Motorsports This Week on ESPN

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Season Blasts Off on ESPN2

The 2009 season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series blasts off this weekend with the 49th ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD air qualifying action on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 10 p.m. ET, and coverage of eliminations on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. Finals re-air Monday, Feb. 9, at 9 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

Every February since 1961, fans have flocked to Southern California not just for the un-winter-like weather, but also for one of drag racing’s grandest traditions: the unveiling of new cars, drivers, teams, and sponsorships at the season opener. The Big Go West plays out at the fabled facility known for its outstanding traction, smooth surface, and potential for record performances. Teams hope to use the opener as a springboard in their pursuit of a spot in the Countdown to 10 championship program.

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 11:30 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.

Coverage of NASCAR Media Day Thursday on ESPNEWS

ESPNEWS will surround NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway with a special three-hour program featuring exclusive interviews with some of NASCAR’s top drivers and analysis of the upcoming season. The program airs Thursday, Feb. 5, at noon ET.

NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Clint Bowyer are among the drivers expected to be interviewed from Daytona on the program, along with others such as Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and more.

NASCAR Now co-hosts Mike Massaro and Nicole Manske host the program and will conduct the interviews, with Manske on the scene in Daytona and Massaro in ESPN’s studios. In addition, ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven will weigh-in via satellite.

Wallace, Daugherty, Said on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion from Daytona

The Monday, Feb. 9, edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, at 5 p.m. ET will feature host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion of NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Panel members will include ESPN NASCAR analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Boris Said and the program will originate from the speedway.

NASCAR Now returned to the air for the 2009 season Feb. 2 and half-hour episodes air Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week at 5 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. The program then moves to Daytona for a week of one-hour episodes in advance of the Daytona 500.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Nicole Manske, Mike Massaro and Bestwick. 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.

NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake 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 in two 30-minute programs on Sunday, Feb. 8, beginning at noon ET on ESPN2.

The programs will show highlights from events last year in Indianapolis and Wheatfield, Mo.

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