As most of you know, Sportsnet has taken over telecasting of Indy car races from TSN and plans to do much more than pick up the U.S. broadcast feed.
Yes, the camera work will still be provided by either ABC or the NBC Sports Network but the people in the booth providing the audio for at least three of the races will be under contract to Sportsnet.
I previously revealed that Todd Lewis will be reporting from the pits and that Paul Tracy and Bill Adam would be in the booth. I said Adam would do the play-by-play and Tracy would do the colour but I found out at the weekend that I was an announcer short.
A source I will call "Deep Turbo I" told me I was right about Adam but wrong about his role. Adam, a sports car champion who is an inductee of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, will do colour alongside Tracy.
The host and play-by-play announcer will be Rob Faulds, a Sportsnet anchor with strong play-by-play credentials.
Faulds, Adam, Tracy and Lewis will entertain and inform during pre-race and post-race shows on Sportsnet at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 24, the Indianapolis 500 on May 26 and the Honda Indy Toronto races on July 13 and 14.
"Deep Turbo I" told me that Faulds did play-by-play on Toronto Blue Jays telecasts in the early 2000s and has done Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens NHL games.
And why is it necessary to have someone other than Tracy do colour?
Because, said Deep Turbo II (I had more than one source on all this), Adam has experience on live television and Tracy does not.
"Everybody knows Paul is a ‘talker,’ and will probably be great," Deep Turbo II said. "But he’s never done colour on TV and they (Sportsnet producers) didn’t want to take the chance that he might freeze up.
"It’s happened before where somebody came in with great credentials and then had no idea what to say when the red light went on."
"Deep Turbo I," meanwhile, said although the schedule calls for three races, there could be one or two more – "depending on economics and viewer reaction."
It’s great that Sportsnet is doing this. We have two Canadians racing in IndyCar – James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani – and a little extra effort to reflect this is appreciated.
TSN used to make an effort, in Indy car as well as F1, but has been content in recent years to show the races and not do anything else.
NASCAR is still on TSN, of course, as is F1. But I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, Sportsnet took a crack at those series, too.
A quick comment on the commenting attached to my entry of yesterday.
I think it’s wonderful when a great Canadian corporation like Timmy’s gets involved in car racing.
Some people who own franchises have sponsored racers in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series for stock cars and others have supported drag racers. But those would be classified as "regional" sponsorships, as distinct from a full-on national, corporate sponsorship.
In fact, I think the last time there was one of those was in 1987 when Ludwig Heimrath Jr. of Toronto drove in CART for Dick Simon Racing.
So if Michael Waltrip can sell Hortons on the merits of a Sprint Cup sponsorship for the Daytona 500, I say go for it.
Another commenter suggested I was behind the times in reporting that A.J. Allmendinger had nothing lined up in NASCAR for 2013 and that he would be driving some races again for Phoenix Racing.
That might yet happen, but as of today there is no deal.