ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Returns Feb. 7

ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns for its fifth season on Monday, Feb. 7, at 5:00pm/et to coincide with the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR season. The program includes highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders.

With hosts Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake, NASCAR Now originates from ESPN's high definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters and analysts checking in from locations around the country wherever NASCAR news is happening. In addition to reports from races, NASCAR Now reporters also visit race shops and special events.

Monday's show [Feb 7th] will include interviews with NASCAR president Mike Helton and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus as well as thoughts from ESPN NASCAR analyst Dale Jarrett.

NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., site of the NASCAR season-opening Daytona 500, with special hour-long programs starting Sunday, Feb. 13 and including a Daytona wrap-up special on Sunday night, Feb. 20. Massaro will host the first week of episodes beginning Feb. 7 with reports from Daytona starting Feb. 10.

The first two weeks of programs will include new and exclusive interviews surrounding the 10th anniversary of the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, who was killed in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Among the elements:

* NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith in a new, exclusive interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Dr. Alfred Alson, the first doctor to arrive on the scene of Earnhardt's fatal crash, speaks on camera for the first time about that day.
* Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and others reflect on what they remember from the day Earnhardt died.
* Personalities including NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett and Hall of Fame journalist Tom Higgins tell Earnhardt stories.
* A unique look at Earnhardt through the eyes of the man who regularly cut his hair and trimmed his iconic moustache.

Other NASCAR Now features leading to Daytona will include a look at the driver/crew chief changes at Hendrick Motorsports, with interviews with the drivers and their new crew chiefs together; defending Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray reviews last year's race through his eyes; members of Jimmie Johnson's team put Johnson's fifth consecutive Sprint Cup championship into perspective; Danica Patrick discusses her first season in NASCAR and expectations for 2011; Brian Vickers talks to Smith about his return to racing this season; and ESPN Sports Science explores the repaving of Daytona and how it will affect the racing.

The first week of the program also will include segments of a roundtable discussion hosted by ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch with analysts Andy Petree and Ricky Craven and reporter Smith. Among the topics will be discussion of the resurgence of Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress Racing; Brad Keselowski and the changes at Team Penske; the new NASCAR rule requiring drivers to choose one series for points; drivers and teams under the radar; Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing; and Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing.

In addition to the Monday through Friday program, ESPN2 also airs an hour-long edition of NASCAR Now at on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and a weekend wrap-up edition will begin in September to coincide with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Monday edition of NASCAR Now expands to an hour and features a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news with ESPN analysts and reporters as well as special guests.

The NASCAR Now team also includes Terry Blount, motorsports writer for; analyst Tim Brewer, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief; D.J. Copp, tire changer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series; and analyst Brad Daugherty, five-time NBA All-Star and NASCAR team owner.

Others are Ed Hinton, motorsports writer for; Ryan McGee, motorsports writer for ESPN the Magazine; and David Newton, motorsports writer for NASCAR Now viewers also will see analysis and reports from other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team including analyst Rusty Wallace and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Vince Welch.

Veteran NASCAR drivers Johnny Benson Jr. and Ken Schrader will be frequent guests on the Monday roundtable edition of NASCAR Now in 2011. The first roundtable, airing on Monday, Feb. 21, the day after the Daytona 500, will be moderated by Bestwick and include Jarrett, Wallace and the Daytona 500 winner. ESPN PR

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