Motorsports This Week on ESPN

NASCAR Now Schedule

NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will air on ESPN2 at its regular 6:30 p.m. ET timeslot Monday through Wednesday of this week. The half-hour program will air at midnight on Thursday, while the Friday episode will air at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning.

The program’s weekend edition will air at 10 a.m. Sunday with segments from Martinsville Speedway, site of this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith.

IndyCar Series Takes It to the Streets on ESPN

The stars and cars of the IndyCar Series will take it to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday for the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by XM. The race will be televised live at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

In contrast to the 200 mph speeds of the IndyCar Series opener last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the series will race on a 1.8-mile temporary street circuit that includes part of the picturesque St. Petersburg downtown area as well as one runway of the city’s Albert Whitted Airport. The circuit will test the road racing skills of the drivers and present setup challenges for the race teams.

ESPN’s Marty Reid will call the race, joined in the booth for expert analysis by former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear. Jack Arute, Vince Welch and Brienne Pedigo will report from the pits.

All 17 races in the IndyCar Series this year will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN on ABC, the 12th consecutive season that series events have appeared on ESPN networks. ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 in May for the 43rd year, the second-longest running relationship in television sports history between an event and a network. Only The Masters and CBS have been together longer.

The Indy Pro Series, the feeder series for the IndyCar Series, will make its television debut this week with a half-hour recap of last weekend’s race from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The program will air at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 28.

NHRA Coverage from Houston To Air Saturday and Sunday on ESPN2

The NHRA POWERAde Drag Racing Series heads to Houston this weekend for the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals and ESPN2 will have coverage of qualifying and finals on Saturday and Sunday. Two hours of qualifying coverage will be aired at 7 p.m. ET Saturday with three hours of finals coverage at 4 p.m. Sunday.

For performance fans, no track is better situated. Houston Raceway Park benefits from incredible atmospheric conditions because of its proximity to Trinity Bay, which feeds cool air to the facility. The track’s first NHRA national event, in fall 1988, established HRP as one of the sport’s quickest when Gene Snow recorded NHRA’s first four-second Top Fuel pass and Eddie Hill reset the national record. Since then, the track has been host to a dizzying array of record runs, including the first sub-4.5-second Top Fuel pass by Larry Dixon in 1999.

Paul Page will anchor ESPN2’s coverage from Houston, with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff will report the action from the pits.

Rieff will also host NHRA Race Day at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. The half-hour program will set the stage for Sunday’s eliminations with driver interviews, features and up-to-date information. An episode of American Dragster will follow at 11:30 a.m.

Vintage NHRA Racing Airing on ESPN Classic

ESPN Classic is reaching into its vast video archive for daily airings of vintage NHRA Drag Racing featuring races dating back to the mid-‘90s. The show airs Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. ET and will run through the end of March with 40 episodes.

NHRA Drag Racing on ESPN Classic features exclusive racing coverage that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. This week’s schedule:

Mar. 27 – NHRA Prolong Northwest Nationals, Aug. 7, 1998
Mar. 28 – NHRA Champion Auto Stores Nationals, Aug. 28, 1998
Mar. 29 – NHRA Pennzoil Nationals presented by Autozone, Oct. 11, 1998
Mar. 30 — NHRA ATSCO Nationals, Feb. 25, 1996

ESPN2 Garage To Debut Six New Programs Weekend of March 31-April 1

Six new automotive and motorcycle-themed programs will premiere on ESPN2 the weekend of March 31-April 1.

All part of the ESPN2 Garage block of programming, The Bidding Wars, Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars, Hot Rod Television, Metric Revolution, P.I.P.E.S and Stacey David’s GearZ will debut on Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, with replays to air later in the week.

Designed to complement ESPN’s extensive coverage of NASCAR, IndyCar, Champ Car and NHRA racing in 2007, ESPN2 Garage is dedicated to the automotive, motorcycle and motorsports world. ESPN2 will air more than 1,100 hours of motorsports programming in 2007.

The first episode of Hot Rod TV will air at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 31, followed at 10:30 a.m. by the premiere of P.I.P.E.S. The premiere of Metric Revolution will be at 11 a.m., followed at 11:30 a.m. by GearZ and The Bidding Wars debuting at noon. The next day, the debut episode of Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars will air at noon.

Baseball legend Reggie Jackson will be featured in the premiere episode of Hot Rod TV. As gearheads know, Jackson is a "Car Guy" with a fleet of rides that rival any major league collection, including a 1969 Camaro that is being rebuilt from the ground up.

In P.I.P.E.S., challengers modify their tuner car to race in a “king of the hill" competition, with the eventual series winner taking home a cash prize. The tuner must achieve a predetermined horsepower and fuel efficiency rating, plus run on pump gas. Viewers will gain insight on how to boost their own car’s performance and make it fuel efficient.

Metric Revolution’s debut episode will showcase custom motorcycle builders Brad Ruel, Steve Kehler and Tommy Graves as 22 of the country's greatest builders face off in a competition unlike any other, constructing the most radical custom Choppers and Sportbikes on the planet.

On the debut episode of GearZ, host Stacey David will show viewers what is involved in repairing rusty quarter panels on legendary rocker Ted Nugent’s Zebra Bronco, after he subjects the vehicle to some tough off-roading.

The Bidding Wars focuses on car auctions from the buyers, sellers and auction officials’ points of view. These colorful characters are followed from the beginning of the auction process until the final two bidders on a car battle it out.

In Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars, amateur customizers prepare their cars for one of Funkmaster Flex's car shows. Contestants put everything on the line (second mortgage, rent money, etc.) to win and deal with the stress and realities of competition. Flex, one of the nation’s most well-known radio personalities, helps them along.

Also on the schedule as part of ESPN2 Garage this week will be four airings of DRIVE in HD. A program featuring the Los Angeles auto show will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with an episode about the Chicago auto show at the same time the next day. The Detroit auto show will be featured in an episode airing at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the Chicago show episode will replay at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

A 30-minute program featuring action from the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League will air at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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