The new-format Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship is down to the final race and SportsCenter will follow the four championship contenders this week from their race shops in North Carolina to South Florida and Sunday’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR introduced an elimination format into this year’s Chase and the first nine events reduced the original field of 16 contenders down to the Championship Four: Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman. The driver among the four who finishes highest in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400, no matter where he finishes overall in the 43-car field for the event, will be the new champion.
To bring NASCAR fans as much information as possible leading up to Sunday’s race, ESPN reporters will be embedded with the championship contenders early this week, with SportsCenter airing multiple live reports from the four contending race shops between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET each day on Monday and Tuesday. The 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. editions of SportsCenter will air larger all-access features from each team, summarizing what the teams did on those days to prepare for the championship race.
The Wednesday night editions of SportsCenter will air interviews and reports from that evening’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship contender’s press conference in Miami, while Thursday’s SportsCenter reports will follow work back at the race shops and what the drivers are doing in South Florida before on-track action begins Friday.
Reporter Dave Burns will follow Logano, Ryan McGee will report on Hamlin, Mike Massaro will report on Newman and Marty Smith will be with Harvick. ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven will appear on SportsCenter frequently throughout race weekend, including during extended post-race coverage Sunday that will feature an interview with the new NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
Sunday’s race airs live on ESPN, with a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown at 1 p.m. before the 3:16 p.m. green flag.
The champion will visit ESPN on Wednesday, Nov. 19, and appear on a variety of ESPN programs and platforms.
And now some of what you might have missed over the weekend:
1. Veteran’s Week coverage is underway.
— Kristen Hudak (@KristenESPN) November 8, 2014
— Justin Rodriguez (@RepJRod) November 8, 2014
Volunteering is good for the soul and what you give back is like a pebble drop in the ocean, the ripples last longer.
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) November 8, 2014
Just cried after ESPN showed a Veterans Day video of all the soldiers coming home. I know it’s two days early but I can’t be more thankful.
— Connor McClanahan (@ConnorM1014) November 9, 2014
— Courtney King (@CourtSportKing) November 9, 2014
— Daniel Dopp (@DanielDopp) November 9, 2014
2. @CollegeGameDay heads to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for @HailStateFB vs. @AlabamaFTBL.
Lee Corso is a national treasure.
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 8, 2014
— Daddy Dick (@DickiePeez) November 8, 2014
— Pam Chvotkin (@reddusfoximus) November 8, 2014
— Leigh Torbin (@LTorbin) November 8, 2014
3. Reminder: SportsCenter follows NASCAR Championship contenders all week.
— Rob King (@ESPN_RobKing) November 10, 2014
4. See what you may have missed from Sunday NFL Countdown and tune in to Panthers-Eagles tonight on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET).
Sunday NFL Countdown, without it I don’t know what I’d do Sunday mornings. #sundaymorningritual
— Cory (@CThatchFeastin) November 9, 2014
— Marc Kestecher (@marckestecher) November 9, 2014
— Kelly Jo A. Schultz (@kellyschultz) November 9, 2014
5. ESPNU’s hockey slate kicked off Sunday.
— Stephen Volek (@SVolek0927) November 9, 2014
Great to watch ND hockey on ESPNU tonight!
— BethZurenkoTPA (@BethZurenko) November 10, 2014
If you haven’t tuned into ESPNU yet, you already missed a Minnesota goal against Notre Dame. College hockey, you so crazy.
— Jen LC (@RegressedPDO) November 9, 2014
Bill Hofheimer, David Scott, Allie Stoneberg and Kristen Hudak contributed to this post.