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NHRA TV Package Features More than 125 Hours of Racing in 1998

26 December 1997

GLENDORA, Calif. -- For the second consecutive year, the National Hot Rod Association television package includes nearly 125 hours of NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series professional racing and Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series sportsman racing.

All 22 national events will be televised on ABC, The Nashville Network, ESPN or ESPN2. ABC will televise two races, TNN 11, and ESPN2 nine. Race highlights of the nine ESPN2 events will be televised on ESPN.

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

"After nearly doubling our hours of original programming in 1997, the focus of 1998 will be to vastly improve the quality of our telecasts," said Brian Tracy, NHRA vice president of broadcasting. "Innovative technology that will enable us to provide more actual racing on our TNN shows and a greatly enhanced qualifying show package on ESPN will much better utilize the valuable time we have to present our sport on television."

A package of two-hour shows on ESPN2 featuring professional qualifying highlights and Pro Stock Truck eliminations is the newest addition to the schedule.

The new shows will be televised on Saturday nights from all nine NHRA national events covered by ESPN and ESPN2. Highlights from all four rounds of professional qualifying and a preview of the next day's eliminations will be featured, with Pro Stock Truck eliminations also televised in five shows.

ESPN and ESPN2 will provide six hours of coverage from each of its nine national events. Live final eliminations and the new qualifying highlights shows will be two hours each, and the delayed ESPN event highlights shows will be one hour each. ESPN2 will feature one hour of tape-delayed coverage of Federal-Mogul racing from nine national events and the Federal-Mogul Allstars event from Columbus, Ohio., for the second consecutive year.

ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast from the Southwest Nationals at Houston, the Fram Nationals at Atlanta, the Pennzoil Nationals presented by TrakAuto at Richmond, Va., the Lone Star Nationals at Dallas, 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.

NHRA will return to ABC Sports for the fourth consecutive year in 1998. 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 Sears Craftsman Nationals at Madison, Ill.

TNN viewers will have either 2 1/2 or three hours of coverage on race day, depending on the event. TNN telecasts of final eliminations will range from 90 minutes to two hours. The popular, weekly magazine show, "NHRA Today," also will provide coverage from all 11 TNN events, with first-round Top Fuel and Funny Car racing from seven events.

Once again, the highlight of the TNN package will be a three-hour telecast of the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, the richest and most prestigious drag race in the world. The telecast, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 7, will include coverage of the professional semifinals and finals.

Other national events televised on TNN will be the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals presented by Pennzoil at Pomona, Calif., the ATSCO Nationals at Phoenix, the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla., the Mopar Parts Nationals at Englishtown, N.J., the inaugural national event near Chicago, the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals at Reading, Pa., the Parts America Nationals at Topeka, Kan., the Revell Nationals at Dallas, the Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston and the Winston Finals at Pomona, Calif.

TNN also will televise one-hour shows from the four NHRA specialty events, the Pro Stock Challenge at Englishtown, N.J., the Pro Bike Dash and the Big Bud Shootout at Indianapolis, and the Big Bud Shootout at Pomona, Calif. TNN also will cover the non-points Winston Invitational at Rockingham, N.C., as part of its "Race of the Week" series.

Fox Sports will feature "The Autolite Challenge." That series is comprised of 10 tape-delayed shows highlighting Pro Stock Motorcycle, Federal-Mogul Dragster and Federal-Mogul Funny Car racing. The series is distributed via Fox Sports Net, as well as SportsChannel, Empire, NESN, Madison Square Garden and Sunshine networks.