A Memorial Day weekend TV tradition since 1965 continues on Sunday, May 30, when the Indianapolis 500 airs on ABC for the 46th consecutive year. ESPN on ABC’s live, high definition telecast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins with a one-hour pre-race show at noon ET. The race coverage begins at 1 p.m.
“As one of the world’s marquee sporting events, the Indianapolis 500 is something that sports fans look forward to every year,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming & acquisitions. “We join in that enthusiasm and consider it an honor to televise the race in America and on our international platforms.”
ESPN’s production will use 59 cameras to televise the premier race of the IZOD IndyCar Series, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Track Cam, a high definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, play back and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers and viewers will learn more about the technical aspects of the sport with segments from the Emmy-winning ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Marty Reid will call the race with analysis by former IZOD IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever. Reporting from the pits will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Hosting the telecast will be Brent Musburger. ESPN senior motorsports producer Neil Goldberg will produce the telecast and Bruce Watson will direct.
The one-hour pre-race show will include interviews with many of the 33 starting drivers as well as special features:
- A look at the up-and-down past year of polesitter and defending race winner Helio Castroneves, from beating tax evasion charges to winning Indy to becoming a father.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay is featured in an ESPN Sports Science piece comparing driving an Indy Car to flying a fighter jet.
- Drivers who have and have not won at Indy talk about the Blueprint for Success at the famous track.
- ABC Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, the honorary pace car driver for the Indy 500, conducted a unique sit-down interview with Danica Patrick that will appear both on GMA and in the pre-race show.
- Bobby and Graham Rahal are interviewed together in the rarely-seen basement of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, among some of the classic cars that are not normally seen by the public.
- An animated feature on the size, scope and speed of Indianapolis Motor Speedway compares the track to the George Washington Bridge, the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Rose Bowl. The animation also illustrates the speeds reached by Indy Cars.
- A look back on ABC’s 46 years at Indy, a montage of on-camera interviews with some of the iconic announcers through the years mixed with the greatest moments from those races.
- A Memorial Day tribute salute to veterans, in the words of family members of individuals who died in the line of duty.
The opening segment will have the theme of a blockbuster movie trailer, with a central character, The Keeper, that guards the coveted Borg-Warner Trophy and introduces the talented characters who will be vying for the trophy. Several IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have cameo roles in the segment which also includes drivers Castroneves, Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon.
Musburger will host the telecast from an IZOD IndyCar Series-branded set at pit exit. The new set also includes an 8-foot replica of the Speedway’s famous Wings and Wheels logo.
Other ESPN Platforms
In addition to the live telecast on ABC, the Indianapolis 500 will receive ESPN multiplatform coverage on the following outlets:
ESPN International’s networks and syndication of the Indy 500 will reach more than 252 million households. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world will watch via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network, bringing the total to 213 countries and territories.
ESPN.com will provide surround coverage of the Indy 500 with senior motorsports writers Ed Hinton and Terry Blount, IndyCar correspondent John Oreovicz and motorsports editor K. Lee Davis in the middle year of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Centennial Era celebration. In addition, anchor Marty Reid and analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever will provide exclusive digital coverage of the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
On television, extensive reports, interviews and highlights will air on SportsCenter and ESPNEWS.
ESPN Classic continues airing highlights of past editions of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing throughout the Month of May and will have a 12-hour marathon beginning at noon on Saturday, May 29, the day before the race. And four-time Indy 500 winners A.J. Foyt and Al Unser, and 1969 winner Mario Andretti, are profiled in episodes of the ESPN Classic signature series SportsCentury airing on race morning starting at 9 a.m. The remaining schedule:
|Wed., May 26||Noon||SportsCentury A.J. Foyt|
|Thu., May 27||Noon||SportsCentury Al Unser|
|Friday, May 28||Noon||SportsCentury Mario Andretti|
|Saturday, May 29||Noon||1971 Indianapolis 500|
|Saturday, May 29||2 p.m.||1981 Indianapolis 500|
|Saturday, May 29||4 p.m.||2001 Indianapolis 500|
|Saturday, May 29||6 p.m.||2002 Indianapolis 500|
|Saturday, May 29||8 p.m.||2009 Indianapolis 500|
|Saturday, May 29||10 p.m.||2005 Indianapolis 500|
|Sunday, May 30||9 a.m.||SportsCentury A.J. Foyt|
|Sunday, May 30||10 a.m.||SportsCentury Al Unser|
|Sunday, May 30||11 a.m.||SportsCentury Mario Andretti|
ESPN Radio’s Saturday RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. ET with an hour of news, previews and analysis. ESPN Radio also provides auto racing fans the comprehensive Sunday RaceDay (6-7 a.m. Sundays), which covers the auto racing world. Drivers Dixon, Franchitti, Will Power and Marco Andretti will appear on ESPN Radio’s GameNight airing at 8 p.m. ET the night before the race.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language television, radio and Internet in the U.S., will cover the Indy 500 via SportsCenter and RPM Semanal, the network’s first news and information program completely aired online on ESPNdeportes.com. Former professional driver Alex Pombo covered the 33-driver starting field’s New York visit on Tuesday of race week. RPM Semanal will be available on ESPNdeportes.com starting Wednesday, May 26, at 1 p.m. ET. The show will offer post analysis of Indy 500 during its Wednesday, June 2 edition.
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