ESPN will not ditch its NASCAR coverage in 2019. The self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, despite making several cuts to its motor sports staff, will be featuring NASCAR across all of its platforms.
“NASCAR coverage will continue to appear on ESPN platforms in 2019, including SportsCenter and ESPN.com,” a spokesperson for ESPN told Frontstretch via email. “We have a broad amount of resources to draw from.”
ESPN said Ryan McGee, a six-time George Cunningham Writer of the Year winner, will cover the Daytona 500 for both SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
Well-known NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass announced he was parting ways with ESPN in December, with his contract running through the end of January. Pockrass had served as the company’s lead NASCAR writer since 2016.
Multiple motor sports reporters and editors, including Alan Bestwick, Dr. Jerry Punch, K. Lee Davis and John Oreovicz, were let go in 2017 as part of a restructuring initiative within the company.
Also out at ESPN is former driver Ricky Craven. Craven was with the network since 2008, most recently serving as a common face for NASCAR fans on SportsCenter. Both Pockrass and Craven have signed deals with Fox Sports.
On Monday (Jan. 28), Jayski.com, which is an ESPN partner, announced it was ceasing operations.
We didn't get to scoop our own news! 🙂 Thanks for 22+ great years. Today is the final day for https://t.co/N4QJEkXxpT. We appreciate all your support. It's been an honor to work for ESPN. We aren't sure what's next for us (Jay, Scott –@SLPAGE and, Amanda) but stay tuned.
— Jayski (@jayski) January 28, 2019
The outlet will utilize other talent for its NASCAR coverage moving forward. Marty Smith, who has extensive experience covering NASCAR for ESPN since 2006, will likely continue to pop up to a few events each year and analyze the sport when needed, along with McGee.
Nicole Briscoe, a SportsCenter anchor, also has extensive NASCAR knowledge. She is married to IMSA racer Ryan Briscoe and served as a NASCAR reporter from 2008 to 2014.