NASCAR on FOX starts the engines on the 2012 season with Speedweeks at Daytona starting Feb. 18. FOX has coverage of the Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 18), Daytona 500 qualifying (Feb. 19) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 26). FOX has coverage of the first 13 Sprint Cup points races this season. On FOX’s prerace studio show, Michael Waltrip will replace Jeff Hammond (who will now report from the pits and garage) as an analyst, joining his brother Darrell. We’ll leave it up to the viewers to decide if Michael — who will still be a driver/owner during this TV gig — can stay objective in his analysis. 2012 NASCAR on FOX schedule and press release from FOX below:
FOX SPORTS ANNOUNCES 2012 NASCAR ON FOX BROADCAST SCHEDULE
54th Daytona 500 on Sun. Feb 26 Highlights 12th Season
Coverage Begins with Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 18
New York & Los Angeles – FOX Sports gears up for its 12th season of NASCAR coverage by unveiling the 2012 NASCAR on FOX broadcast schedule featuring 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races and 15 events total, highlighted by the 54th running of the DAYTONA 500, live on Sunday, Feb. 26 (1:00-5:30 PM ET) from Daytona International Speedway. Coverage of the “Great American Race” begins that day with a special one-hour pre-race program (12:00-1:00 PM ET) from the Daytona International Speedway infield and a completely remodeled Hollywood Hotel. The flag officially drops on FOX Sports’ 2012 Speedweeks coverage with the BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT, live on Saturday, Feb. 18 in prime time (8:00-10:00 PM ET), followed by live coverage of DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING on Sunday, Feb. 19 (1:00-4:00 PM ET).
Michael Waltrip, driver, owner and pitch-man extraordinaire, joins the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace team, taking a seat in the famed Hollywood Hotel alongside big brother Darrell Waltrip and host Chris Myers. Darrell and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to the action in the garages and on pit road. Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda also return to cover pit road. NASCAR on FOX “storm scout” and meteorologist Rick Dickert of FOX-owned KTTV in Los Angeles rejoins the crew to provide weather updates to viewers on the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show as well as during race coverage.
FOX’s 2012 NASCAR schedule is highlighted by races from Phoenix International Speedway on Sunday, March 4; Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 11; Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 18; Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 14; Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 28; Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 6; and the NASCAR on FOX season finale from Dover, Delaware on Sunday, June 3.
The network’s presentation of the first 13 races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup series hit a three-year high averaging 8.6 million viewers per race, up +9% over 2010 (7.9 million viewers). The 2011 Daytona 500 crowned the event’s youngest champion ever and delivered ratings and audience gains for FOX Sports. A total audience of just over 30 million Americans watched the race, making the 2011 Daytona 500 the most-watched NASCAR race since 2008. The 30.1 million total viewers, a measure of the audience that saw at least a portion of the race, is +1% higher than 2010’s total audience of 29.8 million and +15% better than 2009′s 26.2 million.
FOX Sports commands the well-earned distinction as television’s most innovative sports broadcaster. Ranking high among the network’s achievements are honors for its NASCAR coverage. NASCAR on FOX has garnered 15 Emmy Awards for its coverage including three for Outstanding Sports Series (2001, 2005, 2007), five for Outstanding Live Event Audio Sound (2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010), one for Outstanding Graphic Design (2001), five for Outstanding Technical Team Remote (2001, 2003-05, 2007) and one for Promotional Announcement Episodic (2008).
NASCAR on FOX 2012 Schedule
Saturday February 18 — Daytona International Speedway, Budweiser Shootout, 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 19 — Daytona International Speedway, Daytona 500 Qualifying, 1:00 PM
Sunday, February 26 — Daytona International Speedway, Daytona 500, 12:00 PM
Sunday, March 4 — Phoenix International Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Phoenix, 2:30 PM
Sunday, March 11 — Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Las Vegas, 2:30 PM
Sunday, March 18 — Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Bristol, 12:30 PM
Sunday, March 25 — Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Fontana, 2:30 PM
Sunday, April 1 — Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Martinsville, 12:30 PM
Saturday, April 14 — Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Fort Worth, 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 22 — Kansas Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Kansas City, 12:30 PM
Saturday, April 28 — Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR Racing from Richmond, 7:00 PM
Sunday, May 6 — Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR Racing from Talladega, 12:00 PM
Saturday, May 12 — Darlington Raceway, NASCAR Racing from Darlington, 6:30 PM
Sunday, May 27 — Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Charlotte, 5:30 PM
Sunday, June 3 — Dover International Speedway, NASCAR Racing from Dover, 12:30 PM
All times Eastern; Schedule subject to change
Photo: Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR