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2007 - ESPN Returns to cover NASCAR Races
ESPN's Live NASCAR Race Coverage Takes Checkered Flag: After 28 years and 398 races, ESPN's live telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing took the checkered flag Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the telecast of the 2014 season finale. The race marked the end of ESPN's eight-year contract with NASCAR, which began in 2007. Previously, ESPN had televised live NASCAR racing from 1981-2000. Beginning in 2015, Fox and NBC will split the NASCAR season.
"We've enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR," said John Skipper, ESPN president. "NASCAR was a fundamental building block for ESPN during our first two decades and will always be an important part of our history. We have tremendous respect for all in the sport and wish them well. While we won't be televising NASCAR races after this season, the only thing ending in our relationship with NASCAR is the live racing. NASCAR coverage will continue to live on all ESPN platforms going into the future."
ESPN's history with NASCAR began in March of 1981, less than two years after the network launched in September of 1979, with the tape-delayed airing of its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Rockingham, N.C. At the time, only the Daytona 500, NASCAR's biggest race, aired live in its entirety, and that had only started in 1979. Selected other events either aired live in part or on a delayed basis, sometimes weeks later, on broadcast network television. After three more delayed telecasts in 1981, ESPN aired its first live flag-to-flag telecast of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Nov. 8, 1981, from Atlanta. From that race forward, with a few exceptions, the NASCAR races airing on ESPN were live and the entire race was shown, setting a pattern that resonated with viewers. And as ESPN added races to its schedule in the next several years, and other networks did as well, the NASCAR premier series schedule was on its way to being fully televised. ESPN televised 262 races from NASCAR's premier series from 1981-2000, an era of unprecedented growth for both NASCAR and ESPN. During a time when individual racetracks made their own deals for television, ESPN introduced a national audience to races telecast from classic NASCAR tracks such as Bristol, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham and others that had seldom been seen on TV. In 1990, ESPN aired its all-time high of 20 events.
Bob Jenkins was a central figure in ESPN's live NASCAR race telecasts for the first 20 years as the lap-by-lap announcer, joined by analyst Larry Nuber in the early years and then later by former NASCAR champions Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons in the booth as analysts. Dr. Jerry Punch, who joined ESPN in 1984, was a pit reporter for 17 of ESPN's first 20 years of NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage and also called some races from the booth, including the memorable Talladega race in 2000 that was the last win for the late Dale Earnhardt. Punch remains with ESPN today and was the only announcer who worked on Sprint Cup race telecasts in both ESPN eras. Dr. Dick Berggren and John Kernan also had long runs as pit reporters during ESPN's first 20 years in NASCAR while Nuber, Jack Arute, Bill Weber and Ray Dunlap also contributed to coverage from the pits. Bestwick and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree were the voices calling the race in ESPN's NASCAR booth in recent years, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Vince Welch and Punch. Analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty joined host Nicole Briscoe on the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. Among other announcers who contributed to ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts over the past eight seasons: analysts Tim Brewer, Ricky Craven and Ray Evernham, anchor Marty Reid, pit reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake, reporter Marty Smith and pre-race show hosts Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber.
Along the way in both periods of NASCAR on ESPN, the network has been a leader in innovations to elevate the coverage of the sport, with the live racing honored with 19 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors, including the NASCAR Award of Excellence (1989) and the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Award (1987). Notable innovations and firsts in ESPN's NASCAR coverage:
1981 - ESPN airs its first live, flag-to-flag telecast of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Atlanta on Nov. 8.
1985 - ESPN is first network to have live telecast of qualifying for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race
1989 - Introduction of "crew cam" attached to a member of Rusty Wallace's crew at Rockingham - followed by other unique innovations including telemetry, "CableCam," "FootCam," "RoofCam," "SuspensionCam" and the use of an infrared camera and roving reporters.
1991 - Introduction of "Tread Cam" buried in the asphalt at Indianapolis Raceway Park for telecast of a NASCAR Nationwide Series race - the innovation won a Sports Emmy Award for Point of View Technology.
1996 - "rpm2night" becomes TV's first daily motorsports news show
2007 - First time a single network had televised entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule
2007 - ESPN is first network to televise NASCAR fully in high definition with the first use of HD in-car cameras
2007 - First network to record/have available for playback all 43 team radios during a race telecast
2007 - First network to have enclosed mobile studio for cutaway race car and demonstration of technical elements of racing (Emmy Award-winning ESPN Tech Garage)
2008 - First network to have two female pit reporters on NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts (Jamie Little and Shannon Spake)
2009 - ESPN2's NASCAR Now originates live from the White House, the first regularly-scheduled ESPN program ever to do so. President Obama is interviewed on the program.
2011 - Introduction of "NASCAR NonStop" for split-screen commercial breaks during second half of all Chase races (ESPN pioneered split-screen commercial breaks in IndyCar coverage in 2006)
2011 - Introduction of dual path technology in Sprint Cup coverage, allowing views from two different onboard cameras in same shot for first time
2013 - NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson becomes first active athlete to guest host ESPN's signature news and information program SportsCenter
ESPN to Follow NASCAR Championship Contenders Closely in Sunday's Finale: With four drivers - #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kevin Harvick, #22-Joey Logano and #31-Ryan Newman - having a chance to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, ESPN will keep viewers up-to-date on all four contenders during its live telecast of the Ford Ecoboost 400. The race-within-the-race will be the story of the event as the contender who finishes highest in the race will be the new champion, no matter where he finishes overall in the 43-car field. The Championship Four survived three elimination rounds over nine races in the new-format Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which started with 16 drivers. To help ensure that nothing involving the contenders on the track is missed, each will have a tower camera assigned to follow only them during the race, and the cars of all four will be equipped with onboard cameras. In addition, each contending team will have a robotic overhead camera in its pit stall to document pit stops. ESPN also will have a graphic below the scoring ticker across the top of the screen to show where all four are running at all times during the race.
On Sunday, each of the contenders will visit the ESPN Pit Studio during a special two-hour NASCAR Countdown at 1:00pm/et that will precede the race's 3:16pm/et green flag. "It's been exciting for us to bring the races in the new format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to our viewers, and we're especially looking forward to history being made in Sunday's championship race as the entire season comes down to the wire in one race," said John Skipper, ESPN president.(ESPN)(11-16-2014)
SportsCenter To Follow NASCAR Championship Contenders All Week: With the revised Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship having determined the four drivers who have a chance to win what will be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship for each, ESPN SportsCenter will follow the four contenders all week as they prepare for Sunday's Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final race of the season. The four finalists are Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman. Though all drive for multi-car race teams, the four finalists represent four different race teams and three different manufacturers. The driver among the four who finishes highest in Sunday's race, no matter where he finishes overall in the 43-car field for the event, will be the new champion.
ESPN reporters will be embedded with the championship contenders early this week, with SportsCenter airing multiple live reports from the four contending race shops between 9:30am/et and 2:00pm/et each day on Monday and Tuesday. The 6:00pm/et and 11:00pm/et editions of SportsCenter will air larger all-access features from each team, summarizing what the teams did on those days to prepare for the championship race.
