NASCAR on television and radio

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NASCAR one of the biggest television draws on a weekly basis. In the early days of the sport, sports programs like CBS Sports Spectacular and ABC Wide World of Sports would air video highlight packages of races. These packages were typically 15 to 30 minutes long that were cut from film of the entire race. This is similar to video packages created by NFL Films. For major races, like the Daytona 500, ABC Sports would show it live for a certain number of laps at the beginning and come back to it to show the end of the race. There had been a few races shown in their entirety in the 1970's, but these were always recorded and shown days or weeks later. In 1979, CBS Sports televised the entire 1979 Daytona 500 live from the very start to the very finish. When ESPN came along in 1981, more races began being shown live in their entirety. Since 1985, all NASCAR races have been shown from start to finish, and all have been shown live since 1987. Until 2001, race tracks struck individual deals with networks to broadcast races. In 1999, NASCAR wanted to capitalize on the growing popularity of the sport and announced that television deals would now be centralized; that is, instead of making deals with individual tracks, networks would now negotiate directly with NASCAR for the rights to air a package of races.


Early years[edit]

One of the earliest telecasts of a NASCAR race was the 1960 Daytona 500, parts of which was presented as part of CBS Sports Spectacular, with announcer Bud Palmer.[1]

In the ensuing years, but before 1979, there were three main sources of NASCAR telecasts:[citation needed]

  • ABC's Wide World of Sports, the sports anthology program, provided coverage of select NASCAR Winston Cup races in the 1970s. In 1971, it presented a 200-lap race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in its entirety, the first such broadcast of a NASCAR race. Throughout the 1970s, ABC presented portions of the Daytona 500, Southern 500, and other important races.
  • In the late 1970s, CBS Sports Spectacular aired some races; like Wide World of Sports, they were taped and edited.
  • Car & Track, a weekly auto racing show hosted by Bud Lindemann, recapped all of NASCAR's top-series races in the 1960s and 1970s in a weekly 30-minute syndicated show.

The following table is a list of races from NASCAR's top three series that have been broadcast partially or in their entirety on television during the 1960s.

Race Number Race Date Race Title Race Track Series Network Studio Host Studio Analysts Lap-by-Lap Commentator Analysts Pit Reporters Notes
2 of 44 February 12, 1960 100 Mile Qualifying Races Daytona International Speedway NASCAR Grand National Series CBS Bud Palmer First ever NASCAR broadcast.
3 of 44

1979–2000: Flag-to-flag coverage[edit]

CBS Sports President Neal Pilson and motor-sports editor Ken Squier believed that America would watch an entire stock car race live on television. On February 18, 1979, CBS presented the first flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500.[2] Richard Petty won NASCAR's crown-jewel race for the sixth time, but the big story was the post-race fight on the track's infield between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, who crashed together on the final lap while leading.[2] The race drew incredible ratings, in part due to the compelling action both on and off the track, and in part because a major snowstorm on the East Coast kept millions of viewers indoors.[citation needed]

As time passed, more Winston Cup races ended up on TV. ESPN broadcast its first race in 1981, from North Carolina Motor Speedway[3] (its first live race was later in the year at Atlanta International Raceway), and TNN followed in 1991. All Cup races were nationally televised by 1985; networks struck individual deals with track owners, and multiple channels carried racing action. Many races were shown taped and edited on Wide World of Sports and syndication services like Mizlou and SETN, but almost all races were live by 1989. By 2000, the last year of this arrangement, six networks televised at least one Cup series race: CBS, ABC, ESPN, TNN, TBS, and NBC. Also, a growing number of races in the Busch Grand National Series and Craftsman Truck Series were made available for broadcast, and some track owners even threw in support races in lesser series.

NASCAR wanted to capitalize on its increased popularity even more, so they decided that future deals would be centralized; that is, the networks would negotiate directly with NASCAR for a regular schedule of telecasts.

2001–2006: Fox, NBC, Turner Sports[edit]

That deal was struck on December 15, 1999. Fox Sports, FX, NBC and TBS agreed to pay $2.4 billion for a new six-year package, covering the Winston/Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series schedules.

