First-ever NHRA Information Dragway broadcast announced

ESPN to present first-ever NHRA INFORMATION DRAGWAY presentation ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio will offer casual and avid drag racing fans the opportunity to go inside the intricacies of the sport and see the National Hot Rod...

ESPN to present first-ever NHRA INFORMATION DRAGWAY presentation

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio will offer casual and avid drag racing fans the opportunity to go inside the intricacies of the sport and see the National Hot Rod Association in a new way this weekend with NHRA Information Dragway Presented by Lucas Oil from the Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver. The entertaining, first-of-its-kind multimedia coverage will provide extensive information, education, and insight into the strategy and nuances of the world's fastest sport and will feature answers to questions submitted by ESPN.com users.

ESPN and ESPN2 will feature the special informational program during the networks' regular coverage of the NHRA event: on ESPN Saturday, July 19 from 7-9 p.m. ET; and Sunday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. live on ESPN and 6-9 p.m. on ESPN2. NHRA 2Day, ESPN2's weekly news show, will also continue the Information Dragway theme Sunday at 11 a.m.

"Drag racing is a sport of historical traditions, constantly evolving technology and unique terminology," said Shawn Murphy, coordinating producer, ESPN Regional Television. "Based on questions we have received, we felt an educational telecast in an entertaining format would provide an opportunity for both hardcore and novice fans to learn more about the sport. With the cooperation of the drivers and their teams, we will take fans inside the sport during some of the most intense moments of preparation and competition."

Viewers frequently submit questions through ESPN.com, one example:

Q: Why are drivers so out of breath after only racing in a straight line for 4.5 seconds?

A: A Top Fuel car accelerates from 0-100 mph in 0.9 seconds and 0-330 mph in 4.5 seconds. Drivers experience a force of 5-G's at the start of the race, which is equivalent to five times their body weight pushing against them. They experience a force of 3.5 negative G's when deploying the parachute to slow the car. In addition to the forces, a driver needs to keep the car straight while trying to beat the other racer to the finish line.

The NHRA Information Dragway telecast will include:

* Host Marty Reid, analyst Mike Dunn and reporters Bill Stephens, Dave Rieff and Parker Johnstone will provide descriptions and explanations of the rules, regulations and terms related to the sport and car dimensions.

* Additional behind-the-scenes access with microphones on various drivers and crewmembers throughout the two-day event will allow the home viewer to listen in on strategy and the preparation in-between rounds.

* Additional cameras will be judiciously placed in key locations to focus on strategy and help with explanations.

* Special graphics will be utilized to clarify rules and to describe the terminology, such as definitions for staging, burnouts, a holeshot, speed trap, Christmas Tree, etc.

* Cruz Pedregon, 1992 Funny Car Champion, will carry an on-board camera for the weekend. ESPN announcers will talk with Pedregon through his on-board radio as he explains to viewers what he does in the racecar before and after a run.

* Short features to be used during the coverage will show Funny Car driver Ron Capps' preparation for an event. Capps documented his entire St. Louis race weekend (June 28 and 29) with a hand-held digital video camera. Footage includes his trip to the racetrack with car owner and legendary former driver Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, in team meetings and what he did to get ready for each round.

* ESPN.com users can ask questions that will be answered by commentators, drivers, and mechanics on-air.

In addition to providing an avenue for asking questions, ESPN.com will offer educational columns from Stephens and post-race chat sessions with announcers, drivers and crew chiefs to address additional questions not answered during the telecast. ESPNMotion, ESPN.com's innovative tool allowing broadband users to view high-quality video, will feature sample video of NHRA Information Dragway coverage Friday, July 18.

ESPN Radio's RPM Now with host John Kernan, Friday from 8-10 p.m. (check local listings), will feature live driver interviews.

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