On this episode of the Awful Announcing Podcast, host Brandon Contes was joined by Leigh Diffey, play-by-play commentator for the NTT IndyCar Series for NBC as well as IMSA, MotoGP, Supercross, and Olympic track and field. In the lead-up to the 107th Indianapolis 500, Contes and Diffey discuss a wide range of topics including the narrative some people have that race car drivers are not “athletes,” the importance of the Indy 500, what casual fans should be looking for at Indy, and more.
Here’s the full breakdown.
- :46: Busy week leading up to Indianapolis 500
- 1:09: Motorsports background growing up in Australia
- 2:46: Being a PE teacher while getting started in broadcasting
- 5:09: Animosity in Australia from those in sports media who felt Leigh didn’t belong
- 6:59: Moving to the United Kingdom and then the United States
- 8:39: Bigger transition going from Australia to UK, or UK to U.S.?
- 9:32: Culture shock moving from London to Atlanta
- 10:31: Becoming a U.S. citizen
- 11:44: Working the Olympics for NBC
- 12:32: Similarity of motorsports and race-based Olympic sports
- 13:36: Preparation for Olympic events
- 15:14: Being lead play-by-play for Olympic track and field
- 15:44: COVID protocols in Tokyo during Olympics
- 17:27: Working Beijing Olympics in-studio
- 18:28: Getting the full Olympic experience
- 19:27: The “race car drivers are not real athletes” narrative
- 20:50: When Leigh felt he “made it” and could make a living in broadcasting
- 21:33: Working with David Hobbs and Steve Matchett on Formula 1 broadcasts
- 22:34: Hobbs speaking his mind
- 23:27: Fitting into a broadcast where the analysts are already working together
- 24:50: Preference in calling a race on a road course or oval?
- 25:43: Longest Leigh has been on a broadcast
- 27:12: Calling Formula 1 and IndyCar on the same day
- 28:07: Was the Indy 500 a big event in Australia when Leigh was growing up? Is it now?
- 29:30: What makes the Indy 500 special?
- 31:49: The rush of being on the call for the Indy 500
- 33:24: Leigh’s historic call of Hélio Castroneves’ fourth Indy 500 win in 2021
- 36:57: Booth setup for an Indy 500 broadcast
- 39:47: “100 Days to Indy” discussion
- 41:06: Impact of sports gambling on IndyCar broadcasts
- 41:42: What should a casual fan be looking for if they’re watching the Indy 500 for the first time?
- 42:34: Which winner would make for the best story?
- 43:41: Graham Rahal being bumped and then replacing Stefan Wilson
- 44:42: Future goals in broadcasting
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