Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC

The NASCAR Nationwide Series races in prime time on Friday night as it makes its only appearance of the season at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. ESPN will have a live, high definition telecast of the race on Friday, July 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Saturday, July 11, at 2:30 a.m. on ESPN2 and again at 1 p.m. on ESPN Classic.

Also this weekend, live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying airs Friday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2, while coverage of final practice airs Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage, with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake, 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 Wallace and Brad Daugherty, owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

Craven, Said, Blount on NASCAR Now Roundtable
ESPN NASCAR analysts Ricky Craven and Boris Said and reporter Terry Blount will be panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program airing Monday, July 13, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.

Nicole Manske hosts half-hour episode of NASCAR Now airing Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at 5 p.m. and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Manske also hosts the one-hour weekend edition that airs Saturday, July 11, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Said will join Manske on the set, while Mike Massaro and Marty Smith will report from the track.

NASCAR Now 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 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.

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing from Denver on ESPN2
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series travels to Bandimere Speedway near Denver this weekend, and ESPN2 will air qualifying and eliminations action on a same-day basis. Qualifying from the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals airs Saturday, July 11, at 8 p.m. ET, with eliminations airing Sunday at 7 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs Monday, July 13, at 2 p.m. on ESPN Classic.

The second half of the season kicks off with the first of three consecutive weekends of racing and one of its greatest challenges. Teams travel high and deep into the Rocky Mountains to more than 5,800 feet, where the altitude affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics. Crews must make changes to established power-making combinations and battle lack of downforce to tackle the environs. The event is testament to the skill and adaptability of the racers.

Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff 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 the 2003 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals from Brainerd, Minn., airing Monday, July 13, at noon on ESPN Classic. Following at 1 p.m. is an hour of NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series action from Atlanta Dragway.

IndyCar Series Races at Toronto Live on ABC
After a one-year absence, one of North America’s famous racing venues returns to action this weekend as the IndyCar Series races in Toronto on the famed Exhibition Place street circuit. ABC will have live coverage of the event on Sunday, July 12, at 1 p.m. ET.

The CART/Champ Car Series raced at Toronto for 22 years, starting in 1986, before the event took a year off last year when open wheel racing unified.

Marty Reid will call the race for ESPN on ABC’s coverage with analysis by former IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear. Reporting from the pits will be Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch.

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 for more than two hours on Sunday, July 12, in five half-hour program beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

The programs will feature highlights from events held in Wheatland, Mo., and Henry, Ill. The league is sanctioned by the American Tractor Pulling Association.

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