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IndyCar Series on NBC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IndyCar Series on NBC
GenreAuto racing telecasts
Presented bySee commentators section below
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerTerry Lingner[1]
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companyNBC Sports
Original networkNBC
NBC Sports Gold
Picture format480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseApril 5, 2009 (April 5, 2009) –
Related showsIndyCar Series on ABC
External links

IndyCar Live (formerly IndyCar Central) is an American television program dedicated to the coverage of IndyCar racing and is broadcast by the American broadcaster NBC from 2012 onwards. The IndyCar Series on NBC is the branding used for telecasts of IndyCar Series races produced by NBC Sports, and televised by NBCSN (or CNBC if there is a conflict) in the United States. When the network began carrying the race broadcasts in 2009, the network introduced "IndyCar Non-Stop," featuring a format and appearance nearly identical to that of Side-By-Side.

It is a live on-site pre-race show for all Indycar races televised on NBC Sports Network and CNBC. It was initially broadcast on Versus from 2009 to 2011. At IndyCar events, the program is always hosted by Leigh Diffey; Diffey also does Athletics and Rugby Union coverage on NBC so Kevin Lee (NBC IndyCar pit reporter) is on reserve when needed. Joining them for the IndyCar races are former racing driver Paul Tracy and current WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver Townsend Bell.



Early years

When the CART Series was created in 1979, NBC broadcast the races as part of the sports anthology series Sportsworld.[2] NBC soon became the exclusive broadcast partner of CART – although the series' most prestigious race, the Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, and had a contract with ABC Sports. NBC carried races from 1979 to 1990, with the Michigan 500, Pocono 500, and Meadowlands their top events. Additionally, NBC televised a close father-son championship duel at Tamiami Park in 1985 between Al Unser and Al Unser Jr., with Big Al defeating Little Al by a single point.

Paul Page was the chief announcer, with Bobby Unser a frequent analyst before both made separate moves to ABC Sports in 1987.


In the mid-1980s, CART began airing races on ABC and ESPN. The number of races NBC covered each season began to dwindle during the late portion of the decade. In addition, the broadcasts on NBC were more often tape-delayed and edited, while those on ABC and ESPN were usually live and "flag-to-flag". As the sport was growing in popularity, the organization naturally preferred the more desirable live telecasts.

By 1990, NBC carried only one race each year in July, the Meadowlands Grand Prix. After a three-year hiatus, the final season that NBC had aired a CART race was in 1994, with its coverage of the Toronto race. Jim Lampley (who called the Indy 500 on ABC in 1986-1987) was the anchor for the 1994 telecast.

NBC went away from auto racing after 1994, and did not air another major race until the NASCAR Pennzoil 400 in late 1999.

Champ Car

In the early 2000s NBC covered occasional American Le Mans Series races and secured a multi-year TV contract with NASCAR, but in 2005, NBC agreed to cover the Champ Car World Series (formerly CART) in Long Beach and Montreal, using Champ Car's new in-house broadcasting team of (at the time) Rick Benjamin, Derek Daly, Jon Beekhuis, and Calvin Fish. These races were renewed in 2006, with the addition of San Jose. In 2007 NBC used Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach, Jr., both of whom still were contracted to the network despite NBC dropping their rights to NASCAR following the 2006 season, alongside permanent Champ Car driver analyst Jon Beekhuis, and added their own Marty Snider to the CCWS pitlane team of Michelle Beisner, Cameron Steele, and Bill Stephens. With ESPN once again covering the bulk of the calendar, NBC only covered the first 2 races of the season, in Las Vegas and Long Beach.

Versus / NBCSN

On August 7, 2008, Versus announced a ten-year deal to broadcast at least 13 IndyCar Series events per-season, beginning with the 2009 season.[3][4] ABC would continue to broadcast the Indianapolis 500, as well as four additional races. Through the deal, Versus began airing one-hour pre-race shows the day before a given race.[5] The channel's parent company Comcast would acquire NBC Universal in 2011, and Versus was re-branded as NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in 2012.[6][7]

Expansion to NBC

On March 21, 2018, NBC Sports announced that it had agreed to a new, three-year extension of its contract beginning in the 2019 season, and also acquired the broadcast television rights to replace ABC. As before, NBCSN will continue airing the vast majority of the races, but eight races per-season will be televised by the main NBC network (in comparison to five under the previous deal). The broadcast television package includes the Indianapolis 500, marking the race's move from ABC after 54 consecutive years. NBC Sports Gold also offered a subscription service with IndyCar-related content not broadcast on television. The content was later moved to NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock Premium in 2021.[8][9][10]

Mike Tirico, Danica Patrick, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have augmented NBC's broadcast team for the Indianapolis 500.[11][12][13]


Bob Jenkins (who was signed as the chief announcer, and returned to IndyCar Racing full-time for the first time since 2001), Jon Beekhuis and Robbie Buhl[14] were initially on the network's broadcast team, along with Jack Arute, Robbie Floyd and Lindy Thackston as pit reporters.

In August 2009, Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin said that Arute would be leaving ESPN at the end of 2009 and join Versus full-time. He was fired from the network due to cost-cutting moves instituted by the network's new Comcast ownership following its merger with NBCUniversal. He was replaced by Kevin Lee, who is also a pit reporter for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Network. Wally Dallenbach Jr. joined the Versus broadcast team following the merger, replacing Robbie Buhl.[15]

List of commentators

Lap-by-lap anchors

  • Leigh Diffey (2013–present)
  • Kevin Lee – reserve broadcaster (2015–present) (fill-in)
  • Omar Amador – lead Spanish-language broadcaster

Color commentators

Pit reporters

Host of IndyCar Live

Pre-Race Analysts/Presenters

Former commentators


Driver analysts

Pit reporters


  1. ^ "Experienced lineup". January 14, 2009. Archived from the original on January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ 1982 CART Michigan 500 on YouTube
  3. ^ "FAQ's about the TV deal". IndyCar Series. August 7, 2008. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  4. ^ "Solid Partnerships". IndyCar Series. August 7, 2008. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  5. ^ "IndyCar Announces New TV Deal". Inside Indiana Business. August 7, 2008. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  6. ^ Renyolds, Mike. "McCarley To Head Golf Channel, Davis Out at Versus in NBC Sports Group Reorg: Sources". Multichannel News. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Fernadez, Bob. "Goodbye Versus, hello NBC Sports Network". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  8. ^ Ayello, Jim (March 21, 2018). "The Indy 500 will soon have a new TV network". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Steinberg, Brian (March 21, 2018). "NBC Sports Grabs Indianapolis 500 Rights From ABC After 54 Years". Variety. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  10. ^ "IndyCar qualifying, practice moves to Peacock Premium this year". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  11. ^ "NBC confirms Tirico as Indy host". RACER. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  12. ^ "Danica Patrick is joining NBC's inaugural Indianapolis 500 coverage". Awful Announcing. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  13. ^ Ayello, James. "Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins Mike Tirico, Danica Patrick on NBC broadcast team for Indy 500". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  14. ^ "IndyCar on Versus". IndyCar Series. Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  15. ^ "Versus Expands Coverage Lineup". IndyCar Series.[permanent dead link]

External links

This page was last edited on 8 April 2021, at 20:31
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