The IndyCar Series on NBC is the branding used for telecasts of IndyCar Series races produced by NBC Sports, and televised by NBCSN (or CNBC if there is a conflict with other events on NBCSN) in the United States. When the network began carrying the race broadcasts in 2009, the network introduced "IndyCar Non-Stop," featuring a format and appearance nearly identical to that of Side-By-Side.
When the SCCA/CART PPG World Series was created in 1979, NBC broadcast the races as part of the sports anthology series Sportsworld. NBC soon became the exclusive broadcast partner of CART - although the series' most prestigious race, the Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC), which had a contract with ABC.
Paul Page was the chief announcer, with Bobby Unser a frequent analyst.
In the mid-1980s, CART began airing races on ABC and ESPN. The number of races NBC covered each season began to dwindle during the late portion of the decade. In addition, the broadcasts on NBC were more often tape-delayed and edited, while those on ABC and ESPN were usually live and "flag-to-flag". As the sport was growing in popularity, the organization naturally preferred the more desirable live telecasts.
By the early 1990s, NBC carried only one race each year in July, either the Meadowlands Grand Prix or Molson Indy Toronto. The final season that NBC had aired a CART race was in 1994, with its coverage of the Molson Indy Toronto race. Jim Lampley (who called the Indy 500 on ABC in 1986-1987) was the anchor for the 1994 telecast.
NBC went away from auto racing after 1994, and did not air another major race until the NASCAR Pennzoil 400 in late 1999.
On August 7, 2008, Versus (now NBCSN) announced a ten-year deal with the IndyCar to broadcast at least 13 IndyCar Series events each year in high-definition, beginning with the 2009 season.ABC would continue to broadcast the Indianapolis 500, as well as four additional races. Through the deal, Versus began airing one hour pre-race shows the day before a given race. The channel would also broadcast various motorsports series on its Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour program such as USAC and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races.
Races broadcast by Versus/NBCSN:
Indianapolis 500 Carb Day,
Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco,
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama,
Honda Indy Toronto,
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio,
Iowa Corn Indy 250,
Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston,
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma,
Bob Jenkins (who was signed as the chief announcer, and returned to IndyCar Racing full-time for the first time since 2001), Jon Beekhuis and Robbie Buhl were initially on the network's broadcast team, along with Jack Arute, Robbie Floyd and Lindy Thackston as pit reporters.
In August 2009, Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin said that Arute would be leaving ESPN at the end of 2009 and join Versus full-time. He was fired from the network due to cost-cutting moves instituted by the network's new Comcast ownership following its merger with NBCUniversal. He was replaced by Kevin Lee, who is also a pit reporter for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Network. Wally Dallenbach Jr. joined the Versus broadcast team following the merger, replacing Robbie Buhl.
List of commentators:
Bob Jenkins - lead broadcaster (2009-2012), reserve broadcaster (2012-present),
Brian Till - reserve broadcaster (2012-present),
Leigh Diffey (2013-present; also anchors coverage of the Formula One World Championship for NBC),
Bob Varsha (2014),
Jon Beekhuis (2009-2012),
Robbie Buhl (2009-2010),
Wally Dallenbach Jr. (2011-2014; also appeared as color commentator for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series summer races on TNT),
Dan Wheldon (2011),
Graham Rahal (2011 Edmonton Indy; Rahal appeared in booth after being taken out of the race on the first lap due to contact with Paul Tracy),
Alex Tagliani (2011 Kentucky Indy 300; Tagliani appeared in booth after Dan Wheldon replaced Tagliani in his regular ride at Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the race),
Tommy Kendall (2012; Kendall subbed for Dallenbach in the booth at the Firestone 550 and the Iowa Corn Indy 250 in place of Dallenbach.,
Dario Franchitti (2012 Iowa Corn Indy 250; Franchitti joined the booth after blowing an engine before the green flag flew),
Townsend Bell (2013-present),
David Hobbs (2013 Milwaukee IndyFest; Hobbs' automobile dealership in Wisconsin has previously sponsored support races at Milwaukee, and will substitute for Dallenbach),
Steve Matchett (2013 Honda Indy Toronto; served as substitute for Dallenbach during the two Toronto races),
Paul Tracy (2014-present),
Sam Hornish Jr. (2014),
Jack Arute (2009-2010),
Robbie Floyd (2009-2011),
Lindy Thackston (2009-2011),
Robin Miller (2011-present),
Kevin Lee (2011-present),
Townsend Bell (2012),
Marty Snider (2011-present),
Jon Beekhuis (2013-present),
Will Buxton (2013; Indianapolis 500 Carburetion Day and 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest only),
Kelli Stavast (2014-present),
Katie Hargitt (2015-present),
Host of IndyCar Central:
Bob Jenkins (2010),
Kevin Lee (2012),
Robin Miller (2011-2012),
Lindy Thackston (2009-2011)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license