ABC Marking 50th Consecutive Year Broadcasting Indy 500

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

2014 is a big year for ABC. That’s because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the network broadcasting what has become the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

ABC started airing highlights of the annual race in 1965 on its then black-and-white Wide World Of Sports telecast. It has now become one of the longest running partnerships between a television network and sporting event. To put things into perspective, CBS has carried weekend coverage of the PGA’s Masters Tournament since 1965 as well. And ABC has carried the Little League World Series since 1963.

Allen Bestwick will make his debut anchoring the broadcast this year. He will join a very short list of individuals to ever call the race in its now ninety-eight year history. Only nine others have ever called the race in its rich history.  Bestwick said of being tapped to helm this year’s broadcast that hearing the broadcast of the Indy 500 was his inspiration for getting into broadcasting when he was younger and that he is rather excited to be helming it this year. “One of the things that sparked my fascination with broadcasting was that appointment viewing of the broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 with Jim McKay behind the microphone,” he said. “It’s one of those things that attracted me and inspired me to get into the business and to think that I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in that chair – THAT chair – is mind-blowing.” Bestwick will be joined for this year’s broadcast by analysts Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear, both of whom competed in the Indy 500. SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host the broadcast from IMS’ iconic Pagoda. Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Vince Welch, and Dr. Jerry Punch will all be in the pits.

This year’s festivities are expected to begin with pre-race coverage at 11am ET. The green flag is expected to wave at 12:12pm ET. Viewers can get a whole different angle on the race through ESPN’s in-car cameras. The view from those cameras will stream on ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the official Verizon Indycar Series website, http://www.indycar.com. More information on coverage of this year’s race is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing and http://www.indycar.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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ESPN To Air NASCAR SCS, NNS Finales This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

And then there was one.  This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 series comes down to a winner take all race that will decide who takes the Sprint Cup Championship.  Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson have been locked in a head to head battle since the start of the annual “Chase for the Championship.”  But Kenseth has fallen off track in recent weeks.  He trails Jimmie Johnson by almost thirty points as the series heads into its season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.  Allen Bestwick will anchor this weekend’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts and NASCAR veterans Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will have all the latest in-race news live from the pits.  ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown will be anchored by Mike Massaro.  He will be joined by NASCAR veteran Rusty Wallace, former crew chief and Evernham Racing head Ray Evernham, as well as team owner Brad Daughtery for analysis.

The Ford Econoboost 400 closes out the Sprint Cup Series’ 2013 season.  It will be broadcast live this Sunday beginning with a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Countdown beginning at 1pm ET.  The green flag is currently scheduled to drop at 3:15pm ET.  ESPN will have also air practice and qualifying live this Friday at 1:30pm and 6pm ET respectively.

Along with its broadcast of the Sprint Cup Series season finale, ESPN will also have full coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ finale Saturday afternoon.  Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish, Jr. will take it right down to the wire Saturday for the series’ championship in the Ford Econoboost 300.  Broadcast of the race begins with NASCAR Countdown live at 4pm.  The green flag is expected to drop at 4:46pm ET.

ESPN will build up to this weekend’s championship battle by embedding reporters Ryan McGee and Shannon Spake with Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth’s teams respectively today and tomorrow, November 12th and 13th.  They will bring reports from both camps on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.  NASCAR fans can also tune in to ESPNEWS this Thursday, November 14th for a special hour-long program that will come live from the NASCAR Championship Contenders news conference.  That broadcast will kick off live at 12pm ET from Miami.

More information on this weekend’s races is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Takes Over NASCAR Broadcasts Beginning This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

NASCAR shifts gears again this weekend, literally.  Its top series, the Sprint Cup Series, will shift coverage of its races to ESPN beginning with coverage of the annual Brickyard 400 Sunday, July 28th.  Sunday’s telecast is sponsored by Golden Corral.  It all kicks off with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon ET.  The pre-race show will broadcast live from the IMS’ legendary Pagoda.  It all leads up to the drop of the green flag, which is expected at 1:19pm ET.

Along with Sunday’s broadcast, ESPN will also handle coverage of Brickyard qualifying Saturday, July 27th at 2pm ET.  ESPN2 will carry Sprint Cup practice at 9am. 