  • Fox and FX would televise race 1 through 16 of the 2001, 2003, and 2005 seasons and race 2 through 17 of the 2002, 2004, and 2006 seasons. Fox also aired the Daytona 500 in odd-numbered years and the Pepsi 400 in even-numbered years. All Busch Series races during that part of the season would also be on Fox/FX.
  • NBC and TBS would televise the final 17 races of the even-numbered years as well as the Daytona 500, and the last 18 races, including the Pepsi 400, of odd-numbered years, as well as all Xfinity Series races held in that time of the year. In March 2001, Turner Sports moved the upcoming races scheduled to be shown on TBS to its sister network, TNT.[4]
  • The year-by-year alternating of the Daytona 500 was packaged with the additional events of Speedweeks. The Budweiser Shootout, Daytona 500 pole qualifying, Gatorade 125s/Duel, as well as the 300-mile Busch Series event. The network covering the Daytona 500 in a given season, also carried the those other events.

ESPN retained the rights to the Craftsman Truck Series through 2002 under a separate contract. Beginning in 2003, Speed Channel bought out the rest of ESPN's contract and became the exclusive broadcast home of that series.

Initially, practice and qualifying sessions would alter between Fox Sports Net and FX during the Fox/FX portion of the season and between TNT and CNNSI during the NBC/TNT portion of the season. By the end of 2002, SPEED had replaced Fox Sports Net and a deal was arranged with NBC/TNT to move most practice and qualifying sessions to SPEED as well using NBC/TNT's production team and SPEED graphics.

The centralized TV deal caused consternation among many longtime NASCAR fans. The biggest criticisms include an increase in commercial breaks, emphasis on the more popular drivers and teams to the exclusion of others, and the de-emphasis of actual racing coverage in exchange for more fluff and hype.[citation needed]

2007–2014: Fox, ESPN, Turner Sports[edit]

Late in 2005, NBC announced that they no longer wanted to carry NASCAR races on their schedule. ABC/ESPN took the opportunity to regain the series. On December 12, 2005, NASCAR announced its next TV contract: eight years, $4.8 billion with Fox/Speed Channel, ABC/ESPN, and TNT.[5] This time, the deal bundled the Camping World Truck Series in with the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series:

  • Fox broadcast the first 13 Cup races along with the Sprint Unlimited every year, including the Daytona 500. The package rans through the first weekend in June and the race at Dover International Speedway. Due to schedule adjustments, the package ended in 2009 with the Coca-Cola 600 and in other years with the spring Kansas race.
  • TNT, which split from former partner NBC, continued with the following six races at Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Kentucky, Daytona (Coke Zero 400), and Loudon. The Coke Zero 400 was presented with limited commercial interruptions until 2013.[6] The Kentucky race replaced the race at Chicagoland Speedway.
  • ESPN networks broadcast the remainder of the Cup schedule, beginning at the Brickyard 400; initially, ABC carried coverage of selected races (which, for a period, included all Chase for the Sprint Cup events), although during the later years of the contract (and especially following NASCAR's shift to standardized start times for races), progressively fewer races were aired on ABC (as little as 3), and the majority of coverage was allotted to ESPN networks.
  • ESPN networks held exclusive rights to the Nationwide Series across the entire season, with races on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC.
  • Speed Channel moved two of its Camping World Truck Series races to Fox from 2007–09; usually, they were scheduled to be the California race and the spring race at Martinsville. Since 2010, all CWTS races were on Speed.
  • Qualifying sessions for Sprint Cup races aired on Fox for the Daytona 500, Speed for the next 18 races, and alternating between Speed and ESPN/ESPN2 for the remaining 17 races.
  • Sprint Cup Series practice sessions were broadcast by FS1 for the first 19 races and alternated between FS1 and ESPN2 for the remaining 17 races. FS1 was guaranteed at least one session each weekend during the ESPN portion of the schedule.
  • Nationwide Series practice and qualifying alternated between Speed and ESPN2 throughout the entire season.
  • On the pay-per-view front, DirecTV premiered NASCAR Hot Pass at the 2007 Daytona 500. The package consists of four channels, each dedicated to a particular driver with team communications among the driver, crew chief, and spotter. From 2007–08, Hot Pass also had separate lap-by-lap announcers and color commentators for each channel.[7] In 2009 NASCAR Hot Pass became free, although without announcers, and on January 7, 2013, it was discontinued all together.[8]

NBC and FX no longer carried NASCAR as a result. NBC was paying $2.8 billion for six years of Sunday night telecasts of the National Football League starting in 2006. Both the new NFL and old NASCAR deals overlapped in 2006, which forced some postrace coverage at NBC races to air on CNBC. FX stopped airing sporting events from 2006 to 2010. (It did show the ninth inning of a rain-delayed Fox game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox when it conflicted with the start of the 2008 Subway Fresh Fit 500, as well as other games which have overrun into the starts of NASCAR races.)

The new contracts increased the amount of coverage from each weekend's races. When the 2007 season began, all practices for Sprint Cup Series races were televised, whereas only the final practice ("happy hour") was carried before. In addition, all Nationwide Series final practices and qualifying sessions were also shown; before, a few qualifying sessions were not seen and only a handful of practices were seen. Most, if not all, truck series time trials are also broadcast.

From 2007 to 2010, average race viewership fell from 7.85 million at its height to 5.99 million in 2010, according to the Sports Business Journal.[9]

In August 2013, Speed was replaced by Fox Sports 1, and Fuel TV by Fox Sports 2. Camping World Truck Series races remained on Fox Sports 1, while practice/qualifying sessions and regional series races alternated between Fox Sports 1 and 2 depending on scheduling. For North American markets outside of the United States, coverage of some NASCAR events carried by Speed at the time remained on a international version of Speed (now Fox Sports Racing) that operates in the regions.[10]

In 2014, the Sprint Unlimited moved to Fox Sports 1. Also, owing to the increased viewership of qualifying sessions under the new "group" knockout format, and being the first restrictor plate race under the new system, coverage of qualifying for that year's Aaron's 499 was moved to Fox, marking the only other race besides the Daytona 500 to have a qualifying round televised on broadcast television.[11]


The broadcast teams for each package are as follows:

  • Fox retained most of the same announcers that have worked for the network since 2001: Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, and Darrell Waltrip in the booth, pit reporters Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, and Matt Yocum; and prerace hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond. Krista Voda moved up from Speed, and replaced Jeanne Zelasko as the fourth pit reporter, working all races. (That change was necessary because Major League Baseball on Fox, on which Zelasko also works, now lasts the entire season with the 2007 MLB contract.)
  • The ESPN/ABC team: There have been changes at the lead announcer. Jerry Punch started as announcer, but was replaced by Marty Reid and later by Allen Bestwick, who has the post currently. Others include Dale Jarrett, and Andy Petree in the booth; Dave Burns, Jamie Little, and Mike Massaro in the pits. Punch now also works Pit Road, while Marty Reid announces Nationwide races and ESPN's IndyCar races. Coordinating producer Neil Goldberg returned to ESPN in 2007 after six years at Fox.
  • TNT kept Bill Weber as lap-by-lap announcer and Wally Dallenbach as analyst. After some speculation, Kyle Petty was revealed as the second analyst for the network's coverage on February 7, 2007.[12] He continued his role as an active NASCAR driver for two seasons before retiring from driving. Benny Parsons, who was an NBC/TNT analyst, died on January 16, 2007 and it is unclear if he would have returned to the booth in any event, as he had reportedly talked about retirement after 2006 and had personally nominated Petty as his replacement prior to his death. The pit reporters are Yocum, Marty Snider, Ralph Sheheen, and Lindsay Czarniak. McReynolds, a booth analyst for Fox, is the pre-race analyst.[13] Weber also continues as host of the Countdown to Green pre-race show. Marc Fein joins McReynolds on a new "pre-pre-race" show called NASCAR on TNT Live.

Bill Weber was forced to leave TNT shortly before the 4th race of TNT's schedule. Officially, Turner says it was due to a personal matter; however USA Today reported that it was due to an incident at a hotel the night before the race. Ralph Sheheen stepped in as announcer for the last 3 races on TNT in 2009. Adam Alexander filled in on pit road for the last 2 races, before moving to the announcer booth for 2010 and beyond. Sheheen returned to pit road, where he remains today. The NASCAR on TNT Live show has been discontinued and morphed into an hour-long Countdown to Green which is hosted by Alexander.

2015–2024: Fox and NBC[edit]

On October 15, 2012, NASCAR and the Fox Sports Media Group (FSMG) announced a new $2.4 billion eight-year deal, a 30% increase from their previous deal.[14] On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and the NBC Sports Group announced a new $4.4 billion ten-year deal.[15][16][17] Ten days later on August 1, 2013, NASCAR and Fox extended and expanded their agreement, paying an additional $1.4 billion to do so, to complete NASCAR's new TV package through the 2024 season.[18][19] NBC reportedly bid over 50% more than ESPN and Turner for their portion of the package, despite Turner & ESPN expressing interest about continuing their relationship with NASCAR.[20]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series[edit]

NASCAR Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) Series[edit]

  • The first 14 races will be broadcast by Fox. Four races will be broadcast on Fox and the other 10 races will air on Fox Sports 1.
  • The final 19 races will be broadcast by NBC. Four races will be broadcast by NBC and the other 15 races will air on NBCSN.
  • Practice & qualifying rights will belong to the network broadcasting the race.
  • All races will be live-streamed online.

Other rights[edit]

While FOX, NBC, ESPN, and Turner reportedly discussed starting the new contract in 2014, NASCAR stated in late 2013 that the new contract would not take effect until 2015.

ESPN and TNT no longer broadcasting NASCAR for the foreseeable future. The new contract succeeded a partnership with Turner Sports and ESPN which it was paid by $4.8 billion that was covered by the previous contract which was eight years that began in 2007.


Current broadcasts[edit]

Currently, two separate networks cover NASCAR races on radio:

From 2002—2006, all races were heard on XM channel 90 across the continental United States. In 2007, national satellite radio rights moved to Sirius channel 90. Among the programs on Sirius NASCAR Radio are a weekly program co-hosted by TV pit reporter Matt Yocum and Tony Stewart, and a morning drive time show formerly hosted by David Poole of The Charlotte Observer and Marty Snider of NBC and TNT. The Morning Drive is now hosted by MRN turn announcer Mike Bagley and MRN lead writer Pete Pistone. PRN's Jim Noble and Richard Childress Racing museum curator and former fueler Danny "Chocolate" Myers host the afternoon show called Tradin Paint. Longtime MRN turn announcer Dave Moody hosts SiriusXM Speedway. PRN pit reporter and turn announcer Brad Gillie co-hosts the Late Shift with Kenny Wallace. He's also the regular host of the weekend show Press Pass. Pat Patterson, also PRN turn announcer, hosts the weekend show The Frontstretch.

Following the merger of XM and Sirius, Sirius NASCAR Radio is heard on the XM through the "Best of Sirius" package on channel 90.

Both networks also have affiliation deals with hundreds of local radio stations. Many stations sign with more than one of these networks to ensure coverage of the entire season. However, for Indianapolis, if there is a conflict between the INDYCAR Radio affiliate and the radio station that carries NASCAR races, the INDYCAR Radio affiliate has first choice of carrying the race.

Beyond the United States[edit]

While NASCAR does not produce a "world feed" broadcast, it does have 23 international broadcast partners. Among them are NTV, TSN, Premier Sports, Motorvision TV, Sportsnet, The Score, Bell TV, Speed Latin America, Fox Sports Latin America, ESPN Middle East, Fox Sports Australia, Sport Klub Poland, AB Moteurs, ESPN America, Viasat Motor, Sport1, Sport TV, StarHub, Dubai Sports Channel, SNTV, Fox Sports Asia[21] and American Forces Network.[22] Neo Sports in India start broadcasting NASCAR races in March 2010 at Martinsville.

