NBC going ‘Back Home Again’ with Indianapolis 500 special May 24

NBC Sports
0 Comments

Indianapolis 500 champions Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi will join NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico for an enhanced encore presentation of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 – Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again.

The program will air Sunday, May 24, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC and will celebrate “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and provide fans with exclusive, new content from the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The enhanced presentation will feature a prerace conversation on-site from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Tirico, 2019 champion Simon Pagenaud, and 2016 winner Alexander Rossi (last year’s runner-up to Pagenaud), alongside the famed Yard of Bricks.

Once the green flag drops, Pagenaud and Rossi will provide exclusive commentary during the broadcast, sharing their personal perspectives on key moments throughout the race and their memorable back-and-forth battle. that punctuated NBC Sports’ inaugural Indy 500 broadcast last year.

Mike Tirico will host NBC’s ‘Back Home Again’ on May 24 (NBC Sports).

“The goal of our enhanced broadcast is to honor the traditions of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ and re-live elements of last year’s race through Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi as they battled back-and-forth to the checkered flag,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president, production, NBC and NBCSN. “We know the excitement, anticipation and intensity will be that much higher for the 2020 Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 on NBC, and we’re excited for the return of INDYCAR at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6 on NBCSN.”

“For more than a century, the Indy 500 at the Racing Capital of the World has served as a powerful and stirring tribute to our nation’s shared history of service, sacrifice and excellence,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said. “While this Memorial Day weekend will certainly be different, we’re pleased to join our partners at NBC Sports in continuing this tradition through this special TV presentation. We look forward to recognizing both our military and frontline COVID-19 heroes while providing motorsports fans some intense and behind-the-scenes INDYCAR action through the race replay.”

The enhanced broadcast will also feature traditional pre-race elements to recognize the military traditions of the Indy 500, as well as special additions to honor those who are currently fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coverage will also include an essay by Tim Layden on a look at a different “Month of May” and a look ahead to the return of racing at IMS. NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will provide commentary looking ahead to the start of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR Series at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 6, on NBCSN.

NBC Sports’ inaugural presentation of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on NBC in 2019 averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 5.475 million viewers, up 11% vs. the 2018 race (TV-only 4.913 million, ABC). Overall, viewership for the 2019 INDYCAR season on NBC and NBCSN (16 races) was up 9% vs. 2018 season viewership (ABC, NBCSN, digital).

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)