SRX moves to Thursday nights with 2023 ESPN deal

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Credit: Superstar Racing Experience

Thursday Night Thunder was a popular motorsport programme for ESPN in the 1980s, featuring short and dirt track racers including future NASCAR greats like 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tony Stewart. In 2023, ESPN will revive the name for Stewart’s Superstar Racing Experience.

“Thursday Night Thunder is where guys like me, who were just starting our careers in USAC, got the chance to make a name for ourselves because of its presence on ESPN,” said Stewart. “It’s great to see Thursday Night Thunder return, but to also be a part of it all over again with SRX.”

Stewart founded SRX in 2021 as a Saturday night show on CBS. With the new multi-year ESPN deal, however, the series will run all six races in 2023 on Thursday nights beginning 13 July and through 17 August.

“When we had the opportunity to pitch the concept of Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN, it was my firm belief this would be another disruptive and monumental moment in SRX and racing history, reuniting race fans with ESPN on short tracks with Superstar drivers all across the U.S. for years to come,” commented SRX CEO Don Hawk.

“Thursday Night Thunder is where I met Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. A relationship between SRX and ESPN seemed like the right fit at the perfect time, and I couldn’t be more excited for this summer.”

ESPN has been involved with racing since its launch in 1979, which was highlighted by the ESPN SpeedWorld show that ran until 2006 and covered a multitude of championships like NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, and NHRA. Other disciplines that were in ESPN’s motorsport portfolio include the now defunct Champ Car, Global Rallycross, and American Le Mans Series. Since 2018, the network has served as the American broadcaster for F1 and its feeder series. SRX play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick previously called NASCAR and IndyCar races for ESPN.

“SRX has been an impressive property in its first two seasons and has produced competitive and exciting action,” added ESPN President of Programming Burke Magnus. “We look forward to bringing live racing back to summertime Thursday nights on ESPN with SRX.”

Stewart won the inaugural SRX championship in 2021 while Marco Andretti claimed the 2022 title.

2023 tracks will be revealed at a later time.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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