The Indianapolis 500 may not attract the same mainstream attention that it once did on the American sporting calendar, but it’s still one of the great traditions in sports.  This year represents the 50th consecutive year ABC will deliver coverage of the greatest spectacle in racing.

There are few events in sports that have had a broadcast television presence as long as the Indy 500 has had.  The Indy 500’s lengthy run on ABC stands up with The Masters on CBS (dating back to 1956) and the Little League World Series on ABC (dating back to 1963).  And through the years some of the most notable names in broadcasting have taken part in the coverage.  ESPN has released some cool facts about the history of their network partner’s relationship with Indy.

This year Allen Bestwick becomes just the 10th play by play man to call the race, joining a prestigious list of announcers that include the likes of Chris Schenkel, Keith Jackson, Jim McKay, and Jim Lampley.  Bestwick, ESPN’s lead NASCAR announcer, takes over from Marty Reid who had called the 500 since 2006.  He’ll be joined in the booth by analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever.  SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak is back for her second year as host of the race, which will also mark her first assignment since giving birth to her first child in March.  Pit reporters for the race are Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.

Here’s a list of all the play by play announcers for the Indy 500 in ABC’s 50 years of coverage.  Jim McKay has called the most 500s at 18…

1965 – Charlie Brockman

1966 – Chris Schenkel

1967-1974 – Jim McKay

1975 – Keith Jackson

1976-1985 – Jim McKay

1986-1987 – Jim Lampley

1988-1998 – Paul Page

1999-2001 – Bob Jenkins

2002-2004 – Paul Page

2005 – Todd Harris

2006 – 2013 – Marty Reid

2014 – Allen Bestwick

As a part of ABC’s telecast this weekend,  ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee will have a segment speaking to various ABC announcers and production personnel to tell their favorite memories from past Indy 500 telecasts.  Hopefully there will be many more memories in the 50 years to come and the fabled race will remain an important part of the American sporting landscape.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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