NBC Sports will have a new addition to the broadcast team for this year’s 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion-turned-NTT IndyCar Series rookie Jimmie Johnson will make his on-air debut and be part of the network’s broadcast team, pairing with former Hendrick Motorsport compatriot Steve Letarte as an analyst atop the Peacock Pit Box.
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NBC Sports host Mike Tirico will be joined once again by studio analyst and former driver Danica Patrick as the duo reprise their respective roles from the previous two races to provide pre-race, in-race and post-race coverage.
“It continues to be an honor to be a part of the Indy 500 NBC Sports team for the third year in a row alongside Mike Tirico,” said Patrick, an IndyCar race winner who is also the only female to lead laps in an Indy 500 and score a top five result.
“I look forward to the experience more every year. In fact, it’s similar to the way it felt driving, as time passes, the gravity of the event becomes greater. I felt it from the inside, and now I am feeling it from the outside. On a competitive note, what has been obvious so far this season, is how many great young drivers there are. It will be fun to see how they stack up to the veterans on the big stage.”
Johnson made his IndyCar debut last month at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda as part of a road and street course schedule for 2021. With no ovals on his current agenda, it opened the opportunity to join Letarte for the qualifying and race weekends.
“To say I am excited for May in Indianapolis is an understatement,” said Johnson. “This will be my first in person Indianapolis 500 experience, and I absolutely cannot wait to take it all in. I’m really excited to be working alongside Mike Tirico, who is one of my favorite hosts, and sitting on the Peacock Pit Box with Steve Letarte will be so much fun, as we go way back. I’m so appreciative to NBC Sports for this opportunity and I’m ready to have some fun and hopefully make it fun for the fans watching at home.”
There will be additional familiarity to the network team as Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be part of the pre-race coverage. The usual suspects will be in the booth to call the action as play-by-play point man Leigh Diffey will be joined by analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Kevin Lee will serve as the pit reporters.
Rutledge Wood will be on-site to report from inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Jac Collinsworth will make his debut as host of the pre-race coverage on NBCSN that begins at 9 a.m. ET.
“We are thrilled to have Mike and Danica return as well as add Jimmie to our Indy 500 coverage this May,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “Danica’s and Jimmie’s racing insights, along with Mike anchoring our broadcast from historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will add another gear to Leigh, Townsend, Paul and our pit reporters’ coverage of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
NBC Sports and Peacock Premium will have a combined 55+ hours of coverage for this year’s race, including every practice session, qualifying, Carb Day and eight hours of race-day coverage from IMS. Program details will be confirmed in the near future.
Coverage for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing will begin on Sunday, May 30 at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.