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid in the booth. Two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, while pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. 

NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN pit studio will feature analysis by 1989 champion driver Rusty Wallace and three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, with host Allen Bestwick and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

ESPN will use 76 high definition cameras in the telecast, including Track Cam, a camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. ESPN also will record the radio transmissions of all 43 teams in the race and will provide additional access and discovery for viewers by replaying conversations between drivers and crews.

NASCAR Countdown will include interviews with many of the race’s starting drivers as well as multiple features:

  • A revealing interview with Jimmie Johnson, the race’s three-time and defending champion. As the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion sits in an ice sculpted chair, surrounded by giant blocks of ice, he talks about how he stays so calm and calculated in a race car and how that has resulted in his unprecedented success.
  • Team owner Roger Penske has an in-depth conversation with Bestwick at the Penske Racing shop in North Carolina. They discuss where Penske came from, beginning as a driver, what it means to be a Penske driver, his success at the Daytona 500 and what finally winning in a stock car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would mean to him.
  • ESPN looks at how Denny Hamlin has been transformed into the new leader at Joe Gibbs Racing, both on and off the track. The rehabilitation from his knee surgery earlier this year has caused him to work through adversity to find new strength, and the feature includes words from Hamlin as viewers watch his rehab, as well as from Gibbs and Hamlin's physical therapist.
  • Four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon tells ESPN’s Marty Smith how family has affected his racing career, how he is more motivated to win than ever and what the rivalry with Johnson has been like this season.
  • In "Ode to the Pit Stop," ESPN contributor Chris Connelly describes the pit stop in a way never heard before. In iambic pentameter narration, Connelly showcases the nuances of a pit stop, the detailed choreography that is required to have a stop work perfectly and how it can make or break a driver's chances to win.
  • An animated feature on the size, scope and speed of Indianapolis Motor Speedway compares the track to the George Washington Bridge, the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Rose Bowl. The animation also illustrates the speeds reached by race cars.
  • Several short pieces speak to the Brickyard itself, including drivers talking about why Indy is so special, what is the most iconic part of the speedway, their favorite Indy memory (either stock cars or IndyCars), and some showcasing of Indy fans.

The race telecast at 1 p.m. opens with an intense piece that highlights the biggest stories coming into the Brickyard 400, including Johnson going for four wins in the prestigious race, Gordon trying to become the first five-time winner on the IMS oval, Juan Pablo Montoya looking to win on the 10th anniversary of his Indianapolis 500 victory and Penske searching for his first Brickyard win, all in a stylized edit focusing on "the moment" that Indy creates.

ESPN’s coverage from Indy includes NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 24, at 10 a.m., and telecasts of two practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars on the famed 2.5-mile track, all on ESPN2. The first practice session airs Friday, July 23, at 2 p.m., while final practice airs Saturday at 3:30 p.m. All programming airs in high definition.

ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will originate from Indianapolis for four episodes. A one-hour episode airs Thursday, July 22, at 5 p.m., with a half-hour show on Friday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy airs Sunday at 9 a.m. with a preview of the race hosted by Nicole Briscoe, while a weekend wrap-up edition airs at 10 p.m. that night with Bestwick hosting. Bestwick also hosts the Thursday and Friday programs. NASCAR on ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, Brad Daugherty, Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Now co-host and reporter Mike Massaro and lead reporter Marty Smith also will contribute to the on-site Indianapolis coverage.   

Other ESPN Platforms

In addition to the live telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2, the Indianapolis event will receive multiplatform coverage on other ESPN outlets:

ESPN International is one of the world’s leading syndicators of sports programming and its relationship with NASCAR is helping maximize coverage of NASCAR and provide a solid base of distribution. Through a combination of sales and network programming, the 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series races are now available to 114 countries and territories around the world. In addition, U.S. troops and their families serving around the world and Navy vessels at sea can watch via the American Forces Network.

