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NHRA Kicks Off 60th Anniversary Season at Pomona

As the National Hot Rod Association celebrates its 60th anniversary, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season kicks off the 2011 season with the Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., this weekend. ESPN2 will air highlights of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 11 p.m. ET, and coverage of eliminations airs Sunday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. NHRA fans also can watch the full day of eliminations live on ESPN3.com starting at noon.

Every February since 1961, fans have flocked to Southern California for one of drag racing’s grandest traditions: the unveiling of new cars, drivers, teams, and sponsorships at the season opener, where teams hope to use the season kickoff as a springboard in their pursuit of a spot in the Countdown to the Championship at the fabled Pomona facility known for its outstanding traction, smooth surface, and record performances. This year’s event will feature a special tribute to legendary racer Don “the Snake” Prudhomme.

Paul Page anchors for ESPN with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, and Dave Rieff report from the pits.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Phoenix on ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend and ESPN2 will have a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the 200-mile event on Saturday, Feb. 26. NASCAR Countdown airs at 5 p.m. ET, while the race telecast starts at 5:30 p.m. 

Marty Reid will call the action with analysis by Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. 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 be hosted by Allen Bestwick with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion driver Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a team owner in the series. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

Craven, Benson, McGee on NASCAR Now Roundtable

NASCAR driver Johnny Benson joins ESPN analyst Ricky Craven and ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee as panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program airing Monday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.

Nicole Briscoe hosts half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now airing at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday of this week. There will be no show on Friday due to live NASCAR programming. Briscoe also hosts NASCAR Now’s weekend edition Sunday at 9 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. Mike Massaro and Marty Smith will report from Phoenix with analyst Brad Daugherty.

ESPN.com Offers RacingLive! During Phoenix Race

NASCAR fans looking for an online gathering during ESPN’s telecasts of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now have a place to go on ESPN.com.

RacingLive! on ESPN.com is a live blog where fans can engage in debate and discussion with ESPN.com writers and editors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. On Sunday, Feb. 27, RacingLive! Phoenix will kick off to coincide with the race at Phoenix International Raceway. Fans can join ESPN.com’s NASCAR experts in dissecting every aspect of the race live at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.

ESPN.com senior motorsports writer Terry Blount will be on-site at Phoenix to report on the weekend’s action and news.

ESPN Radio Raceday Airs Saturday, Sunday

Each weekend morning, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. ET with host Pat Patterson anchored from Daytona Beach, Fla. Patterson also originates the broadcast from several racetracks with key races during the season. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay listeners get an hour of news, previews and analysis, as well as profiles and interviews with NASCAR’s biggest names and newsmakers and the involvement of listeners via calls and e-mails.

Additionally, many of ESPN’s NASCAR reporters and analysts contribute each week as ESPN networks televise the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series and the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” championship. A list of ESPN Radio affiliates can be found at www.espnradio.com.

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