SUPERSTAR RACING EXPERIENCE (SRX)) AND ESPN ANNOUNCE MULTI-YEAR RIGHTS AGREEMENT SRX to Partner with ESPN to Bring Back Thursday Night Thunder
NEW YORK, NY — December 12, 2022
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) and ESPN have announced a multi-year media rights agreement that will see the series air exclusively on ESPN. In Summer of 2023, the races will air on six consecutive Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN App, bringing back the iconic “ESPN Thursday Night Thunder” branding.
Thursday Night Thunder, which originally aired on ESPN in the 1980’s, saw legends of racing including Tony Stewart launch their careers. SRX and co-owner Stewart will bring the superstars of racing back to Thursday Night, pitting NASCAR, IndyCar, and other racing champions against each other in prime time on ESPN.
“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, SRX Co-Founder and 2021 SRX Champion. “It’s great to see Thursday Night Thunder return, but to also be a part of it all over again with SRX.”
The 2023 SRX Schedule (all times Eastern) Thursday, July 13 9 p.m. ESPN Thursday, July 20 9 p.m. ESPN Thursday, July 27 9 p.m. ESPN Thursday, Aug. 3 9 p.m. ESPN Thursday, Aug. 10 9 p.m. ESPN Thursday, Aug. 17 9 p.m. ESPN Race locations will be announced later. Don Hawk, series Chief Executive Officer, said: “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.”
“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.”
“SRX has been an impressive property in its first two seasons and has produced competitive and exciting action,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN President, Programming and Original Content. “We look forward to bringing live racing back to summertime Thursday nights on ESPN with SRX.” Sandy Montag, SRX Co-Founder, said: “Seeing the overwhelmingly positive fan reception to the launch and growth of SRX has been especially rewarding.
I have worked with Jimmy [Pitaro] and Burke [Magnus] for years, and we are incredibly excited to be in business with ESPN, and can’t wait to see SRX on the Worldwide Leader.” About SRX: Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) was created by Sandy Montag and The Montag Group, Investor and former NASCAR COO, George Pyne, NASCAR Hall of Famer and legendary driver Tony Stewart, and NASCAR Hall of Fame Crew Chief and Owner Ray Evernham.
Over the first two seasons of SRX, the six race series has featured drivers from a variety of racing backgrounds with an emphasis on champion-level drivers. SRX has seen some of the sport’s biggest names compete including: Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott, Chase Elliott, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs, Hailie Deegan, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Marco Andretti, Matt Kenseth, Michael Waltrip, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and many more.
In 2022, the series field featured a total of five NASCAR Cup Series Championships, three IndyCar Series Championships, four Daytona 500 Winners, five Indianapolis 500 Winners and four NASCAR Hall of Fame Drivers. Tony Stewart claimed the inaugural SRX Championship in 2021, and Marco Andretti claimed the 2022 Championship. About Motorsports on ESPN: ESPN’s motorsports coverage over the years has included nearly every form of racing – NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, drag racing, sports car racing, motorcycles and more.
Production values and sheer volume of content set ESPN apart very early in the game. ESPN aired its first race on Oct. 7, 1979, exactly one month after the network went on the air. The race was a USAC event taped the previous summer in Salem, Ind. In March of 1981, ESPN aired its first NASCAR Cup race, a tape-delayed event from Rockingham, N.C., and on June 7, 1981, the network aired its first live race, a CART event at Milwaukee. Currently, the full Formula 1 World Championship airs on ESPN platforms.
F1 returned to its original U.S. television home in 2018 – the first race ever aired in the country was on ABC in 1962. F1 races also aired on ESPN from 1984-1997.