The Wednesday night editions of SportsCenter will air interviews and reports from that evening's NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship contender's press conference in Miami, including the four drivers and their team owners, while Thursday's SportsCenter reports will follow work back at the race shops and what the drivers are doing in South Florida before on-track action begins Friday.
Dave Burns will follow Logano from the Penske Racing headquarters, while Ryan McGee will report on Hamlin from Joe Gibbs Racing. Mike Massaro will report on Newman from Richard Childress Racing and Marty Smith will be with Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing.
ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven will appear on SportsCenter frequently throughout race weekend, including during extended post-race coverage Sunday that will feature an interview with the new NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Sunday's 400-mile race airs live on ESPN. A special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown at 1:00pm/et will lead up to the 3:16pm/et green flag. All four championship contenders will appear live on Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, and the program also will include extended "the week that was" features on all four. The champion will visit ESPN on Wednesday, Nov. 19, and appear on a variety of ESPN programs and platforms.(ESPN)(11-11-2014)
Brad Daugherty to Remain with ESPN: Brad Daugherty, a former five-time NBA All-Star and college basketball standout, will serve as an NBA and college basketball analyst beginning in November. Daugherty will appear regularly on NBA Tonight, NBA Coast to Coast, SportsCenter and on additional news and information programming. He will also serve as an analyst for most games in ESPNU's ACC Sunday night package, in addition to other select games, beginning Dec. 1. "I'm ecstatic about having the opportunity to remain a part of the ESPN family," said Daugherty. "I thoroughly look forward to working with the talented individuals and crews that bring basketball into millions of homes on ESPN throughout the season."
Daugherty most recently served as an ESPN NASCAR analyst on NASCAR Countdown, NASCAR Now and across ESPN platforms. He previously covered college basketball as a reporter for ESPN and ABC on ACC telecasts from 1999-2001. Before joining ESPN, Daugherty served as a game analyst for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs local telecasts. Daugherty played eight seasons in the NBA for the Cavaliers after being selected as the first overall pick in the 1986 Draft. Throughout his career, Daugherty averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. His No. 43 jersey, a number he wore in honor of Richard Petty, was retired by the Cavaliers in 1997. A 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Daugherty joined the Tar Heels as a 16-year-old freshman. He was a two-time All-ACC player and a first-team All-America in his senior year, when he averaged 20.2 points and 9 rebounds per game.(ESPN)(10-29-2014)
Craven to remain with ESPN: Former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Ricky Craven has agreed to a new contract and will remain with ESPN as NASCAR analyst for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms. Craven, who started with ESPN as an analyst in 2008, will make regular appearances in the ESPN studio around NASCAR Sprint Cup races and to analyze breaking news as warranted. ESPN is in its final year of televising live NASCAR racing. "Our news and information platforms will continue to provide NASCAR fans with coverage of the sport and insightful analysis going forward," said Michael Shiffman, senior coordinating producer, SportsCenter. "Ricky Craven has proven to be a valuable voice and analyst and we are very happy that he is remaining part of the ESPN team into the future."
As the 2014 NASCAR season heads toward the finish line, NASCAR fans will see Craven and hear his analysis on SportsCenter on the day before, day of and day after each of the three remaining races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. "I'm completing my seventh year with ESPN and I've been challenged and rewarded," said Craven. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my experience and greatly appreciate the vote of confidence."(ESPN)(10-27-2014)
Marty Smith to remain with ESPN: Marty Smith, who has been lead NASCAR reporter for SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms since 2007, has agreed to a new contract and will remain with ESPN as a bureau reporter. From his base in Charlotte, N.C., Smith will travel to cover a variety of sports for the network, including NASCAR, pro and college football and basketball, and other sports. He also will still write for ESPN.com on NASCAR and other topics and will continue the popular Marty & McGee podcast on ESPN.com, which he co-hosts with ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee. Smith's new role officially begins January 1 but as he focuses on covering the final four weeks of the NASCAR season, he will be expanding his duties, including reporting on the Oct. 28 home opener for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. ESPN is in its final year of televising live NASCAR racing. Prior to joining ESPN, Smith was a senior writer for NASCAR.com, an analyst and host on the former SPEED Channel and a NASCAR analyst on Fox Sports Net. A Radford University graduate, Smith covered sports for daily newspapers in Roanoke and Lynchburg, Va., before joining NASCAR.com. Over the past eight years, Smith has broken multiple big news stories from the NASCAR world on various ESPN platforms. In addition to reporting for SportsCenter and writing news and features for ESPN.com, Smith also has contributed to ESPN's NASCAR event television coverage with numerous unique features and extensive, in-depth and revealing interviews with nearly every top driver in the sport.(ESPN PR)(10-23-2014)
ESPN employees visit Hendrick Motorsports: Five years ago, Rich Feinberg - ESPN vice president, motorsports, production - came up with an idea. "At ESPN, we cover all sports, but it's a very stick-and-ball culture," Feinberg explained. So he brought a concept to ESPN management and eventually NASCAR management. Why not gather a group of ESPN employees and bring them inside the world of NASCAR? "By immersing people in it, they learn about it, they have a new respect for it, and when it comes down to working on it, they do better," he said. ESPN and NASCAR loved the idea, and for five years, Feinberg has hand-picked a group to make the trek to Hendrick Motorsports headquarters in Concord, North Carolina. In the 2014 version of the immersion program, that certainly proved true. In addition to NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports employees, among the participants were SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris, Chris Hassel, Darren Haynes, Lisa Kerney and Jaymee Sire in addition to ESPN Radio host Freddie Coleman, executive producers Mike Shiffman and Andy Tennant, senior news editor Jodi Herbert and Director of Talent, Planning and Development Chris Duffy. Included in the immersion was an overview of the human performance element of the race teams, featuring a tour of the training field, gym and pit pad. At the pit pad, the group got a chance to take a shot at changing a tire, splitting into two teams racing against the clock for the win. After the competition, the group went on to tour the engine shop and the race shops for the #5, 24, 48 and 88 teams. Finally, the group got to take an exclusive tour of Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick's Heritage Center, featuring his extensive car collection. It was just part of their immersion, as the group later got the chance to take in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-15-2014)
NASCAR, ESPN rally fans behind Chase drivers: NASCAR unveiled the biggest, most engaging marketing campaign in the history of the sport to promote the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. At the heart of the effort is a collaboration with ESPN that features five original television spots, an educational video, and an extensive social media push that will rally fans, teams, tracks, and partners around The Chase like never before. The national marketing initiative will underscore the drama and excitement of NASCAR's premier series' new 10-race playoff format unveiled earlier this year. "We made a bold decision at the beginning of the season to make our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all about winning," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "Now that we're just weeks away from the start of The Chase, NASCAR, working closely with ESPN, is going to market with a creative platform that is just as innovative and reflective of how important this moment is for our sport." The creative team tapped the star power of some of the sport's most compelling drivers and was inspired by their respective legions of loyal fans. The most integrated marketing effort the sanctioning body has ever put forth highlights the passion, language and motifs of competition - establishing drivers, automotive manufacturers and their corresponding teams as unique "nations," with the fans as their loyal followers. The fully integrated collaboration between NASCAR and ESPN is the first of its kind with a broadcast partner for the sanctioning body. Working with one agency, Ogilvy & Mather New York, NASCAR and ESPN achieve a singular vision and narrative that will extend from the track to the race broadcast. "The campaign celebrates this bold and transformational moment in NASCAR's history, taking fans along for the ride and accentuating the drama and intensity of the new elimination format as each round unfolds." said Scott Parker, vice president of marketing at ESPN.
