GLENDORA, Calif. --
NHRA announced today that the Saturday and Sunday race coverage on ESPN2 will showcase live programming of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, a step the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body hopes will lead to more future live telecasts of the fastest, most powerful form of motorsports in the world.
ESPN2's exclusive weekend coverage from Royal Purple Raceway will begin with a live show on Saturday, April 27 from 3-5 p.m. (ET) showcasing the final round of qualifying from the event. The final session represents the last chance for competitors to secure their positions in the starting lineups, improve upon their qualified times, and grab the No. 1 qualifying positions for Sunday's race day. Qualifying coverage will begin with Pro Stock Motorcycle, followed by Pro Stock, Top Fuel and Funny Car.
In a change from the traditional prime-time slot on Sunday night typically reserved for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing, ESPN2's telecast will begin at 2 p.m. (ET). Highlighting the three-hour telecast will be live coverage of both semifinal and final rounds from the event. The first two sessions will be featured on a very short tape-delayed basis, but ESPN2 intends to catch the race day action live, beginning with semifinal action in Pro Stock Motorcycle. The bikes will be followed by Pro Stock, Funny Car and Top Fuel. From there, the ESPN2 cameras will stay with the racing action as teams advancing to the final round will be on a short-turnaround time. The time between rounds will make the pit stops between semi- and final rounds among the most intense and exciting in all of motorsports as teams service their race vehicles and return to the starting line.
Sunday race day coverage will not only be about the racing on the track; it will also be about the race in the pits to see which teams rise to the challenge and get back for the final round to determine who will hoist the coveted Wally Trophy R and a secure a spot in the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals winner's circle. This represents one of the first times in the 13-year exclusive relationship between NHRA and ESPN that a commitment has been made to live coverage for both Saturday qualifying and Sunday's elimination rounds.
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