Series Trucking To SPEED

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Officially, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is joining the fun on the SPEED Channel.

NASCAR announced Monday that, beginning with the 2003 season, the Truck Series will have all of its races broadcast on SPEED Channel. It was announced earlier that the NCTS would be leaving its long-time television home of ESPN at the end of the current season.

NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Paul Brooks said the move would create more programming and exposure for the series.

“Across the board, broadcasting the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED makes sense for our fans, drivers, teams, tracks, and sponsors,” Brooks said. “NASCAR is the heart and soul of the SPEED Channel and with added programming, pre- and post-race shows and cross promotional opportunities, it is the logical place for us to grow series.”

SPEED Channel was acquired by FOX Cable Networks Group last year and is home to NASCAR TV, which automatically raises the profile of the series by offering more live event coverage, new programming opportunities and expanded cross promotion with FOX, Brooks said. Brooks said the move will also give NASCAR fans a new destination for the NCTS and will receive added value through additional programming and promotional opportunities.

“The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED Channel, as an integral part of NASCAR TV, will continue to solidify SPEED as one of the NASCAR destinations for race fans across the country,” SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore said.

Nielsen Media Research released in August revealed that SPEED Channel’s growth is the leading the sports cable charts with the network adding more than 10 million homes since the changes of ownership and the creation of NASCAR TV last summer. SPEED Channel is now seen in 58.5 million homes in the United States and Canada, and was rated as the fastest growing sports cable network in the U.S. and the ninth-fastest growing cable network overall.

ESPN’s coverage of the NCTS will conclude on Nov. 15, the season series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“ESPN has been a great partner for this series from the start and we appreciate their value and tremendous support, and ongoing desire to see the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series grow,” Brooks said.

“This is a great example of three companies working together to do what's best for the sport and its fans," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. "ESPN and NASCAR both felt this move was an excellent opportunity to grow the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We feel fortunate to have been a part in the growth of the series and look forward to working closely with NASCAR on other opportunities in the future.”

The NCTS has been in existence since 1995 and has expanded to a variety of tracks throughout the country. It was announced recently that the series would come next year to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, near Charlotte, N.C. (the hub of stock car racing) for the first time ever.

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