FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
NBC SPORTS CELEBRATES “THE GREATEST SPECTACLE IN RACING” WITH EXTENDED INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRE-RACE COVERAGE THIS SUNDAY ON NBC AND NBCSN
Sunday’s Pre-Race Coverage Begins at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN; Coverage on NBC Begins at 11 a.m. ET
Mike Tirico Hosts Pre-Race Coverage Alongside Danica Patrick; Krista Voda Hosts from Pagoda Plaza with Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood Set The Scene at Various Locations Around Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Features on 2018 Indy 500 Winner Will Power and Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens
Rutledge Wood Visits Fifth Generation Indiana Dairy Farmer Andrew Kuehnert, Who Will Deliver Indy 500 Celebratory Bottle of Milk; Townsend Bell and Conor Daly Fly in F-16 Fighter Jet
Ice-T Voices “How Far, How Fast” Leading into Indianapolis 500
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 22, 2019 – NBC Sports will amplify the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge with unparalleled pre-race coverage this Sunday on NBC and NBCSN, showcasing the unique traditions that surround “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and examining the stories behind the 33 drivers that will compete in front of hundreds of thousands of fans at blistering speeds in excess of 230 mph.
Sunday’s coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and continuing at 11 a.m. ET on NBC, with the green flag slated to wave at approximately 12:45 p.m. ET.
NBC Sports’ nearly four hours of Indy 500 pre-race coverage will be anchored by Mike Tirico alongside analyst and former INDYCAR driver Danica Patrick.
Krista Voda will anchor pre-race coverage from Pagoda Plaza with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, who will serve as race analysts in the booth and have combined to make 17 Indy 500 starts.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood will set the scene from various locations in and around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, showcasing the people, culture and events that comprise the largest single-day sporting event in the world, from the hallowed Yard of Bricks to the raucous Snake Pit.
NBC Sports’ comprehensive pre-race coverage on NBC and NBCSN will profile all 33 drivers in the field as they prepare to rocket around the 2.5-mile oval in Speedway, Ind., led by pole-sitter Simon Pagenaud, who looks to continue his strong Month of May that began with a stunning win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix (May 11) on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Coverage will also showcase the pageantry and annual traditions in the lead-up to the race, including the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson, and “Back Home Again in Indiana” by Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison.
Following are highlights of NBC Sports’ Indianapolis 500 pre-race coverage on Sunday:
- James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens – NBC Sports will examine the relationship between Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens, whose friendship dates back to their high school years – and how their bond has sustained through the ups and downs of their careers. Hinchcliffe suffered a life-threatening crash at IMS in 2015 and missed qualifying for the Indy 500 in 2018. Towards the latter part of an impressive rookie season in 2018, Wickens suffered a crash at Pocono that left him paralyzed from the waist down and is in the midst of his road to recovery;
- Will Power – NBC Sports profiles defending Indy 500 champion Will Power and what it meant for one of INDYCAR’s most accomplished drivers to win the 500 for the first time in 2018;
- Danica Patrick on Indianapolis 500 traditions – Patrick, who recorded six Top-10 finishes in eight Indy 500 starts, will take fans through some traditions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a look at the iconic Borg Warner Trophy and a walk down Gasoline Alley;
- Dale Jr. on track with Mario Andretti at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – In addition to his role as official pace car driver for the Indianapolis 500 right before the green flag waves, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take a ride around the track in a two-seat INDYCAR with Mario Andretti as a pair of racing legends come together in Indianapolis;
- If These Bricks Could Talk – Mario Andretti narrates a segment about Indianapolis Motor Speedway and famed INDYCAR drivers who have crossed the Yard of Bricks as Indy 500 winners;
- Rutledge Wood visits Kuehnert Dairy Farm – Rutledge Wood visits the fifth generation Indiana dairy farm and speaks with Andrew Kuehnert, who will deliver the traditional bottle of milk to the winning Indy 500 driver;
- Townsend Bell and Conor Daly Fly in F-16 Fighter Jet – NBC Sports’ Indy 500 analyst Townsend Bell took a trip in an F-16 with INDYCAR driver Conor Daly to see the comparison between Air Force pilots and INDYCAR drivers. Daly qualified in 11th position for this year’s race and his car is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force;
- “How Far, How Fast” – Fifty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Ice-T narrates “How Far, How Fast,” which also features Apollo 10 astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and showcases what astronauts and racers have in common – a passion for speed and pushing themselves to the limit.
NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR commentary team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Townsend Bell (analyst), and Paul Tracy (analyst) will call the 103rd Indianapolis 500 alongside pit reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee, Jon Beekhuis, Robin Miller and Dillon Welch.
Tracy was the runner-up in the 2002 Indy 500, while Bell registered a career-best fourth-place Indy 500 finish in 2009. Diffey has called many of motorsports’ most prestigious events, including the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
NBC Sports’ race-day coverage in Indianapolis caps nearly 50 hours of coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold. Click here for more information.