NASCAR on ESPN
NASCAR on ESPN Format Auto Racing Starring Allen Bestwick
Country of origin USA Production Running time 3-5 hours Broadcast Original channel ESPN, ESPN2, ABC First shown in 1961-2002, 2007-Present Original airing 1961 (ABC), 1981 (ESPN), 1993 (ESPN2)
NASCAR on ESPN is the coverage of NASCAR on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC. ABC, and later ESPN, carried NASCAR races from the sanctioning body's top three divisions at various points from the early 1960s until 2002. ESPN resumed coverage of NASCAR with the Nationwide Series race at Daytona in February 2007 and the Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis in July 2007.
- 1 History
- 2 General information and history since 2007
- 3 Production
- 4 Coverage and other controversies
- 5 Ultimate NASCAR
- 6 Lineup variations
- 7 Announcers (1995-2002)
- 8 Current announcers
- 9 See also
- 10 References
ABC's involvement with NASCAR began in the days of ABC's Wide World of Sports, in which it presented some of the biggest races in stock car racing. One of its events was the Daytona 500. ABC showed the last half of the race, except in 1976, when it showed the first 30 laps, went to the Olympics and then came back for the wild finish, in which David Pearson edged out Richard Petty with both cars sliding sideways across the track. The race TV rights went to CBS Sports in 1979. For much of the 1970s and 1980s, ABC broadcast NASCAR races on tape delay. The commentary was added later in post production. They would actually sit in the booth and call something live if they needed to for the satellite feed. Otherwise, ABC would do all the editing afterwards for the final telecast.
ESPN began showing NASCAR races in 1981, with the first event being at North Carolina Speedway. The last of its 265 Cup telecasts (that number includes some on ABC Sports) was the 2000 Atlanta fall race (now the Labor Day Classic 500). Even though Fox, FX, NBC, and TNT were the exclusive broadcasters of the Winston/Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series from 2001 to 2006, the ESPN networks still carried the Craftsman Truck Series in 2001 and 2002 because the Truck races were under a separate contract. Speed Channel took over the Truck broadcasts in 2003.
General information and history since 2007
Each race telecast begins with the pre-race show NASCAR Countdown. As of the 2011 season Nicole Briscoe is the usual host, with Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace providing commentary. It is typically 1 hour for Sprint Cup and major Nationwide races and a half-hour for all other Nationwide races. In addition to the races, ESPN2 airs a daily show called NASCAR Now, which is similar to Baseball Tonight and NFL Primetime. It airs daily on ESPN2 and is hosted by Briscoe, with various others substituting.
In 2007, 29 of the 35 Busch races aired on ESPN2, with the other five airing on ABC. ESPN2 started its coverage with the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2007. ABC's first Busch race was the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas on March 10. The first NEXTEL Cup race telecast was the Brickyard 400 on July 29 on ESPN. The next 5 races aired on ESPN and the Richmond race and the final 10 races (the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup) appeared on ABC.
The initial broadcast team consisted of Jerry Punch as the lead announcer with Wallace and Andy Petree as analysts. Allen Bestwick, Mike Massaro, Jamie Little, and Dave Burns were the pit reporters. Brent Musburger, Suzy Kolber, and Chris Fowler contributed as studio hosts.
In 2008, ESPN moved Wallace and Bestwick from their positions. Bestwick became studio host while Wallace joined the studio team. Dale Jarrett, who had retired at the end of the previous season and had worked part time for the network afterward, joined Punch and Petree as booth analyst. Shannon Spake replaced Bestwick on pit road.