All international broadcasts are directly taken from the domestic feed.

2016 broadcast networks[edit]

These are the broadcasters for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

2015 TV Broadcasters
Country TV Network Language Free-to-air / Free-to-view / Pay Trucks Xfinity Cup Notes
Asia Fox Sports Asia Varies Pay No Highlights Live
All Sports Network (Hongkong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam) Varies Pay Live Live No
 Australia Fox Sports English Pay No Live Live
 Brazil Fox Sports 2 Portuguese Pay Live Live Live
 Canada TSN English Pay 1 Live Live
Fox Sports Racing Pay Live No No* *All-Star Race live
RDS French Pay No Live* Live* *Subject to other live events.
 France AB Moteurs French Pay Delayed Delayed Live
 Germany Motorvision TV German Pay Highlights No Live Each race will be broadcast without advertising, and the viewer can choose between the original or German Commentary
 India NEO Sports English Pay No No Live
 Italy Fox Sports Speed Italian Pay Live Highlights Live
Latin America (except Brazil) Fox Sports 3 Spanish Pay Live* Live* Live* *Subject to other live events. SD/HDTV feed.
 Japan Nittele G+ Japanese Pay No No Live Live the Cup series, only the selected races.
 Netherlands Sport1 Dutch Pay Highlights (some races live) Highlights (some races live) Live Each race will be broadcast without advertising, and the viewer can choose between the original or Dutch Commentary
 Poland Sport Klub Polish Pay No No Live
 Portugal Sport TV Portuguese Pay Live Live Live Every race is shown commercial free
Scandinavia Viasat Motor Norwegian & Swedish Pay No No Live
 Serbia Sport Klub Serbian Pay No No Live Sprint Cup Series shown commercial-free.
 United Kingdom Premier Sports English Pay Highlights Highlights Live Sprint Cup Series shown commercial-free.
Sky Sports English Pay No No Live
 United States Fox Sports English Free 1 Live Live Fox will carry the first 16 races of the season.
Fox Sports 1 English Pay Live Live Live
NBC Sports English Free No Live Live NBC will carry the final 20 races of the season.
NBCSN English Pay No Live Live
American Forces Network English Free Live Live Live Serves the United States Armed Forces around the world.


