For the first time in more than 50 years, the Indianapolis 500 has a new television home.
The Indy 500, which gets underway Sunday at 12:45 p.m., will air on NBC for the first time in the race’s 103-year history. ABC had been airing the event since 1965, but was outbid for the rights by NBC, which already had the television rights to the IndyCar Series.
Calling his first Indy 500 will be Leigh Diffey, the affable Australian native who has been the voice of NBC’s IndyCar coverage since 2013. During his 23-year broadcasting career, Diffey has called everything from the Olympics to professional rugby, and his first assignment after joining NBC Sports was calling the Penn Relays on NBCSN.
Diffey will enter an exclusive club Sunday. Since the Indy 500 went live in 1986 (from 1971 to 1985 it was shown on a same-day tape delay), just six people have done play-by-play during the race. Diffey will become the seventh.
“When you think about it, lots of people have done the Olympic Games and lots of people have done rugby, golf or track and field or whatever, but very few people have called the Indianapolis 500,” Diffey told Australian motorsport website SpeedCafe. “That’s why it’s very easy for me to say this is the top of the tree for me.”
Also working his first Indy 500 is Football Night in America anchor Mike Tirico, who got the thrill of a lifetime on Wednesday, when he was picked up at the airport by racing legend Mario Andretti in a two-seat, street-legal Indy car.
“OK, so that was the coolest freakin’ thing I’ve ever done in sports,” Tirico said.
When: Sunday, May 26
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Start time: 12:45 p.m.
Announcers: Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy
Host: Mike Tirico
Streaming: NBC Sports app, NBCSports.com/LiveExtra (require authentication), Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirectTV Now, Fubo TV (all require a subscription).
Coverage of the Indy 500 will begin on NBCSN at 9 a.m., and continue at 11 a.m. on NBC. Hosting NBC’s coverage will be Mike Tirico and former Indycar driver Danica Patrick, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rutledge Wood showing off some of the sights, sounds, and locations from the speedway (including the fabled Yard of Bricks).
Ahead of the green flag, The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson will sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” while Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison will sing “Back Home Again in Indiana."
A post-race show will air at 4 p.m. on NBCSN.
Showers and thunderstorms moving through Indianapolis may interfere with Sunday’s race, according to AccuWeather.
A frontal boundary will extend from the central Plains through the mid-Atlantic on Sunday, when several rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop.
“Though there will be some breaks in any thunderstorms that are around the Indy 500 on Sunday, it may be hard to find any gap large enough to dry the track and run the full race,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said Sunday morning. “Spotty thunderstorms will be a threat for the bulk of the day.”
Drivers must complete 101 of the race’s 200 laps before it’s considered official. There have been six other rain-shortened races in Indianapolis 500 history, most recently in 2007.
If the race can’t be completed on Sunday, it will be postponed to Monday, with a start time dependent on weather conditions.
No. 22: Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 229.992 mph
No. 20: Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 229.889 mph
No. 21: Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 229.826 mph
No. 63: Ed Jones, Honda, 229.646 mph
No. 88: Colton Herta, Honda, 229.086 mph
No. 12: Will Power, Chevrolet, 228.645 mph
No. 18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 228.621. mph
No. 2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 228.396 mph
No. 27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 228.247 mph
No. 98: Marco Andretti, Honda, 228.756 mph
No. 25: Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 228.617 mph
No. 3: Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 228.523 mph
No. 7: Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 228.511 mph
No. 30: Takuma Sato, Honda, 228.300 mph
No. 33: James Davison, Honda, 228.273 mph
No. 14: Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 228.120 mph
No. 15: Graham Rahal, Honda, 228.104 mph
No. 9: Scott Dixon, Honda, 228.100 mph
No. 77: Oriol Servia, Honda, 227.991 mph
No. 23: Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 227.915 mph
No. 48: JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 227.908 mph
No. 28: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 227.877 mph
No. 19: Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 227.731 mph
No. 4: Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 227.717 mph
No. 60: Jack Harvey,Honda, 227.695 mph
No. 42: Jordan King, Chevrolet, 227.502 mph
No. 81: Ben Hanley, Chevrolet, 227.482 mph
No. 26: Zach Veach, Honda, 227.341 mph
No. 10: Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 227.297 mph
No. 39: Pippa Mann, Honda, 227.244 mph
No. 24: Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 227.740 mph
No. 5: James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 227.543 mph
No. 32: Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 227.372 mph
The winner of the Indianapolis 500 is awarded the Borg-Warner Trophy, among the most unique in all of sports. The trophy, first unveiled in 1936, bears a sculpted likeness of every driver that has won the race since Ray Harrou won the first Indy 500 in 1911.