In 2009, the Monday edition of NASCAR Now became a roundtable show, similar to the old Inside NEXTEL Cup show that was on Speed Channel. Bestwick hosts the roundtable; he is also the former host of the Speed Channel program. The panelists rotate and have included Mike Massaro, Johnny Benson, Boris Said, Ray Evernham, and Ricky Craven. Massaro has also filled in as host, including after the 2010 Daytona 500. For the 2010 season, ESPN will carry fifteen races, including the entire Chase for the Sprint Cup except for the Bank of America 500 which will be televised on ABC. ABC will also carry the Irwin Tools Night Race and the Air Guard 400 as part of its race coverage. Previously, ABC aired the entire Chase for the Sprint Cup and the Richmond race (now known as the Air Guard 400), but NASCAR's decision to standardize early start times conflicted with ABC's expanding Sunday morning political talk show lineup. This led to consternation among ABC's Southern affiliates, who counted on the races as a bulwark against NFL games on competing CBS and FOX stations. Previously, ESPN had taken over the rights to the Rose Bowl and the British Open, as part of an ongoing strategy to shift sports programming from ABC to ESPN, to the outrage of many sports fans.
The ESPN family of networks, for the fourth consecutive year, is the exclusive home for all Nationwide Series events. 22 of those races will be on ESPN2, with ABC carrying four and ESPN nine. Marty Reid, who for the past several seasons was the lead play-by-play announcer for Indy Racing League events on the ESPN family of networks, will become its lead NASCAR voice for the 2010 season replacing Jerry Punch. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett will return as color commentators, while Punch will move to lead pit reporter. Starting at the 2011 Brickyard 400, Allen Bestwick will replace Marty Reid in the booth. Nicole Briscoe will replace Bestwick in the Pit Studio
Each broadcast begins with NASCAR Countdown, ESPN's pre-race show. Using a mobile pit studio similar to FOX's Hollywood Hotel, the pre-race is typically led by host Nicole Briscoe with Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. Daugherty and Wallace may be absent for weekends of Nationwide-only races, and Wallace occasionally moves to the broadcast booth for Nationwide races. The studio is not used at Nationwide races where ESPN is responsible for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at two different tracks. The studio has not been used at Road America events where ESPN has brought a skeleton crew since the race is ESPN's only broadcast of the weekend. The pre-race show is 30 minutes for Nationwide races and an hour for Sprint Cup races. Cuts to commercials see a plastic NASCAR Countdown logo in city attractions outside the track.
Practice and qualifying session broadcasts also originate from the studio and drivers will occasionally enter the studio during qualifying to preview their runs. Sprint Cup drivers have also been seen in the booth to commentate on Nationwide races.
All races are presented in high-definition, and all cameras, including those in the race cars, are capable of sending out HD pictures.
At the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 20, 2007, NASCAR on ESPN unveiled a new feature, "Full Throttle". In this feature, which takes place on one restart a race, the audio is provided by various team communications between drivers, crew chiefs, and spotters. Typically, this lasts for about one lap. This frequency is reduced from its earlier use.
The pit studio
The ESPN pit studio is one of the most technologically advanced mobile studios in all of sports. It is the size of a big-rig trailer and weighs 78,000 pounds (35,000 kg). The interior is 12 feet (3.7 m) wide and holds five production crew members, three robotic cameras and the on-air hosts. The entire studio can be elevated 14 feet (4.3 m) and has 30 feet (9.1 m) of glass so the hosts and the fans can see the track. In 2008, the studio was re-decorated and used by ABC News to cover the New Hampshire presidential primary. The studio also uses state-of-the-art LED lighting to light up the hosts.
Coverage and other controversies
Many visitors to forums and blogs such as The Daly Planet have complained that the coverage seen on ESPN and its related networks were not up to the standards set by the earlier version of network coverage. Their biggest complaints were excessive commercials, bored announcers, abuse of production technology, and language that seemed to talk down to them. Many said that they had found alternate means of racing coverage, including NASCAR Hot Pass, radio broadcasts, and NASCAR.com. Some were even looking forward to the return of NASCAR on Fox, despite the gimmicks inherent to that portion of the racing season.
The many changes made in 2008, specifically the removal of on-air personalities with no previous NASCAR backgrounds and the reassignment of Wallace, may have come in response to these complaints.
