ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage Launches at Indianapolis ESPN begins its coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 31. ESPN’s multimedia platforms will surround the race telecast on television, radio, online and on mobile devices and ESPN will be introducing several new television production elements into its NASCAR coverage.
The race telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and follows the one-hour NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon, with the race’s green flag at 1:19 p.m. The Indianapolis race is the first of 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup events on ESPN networks to close out the 2011 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.
ESPN’s coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway also includes telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 30, at 2 p.m. and practice earlier that day at 10 a.m., both on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN will air the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from nearby Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday night, July 30, along with practice and qualifying sessions earlier in the day.
Four former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions will be an integral part of ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage team, including analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion, who will work with two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick 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 with host Nicole Briscoe and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.
ESPN will introduce several new production advancements in its NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts, including the first-ever use of dual path transmission for onboard cameras. The new technology, developed by ESPN and Broadcast Sports International, will allow ESPN to get high definition video from two onboard cameras in the same car simultaneously, where in the past only one of the three cameras mounted in each car could be used at a time. As an example, when a crash is being replayed, viewers will now be able to see two different onboard points of view of a car involved or near the crash, such as the view of the roof camera, face camera or bumper camera.
ESPN will use 76 high definition cameras in the Brickyard 400 telecast, including Bat Cam, a camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. ESPN has worked with Sportvision on the race effects system to expand the use of pointers that help viewers identify cars when they are racing in a tight pack. With the advanced technology, the pointers can now appear on more camera shots, including aerials and trackside robotic cameras. This year, ESPN will have a helicopter camera for all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts for the first time.