IndyCar Series on ABC

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IndyCar Series on ABC
Indycar on ESPN.png
Also known asIndyCar Series on ESPN
GenreAuto racing telecasts
Presented byAllen Bestwick
Scott Goodyear
Eddie Cheever
Jon Beekhuis
Rick DeBruhl
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time180 minutes or until race ends
Production companyESPN on ABC
Original networkABC
Original releaseMay 31, 1965 (May 31, 1965) –
June 3, 2018 (June 3, 2018)
RelatedIndyCar Series on NBC

The IndyCar Series on ABC, also known as the IndyCar Series on ESPN, was the branding used for coverage of the IndyCar Series produced by ESPN, and formerly broadcast on ABC television network in the United States (through its ESPN on ABC division).


ABC first began airing races that are now part of the IndyCar Series in 1965 with that year's running of the Indianapolis 500 on its Wide World of Sports anthology series,[1] with the network having broadcast the 500 every year until 2019.

By the late 1980s, ABC carried many of the CART PPG IndyCar World Series races that supported the Indy 500. In late 1987, Paul Page was recruited from NBC Sports to join Bobby Unser (who worked with Paul at NBC) and Sam Posey in the broadcast booth to form what remains as one of the most memorable trios in American auto racing broadcasting. Page provided enthusiasm (and popular Indy 500 intros with the theme music from Delta Force), Unser his unmistakable directness, and Posey his signature artistic and poetic perspective of the sport. In 1989 and 1990, their presentation of the Indy 500 earned the network the Sports Emmy for the year's Outstanding Live Sports Special. By then, their pit reporters were Jack Arute, Gary Gerould, and Dr. Jerry Punch. All 6 men were often on ABC's broadcasts of the International Race of Champions and of NASCAR Winston Cup.

In 1996, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George led a group of breakaway owners in the founding of the Indy Racing League, with the 500 being its premier event. ABC added coverage of IRL races to the 500, and continued to broadcast CART Championship races through 2001. From the league's inception in 1996 through 2008, ESPN and ESPN2 also each carried several of the IndyCar Series,[2] before losing the cable television rights to the series to Versus (now NBCSN).[3] ABC and ESPN were IndyCar's exclusive television partners from 2000 to 2008.[4] Despite losing the cable rights, on August 10, 2011, ESPN renewed ABC's end of its broadcast deal with the league through 2018.[5]

Under that contract the network typically aired five races annually,[5] though it had occasionally aired six during the season.[6] In 2014, ABC celebrated its 50th consecutive broadcast of the Indianapolis 500.

ABC's coverage of the 2013 Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway was the first prime time broadcast for the network.[7] At the 2017 Indianapolis 500, ABC introduced "Race Strategist" (which featured predictive analysis of race conditions) and first-person "visor cam" views from Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden.[8]


IndyCar fans who have criticized ESPN on ABC's race broadcasts have used "Always Bad Coverage" as a derisive backronym pertaining to the quality of the telecasts.[9]

Loss of IndyCar coverage[edit]

On March 21, 2018, NBC Sports announced that it had acquired the television rights to the IndyCar Series (after previously serving as cable rightsholder through NBCSN or CNBC for races not aired by ABC), replacing the package of races on ABC with a package of eight races on NBC, including the Indianapolis 500 (ending ABC's 54-year tenure as broadcaster of the event).[10][11]

ABC’s final IndyCar telecast was the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix on June 3, 2018.

On-air staff[edit]

2018 team[edit]

Allen Bestwick was the lap-by-lap commentator while former IndyCar drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever served as color commentators.[12][13][14] Former driver Jon Beekhuis and Rick DeBruhl reported from the pits.

Former hosts[edit]

This includes ABC's coverage of USAC, CART and Champ Car, as well as IRL and INDYCAR-sanctioned races, from 1965 through 2018:

Former play-by-play[edit]

Former analysts[edit]

Former pit reporters[edit]


  1. ^ Bruce Martin (October 7, 2011). "ABC Television Adds To IndyCar Coverage". National Speed Sport News. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "2008 IndyCar Series Schedule". ESPN. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "2009 IndyCar Series Schedule". ESPN. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  4. ^ ABC, ESPN stay on Indy circuit - Broadcasting Cable, 1 September 2001
  5. ^ a b "Indy 500 will remain on ABC into 2018". ESPN. August 10, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cheever expanding role to all 6 ABC IndyCar races". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. April 24, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  7. ^ "ABC prime-time broadcast showcases competition". IndyCar Series. June 6, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "ESPN Roars Back Into Action at Indy with Debut of Visor Cam, Race Strategist Predictive Analytics". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  9. ^ Robin Miller (July 12, 2012). "Miller's Mailbag, 7.12". Speed. Fox Sports Media Group.
  10. ^ "The Indy 500 will soon have a new TV network". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  11. ^ Steinberg, Brian (2018-03-21). "NBC Sports Grabs Indianapolis 500 Rights From ABC After 54 Years". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  12. ^ Dan Lewandowski (May 25, 2013). "ABC's innovative '500' coverage on the air NOW". IndyCar Series. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  13. ^ "Marty Reid Fired: ESPN Replaces NASCAR, IndyCar Announcer After Nationwide Gaffe (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. AOL. September 29, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  14. ^ "NASCAR broadcaster Allen Bestwick to move to IndyCar Series broadcasts". Charlotte Observer. January 2, 2014. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014.