NASCAR & Auto Racing

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to join NBC Sports’ Indy 500 broadcast with Danica Patrick

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick will both be part of NBC Sports’ inaugural Indy 500 coverage in May.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick will both be part of NBC Sports’ inaugural Indy 500 coverage in May. Observer file photo

NASCAR fans will see plenty of familiar faces should they tune into NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 this year.

The network announced Wednesday that Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 15-time winner of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award, will be joining its Indy 500 broadcast team. He becomes the second former driver to join the team; NBC Sports announced in March that former NASCAR and IndyCar star Danica Patrick would serve as an analyst alongside host Mike Tirico for the May 26 race.

“I can’t wait,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “This is an event I have wanted to attend for as long as I can remember.”

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Earnhardt joined NBC Sports in 2018 following his retirement from full-time driving after the 2017 Cup Series season. Since joining the network, he has appeared at both the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl in addition to his weekly NASCAR duties.

At the Indy 500 — held the same day as NASCAR’S Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway — Earnhardt will serve as a “roving reporter,” according to NBC Sports.

“Dale has never been able to attend the 500,” NBC Sports executive producer and president Sam Flood said in a statement, “and now he will have the opportunity to experience every aspect of this massive event — from the party in the Snake Pit and the hundreds of thousands of fans in the grandstands, to the key strategic decisions and bold moves on track that will ultimately crown the 103rd Indy 500 champion.”

The 2019 Indy 500 will be NBC Sports’ first time broadcasting the race, which has been on ABC every year since 1965.

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Brendan Marks is a general assignment sports reporter for the Charlotte Observer covering the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, NASCAR and more. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked for the Observer since August 2017.
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