Full slate of NASCAR programming highlights action-packed Friday night
No date for Valentine's Day this year? Or do you and your significant other share a passion for NASCAR? Either way, FOX Sports 1 has a memorable night planned that is sure to get everyone's heart racing.
Spend a sweetheart of an evening with your favorite racers as "NASCAR Night on FOX Sports 1" delivers a three-and-a-half-hour block of prime-time NASCAR programming right after the network's live on-track coverage of the opening day of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 14.
On Valentine's Day evening, FOX Sports 1 premieres FOX Sports 1-on-1: Jimmie Johnson (7:30-8 p.m. ET), The Day: Daytona Primetime (8-9 p.m. ET), Return of the 3 (9-10 p.m. ET) and an encore presentation of the 2011 documentary The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt (10-11 p.m. ET).
"Daytona Speedweeks is the most anticipated two weeks on every NASCAR fan's calendar each year, and with the return of the No. 3 and various competition and championship format changes, interest is at an all-time high," said FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports 2 General Manager & COO David Nathanson. "Daytona has produced some of the sport's most memorable, historic and tragic moments throughout the decades, and on Valentine's Day, FOX Sports 1 and NASCAR Productions shine a spotlight on what makes NASCAR so beloved by millions of race fans."
Here's the rundown of the lineup:
FOX SPORTS 1-ON-1: JIMMIE JOHNSON
Friday, Feb. 14 (7:30-8 p.m. ET)
FOX Sports' signature long-form interview franchise goes 1-on-1 with six-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson leading up to the Daytona 500 on FOX. Curt Menefee asks Johnson about fear behind the wheel, his relationship with crew chief Chad Knaus and whether his 3-year-old daughter will be allowed to race, among other topics.
THE DAY: DAYTONA PRIMETIME
(8-9 p.m. ET)
This newest installment of the documentary series "The Day" spotlights the 2012 Daytona 500, the first to air in primetime and one of the modern NASCAR era's most memorable events not only for its on-track action but for the online happenings surrounding it. Produced by FOX Sports and NASCAR Productions, this program features personal recounts of the major happenings during the day-long event, which included extensive rain delays, Juan Pablo Montoya's contact with a jet dryer and subsequent fiery explosion, Brad Keselowski's infamous in-race tweeting, Danica Patrick's first Daytona 500 and Matt Kenseth holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a dramatic green-white-checkered victory that ended in the wee hours of Monday morning.
RETURN OF THE 3
(9-10 p.m. ET)
Produced by NASCAR Productions, this new documentary explores the impact that the iconic No. 3 has had on the NASCAR industry, its fans and the world. The one-hour program uncovers the history of the No. 3 before it became Dale Earnhardt's number, how it evolved and impacted marketing and merchandising within the sport, and looks ahead to the return of the number with Austin Dillon in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"It's going to come back…and this is a great time to do it," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in the special. "Austin is going to do a good job on the track and run well. I think people will get more and more comfortable with it. The ones who aren't, I don't know that they're a very large group. I think they are the minority."
"You're not going to have everyone support it to start with," Richard Childress related in Return of the 3. "Our goal is to win them all over and let them (fans) understand what we’re doing for the legacy of Dale Earnhardt … And all of our young fans who never got to see Dale Earnhardt drive, we want to win those people over and let them understand that this is going to be a positive for their hero."
THE DAY: REMEMBERING DALE EARNHARDT
(10-11 p.m. ET)
This 2011 NASCAR Productions documentary, which marked the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500, examines NASCAR’s darkest day in a one-hour special that includes interviews from those involved and close friends and family of Earnhardt. The special, which originally aired on SPEED, reflects on the tragic Sunday from sunrise to sunset, focusing on the day’s events and emotions for everyone involved, as well as how that catastrophic moment forever changed the sport.
The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt marked the first time Michael Waltrip granted a TV interview regarding the death of his former car owner, friend and mentor. Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona 500, his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in 463 starts, for Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) with then-teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushing him to finish second, and Earnhardt seemingly headed for a third-place finish while blocking for his two cars.
"I don’t think human beings are designed to experience quite the range of emotion that I did that day…" Waltrip said in the documentary. "I just remember sitting in that chair (in the motorhome) trying to deal with what had happened and understand how I was supposed to feel … I started wondering how I was supposed to feel at that moment and I haven’t stopped wondering since."
The program takes viewers back to Earnhardt’s last day, from the pre-race ceremonies during which he gave wife Teresa and son Earnhardt Jr. what would be a final hug on the starting grid before climbing into his black No. 3 Chevrolet, to the race, the fatal accident in turn four and the aftermath. The special also explores Earnhardt’s history at Daytona, his relationship with car owner Richard Childress, his family, his DEI race team, his close friendship with Neil Bonnett, who died at Daytona in 1994, and other key players and events in Earnhardt’s life and career. Additionally, a variety of NASCAR stars and celebrities recount where they were when they first heard the news of Earnhardt’s death.
"NASCAR Night on FOX Sports 1" follows an afternoon stacked with live NASCAR coverage from Daytona, including NASCAR Live (4-5 p.m. ET), The Sprint Unlimited practice (5-6 p.m. ET), NASCAR Live (6-6:30 p.m. ET) and The Sprint Unlimited final practice (6:30-7:30 p.m. ET).
FOX and FOX Sports 1 offer nearly 70 hours of live NASCAR programming throughout Daytona Speedweeks, beginning with NASCAR Race Hub: Media Day Edition on Thursday, Feb. 13 (4-6 p.m. ET) and culminating with live coverage of the Daytona 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 23 (Noon-5 p.m. ET).