Entering its second decade exclusively on ESPN2, NHRA announced Thursday coverage plans for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
NHRA will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2011, with a year-long campaign to pay homage to the evolution of the hot rod, the impact of the sport's legendary racers, and the lifeblood provided by the many millions of loyal and passionate NHRA fans. ESPN2's coverage during each of the 22 races will include historical recaps and rarely seen footage celebrating NHRA's 60th anniversary. The season will open once again as it has for 51 consecutive years, with the Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 24-27.
The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series television schedule features 16 of the 22 events in the Sunday night prime-time slot on ESPN2. All six of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoff events are scheduled to offer eliminations coverage in prime time. The NHRA works together with ESPN each year to provide qualifying and finals programming with the best possible air times. The prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Sept. 1–5, will once again feature 11 hours of wall-to-wall coverage including complete coverage of final eliminations on Monday, Sept. 5, from noon to 6 p.m. ET.
In all, the network will dedicate more than 100 hours of original programming, with live or same-day coverage of qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday. All telecasts will be aired in high definition on ESPN2 HD.
The shows are developed by the production team at ESPN, which has been producing NHRA programming since 2001. Paul Page returns to call the action as host alongside former drag racer Mike Dunn, who will provide expert analysis and insight. Dave Rieff and Gary Gerould will return as pit reporters. Veteran announcer John Kernan, who joined the NHRA telecast team in 2007, will serve as a third pit reporter at select races.
The telecasts will feature competition in all four classes in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and in 16 telecasts, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
In addition to coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing will be aired and distributed internationally through ESPN International. ESPN International is available to over 35.9 million homes in 127 countries and territories around the world. In addition, U.S. troops and their families serving around the world and Navy vessels at sea can watch NHRA through American Forces Network bringing total countries and territories to 206.