ESPN also has live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race this weekend beginning with pre-race coverage on NASCAR Countdown at 4p.m. ET.  The green flag for the Nationwide Series race is expected to drop at 4:50pm ET.  Sprint Cup Series driver and 5-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will be in the broadcast booth for part of the Nationwide Series race.

ESPN will have a number of cameras covering what is one of the biggest of NASCAR’s biggest races each season.  It will have a camera mounted on a helicopter to get aerial shots.  There will also be eight in-car cameras that will give viewers at home an “inside” look at the race.  In all, ESPN will have a total of seventy-two high definition cameras position around Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this weekend’s coverage of the Brickyard 400.  That number includes four Ultra Hi Motion cameras for replays and other unique shots.  Another will be mounted on pit wall near the “Yard of Bricks” at the track’s Start/Finish line.  And another robotic Ultra Hi Motion camera will be mounted to show a low shot in Turn One.  Turns two and four will also have cameras mounted. 

Recently enshrined NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett will be joined by two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth during the race.  Marty Reid will take over calling lap-by-lap action for ESPN’s broadcasts of the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  Nicole Briscoe will be joined by 1989 Winston Cup Series Champion and fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace, three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, and team owner Brad Daughtery for ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown pre-race broadcast.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will all be in the pits for all of the action trackside. 

During pre-race coverage, ESPN will take a look at a handful of notable drivers at this year’s Brickyard 400.  Those drivers are Juan Montoya, Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart.  Each driver will have a special feature that focuses specifically on them during ESPN’s NASCAR Countdown.

NASCAR fans can catch up on all of the latest on this weekend’s race online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Indianapolis 500 Returns To ABC This Weekend For 49th Consecutive Year

Courtesy:  Izod Indycar Series

Courtesy: Izod Indycar Series

Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend will be a big one for fans of basketball.  The WNBA kicks up its 2013-2014 season in a big way across ABC and the ESPN family of networks.  Fans of auto racing get to celebrate the weekend with the annual celebration of the Indianapolis 500, live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).  ABC will broadcast the annual race this Sunday, May 26th live for the forty-ninth consecutive year.  The race will be preceded by a one-hour pre-race telecast at 11am ET presented by Go Daddy.  The green flag is expected to drop at 12:15pm ET.

The broadcast of the race will incorporate eighty-four different cameras including three each on board twelve of the thirty-three cars entered for the Izod Indy Car Series premier race.  Those drivers who will be carrying in car cameras will be: Defending race winner Dario Franchitti and defending IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Others will be Charlie Kimball, JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Townsend Bell, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Tristan Vautier.  Veteran racer Ed Carpenter will also carry one of the in-car cameras.

Audiences can also get a view of pit road and the front stretch thanks to the enhanced “Batcam” (skycam).  The “Batcam” runs on a wire overhead pit road and the front stretch at IMS.  The “Batcam” has been used by ESPN for many years.  But with its new enhancements, it can now fly over the track at speeds upwards of ninety-five miles per hour.  Four Ultra Hi Motion cameras placed around the track will give viewers an amazing view of the race.  The cameras, which will be used for the second consecutive year, will be placed in the short chutes at each end of the two and a half mile track.  There will also be a camera in the fourth turn exit, and one robotic camera placed at the entrance to turn one.  Along with the cameras, which can shoot at a rate of up to 1,200 frames per second, each turn will also have a Super Slo Motion camera.

Thanks to ESPN3, fans watching the race will get the option of streaming live video on a second screen.  The live streaming feeds will be available via ESPN’s WatchESPN and WatchESPN app.  ESPN3 is available online via http://www.WatchESPN.com.  Viewers watching online via ESPN3’s second screen can cwitch between in-car cameras.  For the first time this year, fans watching online can also check out the live scoring ticker.  ESPN3 will also carry a rebroadcast of the race after it ends on ABC.

Marty Reid will have the lap-by-lap call, while ESPN SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will serve as race host.  Former driver Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever will be on hand for analysis.  Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will report from the pits.

