Once in the fast lane, the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s TV ratings are coasting into the pits. ESPN is hoping for a turnaround when it takes over coverage of the series on Sunday with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It’s fair to say that we certainly recognize that the baton is being passed to us with ratings down,” said Julie Sobieski, an ESPN programming vice president. "While we certainly see as you do that there’s room for improvement in a lot of areas, we’re doing everything we can from a TV standpoint.” Ratings for Fox’s first-half coverage slipped 12 percent from last year. Next up, TNT’s six-race package was down 6 percent from last year and 21 percent from 2006. To boost ratings, Sobieski said the TV networks and NASCAR have discussed making race start times more consistent to make it easier for viewers to find the races. ESPN also is cranking up its multimedia marketing campaign to bring race fans back to the sport as it begins its third year of coverage, which includes 17 races on ESPN and ABC to close out the season. "BatCam” will make its NASCAR debut. The camera on a cable, used by ESPN for the last two Indianapolis 500 telecasts, will fly over the speedway’s frontstretch and pit road at more than 80 mph to give viewers a dramatic look at the action. "This has all the ingredients to be the best (Brickyard 400) yet,” race announcer Jerry Punch said. "When you couple the added grip of the new tire with the double file restarts, I think we’re going to have some ‘hold your breath’ moments.” An expanded 90-minute pre-race show at 11:30 a.m. precedes the 1:19 p.m. green flag. Qualifying airs live at 9 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2. Practice sessions also air at 1 p.m. today, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. Besides Punch, ESPN’s broadcast team includes Dale Jarrett, the 1999 Sprint Cup driving champion, two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the garage area. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. "NASCAR Countdown” will feature 1989 champion driver Rusty Wallace and three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, with host Allen Bestwick and analyst Brad Daugherty.