The first creative element to be released was an online video titled "Spreading the Word," which NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch shared across social media on Aug. 18. The two-minute video educates fans about the new Chase format, introduces The Chase Grid and begins to call together the drivers' nations.
On August 23, the first of five spots were released, which follows the teams, drivers and fans from every corner of NASCAR as they gear up for The Chase. Subsequent 30-second spots will be released for each round of The Chase. The spots, which will air throughout NASCAR's postseason on ESPN and ABC, include the voices of Marty Smith, Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Ryen Russillo, Jamie Little, Barney Hall, Scott Van Pelt, Mike Greenberg, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. The Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14.
Fans, drivers, teams and sponsors are invited to pledge their allegiance to their favorite Chase drivers by sharing content on social media using the hashtag #MyChaseNation. Lucky fan winners will be picked to have their Twitter handle featured on their favorite driver's car at select races during The Chase.
Additionally, The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup marketing will include at-track signage as well as print and digital promotional assets that will allow tracks, team sponsors and NASCAR Official Partners to extend the campaign theme. Tying the concept together are unique flags that represent each Chase driver and their nation. The flags will be woven into the various campaign elements, including digital banners and fan memorabilia, among others, and will serve to rally fans and inspire spirited rivalry.
The educational video can be viewed here: "Spreading the Word"
The first television spot can be viewed here: "Hype"(NASCAR)(8-24-2014)
Saturday Night NASCAR Race at Bristol on Alternate Channels in Some Markets: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway is being broadcast live nationally by ABC on Saturday night, Aug. 23, but viewing will be affected in 15 markets due to NFL preseason games airing on local ABC affiliates. In all 15 markets where the race telecast is being preempted, NASCAR fans who are satellite TV subscribers will be able to watch the race on ESPN alternate channels (DirecTV - channel 209-1; DISH - channel 145). For cable subscribers, the race will air on alternate channels in 11 of the 15 markets.
The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7:00 pm/et and the race's green flag is scheduled for 7:43 pm/et.
The affected markets:
Austin, Texas - race telecast on digital cable: Time Warner channels 811 and 1240, Suddenlink channel 721, AT&T Channel 3024.
Charlotte, N.C. - race telecast on WAXN TV64. Available on Time Warner channel 1230, Charter channel 703, Compas channel 16, Comporium channel 110. WSOC-TV will join race in progress after football game ends.
Casper, Wyo. - only available to satellite TV subscribers
Cheyenne, Wyo. - only available to satellite TV subscribers
Duluth, Minn. - race telecast on digital cable: Charter channel 398, Mediacom channel 113.
Harrisburg, Pa. - race telecast on digital cable: Comcast channel 246, Verizon channel 461, Blue Ridge Cable channel 152, Kuhn channel 67, Nittany Media 228.
Houston - race telecast on digital cable: Comcast channels 315 and 685.
Louisville, Ky. - race telecast on digital cable: Comcast channel 432, Time Warner channel 207.
Nashville, Tenn. - race telecast on digital cable: Comcast channel 245, Charter channel 136.
St. Joseph, Mo. - only available to satellite TV subscribers
San Antonio, Tex. - only available to satellite TV subscribers
Sioux Falls, S.D. - race telecast on digital cable: Mid-Continent channels 596 and 614. (Also DISH channel 36).
Tulsa, Okla. - race telecast on digital cable: Cox channel 131.
Washington, D.C. - race telecast on digital cable: Comcast channel 205, Cox channel 806, Verizon FiOS channel 467.
Weslaco, Tex. - race telecast on digital cable: Time Warner channel 877.
In Milwaukee, Little Rock, Ark., Jonesboro, Ark., Fort Smith, Ark., and Tyler, Texas, the local ABC affiliates will not air NASCAR Countdown due to airing local newscasts but all will join ABC for the race telecast at 7:30 p.m. ET.(ESPN)
REBROADCAST is scheduled for Sunday, April 24, 2014 on ESPN2 at 4:00am/et.(8-21-2014)
Nicole Briscoe to remain With ESPN: Nicole Briscoe has agreed to a new contract with ESPN and will become a SportsCenter anchor as well as taking on additional new assignments after her current role as host of ESPN NASCAR Countdown concludes. Briscoe, who joined ESPN in 2008 and has served in various positions on ESPN's NASCAR coverage, will assume her new duties in January. In addition to SportsCenter, she also will be part of a variety of other ESPN studio shows. "I'm very happy with the opportunities that have been presented to me," said Briscoe, who will be relocating to the company's Bristol, Ct., headquarters. "ESPN is where I want to be, and I'm excited about starting the next chapter of my career as well as a new adventure for my family. But first, we still have 15 weeks of NASCAR to go and champions to crown." NASCAR Countdown, which Briscoe has hosted since 2011, airs prior to all NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series telecasts on ESPN. The program originates from the ESPN Pit Studio at the racetrack with Briscoe and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Briscoe was a host and reporter for ESPN's former NASCAR Now program and has reported on NASCAR for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms.(ESPN)(8-6-2014)
ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage Rolls Out at Indianapolis: ESPN begins its coverage of the final 17 races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the Brickyard 400 at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 27. The telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and begins with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 12:00noon/et from the Speedway's iconic Pagoda. The program will set up the race with interviews and features before the 1:19pm/et green flag. In addition, ESPN will televise NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 26, at 2:00pm/et and ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Saturday at 9:00am/et. Also from Indianapolis, ESPN will televise the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, with NASCAR Countdown at 4:00pm/et and the green flag at 4:50pm/et. All NASCAR programming from Indy is available on WatchESPN and both races air live in Canada on TSN.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be ESPN In-Race Reporter for the Brickyard 400 while Chase Elliott will do the same for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The drivers will speak with ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett on the race's pace laps and during caution periods, bringing viewers the added perspective of a driver competing in the race. For the Brickyard 400, ESPN will use 75 high definition cameras including four new overhead pit cameras that are equipped with robotic heads for different and varying points of view of pit stops and the track.
Also in use will be four Ultra Hi Motion cameras for replays and unique action shots. One will be mounted on pit wall near the "Yard of Bricks" that make up the start/finish line at the Speedway while another robotic Ultra Hi Motion camera will be mounted to provide a low shot in the first turn. Two others will be in the second and fourth turns. Eight cars competing in the race will carry onboard cameras and ESPN also will have a helicopter camera for overhead shots in the Brickyard 400 and for all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts.
Among the features that will be presented on various ESPN platforms surrounding the Brickyard 400:
20 years of Bricks -- The first Brickyard 400 was in 1994 and was won by Jeff Gordon. A look back at what it meant for NASCAR to finally race at the Brickyard and how it helped transform NASCAR from a regional to a national sport. Drivers, owners, media and others offer comments.
