CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) released today its telecast times for the 2011 season, primarily preserving the earlier and consistent start times established in 2010.
Regular season points races in the Eastern and Central regions of the country will begin at 1 p.m. ET; West Coast events will begin at 3 p.m. ET; and night races will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET (Note: NASCAR's longest race, the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will start at 6 p.m. ET on May 29).
In addition, NASCAR announced new start times for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with six of the first seven races beginning at 2 p.m. ET and the last three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The 52nd annual Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only night race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and it will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races again will be seen on either FOX, TNT, ESPN or ABC.
"The 2011 broadcast schedule strikes the right balance between keeping the start times in familiar slots and highlighting the races down the stretch, building more excitement at the end of the season," said Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group. "Continuing to raise the profile of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup was also on the top of our list and we believe these new start times for those 10 races will help do just that."
The preseason non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be on FOX (8:10 p.m. ET on Feb. 12). In addition, two other non-points events -- the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (2 p.m. ET on Feb. 17) and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30 p.m. ET on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), will be on SPEED.
FOX will have the first 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races, beginning with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, 1 p.m. ET) and ending with the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at that track this year.
TNT will have the next six events, beginning with the Pocono 500 at 1 p.m. ET on June 12 at Pocono Raceway and ending with New Hampshire Motor Speedway's first of two races on July 17 at 1 p.m. ET. In addition, TNT will have the inaugural Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN and ABC will carry the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. ABC will telecast three races, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup "cutoff race" – the Richmond 400 on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN will telecast 14 races, including the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. ET and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. ET.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast 33 of the 34 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2011. ESPN2 opens the season with the DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. ESPN2 also will telecast the season finale on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET).