Kentucky Speedway and the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300" will be a part of sports broadcasting history when ESPN's SportsCenter Across America Tour, an unprecedented 50-states-in-50-days summer tour, visits the speedway on Sunday, August 14. "We're excited to be able to showcase our facility and 'The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300' during SportsCenter," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "We're proud that our world-class facility will represent Kentucky on the worldwide leader in sports programming. Our fans will be ready with their 'SportsCenter Up Next' signs."

The tour began on Sunday, July 17, when the entire 60-minute, 11:00 p.m., SportsCenter originated from Fenway Park following the Yankees-Red Sox game. SportsCenter continues to traverse the nation and will stop at a sporting event in a different state each day through September 4.

Each SportsCenter Across America segment will originate from a mobile SportsCenter set with an anchor and a live audience at a sporting event germane to the state. These daily segments will include event action, historical notes, factoids and vignettes about each state's contribution to the national sports scene, as well as "Best" lists compiled from ESPN research and ESPN.com voters, and several long-form features.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity for ESPN to touch our viewers, to personally meet the fans who watch us every day," said Norby Williamson, senior vice president and managing editor. "Along the way, we will educate our viewers about the varied sporting events popular throughout the country, and point out the well-known, and perhaps not-so-well-known, athletes and events from each state."

SportsCenter Across America anchors will be John Anderson, Steve Berthiaume, Chris Berman, Linda Cohn, Rece Davis, Neil Everett, Brian Kenny, Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, Chris McKendry, Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, Matt Winer and Trey Wingo.

"I've been fortunate to travel the country in 26 years with ESPN, and the one thing that has impressed me about our network, and SportsCenter in particular, is that everyone feels we reach out to them -- whether it's the South, the West, the Midwest, we always feel welcomed wherever we go," Berman said. "This gives us the chance to get a little closer to our fans, and it's a small way to say 'Thanks,' because ESPN would not be what it is today without support from all 50 states. So, just like the U.S. Senate, every state is represented equally on this tour."

Supporting the 50 States 50 Days tour will be presenting sponsors Bud Light - 6:00 p.m. SportsCenter, American Express - 11:00 p.m., and Coca-Cola Zero - 1:00 a.m.

ESPN will capitalize on its expertise of televising thousands of hours of live, remote programming each year by sending five experienced production teams on the road to achieve 50 States 50 Days. They will present a look at an eclectic list of events ranging from duck calling in Louisiana and the annual Elvis 5K Road Race in Memphis, to professional golf, NFL and NASCAR.

ESPN.COM FOLLOWS SPORTSCENTER VIA MANY FORMATS ESPN.com will allow fans to follow SportsCenter's 50 States 50 Days online, with full coverage of the tour. A special section of the leading sports Web site will be devoted to SportsCenter Across America and will include an interactive map highlighting each state; ESPN Motion video, including original behind-the-scenes footage and content from the SportsCenter programs; state-specific pages with facts, figures and SportsNation polls; editorial focusing on events and states throughout the tour; and regular SportsNation chats with notable figures from the state highlighted that day.

SPORTSCENTER ON THE ROAD While ambitious in its nature, 50 States 50 Days is the latest example of SportsCenter going on the road, following last year's week at an Army base in Kuwait, to annual trips to the Super Bowl, NBA Finals and other major events.

SportsCenter Debut: September 7, 1979, ESPN's first show. Flagship: SportsCenter is ESPN's flagship studio show and television's only nightly, one-hour sports news program. Offering in-depth reports on breaking news, creative highlights, features and in-depth analysis from award-winning journalists, SportsCenter is television's most comprehensive and longest-running sports news show. The 25,000th show was aired August 25, 2002. Viewership: As many as 88 million people a month watch SportsCenter.

The fourth of five event weekends at the speedway begins on Saturday, August 13, with "The Louisville Courier-Journal Pole Day." Speedway gates open at 10:00 a.m., and the full day of activity includes four IndyCar Series practice sessions, IndyCar Series qualifying and "The Bluegrass 100" Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series race.

The all open-wheel weekend continues on August 14 when gates open at 10:30 a.m. with the final IndyCar Series practice. Country music trio SHeDAISY will take the WUBE-FM B-105 Country Sound Stage at 1:00 p.m., and the "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300" field will take the green flag at 3:45 p.m.

Tickets for both race events and the July 30, one-night-only "Jammin' in the Bluegrass" concert featuring international recording star Tim McGraw with Trick Pony and Billy Dean are still available and can be purchased online through http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com or http://www.tickets.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE, through Tickets.com outlets including Meijer stores and through Kentucky Speedway ticket offices located at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell or the Fan Center located outside Turn 3 at the speedway.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~