"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.