PRESS RELEASE: FOX Sports kicks off historic NHRA TV deal at Pomona
(From left) Jamie Howe, pit reporter; Lewis Bloom, historian & statistics; Tony Pedregon, analyst; John Kernan, Indianapolis bureau chief; Bruno Massel, pit reporter; Dave Rieff, lead announcer; Amanda Busick, multimedia reporter.
FOX Sports opens its new television partnership with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) with three hours of live Sunday Finals coverage from the 56thAnnual Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 14 (5 p.m. ET) on FS1.
Dave Rieff provides the play-by-play, with analysis from two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, who is making his full-time broadcast debut. Bruno Massel and Jamie Howe report from the pits of Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway. Indianapolis Bureau Chief John Kernan provides feature reports and Lewis Bloom handles statistics and features.
The broadcast team began the process of building chemistry with a full dress rehearsal over the weekend at the NHRA Nitro Spring Training sessions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.
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“It helped me more than you can imagine,” Pedregon said. “To this point, all I have been able to do is watch and listen. I knew going through a rehearsal would benefit the team but, especially me since I am the only one that is coming into this position with minimal experience. I feel the pressure, but I also feel also the excitement… and, like anything else, the more we work together, the better we will become as a team and the end result will be a great show.”
The Spring Training session also gave Pedregon and the team a peek at what to expect on the track this season.
“The most impressive run came from a Funny Car,” Pedregon said. “In test conditions, Tommy Johnson Jr. made a run slightly quicker than the current record. Aside from that run, indications from the other Top Fuel and Funny Car teams is that it will be a performance-breaking year, as most cars were quick and consistent.”
Last summer, FOX Sports and the NHRA announced a historic television package highlighted by 16 live events, including four on the FOX broadcast network – a first for the professional drag racing series.
In all, FS1 and FOX will air more than 120 hours of original television programming around the world’s fastest motorsport series. FOX Sports’ combined networks, including FOX, FS1 and FS2, will air more than 450 hours of programming throughout the year, including coverage of the Lucas Oil Series, J&A Service Pro Mod Series and repeats of Mello Yello Series race coverage.
Qualifying coverage from Pomona premieres on FS1 on Friday, Feb. 12 (10:30 p.m. ET) and continues Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 1 a.m. ET. Coverage is available in Canada through FOX SPORTS RACING, and streaming online in the U.S. through the authenticated FOX SPORTS GO app.