After a 6 year absence, ESPN and ABC return to broadcasting the NASCAR Cup level races starting with the Brickyard 400 this weekend. ABC/ESPN is broadcasting the next 17 races with the first six on ESPN. The final 11 will be on ABC with one network airing the entire Chase for the championship for the first time since its 2004 debut.
I hope the broadcast team, which has been rehearsing with the Busch Grand National series, is prepared to wow the audience in its debut. NASCAR is hoping that ESPN will restore its flagging ratings as well. Things should get interesting for the 12 drivers in the race, since this new format starts them out on more of an even platform than in the past.
ESPN is now broadcasting NASCAR Cup and Grand National level races, NHRA drag racing, the Indy Racing League, and Champ Car Grand Prix racing. This means that ABC/ESPN is now effectively the home for motor sports in America. So I’m a little confused, and so is Champ and the IRL for that matter, why ESPN hasn’t revived the old RPM2Day show to cover all the series they’re now showing. Nascar Today is great, but I’m sure they can find a half-hour in the schedule on ESPN or ESPN 2 for the more diverse news show.
Btw, this isn’t the only alliance between NASCAR and Disney. Racing superstar Jeff Gordon, leading contender for this years Cup championship, and Walt Disney Pictures have teamed up to promote the upcoming film ‘Underdog’. Your mileage may vary.