A classic brand is returning in 2023. Tony Stewart’s SRX Series has signed a media rights deal with ESPN that will bring back “Thursday Night Thunder.”
ESPN and the Superstar Racing Experience announced the news with a press release on December 12. The SRX Series will move from CBS Sports to ESPN as part of a multi-year media rights agreement.
The six races will air on consecutive Thursday nights while helping Stewart throw it back to his racing roots. The first event will take place on July 13 at 9 p.m. ET and the last will be on August 17 at 9 p.m. ET. The SRX Series will reveal the six tracks at a later date.
“Thursday Night Thunder is where guys like me, who were just starting our careers in USAC, got the chance to make a name for ourselves because of its presence on ESPN,” Stewart said in a press release. “It’s great to see Thursday Night Thunder return, but to also be a part of it all over again with SRX.”
‘Thursday Night Thunder’ Featured Numerous Racing Legends
ESPN’s “Thursday Night Thunder” originally aired in the 1980s, and it focused on grassroots racing across the country. It highlighted some up-and-coming drivers, which included some that became racing legends.
The partnership with the SRX Series will put even more drivers on full display as they compete at six different short tracks. Some will be established names while others will be the local guests that the series brings in. Though SRX will not reveal its lineup until a later date.
“When we had the opportunity to pitch the concept of Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN, it was my firm belief this would be another disruptive and monumental moment in SRX and racing history — reuniting race fans with ESPN on short tracks with Superstar drivers all across the U.S. for years to come,” said SRX Series CEO Don Hawk.
“Thursday Night Thunder is where I met Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. A relationship between SRX and ESPN seemed like the right fit at the perfect time, and I couldn’t be more excited for this summer.”
The SRX Series Launched With Another Network
The SRX Series was originally launched during the summer of 2021. There were six races during the inaugural season, and they all aired on the CBS television network. These events were also streamed on the Paramount+ app.
The first two seasons featured a variety of drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar, and grassroots series. Prominent examples were Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Paul Tracy, Bill Elliott, and Ryan Newman.
The list of drivers also featured numerous guests. Hailie Deegan, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Dave Blaney, Bubba Pollard, Ernie Francis Jr., Ken Schrader, and Greg Biffle among others.
The first two series also featured a variety of tracks as the drivers battled in the purpose-built race cars. Some examples were Nashville Fairgrounds, Stafford Motor Speedway, Knoxville Raceway, Eldora Speedway, Sharon Speedway, and South Boston Speedway.