ESPN To Air NASCAR SCS, NNS Finales This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

And then there was one.  This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 series comes down to a winner take all race that will decide who takes the Sprint Cup Championship.  Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson have been locked in a head to head battle since the start of the annual “Chase for the Championship.”  But Kenseth has fallen off track in recent weeks.  He trails Jimmie Johnson by almost thirty points as the series heads into its season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.  Allen Bestwick will anchor this weekend’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts and NASCAR veterans Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will have all the latest in-race news live from the pits.  ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown will be anchored by Mike Massaro.  He will be joined by NASCAR veteran Rusty Wallace, former crew chief and Evernham Racing head Ray Evernham, as well as team owner Brad Daughtery for analysis.

The Ford Econoboost 400 closes out the Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 season.  It will be broadcast live this Sunday beginning with a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown beginning at 1pm ET.  The green flag is currently scheduled to drop at 3:15pm ET.  ESPN will have also air practice and qualifying live this Friday at 1:30pm and 6pm ET respectively.

Along with its broadcast of the Sprint Cup Series season finale, ESPN will also have full coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ finale Saturday afternoon.  Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish, Jr. will take it right down to the wire Saturday for the series’ championship in the Ford Econoboost 300.  Broadcast of the race begins with NASCAR Countdown live at 4pm.  The green flag is expected to drop at 4:46pm ET.

ESPN will build up to this weekend’s championship battle by embedding reporters Ryan McGee and Shannon Spake with Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth’s teams respectively today and tomorrow, November 12th and 13th.  They will bring reports from both camps on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.  NASCAR fans can also tune in to ESPNEWS this Thursday, November 14th for a special hour-long program that will come live from the NASCAR Championship Contenders news conference.  That broadcast will kick off live at 12pm ET from Miami.

More information on this weekend’s races is available online at  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

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

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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

In The Game With Robin Roberts Returning For Second Season


Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus returns next week.  The sports based program is produced by espnW in partnership with ABC News.  It can be viewed online at and, and on TV on ESPN’s SportsCenterGood Morning America host and former ESPN anchor Robin Roberts, will be joined by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick for a one-on-one conversation in next week’s season premiere. 

When asked about Roberts returning to host the program again, espnW  Vice President Laura Gentile shared her thoughts on having her return to host again.  “Robin Roberts is a respected journalist and life-long athlete,” Gentile said.  “In the Game enables Robin to connect with today’s athletes in an intimate setting and uncover insights and stories that truly illuminate them as people. It’s a unique platform and one in which only Robin could bring such power and meaning.” 

Roberts shared Gentile’s sentiment adding, “I’ll probably always be an athlete at heart,” she noted.  “I appreciate espnW bringing me back for a second season. There’s so much we can all learn from these top athletes. I also enjoy bringing out a side of them rarely seen. Teaming up again with espnW is a perfect fit.” 

Roberts’ interviews with her guests are expected to focus on “pursuit of perfection” in each athlete’s career and personal life.  U.S. Gold Medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan are both scheduled to appear this season on In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus along with even more guests to be announced at later dates.

Fans that miss any interviews will be able to check them out in full online at and  Fans can also go to these websites for bonus content including: additional clips, a video archive, and photos.  For all the latest news on what’s going on at espnW, fans can “Like” the espnW Facebook page at

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at