1997 Television package to increase 50 percent

Report from Motorsports News International Oct. 25, 1996 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NHRA Communications TV COVERAGE OF NHRA DRAG RACING TO INCREASE 50 PERCENT IN 1997 GLENDORA, Calif. -- Nearly 125 hours of NHRA Winston Drag...

Report from Motorsports News International

Oct. 25, 1996

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NHRA Communications

TV COVERAGE OF NHRA DRAG RACING TO INCREASE 50 PERCENT IN 1997

GLENDORA, Calif. -- Nearly 125 hours of NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series professional and sportsman racing will be televised as original programming in 1997, a 50 percent increase over any previous schedule.

Twenty of the 22 national events will be televised live or on a same-day, tape-delayed basis on The Nashville Network and ESPN2. Live or same-day coverage of Friday night qualifying at nine national events also will be provided for the first time on ESPN2, plus race highlights of each of the nine events will air tape-delayed on ESPN.

It will be the second straight year that NHRA has divided its professional racing programming among ABC, TNN, ESPN and ESPN2.

"The increase in our programming signifies a long-term commitment by our networks as NHRA Winston Drag Racing continues to grow in both viewership and sponsor participation," NHRA President Dallas Gardner said. "With longer blocks of live programming, we will now be able to significantly upgrade the presentation of an NHRA national event on television."

TNN's package of live programming will grow substantially in 1997. The network will televise live shows -- expanded from 60 to 90 minutes - - of 10 national events. TNN also will televise one-hour live shows from the four NHRA specialty events, the DuPont Automotive Finishes Pro Stock Challenge at Englishtown, N.J., The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash and the Big Bud Shootout at Indianapolis, and the Budweiser Classic at Pomona, Calif.

Once again, the highlight of the TNN package will be a three-hour live telecast of the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, the most prestigious drag race in the world. The telecast, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 1, will include coverage of the professional semifinals and finals.

Other national events televised on TNN will be the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla., the new national event at Dallas, the Mopar Parts Nationals at Englishtown, N.J., the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals at Reading, Pa., the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Topeka, Kan., the Chief Auto Parts Nationals at Dallas, the new national event at Houston and the Winston Finals.

Coverage on TNN also will continue to include "NHRA Today," the popular weekly magazine show that provides viewers an inside look at the drivers and personalities of NHRA Drag Racing. "NHRA Today" live shows will be televised on race weekend from each of the 10 national events, with a one-hour special featuring live first-round racing on Sundays.

TNN viewers will have a total of 2 1/2 hours of coverage on race day, including live first-round and final-round racing, and highlights of other rounds.

NHRA will return to ABC Sports for the third consecutive year in 1997. ABC will provide 60 minutes of tape-delayed professional coverage from two NHRA national events: the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing at Columbus, Ohio, and the new Craftsman Nationals presented by Parts America at St. Louis.

The largest increase in NHRA programming in 1997 will come on ESPN and ESPN2.

ESPN2 will feature live or same-day broadcasts of eliminations from nine national events. Unprecedented live or same-day coverage of Friday-night qualifying also will be shown on ESPN2.

National events included in the ESPN2 qualifying and eliminations package are the ATSCO Nationals at Phoenix, the Slick 50 Nationals presented by Western Auto at Houston, the Fram Nationals at Atlanta, the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts at Richmond, Va., the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Denver, the Autolite Nationals at Sonoma, Calif., the Northwest Nationals at Seattle, the Champion Auto Stores Nationals at Brainerd, Minn., and the Pennzoil Nationals presented by AutoZone at Memphis, Tenn.

All ESPN2 shows, including Friday night qualifying, will be two hours long.

ESPN will continue its 10-year tradition of telecasting one-hour highlight shows of professional racing from national events. All events covered by ESPN2 will have tape-delayed highlight shows on ESPN.

Sportsman racing also will receive dramatically increased television coverage in 1997. ESPN2 will feature tape-delayed sportsman coverage from nine national events and the Federal-Mogul Sportsman Allstars event from Columbus, Ohio.

Fox Sports, formerly Prime SportsChannel Networks, will feature "The Autolite Sportsman Challenge." That series is comprised of 10 tape- delayed shows highlighting Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car racing.

NHRA's successful testing of pay-per-view telecasts in 1995-96 will result in several events receiving eight full hours of commercial- free coverage. Full details of the pay-per-view package will be released shortly.

