Motorsports This Week on ESPN
NHRA Gatornationals Light Up Sunday on ESPN2
The annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., is one of the biggest events of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, and ESPN2 airs three hours of final eliminations action on Sunday, March 14, at 6 p.m. ET. Gatornationals qualifying highlights air Sunday at midnight (late Saturday night), re-airing at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The traditional East Coast opener, this event is one of the sport’s most revered with a rich tradition of history-making performances. This hallowed quarter-mile has entertained spring-break-loving fans for decades with such notable occasions as the first 260-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984 and the first 270-mph and 300-mph Top Fuel passes, in 1986 and 1992, respectively (all on the quarter-mile). Its 675-foot concrete launchpad is one of the longest on the tour.
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
Promotion Underway for IZOD IndyCar Series Opener on ABC
The March 28 event in St. Petersburg, Fla., is the first of five races in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season that will be produced by ESPN and air on ABC. The schedule also includes the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, marking the 46th consecutive year that the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air on ABC, as well as events at Kansas Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Toronto.
ESPN has begun an on-air promotional campaign for the St. Petersburg race. Click HERE to view the promotional spot.
NASCAR Now Airs Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now airs a four-day schedule this week due to the open weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series and ESPN’s coverage of college basketball’s Championship Week.
Following the Monday roundtable, Mike Massaro hosts half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now airing Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Friday at midnight (late Thursday night). The show will take Friday off and there will be no roundtable edition on Monday, March 15. NASCAR Now returns on Tuesday, March 16.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Massaro, Allen Bestwick and Nicole Briscoe and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include reporters Marty Smith, Shannon Spake and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. The NASCAR on ESPN team event coverage team of Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Marty Reid, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, and Vince Welch also make frequent contributions to NASCAR Now.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Returns March 20
The NASCAR Nationwide Series has another weekend off before returning to action on Saturday, March 20, at Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway. The race will air on ABC, with NASCAR Countdown beginning the telecast at 2 p.m. ESPN2 is the home of the series all season, with select races airing on ESPN and ABC.
Also from Bristol, ESPN2 will air live coverage of a special 35-lap race featuring some of the great NASCAR drivers of the past in a return to action. David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and Harry Gant are among the drivers competing in the Saturday Night Showdown, airing at 5:30 p.m. on March 20.
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