ESPN Takes Over NASCAR Broadcasts Beginning This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

NASCAR shifts gears again this weekend, literally.  Its top series, the Sprint Cup Series, will shift coverage of its races to ESPN beginning with coverage of the annual Brickyard 400 Sunday, July 28th.  Sunday’s telecast is sponsored by Golden Corral.  It all kicks off with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon ET.  The pre-race show will broadcast live from the IMS’ legendary Pagoda.  It all leads up to the drop of the green flag, which is expected at 1:19pm ET.

Along with Sunday’s broadcast, ESPN will also handle coverage of Brickyard qualifying Saturday, July 27th at 2pm ET.  ESPN2 will carry Sprint Cup practice at 9am. 

ESPN also has live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race this weekend beginning with pre-race coverage on NASCAR Countdown at 4p.m. ET.  The green flag for the Nationwide Series race is expected to drop at 4:50pm ET.  Sprint Cup Series driver and 5-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will be in the broadcast booth for part of the Nationwide Series race.

ESPN will have a number of cameras covering what is one of the biggest of NASCAR’s biggest races each season.  It will have a camera mounted on a helicopter to get aerial shots.  There will also be eight in-car cameras that will give viewers at home an “inside” look at the race.  In all, ESPN will have a total of seventy-two high definition cameras position around Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this weekend’s coverage of the Brickyard 400.  That number includes four Ultra Hi Motion cameras for replays and other unique shots.  Another will be mounted on pit wall near the “Yard of Bricks” at the track’s Start/Finish line.  And another robotic Ultra Hi Motion camera will be mounted to show a low shot in Turn One.  Turns two and four will also have cameras mounted. 

Recently enshrined NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett will be joined by two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth during the race.  Marty Reid will take over calling lap-by-lap action for ESPN’s broadcasts of the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  Nicole Briscoe will be joined by 1989 Winston Cup Series Champion and fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace, three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, and team owner Brad Daughtery for ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown pre-race broadcast.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will all be in the pits for all of the action trackside. 

During pre-race coverage, ESPN will take a look at a handful of notable drivers at this year’s Brickyard 400.  Those drivers are Juan Montoya, Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart.  Each driver will have a special feature that focuses specifically on them during ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown.

NASCAR fans can catch up on all of the latest on this weekend’s race online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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ESPN Giving Cubs Fans A Special Treat Next Sunday On SportsCenter

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is giving Cubs fans a special treat next weekend as Major League Baseball nears its annual halfway point.  “The Sports Leader” will run a special next Sunday morning during SportsCenter celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of celebrities who have led Cubs fans in the time honored tradition of the seventh-inning stretch.  Next week’s SportsCenter Featured piece, it is narrated by veteran actor Jim Belushi.  Belushi is himself a Chicago native.

The special focuses on the variety of celebrities that have led fans in the singing of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ after the passing of the late great Harry Carry.  The feature will air this Sunday morning at 10am EST on ESPN.

More information on this and all the latest on SportsCenter is available online at http://www.facebook.com/SportsCenter and http://www.sportscenter.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN The Magazine’s New Issue Out Today

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN The Magazine’s annual Kids in Sports issue hits newsstands today.  This edition is a very special issue.  That is because beginning with this issue of ESPN The Magazine kicks off two months of storytelling about youth in sports.  The stories will be told in print, online, and on TV, including a town hall with the Aspen Institute.  More information on all of this is available online at http://www.espn.com/kidsinsports

This issue of ESPN The Magazine will focus on a variety of topics, including what is sure to cause quite a bit of reaction in “Parent Confidential.”  This feature will focus on parents of over three hundred child athletes across the country.  The athletes vary in age ranging from nine to thirteen-years old in fifteen different sports.  Readers will be surprised to learn in this feature that seventy-three percent of elite youth athletes have felt pressure by their parents and an astonishing seventy-nine percent of those interviewed say that their parents have gotten upset over their performance on the field and court.  The irony here is that also noted in this feature is that of those elite youth athletes interviewed, some sixty-nine percent say that they have NEVER thought about quitting despite pressures and criticisms from their parents.  Even more eye opening, the interviews reveal that of those interviewed, seventy-nine percent of those youth athletes say they LOVE their sport and a minute seventeen percent say they like it a lot despite the pressures and criticisms.

The reaction by parents is just as eye opening as that of the youth athletes interviewed for this feature.  Some fifty-three percent of parents interviewed for the feature say that their marriages are stronger because their children play youth sports.  Eighty-four percent of parents interviewed claim that their children’s grades have actually improved as a result of playing youth sports.  Most eye opening of all of these numbers is that despite the dreams of parents of youth athletes, less than one percent of high school senior athletes reach the pros.  By comparison, fifty-eight percent of those same athletes say that one reason they play is to become a pro.  The views of the youths that believe they will go pro is just as astonishing as the other numbers revealed in this feature.  Some sixty-nine percent of youths age ten to thirteen and forty-one percent of teens age fourteen to eighteen believe that they will be good enough to go pro.  Thirty-two percent of parents actually expect their children to get athletic scholarships.  And eleven percent of parents interviewed believe their child will one day go pro.  These are quite the interesting numbers.  Why parents and their children feel how they do is explained in the brand new issue of ESPN the Magazine on newsstands today.    

Speaking of parents, their children and expectations of both, readers will also find interesting writer Tim Keown’s article, “After The NFL.”  The feature focuses on the impact that a career of hard hits has had on former NFL star Steve Hendrickson.  It goes on to note that despite knowing the negative effects of a career of taking and dishing out hits, Hendrickson still wants his son to pursue football.  From here it goes into a discussion on the nation’s youth football culture.  This article and each one included in the new edition of ESPN The Magazine are sure to create a number of discussions among readers.

There are other interesting features included in this brand new edition of ESPN The Magazine, including a piece titled, “Dear Me” in which current athletes write letters of advice to themselves as young athletes.  Among the athletes features in this piece are: Dwight Howard, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Murray, Abby Wambach, Gabby Douglas, Robbie Rogers, and Jeff Gordon. 

More information on these stories and more is available online at http://www.espn.com/kidsinsports.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.