CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR said it was disappointed for its fans Saturday night for the start of the race not being televised on ABC.
With the Baylor-Texas Christian football game running long on ABC and past the 7:55 p.m. ET green flag, the first 25 laps of the Bank of America 500 were shown on the broadband channel ESPN3. ABC/ESPN had initially planned to move the race to ESPNEWS but the Cleveland-Miami NBA exhibition game from Rio went into overtime. NASCAR ended up starting the race about seven minutes after the scheduled green flag.“We are disappointed that our fans were unable to see the start of tonight’s race,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We do all we can with the networks to avoid delays when live sports run late. We’re grateful for the passion of our fans and are thankful to those now watching on ABC.”The Saturday night race was the only one of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. The rest of the Chase races are Sunday events.This is ESPN’s last year as part of its contract televising NASCAR, whose national contract includes Fox, TNT and ESPN. NASCAR will start a new $8.2 billion, 10-year deal with Fox and NBC starting in 2015.“We started the race on ESPN3, which is available to 95 million homes,” ESPN said in a statement. “We’re fortunate to have multiple TV networks available, but tonight there were live events on all of them, including an epic football game on ABC and an overtime (pre-season) NBA game on ESPNEWS. We joined the race on ABC at lap 26.”