By Lou Modestino(for  1/18-1/20/08)

Formula One team AT&T Williams and Swiss watch makers Oris extended their sponsorship agreement for another three years until 2010.  This came from sports's daily newsletter. Another item in that same issue talked about the upcoming Olympics to be held in Bejing, China that speculated that the opening ceremony could draw up to 1 billion live viewers!  Wouldn't that get the attention of the various US, Australian and international circuits.   Motor racing interests will salavate to think about that potential.  Especially F1's Bernie Eccelstone who rules the F1 roost from his posh offices in the Knightsbridge section of London.

One of the most anticipated yearly programming features on SPEED, the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event and auction, returns this January with 39 hours of LIVE coverage through six days from Scottsdale, Ariz.

Five hours of early auction coverage begin on Jan. 15 through Jan.
17 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. On Jan. 18 and Jan. 19, 10 hours of live
coverage begins each day at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, with another four
hours slated for Jan. 20 starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

"We've massaged the 2008 Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Collector Car
Event air schedule," said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP of Production &
Operations. "We feel the schedule will capture what we believe will be
the most compelling bidding wars for the most exciting vehicles."

Play-by-play announcer Bob Varsha, the voice of Formula One on
SPEED, will once again head the broadcast and be joined by Motor Trend magazine editor Matt Stone for analysis. Mike Joy, the voice of NASCAR on FOX and an avid car collector, will once again team with former Hot Rod magazine technical editor Steve Magnante on the auction block. Long-time motorsports reporter and Barrett-Jackson regular Rick DeBruhl will be scoping the auction grounds for event context and storylines.

The 2008 edition of Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale will be an
interesting confluence of Italian style, classic design and brute
American horsepower all sold at 'no reserve.' Headliners include a
Pininfarina-designed 1963 Chevrolet Corvette concept car known as
'Rondine' and Ford's 1963 Thunderbird 'Italien.' Pininfarina is a
world famous Italian design house based in Turin, who is most notably
associated with the legendary styling of Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa
Romeo. Also for sale will be Carroll Shelby's personal 1969 Shelby
Mustang GT-500 and the one and only 'Robosauras,' a 42-foot tall,
fire-breathing mechanical 'monster' that has devoured cars throughout the United States over that last 20 years.

"The diversity and uniqueness of our auction-block mix this year
translates into one of the most anticipated offerings ever assembled
in Barrett-Jackson's history," stated Steve Davis, President of
Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. "From Robosaurus to Carroll Shelby's
personal 1969 GT500, only at Barrett-Jackson, and only on SPEED can one witness these incredible vehicles selling to the highest bidder in the most action-packed, and competitive auction arena on the planet."

For more than a decade, the lights, glamour and glitz of a
Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event has drawn large television
audiences on SPEED. But for Varsha the appeal isn't in the numbers,
it's more personal. He talked about a particularly dramatic moment
that really defined what the event means to him.

"Everybody probably sites the very high-end cars like (Carroll
Shelby's personal 1966 Cobra) 'Super Snake' that went for (five)
million or the GM 'Futurliner' bus (as their personal highlights), but
the thing that really stands out to me (are of a more personal
nature)," Varsha recalled. "I can't be terribly clear on this, but
some years ago, a beautiful '55 Chevy went across the auction block – it was a pristine, yellow and white two tone and such a beautiful car.

But this wasn't a car from a big collector, or someone who flips cars
to tweak his or her collection and keeps them in an air conditioned
vault. This car belonged to a gentleman farmer and his wife from the
Midwest, and you could tell just by watching them on the stage; and
looking at the car up close, that this one car had been a labor of
love for their family. They probably rode in it as sweethearts back in
the day, and now they were selling it. The lady was in tears, and the
lip quivered a little on the old boy himself, as a member of their
family was now being entrusted to someone else.

"I remember looking and realizing at that moment, that this is
what the Barrett-Jackson is all about," Varsha continued. "It's the
expansion of the car hobby, not just to those who might own several
cars, but to someone to whom one car matters so much. I always tell
people that's what you can do at Barrett-Jackson – go and seek out
that one car that means so much to you."

2008 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event Program Schedule

Date Series Start

Jan. 15 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Jan. 16 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Jan. 17 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Jan. 18 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Jan. 19 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Jan. 20 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT

Fans of the IndyCar Series will be treated to a new look for event telecasts in 2008 as ESPN will televise all 16 events of the series in high definition for the first time. ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 was the first IndyCar Series event ever to be televised in HD.

All cameras used in ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage will be HD, including in-car cameras and those used in the pits and for other points of view. Included will be an HD onboard camera that can provide a rotating 360-degree view.

“The Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series are very important to ESPN and our affiliates,” said Bryan Burns, ESPN vice president, strategic business planning and development. “Taking our coverage to the next level with high definition has been a priority for us and the series, and will enhance the breadth of our HD services. We’re happy that sports fans will be able to reap the rewards all season.”

The IndyCar Series will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC in 2008, including seven events on both ESPN2 and ABC and two on ESPN. The networks also will cover Indianapolis 500 qualifying May 10-11 and 17-18, and high definition coverage is extending to ESPN2’s telecasts of the 16 Indy Pro Series races this season.

“We are extremely pleased to be working in conjunction with ESPN to showcase the speed and excitement of IndyCar Series racing in the clarity and wide-screen format of high definition television,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and the Indy Pro Series. “The addition of the 360-degree, onboard camera for the first time in the United States continues the IndyCar Series’ role as a leader in innovation and technology while offering our teams added value for their sponsors.”

The new onboard camera is the first of its kind in domestic motorsports and is the next evolution of the previous onboard system used in the series. Broadcast Sports, Inc., which developed the system, worked with the league's technical team on wind tunnel simulation and aerodynamic research to ensure the new mount does not affect race car aerodynamics at speeds of more than 220 mph.

The IndyCar Series season begins Saturday, Mar. 29, at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a prime time telecast on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET. The series concludes at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday, Sept. 7, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. The 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 airs Sunday, May 25, at noon on ABC.

ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 44th year and ESPN will celebrate its 13th year of IndyCar Series coverage in 2008. The ESPN alliance dates back to the series’ inaugural 1996 event and with ABC’s’ first telecast of the Indianapolis 500 in 1965, a relationship that is the second-longest in sports between a network and sports property. Only CBS and the Masters have been together longer.

In 2008, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD will deliver more than 1,000 live events in high definition including: NFL Monday Night Football, NASCAR, NBA, MLB, college football, the Masters, MLS, MLL, IndyCar Series, NHRA, Winter and Summer X Games and more. All of ESPN and ESPN2’s Bristol-based studio programming originates in high definition, including SportsCenter, NFL Countdown, NFL Monday Night Countdown, NFL Live, Monday Night Countdown, Baseball Tonight, Mike & Mike in the Morning, NASCAR Now and First Take. In addition to live sports programming, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD produce individual programs, movies and series. ESPN will launch two new HD services this year, ESPNEWS on Mar. 30 and ESPNU on Aug. 28.

Currently, ESPN HD reaches more than 15 million subscribers and is available to more than 93 million homes and ESPN2 HD reaches approximately 12 million subscribers and is available to more than 79 million homes.

Now let's see what's happening on TV this week for the Gearheads.
From Monday through Thursday Speed offers Pre-Season Testing from Daytona at 6:30 p.m. Friday's hot tip is ESPN CL's airing of the '03 NHRA National from Dallas at 6 p.m.  Saturday's top pick is the noon time broadcast of the IHRA Natinonal from Budd's Creek, MD(Spt. '07) on Speed. Sunday has the Geoffery Bodine Bobsled Challenge from Lake Placid, NY at noon on Speed. Speed also airs The Speed Report at 7 p.m.