NASCAR itself was disappointed at the production job done by ESPN at 2009 fall Talladega race. The morning of the race, in response to recent accidents at the track where cars went airborne, NASCAR instituted a rule banning bump drafting during the race. ESPN commentators frequented commented on how boring the race was because of the rule change, despite statistically (in numbers of lead changes and passes) being comparable to past races at the track. The rule change itself proved ineffective at preventing car flips and accidents, as both Ryan Newman and Mark Martin flipped their cars during the event, and was quickly reversed before the 2010 season.
Commentators often seem to be quite biased towards or against drivers on ESPN's NASCAR broadcasts, as with most of the network's racing broadcasts. At the 2008 AMP Energy 500, just after the finish, the station listened in on Tony Stewart's radio after he was controversially overtaken for the lead by Regan Smith. He said "It was below the yellow line, it was belo-" when he was cut off, appearing intentional. Punch often seemingly argued with Petree and Jarrett over whether or not the pass was illegal. This was one of many cases where ESPN analysts have shown bias.
ESPN also consistently shows a sponsorship bias in terms of how races are named when marketed by ESPN. In races that are named after corporate sponsors (i.e. U.S. Cellular 250) and even ones without corporate naming or where the sponsor's name is not commonly used (i.e. Pennsylvania 500), ESPN uses a generic name that takes the form of "NASCAR (series name) at (track name)", unless the sponsor of the race is also a sponsor of ESPN's NASCAR coverage. Additionally, some of the names are followed by one of ESPN's sponsors (i.e. GoDaddy.com). Additionally, ESPN has a considerably different set of sponsors than other NASCAR-covering networks, including competitors of official NASCAR sponsors (i.e. Toyo Tires, who once sponsored pit-road coverage during a Nationwide Series race, opposition of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, official tires of NASCAR). Generally these sponsors would not be allowed to appear on cars or at tracks, but there is not yet a restriction on television broadcasts. ESPN has a long standing policy of not advertising race advertisers unless they have paid a premium to the network.
In NASCAR on ESPN's advertising campaign, their slogan is "Feel your heart race", a slogan which has already been trademarked by Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang. The latter's advertising also appears on ESPN-carried races. This was changed to "Cause it's Racing" in 2010.
During broadcasts in 2010, several improvements have been made, including reduction in technology. There have also been changes in announcing and pit reporters, most notably the moving Dr. Jerry Punch to pit road and IndyCar and occasional Nationwide Series lead announcer Marty Reid to lead broadcaster for the majority of NASCAR broadcasts beginning in 2010, including all Sprint Cup races. Sponsorship by non-NASCAR sponsors has also been reduced.
Once the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins and even in the races leading up to the Chase, ESPN has shifted its focus to the drivers in the Chase, in particular Jimmie Johnson. Often if a driver not in the chase is leading and is passed for the lead by a Chase driver, he is not spoken of again for the rest of the broadcast. During the November 2009 race in Texas, the vast majority of the broadcast was spent talking about Jimmie Johnson despite the fact he crashed on the third lap of the race and finished 38th. This was a fear of many once the Chase was introduced.
Finally, in 2010 ESPN, with the consent of NASCAR, changed the networks that races were broadcast on. While the final eleven races of the season were broadcast on ABC from 2007–2009, all Sprint Cup races except for the three Saturday Night races in ESPN's portion of the schedule were switched to ESPN. (The Bristol night race, previously on ESPN, was moved to ABC.) This leaves only 3 races on over-the-air broadcasts for the last two-thirds of the NASCAR season. This, combined with the moving of the Brickyard 400, arguably NASCAR's second biggest race to ESPN, has angered fans and sponsors.
Due to ESPN's various sports commitments, there have been several interferences with NASCAR broadcasts. This is especially true during college football season, where Nationwide Series races often follow an early college football game. The broadcast start has also been delayed by Little League Baseball and ATP tennis. Many times (at least 15 as of 2010), NASCAR Countdown and even the start of the race have been moved to ESPN Classic. Due to contractual agreements with Turner, ESPN cannot put broadcasts with ESPN3.com, another fact that has angered fans.
