ESPN’s coverage of the 2012 NASCAR season launches with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25, on ESPN. The telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at noon ET with NASCAR Countdown. The 300-mile race’s green flag flies at 1:34 p.m.
All 33 races on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule this season will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. ESPN also will televise the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fourteen of the 17 races will air on ESPN, with three Saturday night races appearing on ABC. ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway.
In addition to race coverage for both series, the networks also will televise practice and qualifying from select races, season preview and review programs and a special Chase preview. Races include NASCAR Countdown, a dedicated pre-race program, and comprehensive coverage of NASCAR appears on ESPN2’s NASCAR news and information program, NASCAR Now.
All of ESPN’s NASCAR television content is also viewable digitally through WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com, the groundbreaking online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN. WatchESPN is available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN.com and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
ESPN’s team of announcers has five former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions in analyst roles in 2012, including 1999 champion driver Dale Jarrett and 1989 champion Rusty Wallace. Two-time champion crew chiefs Tim Brewer and Andy Petree also will offer expert analysis during the season while three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham returns to ESPN this season after taking the 2011 season off.
Lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick will join Jarrett and Petree in the booth for race telecasts, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. From the ESPN Pit Studio, Nicole Briscoe will host NASCAR Countdown with analysts Wallace and Brad Daugherty, joined by Evernham for selected races, mostly in the second half of the season. Brewer will report from the Emmy-winning ESPN Tech Garage during race telecasts to help viewers better understand the technical and mechanical aspects of NASCAR racing.
Marty Reid will step into the lap-by-lap announcer position for NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts once ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins, with Bestwick calling the Cup races. Reid also will call selected Nationwide Series races in the first half of the season while continuing his role as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN on ABC’s telecasts of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Wallace, Evernham and NASCAR Now analyst Ricky Craven also will help call some races from the booth as fill-ins for Jarrett and Petree. NASCAR Now co-hosts Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will work as pit reporters for selected races as will Rick DeBruhl, a pit reporter on ESPN’s coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Jim Noble.
ESPN’s NASCAR race telecasts will be produced under the oversight of ESPN vice president, motorsports, Rich Feinberg and coordinating producer Kate Jackson. NASCAR Sprint Cup races and selected Nationwide Series races will be produced by Jamie Shiftan while Jim Gaiero will produce other Nationwide Series races. Richie Basile will be director.
ESPN’s multimedia approach to coverage of NASCAR touches multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ABC, ABC HD, WatchESPN, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio, ESPN International, ESPN Mobile, espnW and Jayski.com.
NASCAR race schedules for the ESPN Networks in 2012 are as follows:
2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES SCHEDULE ON ESPN NETWORKS
|July 29||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||ESPN||1 p.m.|
|Aug. 5||Pocono Raceway||ESPN||1 p.m.|
|Aug. 12||Watkins Glen International||ESPN||1 p.m.|
|Aug. 19||Michigan International Speedway||ESPN||1 p.m.|
|Aug. 25||Bristol Motor Speedway||ABC||7:30 p.m.|
|Sep. 2||Atlanta Motor Speedway||ESPN||7:30 p.m.|
|Sep. 8||Richmond International Raceway||ABC||7:30 p.m.|
|Sep. 16||Chicagoland Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Sep. 23||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Sep. 30||Dover International Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Oct. 7||Talladega Superspeedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Oct. 13||Charlotte Motor Speedway||ABC||7:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 21||Kansas Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Oct. 28||Martinsville Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|Nov. 4||Texas Motor Speedway||ESPN||3 p.m.|
|Nov. 11||Phoenix International Raceway||ESPN||3 p.m.|
|Nov. 18||Homestead-Miami Speedway||ESPN||3 p.m.|
2012 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES SCHEDULE
|Feb. 25||Daytona International Speedway||ESPN||1:15 p.m.|
|March 3||Phoenix International Raceway||ESPN2||4:30 p.m.|
|March 10||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||ESPN2||5 p.m.|
|March 17||Bristol Motor Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|March 24||Auto Club Speedway||ESPN||5:30 p.m.|
|Apr. 13||Texas Motor Speedway||ESPN2||8:30 p.m.|
|Apr. 27||Richmond International Raceway||ESPN2||7:30 p.m.|
|May 5||Talladega Superspeedway||ABC||3:15 p.m.|
|May 11||Darlington Raceway||ESPN2||7 p.m.|
|May 20||Iowa Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|May 26||Charlotte Motor Speedway||ABC||2:45 p.m.|
|June 2||Dover International Speedway||ESPN||2 p.m.|
|June 16||Michigan International Speedway||ABC||3:45 p.m.|
|June 23||Road America||ESPN||3:30 p.m.|
|June 29||Kentucky Speedway||ESPN2||7:30 p.m.|
|July 6||Daytona International Speedway||ESPN||7:30 p.m.|
|July 14||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||ESPN||3:30 p.m.|
|July 22||Chicagoland Speedway||ESPN||3 p.m.|
|July 28||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||ESPN||4:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 4||Iowa Speedway||ESPN2||8 p.m.|
|Aug. 11||Watkins Glen International||ABC||2:15 p.m.|
|Aug. 18||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve||ESPN||2:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 24||Bristol Motor Speedway||ESPN||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 1||Atlanta Motor Speedway||ESPN2||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 7||Richmond International Raceway||ESPN||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 15||Chicagoland Speedway||ESPN2||3:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 22||Kentucky Speedway||ESPN||4 p.m.|
|Sept. 29||Dover International Speedway||ESPN2||3:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 12||Charlotte Motor Speedway||ESPN2||7:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||Kansas Speedway||ESPN||3:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 3||Texas Motor Speedway||ESPN||7:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 10||Phoenix International Raceway||ESPN||4 p.m.|
|Nov. 17||Homestead-Miami Speedway||ESPN2||4:30 p.m.|
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, ESPN 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.