ABC has tweaked its broadcast team for its IndyCar coverage this year, starting with next month's Indianapolis 500. Eddie Cheever's role as an analyst will be expanded to include all six IZOD IndyCar Series races broadcast on ABC, starting with the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
Also, ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Lindsay Czarniak (BELOW) will be the host of the Indianapolis 500 telecast as ABC broadcasts “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the 49th consecutive year. Czarniak will be the first female to host the broadcast in a role that through the years has featured Al Michaels, Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel and Brent Musburger.
The network's pre-race coverage starts at 11 a.m. ET.
Cheever, who won the 1998 Indianapolis 500, will join chief announcer Marty Reid and analyst Scott Goodyear in the broadcast booth. Cheever has been an analyst for ESPN since 2008 but has primarily worked only on the Indianapolis 500 telecast.
The on-air team also will include pit reporters Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little and Vince Welch, with Dr. Jerry Punch coming on board for the Indianapolis 500.
Czarniak, who co-anchors the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter,” joined ESPN in 2011. She has a background in motorsports, having served as a pit and feature reporter and host for TNT's telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup races and a pit reporter for NBC Sports prior to moving to ESPN. She was as sports anchor and reporter at WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., from 2005-11.
The Indianapolis 500 will be the first of the six races ESPN will be producing to air on ABC. Others will include a doubleheader at Detroit's Belle Isle on June 1 and 2 and a prime-time race June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway. Races at Iowa Speedway (June 23) and the return of Indy car racing to Pocono Raceway (July 7) will complete ABC's midseason schedule.