ESPN’s coverage of the final weekend of the NASCAR season will include some new elements as one of the closest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship battles in history concludes Sunday at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. ESPN’s telecast of the Ford 400 begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 20, with the race’s green flag at 3:15 p.m.
ESPN will use 72 cameras in the Ford 400 telecast, including two stationed high above the 1.5-mile superspeedway that will solely focus on championship contenders Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, giving ESPN the ability to show viewers the two drivers at any time during the race. In addition, both will carry onboard cameras, and Stewart will be ESPN In-Race Reporter and will speak with ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett on the race’s pace laps and during caution periods, bringing viewers the perspective of a driver competing in the race.
ESPN also will have robotic cameras in the garage stalls of both contenders, permitting overhead views of the respective race teams at work during ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on Friday and views if one or both must go to the garage for repairs during Sunday’s race.
NASCAR Countdown will include a feature on Stewart and his relationship with legendary racer A.J. Foyt, who was the inspiration for Stewart to carry No. 14 when he started his own NASCAR Sprint Cup team three years ago. NASCAR Countdown also will include a feature on Edwards and his Roush Fenway team being “championship ready” and an orchestral salute to Jimmie Johnson, whose reign of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles ended this year. Actor Ron Perlman will appear in the opening segment, which was shot at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
ESPN news and information programs SportsCenter and NASCAR Now will have reporters Shannon Spake (Edwards) and Marty Smith (Stewart) following the two contenders in Miami on Thursday and at the track Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The newly-crowned champion will be interviewed by ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch after climbing from his car at the end of the race and Punch will serve as master of ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup trophy presentation. The champion will travel to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Ct., for appearances on various ESPN platforms on Monday, Nov. 21.
Punch also will be master of ceremonies for the presentation of the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship trophy after Saturday’s season finale for that series, which airs on ESPN2 starting with NASCAR Countdown at 4 p.m.
ESPN’s telecasts of the 10 races in the Chase feature NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format that brings more racing action to viewers. The format 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.
All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Telecast schedule (all times Eastern):
|Thur., Nov. 17||3 p.m.||NASCAR Now||ESPN2|
|Fri., Nov. 18||Noon||NASCAR Now||ESPN2|
|Fri., Nov. 18||12:30 p.m.||NASCAR Nationwide Series practice||ESPN2|
|Fri., Nov. 18||3 p.m.||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice||ESPN2|
|Sat., Nov. 19||6 a.m.||ESPN RaceDay||ESPN Radio|
|Sat., Nov. 19||4 p.m.||NASCAR Countdown||ESPN2|
|Sat., Nov. 19||4:30 p.m.||NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford 300 (GF 4:45 p.m.)||ESPN2|
|Sun., Nov. 20||6 a.m.||ESPN RaceDay||ESPN Radio|
|Sun., Nov. 20||9 a.m.||NASCAR Now||ESPN2|
|Sun., Nov. 20||2 p.m.||NASCAR Countdown presented by NAPA||ESPN|
|Sun., Nov. 20||3 p.m.||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 (GF 3:15 p.m.)||ESPN|
|Sun., Nov. 20||10 p.m.||NASCAR Now||ESPN2|
Rusty Wallace to Enter St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame
ESPN NASCAR analyst Rusty Wallace will be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday night. Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and a St. Louis native, retired at the end of the 2005 season with 55 wins, eighth on NASCAR’s all-time list. He joined ESPN in 2006. Other sports figures being enshrined with Wallace include former St. Louis Rams Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt and former St. Louis Blues coach Scotty Bowman. Wallace was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
About NASCAR on ESPN:
ESPN produces comprehensive, multi-platform coverage featuring telecasts of the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Additionally, ESPN2 is the television home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. ESPN’s NASCAR coverage extends to ESPN.com, SportsCenter, ESPN the Magazine, WatchESPN, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and ESPN International, among other ESPN platforms. ESPN aired 262 NASCAR Cup Races over a 20-year period starting in 1981 and returned to NASCAR coverage in 2007. The network’s award-winning, live flag-to-flag coverage on ESPN has been honored with 19 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors. It is widely credited for helping to popularize the sport nationwide.