NBC Sports confirmed their commitment to promoting one of their newest properties on Wednesday morning (March 20), announcing the addition of Danica Patrick to their 103rd Indianapolis 500 coverage team.
The 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year will serve as studio analyst alongside host Mike Tirico, providing pre-race, post-race and in-race commentary during the May 26 race. Patrick will also participate in NBC’s coverage of Pole Day on Sunday, May 19.
The former NASCAR driver will also play a role in promoting the race, making appearances across NBC programs and platforms in the weeks leading up to the race.
Patrick, a seven-year veteran of IndyCar racing, was the first woman to lead at a lap during the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ in her rookie season and later became the first woman to win a race in a major open-wheel series when she won the Indy Japan 300 in 2008. She later moved to a career in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series, where she competed full-time until 2017 before making a short return to open-wheel racing for the 2018 Indy 500.
Patrick, who retired after last year’s Indy 500, expressed excitement over her new role and her return to the famed speedway.
“The Indianapolis 500 holds a very special place in my heart,” Patrick said. “The moment I drive into the facility, I’m flooded with positive emotions. I have no doubt it’ll be the same this year when I come back as an analyst. To be on the NBC Sports team with Mike Tirico will be an honor and I look forward to adding my unique perspective. I’ve been in the race eight times, including last year, so I’m familiar with the dynamics within IndyCar after being away for seven years. To me, Indy feels like home.”
Patrick has some limited experience as a broadcaster. While driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR, she made several appearances as a guest analyst for Fox Sports’ coverage of three NASCAR Xfinity Series races.