We'll take a quick break from 24/7 Bruins coverage to spend a few minutes on a sporting event that nationally has become identified with Memorial Day Weekend. Yes, the Indianapolis 500.
The interest level here in New England for autoracing in general pales with other parts of the country, but there are still loyalists to the sport out there. One of which is my dad, who watches as much racing as he possibly can. He has absolutely no interest in any team sports, which means growing up, the only sports I actually got to watch when he was in the house were races, one of which was the Indy 500.
This year is the 100th Anniversary of the famous race, and there will be plenty of pageantry surrounding the event. We should note however, that this is not the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The race was suspended during both World War I and World War II, so the actual 100th race will not be for another five years, in 2016. This year is simply the 100th anniversary of the first race, which took place in 1911.
In terms of broadcast history of the event, I was a little surprised to learn that it wasn't until 1986 that the Indy 500 began to be broadcast live in its entirety. ABC first began showing highlights of the race in 1965, and in 1971, they started showing the race on tape-delay in prime time. I guess that explains why my memories of watching the race with my dad were at night, I don't think we even knew it was on tape-delay.
ABC, or more accurately, ESPN on ABC, will begin coverage on Sunday May 29, at 11 a.m. ET with The Indianapolis 500 – A Centennial Celebration presented by Honda. The race telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at noon, with the race’s green flag at 12:12 p.m. Lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid and analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever will handle the call of the race.
Some technical details:
- ESPN will have 64 cameras on the race, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on 12 cars. Unique views will be provided by Batcam, an HD 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.
Among the features that will appear within the broadcast are a journey through time of the last 100 years in American and Indianapolis 500 history. The feature will tell the story of the history of America and the Indianapolis 500 in chronological order, from 1911 to now. It will be driven by quotes from the American Presidents who served during the period. The quotes will either be spoken by the corresponding president or written graphically on the screen.
There will also be features on three time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who with one more win will join the ranks of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the event. Danica Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Simona De Silvestro and Mike Conway will also be among the featured drivers that will be spotlighted during the telecast.
For more on the Indianapolis 500, please visit SB Nation's Pop Off Valve.
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