ESPN.com will provide surround coverage from the Brickyard with veteran motorsports writers Terry Blount, Ed Hinton, David Newton and Marty Smith. Editors K. Lee Davis and Joe Breeze will lead the coverage with contributions from ESPN’s team of on-air announcers. The crew will chat live with fans on Sunday during the 17th running of the Brickyard 400. Jayski.com’s Mark Garrow will keep fans up to date with his regular podcasts as well as informative fantasy chat and a team-by-team breakdown from the garage the morning of the race.

SportsCenter at the Brickyard - ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter will present a half-hour special from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 24, the eve of ESPN’s live telecast of NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at the famed track. SportsCenter at the Brickyard will be hosted by Allen Bestwick with analysts Dale Jarrett and Ray Evernham.

SportsCenter at the Brickyard will preview Sunday’s race with analysis, features and interviews and will lead into ESPN’s live telecast of that night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race from O’Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis.

In addition to the special, extensive reports, interviews and highlights will air on regular editions of SportsCenter and on ESPNEWS. Post-race coverage will continue on SportsCenter after all 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup races airing on ESPN. NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will be a standing guest each week in the ESPN pit studio after the race to offer the perspective of a driver who just competed in the event.

ESPN Classic - NASCAR fans can enjoy a Classic Brickyard 400 Marathon on ESPN Classic starting on Friday night, July 23, and running through the night. The 1995 edition opens the marathon at 8 p.m., followed at 10 p.m. by the 2008 race. Highlights from the 2009 and 2007 races follow, with the inaugural Brickyard 400 from 1994 airing at 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 24.

ESPN Radio’s Saturday RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, with an hour of news, previews and analysis. ESPN Radio also provides auto racing fans the comprehensive Sunday RaceDay (6-7 a.m. Sundays), which covers the auto racing world. Pat Patterson hosts the program.

ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language television, radio and Internet in the U.S., will televise the Indianapolis race on a delayed basis, airing the event at 4 a.m. on Monday, July 26. ESPN Deportes auto racing commentators Andres Aguilla and Alex Pombo will provide lap-by-lap commentary and analysis in Spanish.

Schedule for Indianapolis Week on ESPN Networks (all times Eastern)

Tue., July 20 5 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Wed., July 21 5 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Thu., July 22 5 p.m. NASCAR Now (at Indianapolis) ESPN2
Fri., July 23 2 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup practice ESPN2
Fri., July 23 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Now (at Indianapolis) ESPN2
Fri., July 23 8 p.m. 1995 Brickyard 400 ESPN Classic
Fri., July 23 10 p.m. 2008 Brickyard 400 ESPN Classic
Sat., July 24 Midnight 2009 Brickyard 400 ESPN Classic
Sat., July 24 2 a.m. 2007 Brickyard 400 ESPN Classic
Sat., July 24 4 a.m. 1994 Brickyard 400 ESPN Classic
Sat., July 24 6 a.m. Saturday RaceDay ESPN Radio
Sat., July 24 10 a.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying ESPN2
Sat., July 24 12:30 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series final prac. ESPN2
Sat., July 24 3:30 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice ESPN2
Sat., July 24 5 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying ESPN2
Sat., July 24 7 p.m. SportsCenter at the Brickyard ESPN
Sat., July 24 7:30 p.m. NASCAR Countdown ESPN
Sat., July 24 8 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series at ORP ESPN
Sun., July 25 6 a.m. Sunday RaceDay ESPN Radio
Sun., July 25 9 a.m. NASCAR Now (at Indianapolis) ESPN2
Sun., July 25 Noon NASCAR Countdown ESPN
Sun., July 25 1 p.m. Brickyard 400 pres. by Golden Corral ESPN
Sun., July 25 10 p.m. NASCAR Now (at Indianapolis) ESPN2
Mon., July 26 4 a.m. Brickyard 400 pres. by Golden Corral ESPN Deportes
Mon., July 26 5 p.m. NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable ESPN2

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