Professor Ray: Home Team Hendrick - Former ESPN NASCAR analyst Ray Evernham, who now works for Hendrick, reviews film to break down why the team is so good at the Brickyard. He was Jeff Gordon's crew chief when Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994.
Dale Jr and Graham Rahal National Guard - NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr and Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal go for a crash course in training from their sponsor, the National Guard.
ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage: Fourteen of the final 17 races will air live on ESPN while the three Saturday night races on the schedule will air on ABC. Three former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions, including two NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers, will be an integral part of ESPN's coverage team for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including lead analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer, who will work with two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth.
NASCAR Countdown will feature analysis by 1989 champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace with host Nicole Briscoe and additional analysis from NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty. The Countdown team will interact with the booth during the race telecasts. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
Beginning Sept. 14 at Chicagoland Speedway, the final 10 races will comprise the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR's playoffs to determine the series champion. This year's Chase will feature a new four-stage elimination format culminating Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ESPN will again utilize NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial break format that brings more racing action to viewers. The format, which ESPN used for the first time in 2011, shows the advertisement on the left side of the screen and a continuation of racing action on the right side. ESPN's scoring ticker continues to move across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks. NASCAR NonStop takes effect at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial break format.(ESPN)(7-24-2014)
ESPN's Multimedia Platforms Surround NASCAR:
WatchESPN All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is available via WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast (via the WatchESPN app), Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It is currently accessible in more than 67.5 million households nationwide to fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
ESPN.com ESPN.com will provide surround coverage from the Brickyard. Senior motorsports writer Ed Hinton, writer John Oreovicz and ESPN.com motorsports editor K. Lee Davis will lead the reporting team, with additional contributions from NASCAR Insider Marty Smith. Hinton, Oreovicz and other ESPN reporters and personalities maintain and regularly update blogs with their insights, perspectives and more. ESPN.com, along with Jayski.com, will feature extensive video, audio and editorial coverage throughout the 2014 NASCAR season including RacingLive!, a live blog where fans can engage in debate and discussion with ESPN.com writers and editors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Fans can join ESPN.com's NASCAR experts in dissecting every aspect of the race live at espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.
SportsCenter ESPN's flagship news and information program SportsCenter will air immediately following all 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup races on ESPN and will feature extended post-race highlights, interviews and analysis both from the ESPN Pit Studio team at the track and from ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven in the SportsCenter studio.
ESPN Deportes ESPN's Spanish-language television, radio and Internet in the U.S. will televise the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Indianapolis on a tape-delayed basis at 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 on Monday, July 28, at 5 a.m. ESPN Deportes' NASCAR commentator team will feature Andrés Agulla (play-by-play) and Alex Pombo (analysis). In addition to the telecast of the race, ESPN Deportes will have segments for its edition of SportsCenter.
ESPN International ESPN International is one of the world's leading syndicators of sports programming and its relationship with NASCAR has helped maximize coverage of NASCAR by providing a solid base of distribution year on year. Through a combination of sales and network programming, the 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup races (including the Bud Shootout and Sprint All-Star Race) and 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series races are currently available to more than 112 countries and territories around the world. In addition, U.S. troops and their families serving around the world and Navy vessels at sea can watch the season through American Forces Network.
ESPN Classic ESPN Classic is counting down to the 21st running of the Brickyard 400 with airings of multiple past editions of the race. The race airings began Monday of this week and continue through Friday, July 25, at 3 p.m. with the 2011 race.(ESPN)(7-24-2014)
ESPN cancels "NASCAR Now".: The popular daily news show which launched in 2007 and was the first program on ESPN devoted strictly to NASCAR has been on hiatus since the start of World Cup Soccer started last week Network spokesperson Andy Hall said ESPN "just decided to make a change in the programming schedule." And although ESPN will not be an official broadcast partner beyond 2014 as FOX and NBC takeover the entire schedule Hall added the move was "totally unrelated to our telecast of NASCAR races. "We will continue to present the race telecasts at the same high level fans expect from ESPN for the remainder of our final season," Hall said. ""We will continue to aggressively cover NASCAR across our news platforms, including SportsCenter, ESPN.com and others" (like Jayski.com).(Motorsport)(6-23-2014)
ESPN's Brad Daugherty to open restaurant in Ashville: On Saturday, Frankie Bones in Gerber Village [Asheville, NC] will have its last day of business. But that space won't be vacant for long. Brad Daugherty - a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, former Cleveland Cavalier and Black Mountain native son - will open the "casual-upscale" Daugherty's American Kitchen & Drink there. The restaurant will open officially on July 16. Frankie Bones' operating partner, Alan Wolf, will be the operating partner for the restaurant, and South Carolina chef, Chris Jones, will be a partner and executive chef of the restaurant. This will be the first restaurant for Daugherty.(Asheville Citizen-Times)(6-21-2014)
Lame Duck ESPN Promises To Give Full Effort: When the green flag waves over Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, ESPN's coverage of the sport officially goes into lame duck status. For the final time in the foreseeable future, the "Worldwide Leader" will broadcast 17 races of this year's Sprint Cup season and the entire Nationwide Series schedule. But as rival network NBC waits in the wings and prepares to fill the void in 2015, the crew at ESPN still intends to give a full-blown effort. "Our company has dedicated tremendous resources to us," said ESPN lead announcer Allen Bestwick, who will transition into the same role of ESPN's coverage of the Indy Car Series. "Our plans are exactly the same. We've been here before we even started the season. We covered live on the air Brian France's press conference, including the question-and-answer sessions from Charlotte. We had four hours coverage of media day last week. Nothing changes, and we're here to do our job. We have some great plans and we look forward to a great season."(RacinToday)(2-21-2014)
Bestwick to move to IndyCar Series broadcasts UPDATE: Sportscaster Allen Bestwick will remain with ESPN /ABC after it loses its NASCAR contract and work primarily as play-by-play announcer for the network's broadcasts of IndyCar Series events. Bestwick currently serves in the same role for network's NASCAR broadcasts but ESPN/ABC will lose broadcast rights to those races at the conclusion of the 2014 season. NBC and Fox and their respective sports networks will broadcast all NASCAR events beginning in 2015. Bestwick will do both IndyCar and NASCAR events this season for ESPN/ABC. In 2015, Bestwick will do IndyCar broadcasts and work in other sports. An ESPN spokesman declined to comment (Charlotte Observer).(1-3-2014)
UPDATE: Allen Bestwick has agreed to a new multi-year deal with ESPN and will become lap-by-lap announcer for ABC's telecasts of the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, in 2014. The veteran broadcaster also will branch into other sports beginning in 2015. Bestwick, who has been part of ESPN's NASCAR coverage since 2007, will continue as the anchor for the network's NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series telecasts in 2014, the final year of ESPN's contract to televise live NASCAR racing. In 2015, in addition to IndyCar Series racing, Bestwick also will call play-by-play on college football telecasts for ESPN, a variety of collegiate sports on the upcoming SEC Network, and on ESPN interactive television productions of golf and tennis. "Allen Bestwick has been a valuable contributor to our NASCAR coverage the past seven years and we're delighted that he will be bringing his versatility and talents to our IndyCar telecasts as well as other sports for years to come," said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. Though closely associated with motorsports for most of his 27 years in broadcasting, Bestwick also has called football, track and field and hockey, among other sports, during his career. He worked a college football game for ESPN in November.