1997 NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES NATIONAL EVENT TELEVISION SCHEDULE

Event date Event Network Air date (Times Eastern)

Jan. 30-Feb. 2 Chief Auto Parts Winternationals TNN Live finals, 7-8:30 p.m., Feb. 2 Season preview, 1-1:30 p.m., Feb. 2 NHRA Today live first round, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Feb. 2

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Feb. 20-23 ATSCO Nationals ESPN2 Same-day finals, 9-11 p.m. Feb. 23 Live qualifying, 9-11 p.m. Feb. 21 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

March 6-9 Mac Tools Gatornationals TNN Live finals, 4:30-6 p.m., March 9 NHRA Today live first round, 11 a.m.-noon, March 9

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

March 20-23 Slick 50 Nationals presented by Western Auto ESPN2 Live finals, 5-7 p.m., March 23 Same-day qualifying, 11 p.m.-1 a.m., March 21 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

April 4-6 Winston Invitational* TBA TBA

April 10-13 Fram Nationals ESPN2 Same-day finals, 6:30-8:30 p.m., April 13 Live qualifying, 7-9 p.m., April 11 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

April 24-27 Pennzoil Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts ESPN2 Live finals, 4-6 p.m., April 27 Same-day qualifying, 11 p.m.-1 a.m., April 25 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

May 1-4 National event (Dallas) TNN Live finals, 5:30-7 p.m., May 4 NHRA Today live first round, noon-1 p.m., May 4

May 15-18 Mopar Parts Nationals TNN Live finals, 4:30-6 p.m., May 18 NHRA Today live first round, 11 a.m.-noon, May 18

May 29-June 1 Western Auto Nationals TBA TBA

June 12-15 Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing ABC Delayed, 1-2 p.m., June 22

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

June 26-29 Craftsman Nationals presented by Parts America ABC Delayed, 5-6 p.m., July 6

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

July 17-20 Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals ESPN2 Live finals, 6-8 p.m., July 20 Live qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, July 18 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

July 25-27 Autolite Nationals ESPN2 Same-day finals, 8-10 p.m., July 27 Live qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, July 25 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

Aug. 1-3 Northwest Nationals ESPN2 Same-day finals, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Aug. 3 Live qualifying, 10 p.m.-midnight, Aug. 1 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

Aug. 14-17 Champion Auto Stores Nationals ESPN2 Live finals, 5-7 p.m., Aug. 17 Live qualifying, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Aug. 15 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

Aug. 27-Sept. 1 U.S. Nationals TNN Live semis and finals, 4-7 p.m., Sept. 1 NHRA Today live qualifying, noon-1 p.m., Aug. 31

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Sept. 11-14 Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals TNN Live finals, 4:30-6 p.m., Sept. 14 NHRA Today live first round, 11 a.m.-noon, Sept. 14

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Sept. 25-28 Sears Craftsman Nationals TNN Live finals, 5:30-7 p.m., Sept. 28 NHRA Today live first round, noon-1 p.m., Sept. 28

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Oct. 2-5 Pennzoil Nationals presented by AutoZone ESPN2 Live finals, 5-7 p.m., Oct. 5 Qualifying, TBA, Oct. 3 Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

ESPN Delayed pro highlights, TBA

Oct. 16-19 Chief Auto Parts Nationals TNN Live finals, 5:30-7 p.m., Oct. 19 NHRA Today live first round, noon-1 p.m., Oct. 19

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Oct. 23-26 National event (Houston) TNN Live finals, 5:30-7 p.m., Oct. 26 NHRA Today live first round, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Oct. 26

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

Nov. 6-9 Winston Finals TNN Live finals, 7-8:30 p.m., Nov. 9 Season review, 1-1:30 p.m., Nov. 9 NHRA Today live first round, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Nov. 9

Fox Sports Delayed sportsman highlights, TBA

* -- non-points special event

1997 NHRA SPECIALTY RACE TELEVISION SCHEDULE

Event date Event Network Air date (Times Eastern)

May 17 DuPont Pro Stock Challenge TNN Live finals, 5-6 p.m., May 17

June 14 Federal-Mogul Sportsman Allstars ESPN2 Delayed highlights, TBA

Aug. 30 The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash TNN Live finals, 5-6 p.m., Aug. 30

Aug. 31 Big Bud Shootout TNN Live finals, 5-6 p.m., Aug. 31

Nov. 8 Budweiser Classic TNN Live finals, 7-8 p.m., Nov. 8

1997 NHRA SPECIAL EVENT TELEVISION SCHEDULE

Event date Event Network Air date (Times Eastern)

Nov. 10 NHRA Winston Awards Ceremony TNN Delayed, 8-10 p.m., Nov. 14

-30-

-- Paul Kelly NHRA Communications

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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