White flag waves on ’09 NASCAR season

Fans watch the opening laps of the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway in June. (Photo by Rebecca Kivak)

It seems like it was just February and we were anxiously awaiting the year’s first race, the non-points Budweiser Shootout, and of course the daddy of them all, the Daytona 500. Now, 35 races and two non-points races later (not to mention all the Nationwide and truck races), it’s November and we’re down to Homestead, ready to call it a season.

For the last 10 months, NASCAR fans have been practicing their weekend rituals. If you weren’t going to the race, you may have watched the broadcast at home, someone’s house, the local bar or another hangout, accompanied by your choice of beverage . You may have critiqued the singer of the national anthem (how many performers forgot the lyrics?) and waited for those words that get our hearts pounding, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Maybe you logged onto Twitter to get race updates from the reporters at the track, or to join fellow fans in cheering on your driver or booing another. Or maybe you turned on Hot Pass, Pit Command, Race View, etc. to follow your favorite driver as he aimed to finish in Victory Lane. Maybe you watched as another driver wrecked one of your fantasy league picks (possibly #blamestremme, for those of you familiar with the popular Twitter hashtag), or maybe you finished the race as the league’s high scorer.

Whatever your ritual is, this is the last weekend of 2009 you will be able to do it. After Sunday’s finale at Homestead, it will be 76 days until the Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 6, 2010), and another 8 until the Daytona 500 (Feb. 14).

So, NASCAR fans, it’s time to sit back, relax, and make the most of it. To make sure you get in your fill before the off-season starts, check out the following schedule of televised NASCAR events from Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend (all times Eastern):

Friday, Nov. 20:
11 a.m.: NASCAR Live, SPEED
11:30 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
1 p.m.: Nationwide practice, SPEED
3 p.m.: Spring Cup qualifying, ESPN2
5 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series qualifying, SPEED
6:30 p.m.: Nationwide practice, SPEED
7:30 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series race – season finale, SPEED. Green flag: 8 p.m.
10:30 p.m.: Trackside, SPEED
12:30 a.m. (Nov. 21): NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Saturday, Nov. 21:
11 a.m.: NASCAR Live, SPEED
11:30 a.m.: Nationwide qualifying, SPEED
1:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
2:30 p.m.: NASCAR Smarts (Homestead), SPEED
2:50 p.m.: Sprint Cup happy hour practice (TV at 3 p.m.), ESPN2
4 p.m.: Nationwide race – season finale, ESPN2. Green flag: 4:45 p.m.
7:30 p.m.: Trackside special edition, SPEED

Sunday, Nov. 22:
10 a.m.: NASCAR Performance, SPEED
10 a.m.: Pre-race NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11 a.m.: NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
11:30 a.m.: NASCAR Race Day, SPEED
2:30 p.m.: Spring Cup race – season finale, ABC. Green flag: 3:30 p.m.
8 p.m.: NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED
10 p.m.: Post-race NASCAR Now, ESPN2
White flag waves on ’09 NASCAR season White flag waves on ’09 NASCAR season Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Friday, November 20, 2009 Rating: 5