April 24, 2013 | By IMS
Czarniak To Make Indy 500 TV Broadcast History
ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Lindsay Czarniak has been named host for the telecast of the 97th Indianapolis 500 on ABC on Sunday, May 26, becoming the first woman to host the telecast.
ABC will televising the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the 49th consecutive year, extending one of the longest-running relationships between a sporting event and a TV network.
Czarniak, who co-anchors the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” with John Anderson, joined ESPN in 2011. She has a background in motorsports, having served as a pit and feature reporter and host for TNT’s telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup races and a pit reporter for NBC Sports prior to moving to ESPN. She also has hosted ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” program.
She was as sports anchor and reporter at WRC-TV (NBC4) in Washington, D.C., from 2005-2011. During that time, she also worked for NBC covering the 2006 Winter and 2008 Summer Olympic Games as well as NASCAR.
Czarniak will be positioned on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Pagoda during ABC’s one-hour Indianapolis 500 pre-race show at 11 a.m. May 26. She also will contribute to the race telecast.
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever will expand his role as an analyst in ESPN’s coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series to work in the broadcast booth for all six races that will air on ABC this season.
Cheever, a former Formula One and IZOD IndyCar Series driver, will join lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid and analyst Scott Goodyear to call the six IZOD IndyCar Series races on ABC. Cheever has been an analyst for ESPN since 2008 but has primarily worked only on the Indianapolis 500 telecast.
Phoenix native Cheever made 132 starts in Formula One from 1978-89, the most by any American driver in the history of the sport. He returned to the United States in 1990 to pursue his dream of winning the Indy 500, racing in the former CART series and then in the IndyCar Series when it launched in 1996. He scored five wins in the IndyCar Series and last raced in 2006.
The Indianapolis 500 will be the first of the six races ESPN will be producing to air on ABC. Others will include a doubleheader June 1-2 at Detroit’s Belle Isle and a Saturday night prime time race June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. A race June 23 at Iowa Speedway and the return of IndyCar racing to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway on July 7 will complete ABC’s schedule.
ESPN’s IZOD IndyCar Series team also will include pit reporters Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little and Vince Welch, with Dr. Jerry Punch joining as a fourth pit reporter for the Indianapolis 500.
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