In 2010, because of the move of Chase races to ESPN and the earlier 1:00 PM ET start time, ESPN moved NASCAR Countdown to ESPN2 for all Chase races starting at 1:00 PM ET to avoid shortening or moving it's Sunday NFL Countdown program. Viewers had to switch to the race at 1:00 PM ET from ESPN2 to ESPN. The next year, NASCAR moved the Chase races to later times (2:00 ET, then 3:00 ET for the final three races).
Network pre-emptions and relocations
- On September 30, 2007, the end of the LifeLock 400, part of that season's Chase, was moved to ESPN2 when a rain delay went past 6 p.m. ET, the end of the allotted broadcast window. This was in contrast to Fox and NBC coverage, which typically stayed on those stations even if the races ran long past the expected time.
- On March 15, 2008, the Sharpie Mini 300 moved from ABC to ESPN Classic at 6:15 p.m. so that ABC could show World News Saturday in the Eastern and Central time zones. The race was in a rain delay at the time and it was not resumed.
- On May 2, 2008, the Lipton Tea 250 was moved from ESPN2 to ESPN Classic due to ESPN2's commitment to cover game 6 of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Washington Wizards first-round NBA playoff series. Because ESPN Classic has a much more limited potential audience than ESPN or ESPN2, NASCAR asked Speed Channel to simulcast the race, and it agreed. ESPN2 then rebroadcast the race in its entirety after the basketball game. A similar arrangement was reached for the Kroger On Track for the Cure 250, scheduled for October 2008 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
- On November 9, 2008, the conclusion of the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 aired on ESPN2 because the race exceeded the allowable broadcast window due to two red-flag delays. ABC affiliates in the Eastern and Central time zones aired America's Funniest Home Videos instead, while those in the Mountain and Pacific time zones stayed with race coverage, with ESPN2 serving as a simulcast.
- On August 22, 2009 at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, both the invocation and the national anthem were preempted because the Little League World Series game ran long.
- On July 31, 2010, the first 23 laps of the Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at the Iowa Speedway, as well as all pre-race programming, were moved to ESPN Classic because of a semifinal match at the ATP Legg Mason Classic that ran long. This came shortly after the channel was upgraded to more expensive channel tiers on DirecTV and Dish Network, among other providers.
- The following day, August 1, the final round of the Women's British Open ran a few minutes past 1 p.m. ET, meaning that the pre-race ceremonies of the Pennsylvania 500 were pre-empted. ESPN2, which picked up NASCAR Countdown from ESPN due to the conflict, had to start its coverage of the X Games at that time. However, the race itself was not affected.
- On October 2, 2010, NASCAR Countdown and the first several laps of the Kansas Lottery 300 were aired on ESPN Classic due to the Clemson-Miami football game running longer than anticipated.
- On November 1, 2010, due to technical difficulties, the last 45 minutes of Sunday NFL Countdown and the first 57 laps of the 2010 AMP Energy Juice 500 were preempted on some providers.
- The 2011 Bubba Burger 250, scheduled for April 29 was moved from ESPN to Speed due to anticipated conflicts on both ESPN (with the second night of the 2011 NFL Draft) and ESPN2 (one or more NBA playoff games). Unlike past conflicts, this broadcast was produced entirely by SPEED combining their Truck & FOX's Sprint Cup broadcasting teams.
Local station pre-emptions
- The Subway 500 from Martinsville Speedway was not shown on KABC in Los Angeles (the second largest media market in the United States) on October 21 due to the California wildfires of October 2007, specifically the Buckweed fire in Santa Clarita and the Canyon fire in Malibu. Instead, the broadcast was shown on digital subchannel ABC7+, which is not available to all local residents.