"I love sports - all sports," Bestwick said. "This is a tremendous opportunity to call the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, a childhood dream come true, and some other sports that I enjoy as well. And we still have two NASCAR champions to crown on ESPN in 2014. I'm thrilled to be going into the future with ESPN." Bestwick started broadcasting in 1986 covering live NASCAR races as a turn announcer for MRN Radio. He worked for MRN for nearly 15 years, including as the play-by-play announcer from 1988-2000 and host of the network's daily news program. Bestwick, who also worked briefly in New York for ABC Radio, made his television debut in 1995 on the original NASCAR Today program on ESPN and joined the SPEED Channel in 1996 as the host of Inside NEXTEL Cup Racing, a post he held for 10 years. He started pit reporting for TBS and TNT in 1997. While continuing to work in radio, Bestwick joined NBC in 1999, covering NASCAR races as well as American Le Mans Series races, arena football and track and field events. He was part of NBC and TNT's NASCAR coverage from 2001-2006, both as a pit reporter and lead announcer. Bestwick has been the anchor for ESPN's NASCAR coverage since July of 2011. He previously was host of the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program from mid-2007 through mid-2011 while also calling selected races from the booth, and was a pit reporter for part of the 2007 season. ESPN's NASCAR coverage for 2013 begins with the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 22, with telecasts of the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races beginning July 27 at Indianapolis. On May 25, ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year. The network also will televise four other IndyCar Series races as well as Indianapolis 500 qualifications. Coverage begins with the March 30 season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla.(ESPN)(2-19-2014)
ESPN Classic Airing Flock, Petty SportsCentury Programs: NASCAR Hall of Fame members Tim Flock and Richard Petty, two of the sport's greatest all-time drivers, will be showcased by ESPN Classic in airings of the network's signature program SportsCentury on Sunday, Feb. 16. Flock, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year, is featured in SportsCentury program airing at 9:00 am. Petty, a member of the inaugural class of inductees, is featured at 11:00 am. Next week in advance of the Daytona 500 and the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, ESPN Classic will air highlights from numerous past editions of the Great American Race. The programming starts Wednesday, Feb. 19.(ESPN)(2-13-2014)
NASCAR Now Returns for Start of NASCAR Season: ESPN2's NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns as the 2014 NASCAR season begins at Daytona International Speedway. The season's first episode will air Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 2:00am with host Mike Massaro. A three-hour edition will air Thursday, Feb. 13, at 12:00noon on ESPNEWS with news and driver interviews from NASCAR Media Day in Daytona. Massaro and analyst Ricky Craven will be in the studio with reporter Nicole Briscoe on-site.(ESPN)(2-10-2014)
ESPN films in Dawsonville, GA: Dawsonville [GA] is making national news, once again. An ESPN crew was in town filming at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, the historic Dawsonville Pool Room and other local locations, for a segment on Chase and Bill Elliott. The piece is scheduled to air during a pre-race show leading up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, Feb. 22, according to Hall of Fame President Gordon Pirkle. "This is the biggest break we could have got," Pirkle said. "They'll probably go through Bill Elliott's career, then Chase's." ESPN's crew filmed Tuesday at the hall of fame, and spent Wednesday in downtown Dawsonville. The race is being shown at 1:15pm/et on ESPN, and it will be broadcast on a theater-size screen at the hall of fame. There is no fee to enter.(Dawson Advertiser)(2-9-2014)
Evernham leaves ESPN: Former crew chief Ray Evernham, who created one of NASCAR's most dominant teams in the 1990s with Jeff Gordon, will serve as a consultant to Hendrick Motorsports where he will be involved with the competition department. Evernham made the announcement Tuesday on "SiriusXM Speedway" with hosts Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. Evernham, who has served as a consultant for Hendrick Companies since 2011, also said that he no longer will be a part of ESPN's NASCAR broadcasts. "Now not doing the ESPN thing will allow me to be involved in some of the management and some of the things that they're doing at (Hendrick) Motorsports,'' Evernham told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The best way to avoid a conflict of interest is to choose one or the other. I'm excited about being able to go and being involved in the management team on the motorsports side.'' Evernham told "SiriusXM Speedway" that he is not seeking to be a crew chief - something he's stated often in the past. He admits he will be on a pit box, though, but in a different capacity. "I'll be working with everybody at Hendrick Motorsports,'' Evernham told the show. "I've met with crew chiefs. I think I've got a good perspective as they face different challenges. I will be going to meetings and be involved in competition things that I've not been involved with in the past three years or so." Evernham said he plans to attend about 15 races - nearly the same total he worked for ESPN.(MRN)(2-5-2014)
NASCAR Season Review Specials Airing Sunday on ESPN2: NASCAR fans looking for some off-season action will have the opportunity to relive some of the highlights of the 2013 season when ESPN2 airs a pair of programs on Sunday, Dec. 15. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will be reviewed in a half-hour program airing at 4:00pm/et, immediately following a program reviewing the NASCAR Nationwide Series season that airs at 3:30 pm/et. Live NASCAR racing will return to ESPN in 2014, with the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series season airing across ESPN networks. In addition, the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, will air on ESPN (14 races) and ABC (three races).(ESPN)(12-13-2013)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Season Finale in Miami Live on ESPN: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season comes to a close Sunday, Nov. 17, with the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway and ESPN will have a live telecast of the race. A special two-hour NASCAR Countdown airs at 1 p.m. ET to set up the title battle between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, while the green flag will fly at 3:15 p.m. for the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Also from the 1.5-mile Homestead track, ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. and practice earlier that day at 1:30 p.m.
ESPN will also have a live telecast of Saturday's Ford Ecoboost 300, the season finale for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. NASCAR Countdown airs at 4 p.m. with the green flag at 4:46 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app. The Ford Ecoboost 400 will be reviewed in the NASCAR Now episode airing Sunday night, Nov. 17, at 11 p.m. Host Chris Cotter will be joined in the studio by ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven with Smith reporting from the track.
TNT & ESPN will finish out TV contracts: Statement from Steve Herbst, NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting and Production: "Despite speculation over the last month that NASCAR's new television agreement could be pushed up to the start of the 2014 season, NASCAR has informed our broadcast partners today that FOX, Turner and ESPN will finish the current term as originally planned. While we were humbled by the desire of NBC and FOX to start 12 months early, we now consider this matter closed and look forward to finishing our current agreement in 2014 with our great partners at FOX, Turner and ESPN."(NASCAR)(10-6-2013)
ESPN replaces longtime motorsports announcer Reid: ESPN says motorsports announcer Marty Reid is no longer with the network. Reid had been with ESPN since 1982 and is the only television play-by-play announcer to cover five different North American motorsports series. He's called NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series, as well as IndyCar and NHRA. An ESPN spokesman says the network is going in a different direction and Allen Bestwick will call the remainder of the Nationwide Series races this season. Reid was the network's lead announcer for IndyCar and that position will be addressed later.(Associated Press)(9-30-2013)
Monster Mile Hosts Round 3 of NASCAR Chase: The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this weekend with a 400-mile race at the Monster Mile, Dover International Speedway, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the third race of NASCAR's playoffs on Sunday, Sept. 29. NASCAR Countdown airs at 1:00pm/et with the race's green flag scheduled for 2:15pm/et. Dover also will host a 200-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Sept. 28, airing live on ESPN at 3:30pm/et with the green flag scheduled for 3:46pm. ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Dover on Friday, Sept. 27, at 3:00pm/et. All NASCAR programming on ESPN is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.
