Drag Racing's Biggest Event Featured on ESPN This Weekend
With 11 hours of action on television, and even more available online, ESPN will blanket drag racing's biggest event, the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, this Labor Day weekend.
Expanded qualifying and eliminations telecasts will culminate with six consecutive hours on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2, the final day of competition, on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN3, ESPN's multi-screen live sports network, will air live coverage of qualifying on Friday, Aug. 30, as well as the full day of eliminations on Monday for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
"It's The Big Go, the one race you just want to be a part of," said Dave Rieff, ESPN's NHRA anchor who will call the action with analyst Mike Dunn. "It's one of those deals where you're just part of something special.
"It's the one that if you can't win the championship, you want to say you've won Indy," Rieff said. "Simply by winning the U.S. Nationals, that makes you a part of drag racing history immediately."
Joining Rieff and Dunn on the telecasts will be pit reporters Gary Gerould, Jamie Howe and John Kernan. Longtime motorsports voice Paul Page returns to ESPN's drag racing coverage with a historical essay on the U.S. Nationals through the years and four-time NHRA driving champion Gary Scelzi will be a guest analyst for the event.
Among the features that will air on ESPN platforms surrounding the U.S. Nationals:
· Alan Johnson, has won seven Indy races as a Top Fuel crew chief but why has he had so much success at this track? He also talks about the impact of losing his brother, Blaine Johnson, at the U.S. Nationals.
· Ron Capps has come close but has never won a championship or the U.S. Nationals. What would an Indy win mean?
· Antron Brown is the defending Top Fuel Champion and is the only driver to win Indy in a PS class and a nitro class. What else is there to accomplish?
· A look at the movie Snake and Mongoose, to be released the Friday after Indy.
· What would another Indy win mean to John Force, and does he have another championship run in him? What stories do his daughters Brittany and Ashley have about him at Indy?
· Tony Schumacher going for his 10th Indy win, trying to surpass Bob Glidden. Why has he enjoyed so much success at Indy and where does he rank as a driver especially if he wins his 10th U.S. Nationals?
All NHRA programming on ESPN2 and ESPN3 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). The schedule:
Date Time Event Network
Friday, Aug. 30 6 p.m. Qualifying ESPN3, WatchESPN
Sunday, Sept. 1 1 p.m. Qualifying ESPN2, WatchESPN
Monday, Sept. 2 11 a.m. Eliminations ESPN3, WatchESPN
Monday, Sept. 2 Noon Eliminations ESPN2, WatchESPN