- Several stations chose to pre-empt NASCAR Countdown for local news. KABC did so before every Saturday night race in 2007 and 2008, and also did it before the 2007 Ford 400, a Sunday-afternoon event, to show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody from the Disney Channel to fulfill an E/I programming requirement. WPLG in Miami, Florida and KSAT-TV in San Antonio, Texas also did so at least once in 2007. On November 1, 2009, the day of the 2009 AMP Energy 500, KXLY-TV in Spokane, Washington preempted NASCAR Countdown and instead aired Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody also to fulfill E/I.
- At the other end of the scale, KTKA in Topeka, Kansas left the 2007 Bank of America 500 on October 13 to launch its nightly late newscast at 10 p.m. Central time and did not return. Topeka is located about 60 miles from Emporia, the hometown of NASCAR Cup driver (and 2007 Chase participant) Clint Bowyer. KSAT also aired a brief news update, which came during a red flag, but returned in time for the checkered flag.
- The 2008 Sharpie Mini 300 was not seen on several ABC stations for various reasons, ranging from weather bulletins (WSB in Atlanta and WSOC in Charlotte) to the Big 12 basketball tournament (KLKN in Lincoln, Nebraska and WOI in Des Moines, Iowa, among other stations in the conference's footprint). In addition, WABC in New York City carried the race, but pre-empted NASCAR Countdown and the rain delay to cover a construction accident at a high-rise building in Manhattan.
- The pre-race for the 2008 Bank of America 500 was not seen on at least seven stations: KABC,KSAT, WPVI in Philadelphia, WXYZ-TV in Detroit, WEWS in Cleveland, WFTS in the Tampa Bay area, and KXLY. All of them aired newscasts, except for WXYZ, which aired a charity fundraiser.
- The final eight laps of the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 were not shown on KOAT, the ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The station cut away at 4 p.m. Mountain time to show a debate between the major party candidates for the election for the state's First District of the United States House of Representatives. The ending was shifted to ESPN2, but only those receiving KOAT on local cable (mostly Comcast) were able to see it; those who receive the station via satellite continued to get the national feed of ESPN2. On the same day, KXLY went off the air on the day of the race due to a transmitter problem, so obviously there was no telecast back to that area.
- On August 21, 2010, eight ABC affiliates pre-empted the summer race at Bristol due to coverage of National Football League preseason games, and WXYZ joined the race in progress due to the Woodward Dream Cruise, a major civic event in Detroit. In Richmond, Virginia, the race was moved to a sister station, in six other cases the race was picked up by a digital subchannel, and in the other two it was not shown at all. One of those two was Joplin, Missouri, meaning that fans there missed local driver Jamie McMurray's third-place finish.
- WKRN Channel 2 in Nashville, TN showed a Tennessee Titans pre-season game instead of the 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race. The station scrolled on the screen that the race could be seen on ESPN2. But due to the failure of Local station communication with ABC/ESPN local residents who use Charter Cable did not receive the race, instead they were served Billiards, Worlds Strongest Man, and High School Football.
- Several east coast stations moved the 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race to ESPN2 as local ABC stations aired Hurricane Irene coverage. In those areas, the race was not available on DirecTV HD but instead, on an alternate, low-quality feed.
Missing race endings
- On August 24, 2007, the final five laps of the Food City 250 NBS race at Bristol Motor Speedway were not televised by ESPN2. The reason was that a satellite uplink path was somehow eliminated, preventing the master control at the network headquarters (ironically in Bristol, Connecticut; the track is in Bristol, Tennessee) from re-transmitting the event to cable and satellite providers. Instead, viewers saw a blank screen, then the ESPN2 logo "screensaver," then some commercials. By the time the problem was rectified, the race was over, with Kasey Kahne as the winner. Jerry Punch, the lap-by-lap announcer, apologized for the error immediately and the final two laps were shown on replay unedited. In addition, the first rebroadcast showed the same laps as they were intended to be broadcast - with on-screen ticker and GEICO sponsorship bug - just after 4:30 a.m. ET the next morning. An ESPN spokesman blamed a "human error" of an unspecified nature.
