Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) will move from CBS to ESPN for 2023, with the announcement of a multi-year media rights agreement that will see the series air exclusively on ESPN starting next summer.
Rather than Saturday nights as it did its first two seasons, the all-star short track series will air on six consecutive Thursday nights at 9pm ET on ESPN and the ESPN app, bringing back the network’s iconic “ESPN Thursday Night Thunder” branding.
Thursday Night Thunder, which originally aired on ESPN in the 1980s with a variety of short track events, was one of the springboards for Tony Stewart to begin his rise to stardom, and now the SRX co-founder expressed delight at being able to recreate it with his series, which pits stars of NASCAR, IndyCar and other racing disciplines against each one another in spec race cars and in prime time on ESPN.
“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,” said Stewart, who won the inaugural SRX title in 2021. “It’s great to see Thursday Night Thunder return, but to also be a part of it all over again with SRX.”
The 2023 SRX season will open on Thursday, July 13 at 9pm ET, running for six consecutive Thursdays through August 17 at the same times. Race locations will be announced at 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, re-uniting race fans with ESPN on short tracks with superstar drivers all across the U.S.for years to come,” said SRX 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.”
“SRX has been an impressive property in its first two seasons and has produced competitive and exciting action,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN President, Programming and Original Content. “We look forward to bringing live racing back to summertime Thursday nights on ESPN with SRX.”
Sandy Montag, the co-founder of SRX with Stewart, said: “Seeing the overwhelmingly positive fan reception to the launch and growth of SRX has been especially rewarding. I have worked with Jimmy (Pitaro) and Burke (Magnus) for years, and we are incredibly excited to be in business with ESPN, and can’t wait to see SRX on the ‘Worldwide Leader.’”