2016 Announcers
Country TV Network Lap-by-lap Color commentator Pit reporters Studio anchor Studio commentator
 Brazil Sprint Cup Series
Fox Sports 2 Sergio Lago, Cadu Cortez (Eventually), Hamilton Rodrigues (Eventually) Thiago Alves or Rodrigo Mattar
Xfinity Series
Fox Sports 2 Sergio Lago, Hamilton Rodrigues (Eventually) Rodrigo Mattar or Thiago Alves
Camping World Truck Series
Fox Sports 2 Sergio Lago, Hamilton Rodrigues (Eventually) Rodrigo Mattar
 Canada Sprint Cup Series
RDS Didier Schraenen Patrick Carpentier Dominic Fugère Éric Descarries
Marc Cantin
Xfinity Series
RDS Didier Schraenen
Dominic Fugère
Patrick Carpentier
Éric Descarries
Marc Cantin
 France Sprint Cup Series
AB Moteurs Pat Angeli
Philippe Chéreau
Xfinity Series
AB Moteurs Pat Angeli
Philippe Chéreau
Camping World Truck Series
AB Moteurs Pat Angeli
Philippe Chéreau
 Germany Sprint Cup Series
Motorvision TV Philipp Lietz (one race only), Stefan Heinrich, Mario Fritzsche, Lenz Leberkern, Pete Fink
 Netherlands Sprint Cup Series
Sport1 Rick Winkelman
Xfinity Series
Sport1 Rick Winkelman
Camping World Truck Series
Sport1 Rick Winkelman
 Portugal Sprint Cup Series
Sport TV Bruno Aguiar
José Manuel Costa
Xfinity Series
Sport TV Bruno Aguiar
José Manuel Costa
Camping World Truck Series
Sport TV Bruno Aguiar
José Manuel Costa
 United States Sprint Cup Series
Fox Sports Mike Joy Larry McReynolds
Jeff Gordon
Jamie Little
Chris Neville
Matt Yocum
Vince Welch
Chris Myers Michael Waltrip
Jeff Gordon
Andy Petree (rules analyst)
Fox Sports 1
NBC Sports Rick Allen Jeff Burton
Steve Letarte
Brian Vickers (Selected Sprint cup races)
Dave Burns
Mike Massaro
Marty Snider
Kelli Stavast
Krista Voda Dale Jarrett
Kyle Petty
Ray Evernham
Frank Stoddard (fill-in)
Xfinity Series
Fox Sports Adam Alexander Michael Waltrip
(rotation of Sprint cup drivers)
Jamie Little
Chris Neville
Vince Welch
Matt Yocum
Hermie Sadler
Danielle Trotta Kenny Wallace
Larry McReynolds
Fox Sports 1
NBC Sports Rick Allen
Leigh Diffey
Ralph Sheheen
Jeff Burton
Steve Letarte
Dale Jarrett
Frank Stoddard
Dave Burns
Mike Massaro
Marty Snider
Kelli Stavast
Alex Hayden
Jim Noble
Krista Voda Dale Jarrett
Kyle Petty
Ray Evernham (fill-in)
Frank Stoddard (fill-in)
Camping World Truck Series
Fox Sports Vince Welch Phil Parsons
Michael Waltrip
Todd Bodine (fill-in)
Hermie Sadler
Matt Yocum
Kaitlyn Vincie
John Roberts Todd Bodine
Ray Dunlap (fill-in)
Fox Sports 1


  1. ^ Ryan McGee (2007). ESPN Ultimate NASCAR. ESPN Books. pp. 42–43. ISBN 1-933060-25-5. 
  2. ^ a b "1979: Petty winds up in 'fist' place". January 23, 2003. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  3. ^ "Behind the Microphone with Mike Joy, NASCAR on Fox". 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ "Jayski's NASCAR Silly Season Site - Television News". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "NASCAR HotPass". Directv. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  8. ^ Published January 7, 2013. "DirecTV Ending NASCAR Hot Pass Programming Due To High Cost, Low Demand - SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  9. ^ "10 years after crash, NASCAR still coping with Earnhardt's death". Sports Business Journal (CNN). February 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-14. In the four years since NASCAR signed a multibillion-dollar media deal, average race viewership has fallen from 7.85 million at its height to 5.99 million last year, according to the Sports Business Journal. 
  10. ^ "FOX Sports Racing to launch new era in motor sports Friday". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Fox will showcase Talladega qualifying on main network". USA Today. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "News & Media | NASCAR Sprint Cup Series". 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ Pockrass, Bob (October 15, 2012). "Fox, NASCAR agree to eight-year, $2.4 billion contract extension for Sprint Cup races". Sporting News. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ Cain, Holly (July 23, 2013). "NASCAR, NBC Sports Group reach landmark deal". NASCAR Media Group, LLC. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ Estrada, Chris (July 23, 2013). "NASCAR compelling because of “wonderful stories,” says NBC Sports’ chairman". NBC Sports. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ "NASCAR CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT: JULY 23, 2013". NBC Universal. July 23, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ Report, Staff (August 1, 2013). "NASCAR, FOX extend, expand rights agreement". NASCAR Media Group, LLC. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ Mickle, Tripp; Ourand, John (August 1, 2013). "Fox Sports, NASCAR Finalize Rights Deal Through '24 Worth $3.8B". American City Business Journals. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ Mickle, Tripp; Ourand, John (July 23, 2013). "NBC Sports Inks 10-Year Deal For 20 Sprint Cup Races Annually". American City Business Journals. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Infront Sports & Media: Newsdetail". 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  22. ^[dead link]

External links[edit]