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ESPN makes changes in 2008

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         NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, January 24, 2008
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ESPN makes changes to its 2008 broadcast team
Jarrett joins Punch, Petree in booth; Wallace to studio 
By Team Release

Dale Jarrett, the 1999 Sprint Cup Series champion and one 
of the founding drivers of the Nationwide Series, will 
expand his role with ESPN and join high school friends 
Dr. Jerry Punch and Andy Petree in the booth for ESPN's 
full season of NASCAR coverage in 2008. 

Rusty Wallace, Cup champion in 1989, will become lead 
analyst for ESPN studio programs in 2008, highlighted by 
serving as analyst for an enhanced NASCAR Countdown, the 
program that precedes all NASCAR telecasts. Wallace also 
will appear across multiple ESPN platforms, including 
regularly on NASCAR Now, ESPN's daily NASCAR news and 
information show, and will call several race telecasts 
in place of Jarrett. 

Allen Bestwick moves into the fulltime role of host of 
ESPN's race telecasts and host of NASCAR Countdown. 
Wallace and Bestwick will appear with analyst Brad 
Daugherty on the pre-race program, and the three will 
be integrated with the booth team during race telecasts. 

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ESPN also has named motorsports television veteran Nicole 
Manske as host of NASCAR Now, which returns to the air for 
its second season beginning Feb. 4 on ESPN2. Manske, who 
joins ESPN after two years as co-host of a weekly motor-
sports news program on SPEED, will share the NASCAR Now 
host role with Bestwick and ESPNEWS anchor Ryan Burr. 

On ESPN's event coverage, Shannon Spake, a reporter for 
ESPN's studio programs and fill-in pit reporter last year, 
will take Bestwick's position as a fulltime pit reporter, 
joined by returnees Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike 
Massaro. Two-time Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer 
returns to report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center. 

"We now have the opportunity to provide our viewers with 
analysis from a pair of former Cup champions with Dale 
Jarrett in the booth and Rusty Wallace on the NASCAR 
Countdown set as well as on other platforms," said Norby 
Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and 
event production. 

"We were pleased to have Dale with us in a limited role 
last year and look forward to his participation on a 
regular basis," Williamson said. "Rusty's enthusiasm, 
team spirit and knowledge make him an invaluable 
contributor to our coverage. These champion drivers in 
their new roles add tremendously to ESPN's championship 
team for our second year back in NASCAR." 

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ESPN's 2008 NASCAR season begins with live, flag-to-flag 
coverage of the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona 
International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 16, at noon ET 
on ESPN2. In addition to coverage of all 35 races in the 
Nationwide Series, ESPN also will have telecasts of the 
final 17 races of the Sprint Cup Series. 

Jarrett, who is retiring from driving after the first five 
races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, was booth analyst for 
10 Nationwide Series race telecasts on ESPN last year and 
worked several Sprint Cup races as a guest analyst on 
NASCAR Countdown. 

Punch, ESPN's lead announcer, Petree, booth analyst and 
a two-time Cup champion crew chief, and Jarrett are all 
natives of Newton, N.C., and attended Newton-Conover High 
School within a few years of each other in the early 1970s. 
The three were partners in one of Jarrett's first race cars 
in 1979. 

"It was exciting to see ESPN return to NASCAR last year 
and be a part of it when my racing schedule allowed," said 
Jarrett, winner of 32 Cup Series races and 11 in the 
Nationwide Series. "To have this opportunity to shift from 
fulltime driver to fulltime analyst for ESPN's second year 
back is a great privilege and I can't wait to get started." 

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Jarrett followed the footsteps of his father, Ned, a two-
time NASCAR champion, into driving and television. Ned 
Jarrett was a popular analyst on ESPN's coverage of NASCAR 
from 1988-2000 and returned to the booth as a guest analyst 
for one race last year to work alongside his son for the 
first time. 

Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following 
the 2005 season and spent 2006 as analyst for ESPN's 
coverage of the IndyCar Series in preparation for ESPN's 
return to NASCAR in 2007. Bestwick served multiple roles 
for ESPN's NASCAR coverage last year, including pit 
reporter, host of NASCAR Countdown for Nationwide Series 
races and play-by-play announcer for several events. 

Along with returning NASCAR insiders Angelique Chengelis 
and Marty Smith, ESPN.com reporters Terry Blount and David 
Newton and analysts Boris Said, Tim Cowlishaw and D.J. 
Copp, many members of ESPN's event coverage team also will 
contribute to NASCAR Now in 2008. 

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END OF NASCAR NEWS 
Copyright 2008 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.

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