For all the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

NNS Heads To The High Banks Of Talladega This Weekend

Courtesy:  NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2

Courtesy: NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will face the high banks and high speeds of Talladega Speedway this weekend in the Aarons 312.  Points leader Sam Hornish Jr. and second place driver Regan Smith will go wheel to wheel in the next round.  Hornish, who drives for Penske Racing, leads Smith by only a single point.  The pair is evenly matched on the track.  Hornish boasts a current record of six top tens, four top fives and one win.  Smith has five top tens and two top fives.  He doesn’t have any wins yet this season.  ESPN will have qualifying coverage Friday at 12pm EST. 

Coverage of the Aarons 312 kicks off Saturday afternoon at 2:30pm EST on ESPN2.  Nicole Briscoe will lead pre-race coverage on NASCAR Countdown, and will be joined by analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daughtery.  The green flag drops at 3:35pm EST.  Allen Bestwick will lead the lap-by-lap coverage alongside Andy Petree.  They will be joined by NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Carl Edwards in the booth.  Edwards is currently second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, behind five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will have all the action live from the pits throughout the race. 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Czarniak Tapped To Lead 2013 Indy 500 Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak will host this year’s Indy 500.  The SportsCenter co-host’s appointment to the broadcast marks the first time ever that the race broadcast has ever been helmed by a female broadcaster.  Czarniak co-hosts ESPN’s SportsCenter alongside John Anderson.  Before taking on co-hosting duties with Anderson was a pit reporter and feature reporter for broadcasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on TNT and NBC.  She also hosted ESPN’s NASCAR Now previously. 

Lindsay got her start in broadcasting at WRC-TV (NBC 4) in Washington, D.C.  She worked at WRC-TV from 2005 – 2011.  During her time there, she covered the 2006 Winter and 2008 Summer Olympic Games as well as NASCAR broadcasts. 

Courtesy:  ESPN/ABC

Courtesy: ESPN/ABC

The Indy 500 pre-race show is scheduled to run from 11am – 12pm on Sunday, May 26th.  Czarniak will head the pre-race broadcast from the IMS’ famed Pagoda.  She will also help contribute to the race broadcast itself.  Former Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever will also take part in calling the race.  He will serve as an in-race analyst in the broadcast booth for the race, and for the remaining five races that ABC will carry.

Cheever is a former Formula One racer who won the Indy 500 in 1998.  He made 132 starts in Formula One from 1978 to 1989.  That is the most by any American driver in the history of Formula One racing.  He returned to the U.S. and joined the former CART Series in 1990 and then the IndyCar Series in 1996.  He claimed five wins in his time in the IRL, including his win in 1998.  Cheever last raced in the IndyCar series in 2006.   He will be joined by lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid and fellow analyst Scott Goodyear to call all six Izod IndyCar Series races broadcast on ABC this season.  Also on hand for the broadcasts will be pit reporters: Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, and Vince Welch.  Dr. Jerry Punch will join the broadcast team in the pits for the Indy 500. 

The Indy 500 is the first of six races that will be broadcast on ABC this year.  Each race will be produced by ESPN and broadcast on ABC.  ABC’s other races include: a doubleheader from Detroit’s Belle Island on June 1st and 2nd, a primetime broadcast from Texas Motor Speedway on June 8th, the series’ race from Iowa Speedway on June 23rd, and its return to the hills of Pocono, PA on July 7th at Pocono Raceway. 

To get all the latest news from the Izod Indycar Series on ABC and ESPN, viewers can “Like” the ESPN Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ESPN and the ABC Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork.

To keep up with all the latest news from the Izod Indycar Series, fans can “Like” the official Izod Indycar Series Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/IZOD-IndyCar-Series/181178948587654.

To keep up with all the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Heads Out West This Weekend

Courtesy:  NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2

Courtesy: NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Phoenix this weekend.  Drivers will face off in the desert in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 presented by Kawasaki.  Current series points leader Sam Hornish, Jr. and the rest of the field will look to rebound this week after this past weekend’s devastating wreck in the series’ season opening race at Daytona.  NASCAR Countdown host Nicole Briscoe will be joined by analysts and NASCAR veterans Rusty Wallace and Ricky Craven along with Brad Daugherty beginning at 4pm. 

Allen Bestwick will helm the race broadcast as he calls lap-by-lap action from the booth.  He will be joined by two more well known NASCAR veterans in Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree for in race analysis.  Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch will have the call from the pits.  The green flag is currently expected to drop at 4:45pm EST/1:45 PST.  The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.