The seventh season of ESPN2’s NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will get the green flag on Friday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. ET with a program originating from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
The fourth class of five NASCAR legends will be inducted into the Hall that night, including ESPN analyst and 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace. Also being inducted are famed mechanic Leonard Wood, the late team owner/mechanic Cotton Owens and the late Buck Baker and Herb Thomas, both former driving champions.
Allen Bestwick will host the NASCAR Now Hall of Fame program, joined by analysts Dale Jarrett and Ray Evernham. Wallace and Wood are expected to appear.
NASCAR Now will resume its daily schedule on Monday, Feb. 11, with at least five programs per week originating from the ESPN studios in Bristol, Ct.
In a move that allows NASCAR Now to join the strong company of many of ESPN’s other sport-specific studio shows such as Baseball Tonight, NBA Tonight and College Basketball Live, the program will air in West Coast prime time in 2013. Viewers should check their local listings for the NASCAR Now airtime each day.
When the NASCAR season gets underway later this month, a one-hour weekend edition will also air on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race and NASCAR Now will air a weekend primetime wrap-up edition starting with the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in September.
New this year for NASCAR Now will be segments throughout the season with NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Joey Logano and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana. The Montoya and Logano segments, which will usually air in the race-morning editions of the program, will show fans where the drivers’ passions lie outside of racing, what they do to relax and what motivates them in life. The Pastrana segments will usually air on the weekday show focusing in on his on-track performance.
Mike Massaro, Nicole Briscoe, Marty Reid, Shannon Spake and Bestwick will be ongoing hosts of NASCAR Now again this season, with ESPN SportsCenter anchors Lindsay Czarniak and Jonathan Coachman also occasionally hosting. Marty Smith will again be the lead reporter with Briscoe, Massaro, Spake, Jim Noble and ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee also reporting from the field.
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Ricky Craven will continue as an analyst for NASCAR Now with regular contributions from Jarrett, Wallace, Evernham and analysts Andy Petree and Brad Daugherty. ESPN.com motorsports writers Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton also will make appearances on the program throughout the season.
A special three-hour edition of NASCAR Now will air on Thursday, Feb. 14, at noon on ESPNEWS with coverage from Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. Briscoe will host from the studio, joined for analysis by Craven, with Massaro conducting interviews on-site at the speedway.
NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona for four shows surrounding the Daytona 500. In past years, NASCAR Now also has originated from remote locations including the White House, Chicago’s Navy Pier, race team headquarters and other racetracks.
NASCAR Now and all of ESPN’s NASCAR programming also is available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.