- With nine laps remaining in the 2008 Federated Auto Parts 300, one or more feeds of ESPN2 on DirecTV suddenly cut off and was replaced by a static screen of the provider's logo, with audio from XM Satellite Radio's Top Tracks channel. By the time the picture returned, the race was over and Brad Keselowski celebrated his first win in the series, by then renamed Nationwide Series. The exact cause of the failure is unknown. Blogger John M. Daly blamed the problem on an error in the routing system in which the picture is sent to master control, and that neither ESPN2HD nor cable companies were affected. However, on a message board dealing with TV auto racing, moderator Cheryl Lauer reported that the opposite had happened to her, that HD was out while SD was broadcasting normally. She thought the problem was due to a complication in testing signals from a new satellite, D11.
- Due to college football commitments - and an exceedingly long race which had 26 caution flags - coverage of the Busch Series Sam's Town 250 on October 27, 2007 ended the moment that David Reutimann took the checkered flag to win the race. There was no post-race interview with Reutimann, summary of the finishing order, or any other usual post-race programming. No interview aired on ESPNEWS or SportsCenter, either, another decision that rankled some long-time fans.
- In addition, some drivers had testy relationships with ESPN reporters. Tony Stewart was fined and had points taken away after his win at the Allstate 400 in 2007; he used an obscenity in his post-race interview. During it, he implied unfair treatment by the network in the past. Also, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked very uneasy in his interview with Mike Massaro at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400; Massaro ran a lengthy talk after Earnhardt Jr. dropped out with engine failure. And in 2009, Juan Pablo Montoya walked out on an interview with Vince Welch after the Pennsylvania 500 due to a line of questioning he was not happy with.
- Most of the races broadcast on ESPN on ABC had very minimal or no post-race coverage. Several times, ESPN only interviewed the winner and 2nd place drivers. The most likely explanation is that the next program is, typically, ABC World News Sunday or a local newscast; the network wants to start the newscast as soon as possible.
- At the 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the majority of the coverage was focused on Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. There was only one mention when Juan Pablo Montoya led the opening laps of the race and ESPN on ABC did not air several of the lead changes or mention them on air. In addition, during the Busch Series O'Reilly Challenge race at Texas, the final laps were broadcast from an in-car camera of points championship leader Carl Edwards. ESPN did not air the finish of the race where Kevin Harvick won and instead stayed with an in-car shot of Edwards through the finish.
- At the 2007 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega, ESPN on ABC did not air the final lead change as they were covering a battle a little deeper in the field. Jeff Gordon made the race winning move without mention of the lead change on ESPN on ABC until well after it had happened. Gordon won the race.
- At the 2010 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler crashed violently during the late stages of the race. ESPN could get multiple angles on Busch's wreck, but ESPN only could get one small angle of Sadler's crash leaving many fans angry about not knowing how Sadler crashed and hit the inside wall.
- Shortly after the 2011 DRIVE4COPD 300, ESPN lost audio just as race winner Stewart was about to answer a question. Due to those technical problems, ESPN began its special edition of SportsCenter, from an infield studio at Daytona, early. The interviews with Stewart and Earnhardt, Jr. were still recorded and played back 18 minutes later with the audio restored. However, the usual final tape montage and proper sign-off was not shown, at least not in the original live versions.
- At the 2011 Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville, ESPN did not show the final lead change because Brad Keselowski spun around, Tony Stewart made the race winning move around Jimmie Johnson.
In addition to race coverage, ESPN has aired a series of programs called Ultimate NASCAR. The series began in April 2007, when the network began to air a series of 100 one-minute vignettes highlighting NASCAR's most important moments as selected by a panel of experts. The vignettes aired every day until July 29. These moments are also recounted in a companion book published by the network.
In July 2007, ESPN aired a series of related documentaries. Three of them were countdown shows, ranking the greatest drivers, races, and rivalries in the sport's history. The other shows were "The Explosion" (a general overview), "The Dirt" (the origins of NASCAR), "The Cars" (the evolution of the NASCAR race car), "The Families" (an in-depth look at the Allison, Earnhardt and Petty families), and "Speed and Danger" (in which NASCAR drivers discuss the risks they take).
