[Update: The rain-delayed Geico 400 from Chicagoland Speedway will now run Monday, Sept. 19, at 12pm ET on ESPN.]
The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup “playoffs” begin Sunday, Sept. 18, at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., in the Geico 400. The top 12 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings have a shot at racing for the championship over the season’s final stretch. Chase qualifiers are Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Is this the year someone can finally out-drive Johnson in the Chase? Johnson has captured the last five Sprint Cup championships.
Coverage of the Geico 400 begins on ESPN at 2pm ET. ESPN airs all NASCAR Chase races, except the Oct. 15 prime-time race on ABC.
The full NASCAR Chase schedule is available here.
Press release from NASCAR below, announcing Chase content on RaceBuddy.com and WatchESPN:
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup To Be Seen Like Never Before
NASCAR, Turner Sports and ESPN to Make RaceBuddy and WatchESPN Available to Fans for the First Time Ever During the Chase
Heading into the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR, ESPN and Turner Sports, which manages NASCAR.COM, announced today details of a new partnership that will provide race fans with a never-before-seen digital viewing experience during the sport’s postseason run. NASCAR.COM’s RaceBuddy product will be available for the first time ever during the Chase while NASCAR content will appear for the first time ever in ESPN’s WatchESPN.com platform and WatchESPN app.
RaceBuddy, NASCAR.COM’s popular, interactive live video product, will feature two mosaics with a mix of eight in-car and stationary cameras positioned around the track for the nine Chase races airing on ESPN. Fans wanting to watch ESPN’s live telecast on their computer, smartphone or tablet will now be able to do so through ESPN’s groundbreaking application, WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com.
“Enhancing the viewing experience and improving the sport’s digital and social presence for our millions of fans, at the track, at home and everywhere in between, is a goal we never lose sight of,” said Marc Jenkins, NASCAR’s vice president of digital media. “Being able to offer this series of interactive products during the Chase will further engage our fans with a robust digital presence that will forever change how the championship points battle is consumed.”
RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM, which debuted in 2008 and has predominantly served as an enhancement to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on TNT, will return on September 18 for the Geico 400 from Chicagoland Speedway (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET). In addition to the two mosaics with a total of eight camera angles, RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM will continue to offer DVR Functionality, the Enhanced LIVE Leaderboard and RaceView’s position tracker.
“Turner Sports is delighted to partner with NASCAR and ESPN to expand the award-winning RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” said Matthew Hong, senior vice president and general manager, sports operations, Turner Sports. “Feedback from fans has been that they wish RaceBuddy were available for additional races outside the TNT portion of the season, so we’re proud to be able to bring them ‘ChaseBuddy’ and extend the interactive and immersive experience of RaceBuddy to nine playoff races.”
WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com, which give sports fans access to 24/7 live programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU, will, for the first time ever, exclusively feature the live ESPN telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. WatchESPN is available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN.com and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
Also, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program, “NASCAR Now”, will be available on multiple devices to NASCAR fans for the first time ever through WatchESPN and WatchESPN.com. Telecasts of NASCAR Nationwide Series races on ESPN and ESPN2 will also be available. ESPN first launched an online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN in October, 2010.
The Chase races will air on ESPN at 2 p.m. ET, with the exception of the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 15 (ABC, 7:30 p.m. ET) and the final three races of the year, all of which will air on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET.
“Our mission is to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere, and with WatchESPN and our new partnership with NASCAR and Turner, we can now extend that mission by making our NASCAR programming available to race fans wherever they might be,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “I can’t think of a more perfect time to launch this than the beginning of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”