via press release:
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Begins at Chicago on ESPN
ESPN will have live coverage of the first race in NASCAR’s playoffs, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Sunday, Sept. 18. All 10 races in the Chase will air on ESPN networks.
The race telecast will mark the debut of ESPN’s NASCAR NonStop, a commercial format designed to bring more racing action to viewers while also providing value to advertisers. In NASCAR NonStop, ESPN’s commercial breaks will feature a split-screen format showing the advertisement on the left side of the screen and a continuation of racing action on the right side. In addition, ESPN’s scoring ticker will continue to move across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks. NASCAR NonStop will take effect at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial break format.
The 400-mile race on the 1.5-mile track will get the green flag at 2:16 p.m. ET. The NASCAR Countdown presented by NAPA pre-race show airs at 1 p.m. ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on Friday at 2 p.m. as well as a 30-minute special preview of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m.
Also from Chicagoland Speedway, ESPN2 will air Saturday’s 300-mile race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.NASCAR Countdown is at 3 p.m. with the race’s green flag at 3:46 p.m.
Analysts Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion, and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree will join lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth to call the action for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, while Marty Reid will anchor the Saturday afternoon telecast. 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 be hosted by Nicole Briscoe with analysis by 1989 champion driver Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the race telecasts.
NASCAR Now to be Live from Chicago’s Navy Pier
With the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program, will air live from Chicago’s Navy Pier for three shows in advance of the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at nearby Chicagoland Speedway.
NASCAR Now will originate from the Navy Pier for a half-hour show at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 13, and one-hour shows on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 14-15, at 2:30 p.m. The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 18, airing live on ESPN at 1 p.m.
Some of the 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers competing in the Chase are expected to be guests on the set in Chicago each day, including Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin on Tuesday, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart on Wednesday and Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski on Thursday (subject to change). Spectators will be allowed to gather near the stage and set during the live telecasts.
ESPN NASCAR analysts Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Ricky Craven will participate in the programs from the Navy Pier, while Nicole Briscoe will host.
Jarrett, Petree, Craven on NASCAR Now Roundtable
ESPN NASCAR analysts Dale Jarrett, Ricky Craven and Andy Petree will be panelists on NASCAR Now’sweekly roundtable discussion program airing Monday, Sept. 19, at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program as the analysts look back at the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway.
NASCAR Now’s weekend edition hosted by Mike Massaro airs Sunday, Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. with a preview of that day’s race at Chicagoland Speedway, and the weekend wrap-up edition airs that night at 11:30 p.m.Shannon Spake and David Newton will report from the track while Craven will join Massaro in the studio.
Countdown Begins for NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series races this weekend in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway at Concord near Charlotte Motor Speedway. ESPN2 will air action from qualifying and eliminations. Qualifying airs on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 12:30 a.m. ET (late Saturday night) and coverage of eliminations airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. NHRA fans also can watch the full day of eliminations live on ESPN3, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, starting Sunday at noon.
The newest facility in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, an overwhelming success in its 2008 debut, hosted special four-wide exhibitions in Top Fuel and Funny Car in 2009 and the first four-wide-for-points race in spring 2010. This event, which features all four Full Throttle classes, holds a crucial spot on the schedule as the first event of the Countdown to the Championship and the race at which teams seek to battle for traction in their title bids. The event is the second to last for racers in the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series to earn championship points.
Paul Page anchors for ESPN with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, John Kernanand Dave Rieff will report from the pits.
American Le Mans Series Races at Laguna Seca
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., will be the setting for the eighth round of the American Le Mans Series season and sports car racing fans can watch the six-hour race live on ESPN3, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 4:15 p.m. ET. Also from Monterey, ESPN3 airs coverage of qualifying on Friday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m. John Hindhaugh and Jeremy Shaw will call the action on the ESPN3 telecasts.
Highlights from the Monterey race will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. Brian Till, Bill Adam and Johnny O’Connell will be in the TV booth with pit reporters Jamie Howe and Kelli Stavast.
ESPN.com Offers RacingLive! During Chicago Race
NASCAR fans looking for an online gathering during ESPN’s telecasts of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now have a place to go on ESPN.com.
RacingLive! on ESPN.com is a live blog where fans can engage in debate and discussion with ESPN.com writers and editors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. On Sunday, Sept. 18, RacingLive! Chicago will kick off to coincide with ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Fans can join ESPN.com’s NASCAR experts in dissecting every aspect of the race live athttp://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.
ESPN.com motorsports writer David Newton will be on hand at Chicagoland.
ESPN Radio Raceday Airs Saturday, Sunday
Each weekend morning, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. ET with host Pat Pattersonanchored from Daytona Beach, Fla. Patterson also originates the broadcast from several racetracks with key races during the season. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay listeners get an hour of news, previews and analysis, as well as profiles and interviews with NASCAR’s biggest names and newsmakers and the involvement of listeners via calls and e-mails.
Additionally, many of ESPN’s NASCAR reporters and analysts contribute each week as ESPN networks televise the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series and the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” championship. A list of ESPN Radio affiliates can be found atwww.espnradio.com.
Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.