ESPN and NASCAR Partner in Joint Marketing Campaign: For the first time ever, NASCAR and ESPN are working together to launch an integrated marketing campaign to elevate the 10th Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ESPN. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is NASCAR's version of the playoffs, where the sport's top 12 drivers compete to become the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. With the tagline "12 Drivers. 1 Champion.," the multi-platform initiative debuted on ESPN on Sept. 2 with a series of brand spots. The first one, "Generations," is a 30-second ad that features five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and the likenesses of some of NASCAR's greatest legends, including three-time champion Cale Yarborough, "The King" Richard Petty and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. The campaign highlights the elevated stakes and significance of the Chase and the opportunity drivers have to build a legacy through the 10-race postseason. The joint campaign will introduce four TV spots, two produced by ESPN and two by NASCAR, as well as print, radio and local market executions at each of the ten Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks. Additionally, the initiative will feature mobile and digital elements along with an extensive social media program called #Fandorsements.(ESPN)(9-6-2013)
ESPN, TNT could exit NASCAR early UPDATE: ESPN and Turner Sports are talking with NASCAR about getting out of their broadcast rights agreement a year early, a move that could allow Fox Sports and NBC Sports Group to become the sport's broadcasters next year. It's unlikely that the four TV companies will be able to reach a deal, sources say. But the fact that these types of talks are occurring is precedent-setting in an industry where live sports rights are held sacred. For at least the past decade, no rights holder has exited a major media agreement with a property early. ESPN and Turner executives told the series that they are interested in forgoing the final year of their contract. Fox and NBC executives told NASCAR that they are interested in picking up those rights. And sources say NASCAR executives are open to the switch. But any deal faces significant hurdles. Sources said it would have to be a complete switch, not a partial one in which Turner exits its six Sprint Cup races or ESPN exits part of its Nationwide Series season. That means it would require an agreement between four competitors - ESPN, Turner, Fox and NBC - and one property, which would be difficult to structure. ESPN and Turner Sports are willing to sell their rights back to NASCAR for some sort of compensation. Fox Sports and NBC Sports Group are willing to buy the rights from NASCAR, but they feel they should be compensated for letting ESPN and Turner Sports out of their deals early. As the middleman, NASCAR would have to navigate those opposing interests. Representatives from the four media companies, as well as NASCAR, declined comment. ESPN and Turner Sports have told NASCAR they are prepared to carry the races next year, but both would prefer avoiding that lame-duck status. Both opted not to submit final bids to retain NASCAR rights when the sport held TV negotiations last month, and they see upside in exiting their deals a year early.(full story at the Sports Business Daily)(8-26-2013)
UPDATE: Statement From NASCAR Vice President Of Broadcasting And Production Steve Herbst On 2014 Broadcast Partners: "Despite recent reports to the contrary, nothing substantive has been presented to NASCAR regarding broadcast partners' plans to alter our TV agreement in 2014. We're very happy with our current broadcast partners and fully expect and are excited to be back with FOX, Turner and ESPN next year. These types of discussions happen regularly across the sports television landscape, very rarely resulting in changes to a media rights agreement."(NASCAR)(8-28-2013)
NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series in Prime Time at Bristol: The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will race under the lights at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend with both races airing in prime time. ABC will have a live telecast of the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Saturday night, Aug. 24. NASCAR Countdown airs at 7:00pm/et with the race's green flag scheduled at 7:43pm/et. The NASCAR Nationwide Series races on ESPN on Friday night, Aug. 23, with Countdown at 7:00pm/et and the green at 7:44pm/et. Also from Bristol, ESPN2 will air Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday at 5:30pm/et.
Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Race to Air on Alternate Channels in Seven Markets: NASCAR fans in seven affected markets will watch ABC's telecast of Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on alternate channels through arrangements made by their local ABC affiliates. The ABC affiliates in the seven markets will be airing NFL preseason games Saturday night rather than the NASCAR race but with the alternate channels in each market, the race telecast will still be available nationwide. ABC's coverage begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7:00pm/et with the race's green flag at 7:44 pm. In six of the seven markets, the race telecast will air on ESPN and several of the ABC affiliates also will air the race on their Digital Tier channels. In Columbus, Ohio, the race will air on local station WWHO-TV. Also, ABC affiliates in Buffalo, Charlotte, N.C., and Rochester, N.Y., will join either NASCAR Countdown or the race telecast in progress following the conclusion of a 4:30 p.m. ET game between the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. The Rochester station will air NASCAR Countdown and the race on its Digital Tier channel until the game ends. NASCAR Countdown will be pre-empted by local news in Little Rock, Ark., and Tyler, Tex., but both ABC affiliates will air the race telecast.
The affected markets:
Buffalo - ABC affiliate WKBW-TV will join either NASCAR Countdown or the race in progress following 4:30 p.m. Buffalo-Washington game.
Charlotte, NC - ABC affiliate WSOC-TV will join either NASCAR Countdown or the race in progress following 4:30 p.m. Buffalo-Washington game.
Columbus, Ohio - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on local station WWHO-TV.
Dayton, Ohio - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN and on Digital Tier 2 channel of ABC affiliate WKEF-TV.
Nashville, TN - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN.
Philadelphia - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN and on Digital Tier 2 channel of ABC affiliate WPVI-TV.
Phoenix - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN and Digital Tier 2 channel of ABC affiliate KNXV-TV.
Rochester, NY -- ABC affiliate WHAM-TV will air NASCAR Countdown on its Digital Tier 2 channel and will join in progress on its main channel following 4:30 p.m. Buffalo-Washington game.
St. Joseph, MO - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN.
Weslaco, TX - NASCAR Countdown and race will air on ESPN and Digital Tier 2 channel of ABC affiliate KRGV.(ESPN)
Among the features that will be presented during ESPN's coverage from Indianapolis:
Going Home with Juan Pablo Montoya Juan Pablo Montoya shows viewers around his home country of Colombia. The tour includes returning to the track where he grew up racing, spending time with family and his Formula Smiles philanthropy project that is changing lives of young Colombian boys and girls.
The Drive For 5 A look at the number 5: its importance in sports, its symbolism in society and the numerology behind the number 5. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon discuss their four wins at the Brickyard and what it would mean to be the first racer in history to win five times of the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Danica inspires and finds inspiration despite a lifetime of criticism Danica Patrick has faced criticism her entire career. Despite breaking gender boundaries and setting records, (first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, first woman to start on the pole for the Daytona 500) her career continues to be scrutinized. The intense criticism she has always faced is examined as is the way she motivates herself and has inspired a young generation of racers who look up to her.
