NBC Sports

Mike Tirico to host 2019 Indy 500

3 Comments

The 103rd running of the Indy 500 is 100 days away and when it airs at 11 a.m. ET on May 26, Mike Tirico will host NBC’s inaugural coverage of one of auto racing’s biggest events.

This year’s Indy 500 will mark the first time the race has ever aired on the network after 54 years on ABC and it will be the first time Tirico has worked the 500 in any capacity.

Watch the entire 2019 IndyCar season on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Tirico is no stranger to big events. He is the host for NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage, Football Night in America, horse racing’s Triple Crown and Breeder’s Cup, marquee PGA Tour events as well as being the play-by-play voice for Notre Dame Football.

Making him one of the most well-rounded broadcasters in sports, Tirico will also perform the play-by-play for his first NHL game on Feb. 20.

“There’s no better way to come on the air for the biggest spectator event in the world than with Mike Tirico, the best big-event host in sports television,” said Sam Flood, President, Production, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Mike’s role will be to set the scene for the millions of viewers watching at home, not only touching on the drivers and the racing, but also on the enormous crowd and countless happenings around the speedway that make this a bucket-list event for all sports fans.”

The full press release is below

STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 15, 2019 – With 100 days until the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, NBC Sports announced today that Mike Tirico will serve as host of its first-ever coverage of the event. The 103rd Indy 500 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway will air at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26, on NBC, the first time the race has ever aired on the network after 54 years on ABC.

Tirico is synonymous with the biggest events in sports. He is the host for NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage, as well as Football Night in America – the most-watched studio show in sports. He also hosts NBC Sports’ Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup coverage, marquee PGA TOUR events and The Open, and serves as the play-by-play voice for Notre Dame Football and select NFL games. It was recently announced that Tirico will call play-by-play for his first-ever NHL game on Feb. 20, after hosting the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, 2019 NHL Winter Classic, and 2019 NHL All-Star Game.

During 25 years at ESPN, Tirico also hosted or called play-by-play for the FIFA World Cup, Monday Night Football, NBA Finals, The Masters, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and major college bowl games, among other big events.

This will be the first time Tirico has worked on the Indy 500 in any capacity.

“There’s no better way to come on the air for the biggest spectator event in the world than with Mike Tirico, the best big-event host in sports television,” said Sam Flood, President, Production, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Mike’s role will be to set the scene for the millions of viewers watching at home, not only touching on the drivers and the racing, but also on the enormous crowd and countless happenings around the speedway that make this a bucket-list event for all sports fans.”

“I am thrilled to join our team as we cover one of America’s iconic sporting events,” said Tirico. “Having long enjoyed the Greatest Spectacle in Racing as a viewer, it will be fabulous to see it in person for the first time.”

NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series begins on March 10 with the Streets of St. Petersburg at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.

The 2019 INDYCAR season is the first under a new media rights agreement that was announced in March 2018 in which NBC Sports Group acquired the exclusive rights to all NTT IndyCar Series races – including the Indianapolis 500 for the first time – qualifying and practice sessions, and Indy Lights races across its numerous platforms. Click here for more information.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).