Press Release

Posted by Andy Hall on February 6, 2013

Dave Rieff Named to Anchor Role for ESPN NHRA Drag Racing Coverage

PRINT VERSIONFILED IN: Motor Sports, NHRA

When the newly re-named NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series begins its 13th season on ESPN later this month, a name and voice familiar to fans of the series will be in a new role on ESPN’s television coverage team.

Dave Rieff, who has been a pit reporter since ESPN began its NHRA coverage in 2001, will move into the anchor announcer position for the 2013 season. Rieff will host ESPN’s telecasts of both the Mello Yello Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

The season begins with the 53rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., Feb. 14-17. ESPN2 will air same-day coverage of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10 p.m. ET and same-day coverage of eliminations on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. In addition, ESPN3, ESPN’s multi-screen live sports network, will have live coverage of Friday qualifying at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, with the full day of eliminations live on Sunday starting at 2 p.m. All of ESPN’s NHRA coverage can also be seen on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the free WatchESPN app for those who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.

Rieff will call the action from the booth with analyst Mike Dunn, who is beginning his 12th year with ESPN. The former racer is one of only three drivers in NHRA history to win more than 10 times in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes. Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Jamie Howe will report from the pits and trackside.   

“I’ve been very lucky during the 17 years I’ve been involved with the NHRA to be around many of the greats of the sport, both television personalities and public address announcers,” said Rieff. “People like Dave McClelland, Steve Evans, Bob Frey, Marty Reid and Paul Page.

“Little did I know all those years ago I’d end up getting to know these great people and would be able to work with them and glean as much knowledge as I could. I’m very grateful for this new opportunity and hope to be able to take the best of the best from each of these men and bring it to the forefront.”

Rieff and Dunn have previously worked together in the booth on some ESPN3 qualifying shows as well as co-hosting some other drag racing programs on ESPN.

“It’s always a great opportunity just to get to sit next to Mike and talk about drag racing,” said Rieff, “It’s like one of those sitting around at home on the sofa situations, two guys that really love their sport and come at it from different sides of the fence, so to speak, and we’re able to bring that energy and passion to the viewers.

“There’s so much anticipation for the upcoming season and I can’t wait to get started.”

The NHRA will be televised on ESPN networks in 182 countries and territories to more than 56.5 million homes, including coverage in Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Middle East, Mexico, New Zealand and South America. In addition, U.S. troops and their families serving around the world in 175 countries and on Navy vessels at sea can watch NHRA through the American Forces Network.

2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Schedule on ESPN

(all times Eastern)

Date                 Event                                                   Time                Network

Feb. 16Pomona Qualifying10 p.m.ESPN2
Feb. 17Pomona Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Feb. 24Phoenix Qualifying1 a.m.ESPN2
Feb. 24Phoenix Qualifying (re-air)8 a.m.ESPN2
Feb. 24Phoenix Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
March 17Gainesville Qualifying1:30 a.m.ESPN2
March 17Gainesville Qualifying (re-air)8 a.m.ESPN2
March 17Gainesville Eliminations7 p.m.ESPN2
April 6Las Vegas Qualifying10 p.m.ESPN2
April 7Las Vegas Eliminations11 p.m.ESPN2
April 20Charlotte Qualifying5 p.m.ESPN2
April 21Charlotte Eliminations7 p.m.ESPN2
April 27Houston Qualifying3 p.m.ESPN2
April 28Houston Eliminations2 p.m.ESPN2
May 4Atlanta Qualifying8 p.m.ESPN2
May 5Atlanta Eliminations6:30 p.m.ESPN2
May 18Topeka Qualifying5 p.m.ESPN2
May 19Topeka Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
June 1Englishtown Qualifying (Part 1)5 p.m.ESPN
June 2Englishtown Qualifying (Part 2)1 a.m.ESPN2
June 2Englishtown Eliminations4:30 p.m.ESPN2
June 15Bristol Qualifying7 p.m.ESPN2
June 16Bristol Eliminations (Part 1)1 p.m.ESPN2
June 16Bristol Eliminations (Part 2)11 p.m.ESPN2
June 22New England Qualifying8 p.m.ESPN2
June 23New England Eliminations7 p.m.ESPN2
June 29Chicago Qualifying (Part 1)5 p.m.ESPN2
June 30Chicago Qualifying (Part 2)11 p.m.ESPN2
June 30Chicago Eliminations9 p.m.ESPN2
July 6Norwalk Qualifying6 p.m.ESPN2
July 7Norwalk Eliminations7 p.m.ESPN2
July 20Denver Qualifying10 p.m.ESPN2
July 21Denver Eliminations6 p.m.ESPN2
July 27Sonoma Qualifying7 p.m.ESPN
July 28Sonoma Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Aug. 3Seattle Qualifying10:30 p.m.ESPN2
Aug. 4Seattle Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Aug. 17Brainerd Qualifying11 p.m.ESPN2
Aug. 18Brainerd Eliminations9 p.m.ESPN2
Sept. 1Indianapolis Qualifying (Part 1)11 a.m.ESPN2
Sept. 1Indianapolis Qualifying (Part 2)5 p.m.ESPN2
Sept. 2Indianapolis EliminationsNoonESPN2
Sept. 14Charlotte QualifyingTBDESPN2
Sept. 15Charlotte Eliminations8:30 p.m.ESPN2
Sept. 21Dallas QualifyingTBDESPN2
Sept. 22Dallas Eliminations8:30 p.m.ESPN2
Sept. 28St. Louis QualifyingTBDESPN2
Sept. 29St. Louis Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Oct. 5Reading QualifyingTBDESPN2
Oct. 6Reading Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Oct. 26Las Vegas QualifyingTBDESPN2
Oct. 28Las Vegas Eliminations8 p.m.ESPN2
Nov. 9Pomona QualifyingTBDESPN2
Nov. 10Pomona Eliminations7 p.m.ESPN2

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Contact:           Andy Hall at 386-492-2246, andy.hall@espn.com.