In order to reduce the workload of announcers during the first half of the season, ESPN constantly changes the lineup of those who cover the activities on the race track. In the 2007 season, ESPN used three different lap-by-lap announcers (Punch, Marty Reid, and Allen Bestwick), four different color commentators (Wallace, Petree, Jarrett, and Randy Lajoie), nine different pit reporters (Jack Arute, Bestwick, Dave Burns, Gary Gerould, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Marty Smith, Spake, and Vince Welch), six infield studio hosts (Musburger, Bestwick, Massaro, Chris Fowler, Erik Kuselias, and Suzy Kolber), and at least four infield studio analysts (Daugherty, Brewer, Wallace, and Ray Evernham). Three times during the season, the network did not use an infield studio for NASCAR Countdown, during the split races (where Nextel Cup and Busch Series were in different venues during the same weekend). Also, none of the talent has been at every race. In 2007, Daugherty had the longest streak, being at every race until the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 16.
The main booth remained the same for all Sprint Cup races.
In 2008, Jarrett was to be granted two months off from the end of April to the end of June to prepare for being the analyst for all 17 Sprint Cup races.
The exact team to be used at each race is listed in an ESPN press release on this page.
See below for a more detailed list of announcers and their roles.
- Dave Despain: (1995–2000)
- Bob Jenkins: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1981–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1981–2000), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1995–2000) - was a fill in lap by lap announcer for Jerry Punch on NASCAR Busch Grand National series races and Dave Despain and Marty Reid on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races.
- Jerry Punch*: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1984–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1984–2000), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2001–2002) Sprint Cup Series (2007-2009)
- Marty Reid: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1999–2000), NASCAR Nationwide Series (2008–Present), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2010)
- Dave Despain: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1995–1998)
- Benny Parsons: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1989–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series] (1989–2000), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1995–2000)
- Ned Jarrett: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1988–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1988–2000) - was a fill in lap by lap announcer for Bob Jenkins between 1984 and 2000 on NASCAR Winston Cup Series races. - he did not provide analysis for races on ABC due to his network contract with CBS. Therefore he only worked for ESPN
- Ray Evernham: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (2000) - after he left Jeff Gordon's # 24 DuPont Chevrolet team from Hendrick Motorsports to help Dodge return to NASCAR, he became the second analyst in the booth for ABC's coverage of NASCAR, essentially filling Ned Jarrett's role for ABC races.
- Phil Parsons: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2001–2002) - was only an analyst for ESPN. ABC didn't carry any of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2001 or 2002. However, he did do pit reporting for ABC's coverage of the 1995 Truck Series Ford Credit 125 from Mesa Marin.
- Jerry Punch: NASCAR Winston Cup Series(1984–2000)
- Bill Weber: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1995–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1995–2000)
- John Kernan: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1990–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1990–2000)
- Ray Dunlap: NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1997–2000), NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (1997–2000), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1998–2002) - was a fill in pit reporter when Punch, Weber, and Kernan were on other assignments for NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and NASCAR Busch Grand National Series races.
- Amy East: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1999–2002)
- Dave Burns: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (1999–2000)
- Allen Bestwick: (host, 2007–present) NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Edition
- Mike Massaro: (host, 2009–present) (reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Nicole Briscoe: (host, 2008–present) (reporter, 2008–present) NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown
- Shannon Spake: (host, 2010–present) (reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Tim Brewer: (analyst, 2007–present) NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown, and ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage
- Brad Daugherty: (analyst, 2007–present) NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown
- Rusty Wallace: (analyst, 2007–present) NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown
- Boris Said: (analyst, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Tim Cowlishaw: (analyst, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Ray Evernham: (analyst, 2008–2010) NASCAR Now
- D.J. Copp: (analyst, 2008–present) NASCAR Now
- There will also be race participants who will act as analysts during caution laps, known as the in-race reporter.
