Behind The Scenes

ESPN news and information platforms surrounding NASCAR season finale

ESPN’s Shannon Spake will be will be embedded with Brad Keselowski’s race team leading up to Sunday’s Sprint Cup finale.

With Brad Keselowski trying to beat five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup title in the sport’s season finale this weekend, ESPN’s news and information platforms will surround Sunday’s live telecast of the Ford EcoBoost 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway with coverage throughout the week. (The telecast on ESPN begins with a 90-minute NASCAR Countdown at 1:30 p.m., followed by the race at 3 p.m.)

SportsCenter will air reports all week from NASCAR reporters Marty Smith and Shannon Spake, who will be embedded with the Johnson and Keselowski race teams.

Spake will file reports today from Penske Racing, Keselowski’s team, while Smith will spend Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports as Johnson’s team tries to rebound from a disappointing Sunday in Phoenix.

Reports from both veteran reporters will also air on ESPN2’s daily NASCAR Now.

“I’ll be talking to both Brad and [crew chief] Paul Wolfe and some of the team guys about how they’re approaching the weekend and their mindset,” Spake said.

“Obviously they’re going up against a proven team, but Paul told me Sunday in Phoenix that his guys are really calm and they’re having so much fun, and this is why they all do this, to be part of a championship battle.

“So we want to just be able to follow their progress and their weekend and tell the stories of what’s going on at that shop and what they’re doing to prepare for the biggest moment in a lot of these guys’ careers and lives,” she said.

Thursday is NASCAR’s championship contenders news conference at noon, airing live on ESPNEWS. Spake and Smith will talk to Keselowski and Johnson there as well as at the track once practice and qualifying get underway on Friday. On race morning, the two drivers will appear on NASCAR Now and SportsCenter before the race starts at 3 p.m.

“On the day of the race, we’ll be trying to get a sense of what they’re feeling and just see what these guys are going through as they’re about to take the track,” Spake said.

In addition to television coverage, will have writers Ed Hinton and David Newton at Homestead to help bring down the curtain on the NASCAR season.

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