ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns to the air for its third season on Monday, Feb. 2, to coincide with the beginning of the 2009 NASCAR racing season. The season’s first program, a one-hour roundtable discussion, airs at 5 p.m. ET.
Mike Massaro, who has been a pit reporter on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage the past two years, moves to the studio this year as a new co-host of NASCAR Now,
joining returning co-hosts Nicole Manske and Allen Bestwick. NASCAR Now includes the latest news, highlights, opinion, debate and analysis from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. The program regularly airs at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with all programs 30 minutes except for the one-hour Monday roundtable. ESPN2 also airs a one-hour edition at 10 a.m. on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and a weekend wrap-up edition will begin in July.
On Monday’s return episode, Bestwick leads the roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news with ESPN.com motorsports writer Ed Hinton and NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith, both award-winning journalists, and ESPN motorsports analyst and NASCAR driver Boris Said.
A five-part feature during the first week of the NASCAR Now season will tie in the 60th anniversary of NASCAR with Top 10 lists by the five former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion analysts on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team. Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, will reveal his Top 10 personalities in NASCAR history, while 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace lists his Top 10 tracks. Andy Petree, two-time champion crew chief, reveals his Top 10 drivers and two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer lists his Top 10 finishes. Analyst Ray Evernham, a three-time champion crew chief, lists his Top 10 “coolest cars.”
Other features during the first week include conversations about NASCAR with actor Tom Cruise and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton; a visit by driver Ryan Newman to Fort Bragg as part of his new sponsorship from the U.S. Army; and a review of NASCAR’s “Silly Season.”
During the week leading up to the Feb. 15 running of the Daytona 500, NASCAR Now airs a three-part series on NASCAR and the economy, looking through the eyes of the NASCAR fan, a NASCAR team crew member and legendary driver/team owner Richard Petty. The five weekday episodes of the program will expand to one hour during Daytona 500 week and originate from Daytona International Speedway.
Live NASCAR racing returns to the ESPN networks for the 2009 season when ESPN2 airs flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 from Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 14, at noon.