NASCAR has released 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, with the exception of NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, which will start at 6 p.m. ET on May 29.
In addition, NASCAR announced new start times for the Chase events, with six of the first seven races beginning at 2 p.m. ET and the final three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Charlotte is the only night race in the Chase, and will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. Sprint Cup Series points races will again be seen on 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 vp 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 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 Cup Series points races, beginning with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, Feb. 20) and ending with the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway, the first of two 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 and ending with New Hampshire's first of two races at 1 p.m. ET on July 17. In addition, TNT will have the inaugural Kentucky Speedway Cup Series race at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 9.
ESPN and ABC will carry the final 17 Cup Series events. ABC will telecast three races – including the Chase "cut-off race" at Richmond – at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 10. ESPN will telecast 14 races, including the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland at 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 18 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Nov. 20.
ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast 33 of the 34 Nationwide Series races in 2011. ESPN2 opens the season at 1:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 19 at Daytona. ESPN2 will also telecast the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 19). SPEED will air one Nationwide Series race, from Richmond at 7:30 p.m. ET on April 29.
The Camping World Truck Series returns to SPEED for a ninth consecutive season. As was the case last year, SPEED will show the entire 25-race schedule, opening at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 18 from Daytona.