Tony Stewart at The Brickyard Our roots as humans stem from home. For Tony Stewart home is Indiana. He grew up racing sprint cars at Indianapolis Raceway Park and other short tracks and dreamed of one day racing the Indianapolis 500. As his career turned to NASCAR, his dream of winning the Indy 500 took a backseat. His career blossomed with many race wins and multiple championships. He continued to hang onto his sprint car roots; racing in the series when his NASCAR schedule allowed. One month ago, he lost his good friend and former roommate Jason Leffler. In a conversation with ESPN's Marty Smith at the Brickyard, Stewart will look at his roots as a racer and how losing a friend has changed his life.(ESPN)(7-25-2013)
NBC Acquires NASCAR Rights, ESPN/TNT Out UPDATE2 & Money: ESPN and Turner Sports will be out of the NASCAR business after next season, ending associations with the sport that go back three decades. NASCAR plans to announce this afternoon a new rights deal with NBC for the second half of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series seasons -- a package that previously had been held by ESPN. Beginning in 2015, NBC will share NASCAR coverage with Fox, which signed an extension with NASCAR last year. Financial terms of NBC's deal were not available, but sources familiar with it said it was as much as a 50% increase from what ESPN paid for the Sprint Cup series and half of the Nationwide Series. Turner's package of six Sprint Cup races, as well as the first half of the Nationwide Series, remain available, according to sources. Fox is considered a likely bidder for both those packages. Turner and ESPN, which are in the seventh year of eight-year agreements valued at $2.74B overall, had an exclusive negotiating window with NASCAR that ended July 14. When they did not finalize extensions, NASCAR turned to NBC. ESPN and Turner both were interested in keeping the rights, but were not willing to pay as much as NBC was offering, sources said. (full story at the Sports Business Daily)
UPDATE - announcement: NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced today they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement, which runs through the 2024 season, were not disclosed.
With this partnership, NBC's 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR's final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group's 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC has also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC's national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR's season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
Summary of key NBC Sports Group Exclusive Rights - 2015-2024:
ˇ Final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (7 on NBC, 13 on NBCSN)
ˇ Final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races (4 on NBC, 15 on NBCSN)
ˇ NASCAR K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events
ˇ NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events
ˇ NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets
ˇ 'TV Everywhere' live-streaming rights for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series
ˇ Spanish-language broadcast rights on Telemundo and Mun2 for national series events and NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series.(NASCAR)
ESPN Statement on NASCAR Statement from John Skipper, President of ESPN: "ESPN has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR. We have tremendous respect for the France family, the drivers and all in the sport and wish them well. We will continue to serve NASCAR fans through SportsCenter and our other news platforms as we continue to enhance our industry-leading collection of quality assets. We are looking forward to the start of our Sprint Cup season and will continue with our deep commitment to the highest quality coverage."(ESPN)(7-23-2013)
UPDATE2: NBC will pay $4.4B over 10 years for rights to ESPN's entire NASCAR package, plus half of Turner's six races, according to sources familiar with the deal. That represents a significant media rights increase for NASCAR over the more than $2.28B paid by ESPN and Turner Sports combined for the same number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide races in their current 8-year agreements. This comes after NASCAR received a more than 30% increase in its earlier deal with Fox that covers the first half of its season.(Sports Business Daily)(7-24-2013)
ESPN's Multimedia Platforms Surround NASCAR:
WatchESPN All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Apple TV via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliate provider including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter Communications and AT&T U-verse (coming soon to NRTC members' customers).
ESPN.com ESPN.com will provide surround coverage from the Brickyard. Award-winning motorsports journalists Terry Blount, David Newton and John Oreovicz and ESPN.com motorsports editor K. Lee Davis will lead the reporting team, with additional contributions from NASCAR Insider Marty Smith. Blount, Newton, Oreovicz and other ESPN reporters and personalities maintain and regularly update blogs with their insights, perspectives and more. ESPN.com, along with Jayski.com, will feature extensive video, audio and editorial coverage of the 2013 NASCAR season. This week, a special five-part series on NASCAR's France Family written by senior motorsports writer Ed Hinton is featured leading to the Brickyard.
espnw.com espnW's mission is to connect female fans with the sports they love and follow, and with Danica Patrick in her first full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, espnW.com continues its full-season coverage. In addition, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Johanna Long will be blogging for espnW all season. espnW.com provides an engaging environment where women are an integral part of the sports conversation, share their perspective on men's and women's sports and find the motivation and support for their athletic goals and interests.
ESPN Radio The Raceday program airs from 6 - 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, Programs will originate from Indianapolis with host Pat Patterson and include news, interviews and reports. In addition, ESPN Radio will have daily reports and interviews during other programming in the week leading up to the race. RaceDay airs 52 weeks a year and will originate from the site of every NASCAR Sprint Cup race this season.
ESPN The Magazine The ESPN The Magazine "Body Issue," on newsstands now, contains a column by senior writer Ryan McGee on the evolution of safety in NASCAR and the sanctioning body's use of SAFER barriers at racetracks.
ESPN Deportes ESPN's Spanish-language television, radio and Internet in the U.S. will televise the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Indianapolis on a tape-delayed basis at 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 28, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 on Monday, July 29, at 4 a.m. ESPN Deportes' NASCAR commentator team will feature Andrés Agulla (play-by-play) and Alex Pombo (analysis). In addition to the telecast of the race, ESPN Deportes will have segments for its edition of SportsCenter.
ESPN International ESPN International is one of the world's leading syndicators of sports programming and its relationship with NASCAR is helping maximize coverage of NASCAR and providing a solid base of distribution. Through a combination of sales and network programming, the 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup races (including the Bud Shootout and Sprint All-Star Race) and 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series races are available to 112 countries and territories around the world. In addition, U.S. troops and their families serving around the world and Navy vessels at sea can watch the season through American Forces Network.
ESPN Classic ESPN Classic will count down to the 20th running of the Brickyard 400 with airings of multiple past editions of the race as well as classic NASCAR-themed SportsCentury programs on Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. The race airings begin Thursday, July 25, at midnight with the 2011 race.(ESPN)(7-24-2013)
ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage Rolls Out at Indianapolis: ESPN begins its coverage of the final 17 races of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the Brickyard 400 at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 28. ESPN's multimedia platforms will surround the race telecast on television, radio and online. The telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and begins with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 12noon/et from the Speedway's iconic Pagoda. The program will set up the race with interviews and features before the race's green flag flies at 1:19pm/et. In addition to the race, ESPN will televise NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 27, at 2:00pm/et and ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Saturday at 9"00am/et.
Also from Indianapolis, ESPN will televise the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, with NASCAR Countdown at 4:00pm/et and the green flag at 4:50pm/et. NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson will visit the ESPN telecast booth for part of the race.
ESPN will use 72 high definition cameras at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including four Ultra Hi Motion cameras for replays and unique action shots. One will be mounted on pit wall near the "Yard of Bricks" that make up the start/finish line at the Speedway while another robotic Ultra Hi Motion camera will be mounted to provide a low shot in the first turn. Two others will be in the second and fourth turns. Eight cars competing in the race will carry onboard cameras and ESPN also will have a helicopter camera for overhead shots in the Brickyard 400 and for all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts.
Four former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions, including two NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers, will be an integral part of ESPN's coverage team for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including lead analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion and newly elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, who will work with two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth. Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer for the remainder of ESPN's NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecasts this season beginning with Indianapolis.
NASCAR Countdown will feature analysis by 1989 champion driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace and three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, with host Nicole Briscoe and NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty. The Countdown team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
For the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ESPN will again utilize NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format that brings more racing action to viewers. The format, which ESPN used for the first time in 2011, shows the advertisement on the left side of the screen and a continuation of racing action on the right side. ESPN's scoring ticker continues to move across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks. NASCAR NonStop takes effect at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial break format.(ESPN)(7-23-2013)
ESPN launches new commmerical to promote NASCAR coverage: With ESPN's coverage of the final 17 races of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting July 28 at the Brickyard 400, the network is launching a brand campaign to promote the race and build anticipation for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The first spot, "Burnout," debuts Monday on ESPN as well as on social media. The 30-second ad, produced in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy New York, emphasizes the NASCAR legacy each champion aims to build, with the tagline "43 Drivers. 12 Spots. 1 Champion." It showcases a victory burnout, with glimpses of cars belonging to some of the greatest racers in history, including Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott and Jimmie Johnson.(ESPN)(7-15-2013)
NBC to pick up TNT's NASCAR races? ESPN to cut back?: NASCAR has signed one contract for 2015-2022, for the first 13 Cup races, with Fox Sports, which includes the new Fox Sports 1 that replaces Speed in August. Fox considered it a priority to get NASCAR as one of its anchor sports for its all-sports Fox Sports 1 network, so it already signed a deal for 2015-2022 (at a 36% rate increase). While the sport might have lost some of its buzz, Fox Sports recognized the loyalty of NASCAR fans to watch its programming. It will eventually put some Cup races on that cable network to boost its profile. The big question now turns to who will televise the remaining 23 races of the season. Right now, TNT has six and ESPN/ABC has 17. NBC is expected to make a run at NASCAR. It could replace TNT for those six races but there's also speculation it could take 12 or 13 races and ESPN/ABC gets the final 10 or 11 events. With Turner relinquishing NASCAR.com to NASCAR, it makes little sense for it to have the six races. It's not enough time to really get in a good flow. The TNT telecasts aren't bad at all, but it's just too short of a bridge from Fox to ESPN for any continuity or for the announcers to get into a groove. If NBC lands races, that would put more Cup events on network television, which is important considering the addition of cable races to the Fox portion of the schedule.(Sporting News)(5-15-2013)
ESPN may bid for only a portion of Nationwide races: Rights to the Nationwide Series could be in play this summer when NASCAR opens its negotiations with ESPN, according to several sources. ESPN and NASCAR have not begun formal talks about renewing a media rights package that includes the Nationwide Series' entire 33-race season and 17 Sprint Cup races. But ESPN has had internal conversations about bidding only on the Nationwide races that overlap with its Sprint Cup schedule instead of the entire season. The reason has more to do with production expenses than ratings points. From August to November, when it airs both Nationwide and Sprint Cup races, ESPN is able to use the same production crew, production trucks and other resources to cover both Nationwide Series races and Sprint Cup races on the same weekend. It's much costlier for ESPN to produce the Nationwide Series' first 16 races during the first half of the NASCAR season, when Fox and Turner hold the rights to the Sprint Cup races held at the same tracks on those weekends. ESPN has had rights to the Nationwide Series since 2007 and put considerable promotional and programming resources behind it. The secondary circuit aired on Fox and NBC from 2001 to 2006. ESPN declined to comment. Formal renewal talks are scheduled to begin later this summer, and its executives have not spoken to NASCAR about the Nationwide Series. Any move by ESPN to bid only on the second half of the Nationwide Series would allow NASCAR to experiment with new ways of selling its secondary series and offer it great flexibility. The sanctioning body could decide to split the Nationwide package between its Sprint Cup rights holders. That would allow Fox to buy the first half of the season and ESPN, or another broadcaster, to take the second half. Such a move would give both broadcasters the type of cost efficiencies ESPN wants, both in production and advertising sales. Fox has expressed interest in obtaining the rights to the first part of the Nationwide Series but has not had any formal talks with the sanctioning body. NASCAR also could decide to test the market and create a separate package for the entire Nationwide Series that it would sell independently of the Sprint Cup Series.(Sports Business Journal)(4-30-2013)
Edwards in the TV booth for 3 races: After a two-race initiation last year, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards will return to the ESPN broadcast booth as an analyst for the next three races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Edwards will join lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick and analyst Andy Petree in the booth to call the 300-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night, April 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The race will be the first after a two week break in the schedule for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Edwards also will call races at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, April 26 (7 p.m. on ESPNEWS) and at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, May 4 (2:30 p.m. on ESPN). In each case, Edwards will compete in the next day's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the same track. "I truly appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the ESPN team and their Nationwide Series broadcasts again this season," said Edwards. "Allen, Andy and the whole ESPN team really helped me get a better feel of what goes on in the booth last season."(ESPN)(4-8-2013)
NASCAR Now Returns to ESPN2 Friday from NASCAR Hall of Fame: The seventh season of ESPN2's NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will get the green flag on Friday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. ET with a program originating from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The fourth class of five NASCAR legends will be inducted into the Hall that night, including ESPN analyst and 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace. Also being inducted are famed mechanic Leonard Wood, the late team owner/mechanic Cotton Owens and the late Buck Baker and Herb Thomas, both former driving champions. Allen Bestwick will host the NASCAR Now Hall of Fame program, joined by analysts Dale Jarrett and Ray Evernham. Wallace and Wood are expected to appear.
NASCAR Now will resume its daily schedule on Monday, Feb. 11, with at least five programs per week originating from the ESPN studios in Bristol, Ct. In a move that allows NASCAR Now to join the strong company of many of ESPN's other sport-specific studio shows, the program will air in West Coast prime time in 2013. Viewers should check their local listings for the NASCAR Now airtime each day.
When the NASCAR season gets underway later this month, a one-hour weekend edition will also air on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race and NASCAR Now will air a weekend primetime wrap-up edition starting with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in September.
Mike Massaro, Nicole Briscoe, Marty Reid, Shannon Spake and Bestwick will be ongoing hosts of NASCAR Now again this season, with ESPN SportsCenter anchors Lindsay Czarniak and Jonathan Coachman also occasionally hosting. Marty Smith will again be the lead reporter with Briscoe, Massaro, Spake, Jim Noble and ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee also reporting from the field.
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Ricky Craven will continue as an analyst for NASCAR Now with regular contributions from Jarrett, Wallace, Evernham and analysts Andy Petree and Brad Daugherty. ESPN.com motorsports writers Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton also will make appearances on the program throughout the season.
A special three-hour edition of NASCAR Now will air on Thursday, Feb. 14, at noon on ESPNEWS with coverage from Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. Briscoe will host from the studio, joined for analysis by Craven, with Massaro conducting interviews on-site at the speedway.(ESPN)(2-6-2013)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, TBA pm/et