Kenseth, O’Donnell, Gossage and more join tonight’s special NASCAR AMERICA

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Tonight’s special one-hour NASCAR AMERICA, which airs at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, will reveal the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule and feature a wide range of analysis from drivers, series officials and track insiders.

Host Rick Allen will be joined in studio by NBC Sports Group NASCAR analysts Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty and Frank Stoddard to present the schedule and discuss the selected dates, tracks, and overall 2015 NASCAR calendar.

In addition, the show will feature a collection of drivers, track presidents and general managers, and NASCAR officials who will weigh in on the 2015 schedule and the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which will air exclusively on NBC and NBCSN in 2015.

Guests scheduled to appear include two-time Daytona 500 Winner Matt Kenseth, live from Jeff Burton’s Garage in Concord, NC.; Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer, NASCAR; Jerry Caldwell, General Manager, Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, and Eddie Gossage, President, Texas Motor Speedway.

Additionally, NBC Sports Group NASCAR reporters Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast will report from Darlington Raceway and Daytona International Speedway. Snider will speak with Chip Wile, President, Darlington Raceway, and Stavast will sit down with Joie Chitwood, President, Daytona International Speedway.

March 28 in Motorsports History: Adrian Fernandez wins Motegi’s first race

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While auto racing is an international sport, oval racing remains uniquely American. 

That almost always has remained the case since the inception of the sport, but in 1998, the citizens of Japan got their first taste of American oval racing.

Having opened the previous year, Twin Ring Motegi was built by Honda in an effort to bring Indy-style racing to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Adrian Fernandez was the first driver to win at the facility, taking the checkered flag in CART’s inaugural race after shaking off flu earlier that day.

Fernandez held off a hard-charging Al Unser Jr to win by 1.086 seconds. The victory was the second of his career and his first since Toronto in 1996.

Adrian Fernandez celebrates with Al Unser Jr and Gil de Ferran after winning the inaugural race at Motegi. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The race was also memorable for a violent crash involving Bobby Rahal.

Running third with 15 laps remaining, Rahal’s right front suspension broke in Turn 2, causing his car to hit the outside wall and flip down the backstretch.

Luckily, Rahal walked away from the accident without a scratch.

“The car was on rails through (turns) 1 and 2, and all of a sudden it just got up into the marbles, and it was gone,” Rahal said. “Thank God we’ve got such safe cars.”

The following season, Fernadez went back-to-back and won again at Motegi. The track remained on the CART schedule until 2002.

In 2003, Honda switched their alliance to the Indy Racing Leauge, and Motegi followed suit.

The track continued to host IndyCar racing until 2011 with the final race being held on the facility’s 2.98-mile road course, as the oval sustained damage in the Tōhoku earthquake earlier that year.

Also on this date:

1976: Clay Regazzoni won the United States Grand Prix – West, Formula One’s first race on the Long Beach street circuit. The Grand Prix would become an IndyCar event following the 1983 edition of the race.

1993: Ayrton Senna won his home race, the Grand Prix of Brazil, for the second and final time of his career. The victory was also the 100th in F1 for McLaren.

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