- Marty Smith: (lead reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Terry Blount: (reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- Angelique Chengelis: (reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
- David Newton: (reporter, 2007–present) NASCAR Now
Booth commentary All Sprint Cup races
- Allen Bestwick: (lead lap-by-lap, 2011–present)
- Dale Jarrett: (lead analyst, 2008–present)
- Andy Petree: (lead analyst, 2007–present)
Selected Nationwide Series races
- Marty Reid: (lap-by-lap, 2007–present) Select Nationwide Series races
- Allen Bestwick: (lap-by-lap, 2007–2011) Select Nationwide Series races
- Dave Burns: (lap-by-lap, 2010) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Vince Welch: (lap-by-lap, 2010) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Rusty Wallace: (analyst, 2007–present) Select Nationwide Series races
- Ray Evernham: (analyst 2008–2010) Select Nationwide Series races
- Randy LaJoie: (analyst, 2007–2010) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Ricky Craven: (analyst, 2010–present) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Ken Schrader: (analyst, 2011–present) Select Nationwide Series races
Regular pit reporters
- Dr. Jerry Punch (lead pit reporter, 2010–present)
- Dave Burns: (pit reporter, 2007–present)
- Jamie Little: (pit reporter, 2007–present)
- Vince Welch: (pit reporter, 2009–present)
Fill in pit reporters
- Mike Massaro: (pit reporter, 2007–present) Select Nationwide Series races
- Shannon Spake: (pit reporter, 2007–present) Select Nationwide Series races
- Rick Debruhl: (pit reporter, 2009–present) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Jim Noble: (pit reporter, 2010–present) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Jack Arute: (pit reporter, 2007–2009) Nationwide Series non-companion events
- Marty Smith: (pit reporter, 2007) Nationwide Series at Montreal only
- Gary Gerould: (pit reporter, 2007) Nationwide Series at Montreal only
- NASCAR Countdown
- NASCAR Now
- NASCAR Drivers: Non-Stop
- ESPN2 Garage
- Jayski's Silly Season Site
- NASCAR in Primetime
- ^ NASCAR Commentators Crews and Networks
- ^ "ESPN’s Mobile Pit Studio Uses LEDs for TV Studio Lighting". IEN. http://www.ien.com/article/espns-mobile-pit/113759. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- ^ Historic TV Simulcast Calms Angry Fans
- ^ "Nationwide race from Memphis to be on Speed, ESPN Classic". NASCAR Scene. 2008-10-09. http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/nationwideseries/ESPN_to_simulcast_Nationwide_race_from_Memphis.html. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- ^ John M. Daly (2008-11-10). "The Day After The "Big Switch"". The Daly Planet. http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2008/11/day-after-big-switch.html. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- ^ John M. Daly (2008-03-15). "Another Long Day's Journey Into Night for ABC, ESPN". The Daly Planet. http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2008/03/another-long-days-journey-into-night.html. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
- ^ John M. Daly (2008-10-11). "Primetime NASCAR Racing On ABC Saturday Night". The Daly Planet. http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2008/10/primetime-nascar-racing-on-abc-saturday.html. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- ^ John M. Daly (2008-10-26). "Even Atlanta Can't Provide TV Excitement". Daly Planet. http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2008/10/even-atlanta-cant-provide-tv-excitement.html. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- ^ John M. Daly (2010-08-21). "Live Blogging Sprint Cup Series From Bristol...". Daly Planet. http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2010/08/live-blogging-sprint-cup-series-from_21.html. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- ^ ESPN apologizes for lost TV feed
- ^ In-Progress From Nashville: Nationwide Series on ESPN2
- ^ Did you miss the end, too?
- ^ ESPN Pushes NASCAR To The Back Burner
- ^ The Daly Planet: Decision Time For Fans Is Right Now (Updated 1/2/08) Wow!
- ^ sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news
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