Danica Patrick will join the NBC Sports broadcast team for this year’s Indianapolis 500 as a studio analyst, the network announced on Wednesday, bringing the former IndyCar and NASCAR driver back to the track where she made her memorable national debut. She finished fourth in 2005 and became the first woman to lead laps in the race’s history.
“The Indianapolis 500 holds a very special place in my heart,” said Patrick.
In addition to her race-day assignment, Patrick will contribute to NBC Sports’ pre-race and post-race coverage alongside host Mike Tirico.
The IndyCar Rookie of the Year in 2005, when she finished 12th in the points standings, Patrick later became the first woman in the circuit’s history to win an open-wheel race in a major series, at the 2008 Indy Japan 300.
Patrick would transition into NASCAR in 2013 and clinch the pole position at that season’s Daytona 500; she would eventually finish eighth, the highest finish by a woman in the race’s history. Patrick would retire from racing in 2018.
The 2019 Indianapolis 500, held on May 26, marks the first for NBC Sports, ending the race’s 54-year association with ABC Sports.
“Danica has a perspective unlike any other driver in the history of motorsports and will be a great addition to our first-ever coverage of the Indy 500,” said Sam Flood, the Executive Producer and President, Production, for NBC Sports and the NBC Sports Network.