TNT to debut Wide Open Coverage at Pepsi 400

Turner
Network Television (TNT), home of NASCAR programming for 24 consecutive
seasons, goes under the lights this Saturday, July 7 when the network televises
the Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race from the Daytona International
Speedway with the debut of a new television format, a special on four-time
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon, a special feature on seven-time
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Richard Petty and continued TNT post-race
coverage exclusively on NASCAR.COM. The primetime Pepsi 400 is the
signature race of the 2007 NASCAR on TNT Summer Series, which began at Pocono
Raceway on June 10 and concludes at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15.

TNT will
rev its race day coverage at 5:30 p.m. ET with a one-hour program entitled “24×24:
Wide Open with Jeff Gordon,” which focuses on the driver of the No. 24 whose
championship career includes 79 NEXTEL Cup Series victories and 63 career
poles. The feature will be followed by the network’s pre-race coverage
which begins with NASCAR on TNT LIVE! at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Allstate
Countdown to Green at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Pepsi 400 will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Including
Gordon, 22 of the 24 living Daytona 500 champions are expected to be at the
track for one of NASCAR’s premier racing events, many of whom will be
interviewed during pre-race festivities by TNT’s roster of on-air announcers,
which includes Bill Weber (host and play-by-play), Marc Fein (host), Kyle Petty
(analyst), Wally Dallenbach (analyst) and pit reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty
Snider, Matt Yocum and Lindsay Czarniak. The network’s pre-race
coverage will also include a feature in which Florida State graduate Matt Yocum
tours the city of Daytona and documents its importance in NASCAR’s history, as
well as a special edition of the Pride of NASCAR in which Kyle Petty interviews
his father, seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and three-time Pepsi
400 winner, Richard Petty.

“Daytona
has always been a special place for my family, we’ve been going there since the
beginning when my grandfather raced,” said Kyle Petty, current Cup driver and
TNT analyst. “My father, ‘The King,’ won a bunch of races there and I won
in my first ever start in an ARCA car at Daytona, so it only seemed fitting
that TNT highlight my interview with him this weekend. I’ve seen so many
other people interview him in the past, but this time I was able to ask the
questions. That was a fun experience and I think the viewers at home will
enjoy it.”

“The Pepsi
400 from the Daytona International Speedway is one of the crown jewels in
NASCAR and the signature race in TNT’s Summer Series,” said Jeff Behnke, Turner
Sports executive producer. “We are looking forward to following and
showcasing some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, and providing viewers with a new
and exciting way to watch their favorite sport.”

This
year’s coverage of the Pepsi 400 will mark the debut of TNT’s Wide Open
Coverage, a unique television format that will feature no national commercial
interruptions, only three local commercial breaks per hour and an innovative
on-screen video box for sponsor branded content. The branded content will
include animated sponsor messages and graphics from sponsors Autozone, DirecTV,
Ford, Goodyear, Miller Brewing, Pepsi, Principal Financial, Sprint and Subway,
all of whom relied on Turner’s creative expertise to create and produce the
original branded content to complement the race.

Toyota, also a sponsor of the telecast,
utilized a separate creative agency for their individual spots. The
branded content for all 10 sponsors includes a mix of vignettes running 60
seconds to two minutes in length, and feature notable faces from around the
world of NASCAR, and will include current Cup drivers Denny Hamlin, Jeff
Gordon, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears,
Mark Martin, Regan Smith and Kurt Busch.

“Signing
10 national sponsors for this marquee sporting event speaks to the advertising
communities’ willingness to break free from the traditional model for an
innovative concept that allows them to stand out and be noticed, while
simultaneously serving the fans,” said Trish Frohman, executive vice president,
Turner Sports Advertising Sales. “We couldn’t be happier with how Madison
Avenue has reacted to Wide Open Coverage in helping us meet our target goals as
we present a new way to feature sponsors, as well as televise NASCAR.”

For the
first time ever, following TNT’s on-air race coverage, NASCAR.COM will feature
post-race coverage from TNT’s announcers as part of their Jack Daniels 24/7
program. The online show will include post-race interviews and analysis
from TNT’s on-air announcers that cannot be found anywhere else. NASCAR
on TNT programming and NASCAR.COM are produced by