PALM BEACH, Fla. - After a nearly two-decade hiatus,
the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA)
and ESPN have signed a multi-year agreement
for the worldwide leader in sports to resume its partnership
with the IHRA. The agreement is effective immediately; broadcasts
begin when the 2017 IHRA Drag Racing season opens Feb. 3-5
at Immokalee Regional Raceway in Immokalee, Fla.
Drag Racing returns to the ESPN family of networks Feb.
4 on ESPN3
• ESPN3 to show more than 200 hours of IHRA Summit
Sportsman National Championship
• ESPN Presents a nine-month schedule of live-streamed
IHRA Drag Racing
will broadcast more than 200 hours of the 2017 IHRA Summit
Sportsman National Championship via ESPN3, ESPN's live
multi-screen sports network. ESPN3 will stream as much
as eight continuous hours of each event's eliminations
from 13 race weekends. Broadcasts will include on-track
action, interviews, reports from the pits, features and
more starting with this weekend's event near Fort Myers,
Fla. IHRA Drag Racing last appeared on one of the ESPN
networks in 1999.
is a landmark opportunity for the IHRA to further advance
its plans for all stakeholders in the Sportsman Racing
Division," said Chris Lencheski,
vice chairman and CEO of IRGSE, the parent company of
the IHRA. "This agreement highlights our sportsman
racers and positions us to move into 2018 with a tremendous
partner for our professional racing series with significant
momentum behind the IHRA, its teams, tracks and sponsors."
always looking for ways to serve sports fans and are very
pleased to be able to offer IHRA racing to our viewers
through streaming on ESPN3," said Dan Ochs,
ESPN Director Content Strategy & Acquisitions. "IHRA
and ESPN have a history dating back to the 90's, and it's
great to bring them back."
unprecedented agreement to cover sportsman racing in 2017
is a harbinger of things to come. When IHRA Drag Racing's
professional series resumes in 2018, the agreement will
cover the professional IHRA national events in addition
to the IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship.
announcement is really excellent news for the IHRA, our
competitors and our sponsors," IHRA president Mike
Dunn said. "We've been working on this agreement
for a long, long time, and it's great to be able to make
the announcement today - it's a game changer. With ESPN's
help, we're able to spotlight our sportsman racers like
never before, and next year, we'll add the professional
component into the mix when our professional national
events return. On a personal note, it's gratifying for
me to resume my 14-year relationship with ESPN."
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racing belongs on ESPN which is the industry leader in
television sports and has enormous reach and promotion
power across all its distribution platforms," Pilson
Communications founder and president Neal Pilson said.
"IHRA fans will be the main beneficiaries of the
IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship is a new national
championship format for sportsman-class racers that will
be determined using points claims from the best seven
of the first 10 events in which a driver competes. Racers
will accrue points based on a national points system and
may race at whatever events they choose regardless of
Summit Sportsman National Championship is comprised of
30 races, two per weekend at each venue, on 15 weekends
from February through September. On weekends with two
venues on the schedule, only one will be available on
ESPN3. Telecast times and additional details will be announced
2017 IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship schedule
Feb. 4-5: Immokalee (Fla.) Regional Raceway
Feb. 11-12: Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway
March 4-5: State Capitol Raceway, Baton Rouge, La.
March 18-19: San Antonio Raceway, Marion, Texas
March 25-26: Darlington (S.C.) Dragway
May 6-7: Maryland International Raceway, Budds Creek,
June 3-4: State Capitol Raceway, Baton Rouge, La.
June 10-11: US 131 Motorsports Park, Martin, Mich.
June 24-25: Piedmont Dragway, Julian, N.C.
July 8-9: Keystone Raceway Park, New Alexandria, Pa.
Aug. 19-20: Memphis International Raceway
Sept. 2-3: Carolina Dragway, Aiken, S.C.
Sept. 23-24: Dragway 42, West Salem, Ohio
Inc. is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment
company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia
sports assets with over 50 business entities. Last year,
ESPN produced more than 51,000 hours of live event/studio
programming across platforms. Their major sports coverage
includes: NFL, MLB, NBA, college sports, golf, tennis
and auto racing from around the globe.
International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is owned and
operated by IRG Sports + Entertainment™, a TPG Specialty
Lending company. The IHRA promotes professional and sportsman
racing for drivers of all levels. The IHRA sanctions nearly
100 motorsport facilities in the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand and Bahama's and welcomes 80,000
racers annually to their IHRA-sanctioned facilities. The
IHRA oversees multiple sportsman racing programs including
the Summit Sportsman National Championship and the Summit
Racing Equipment SuperSeries. For more information, visit