EARNHARDT JR. ADDED TO NBC’S INDY 500 BROADCAST TEAM
Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of racing’s most popular personalities and an NBC Sports motorsports analyst, will attend his first Indianapolis 500 as a member of NBC Sports’ broadcast team for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26.
The broadcast will mark the first time NBC is airing “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Earnhardt Jr. will serve as a roving reporter on race day. NBC Sports also announced Wednesday that motorsports host Krista Voda and reporter Rutledge Wood will contribute to the network’s broadcast.
“I can’t wait. This is an event I have wanted to attend for as long as I can remember,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “To get this first Indy 500 experience in this capacity – as part of the broadcast team with NBC Sports – is a dream. That said, I fully understand the responsibility we have of bringing this race to television viewers across the country. There’s no better broadcast team to do it. I’m blessed to be a part of it.”
NBC Sports previously announced that Mike Tirico will host its race-day coverage and former INDYCAR and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will serve as a studio analyst alongside Tirico. Play-by-play announcer Leigh Diffey and analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will call race action for NBC’s inaugural Indianapolis 500 broadcast, which will feature a total of 14 commentators, the most ever for NBC Sports’ coverage of an NTT IndyCar Series event.
Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee and Jon Beekhuis will serve as pit reporters, along with INDYCAR insider Robin Miller and reporter Dillon Welch. Earnhardt Jr. and Wood will provide on-site reports from around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Voda will host prerace and postrace festivities.
Earnhardt Jr. totaled 26 NASCAR victories during his career, including two Daytona 500 wins. He competed 17 times in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, with five top-10 finishes. Earnhardt Jr. joined NBC Sports’ NASCAR broadcast team following his retirement from full-time racing in 2017.
“Dale Jr. is one of the most popular personalities in racing history, so adding Dale to our inaugural broadcast of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ on NBC was a no-brainer.” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production for NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Dale has never been able to attend the 500, and now he will have the opportunity to experience every aspect of this massive event – from the party in the Snake Pit and the hundreds of thousands of fans in the grandstands, to the key strategic decisions and bold moves on track that will ultimately crown the 103rd Indy 500 champion.”
The 2019 season is the first under a new agreement in which NBC Sports Group acquired the exclusive rights to NTT IndyCar Series races. NBC, NBCSN and direct-to-consumer service INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold will combine to deliver all NTT IndyCar Series action live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.
The INDYCAR Grand Prix race airs live on NBC at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, May 11. Qualifying for the event on the IMS road course airs live at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 10 on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.
The dramatic weekend of Indianapolis 500 qualifications takes place May 18-19, with the first day that locks the first 30 cars into the field available on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and NBCSN (5-6 p.m.). The final qualifying day, Sunday, May 19, airs live on NBC from noon-3 p.m. and features the Last Row Shootout to determine the final three qualifiers in the field, followed by the Fast Nine Shootout to decide the pole sitter and starting order for the front three rows.
Live coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26 on NBC, with the green flag expected around 12:45 p.m.