ABC, which has been telecasting the Indianapolis 500 auto race for 31 years, has turned that spectacle into a live spectacular the last decade.
Before 1986, the network presented an abbreviated version of the race in prime time on a same-day delay. While producer Bob Goodrich is grateful for the change, commentator Paul Page isn’t so sure.
Says Goodrich: “It’s easier to do live. There are problems when you have a rain delay, but I don’t even consider that a problem anymore because we’ve done it enough times. It’s easier to do it live than before, when we had to do it live-to-tape. Then, we’d have to go back, format it and figure out how much we had to cut out. Then we had to sit down and edit it, and then get it on the air. It was a four-step process.
“Now, it’s ‘You’d better get ready because you’ve only got one shot at it,’ and we do it.”
Argues Page: “My problem is, it’s such a story-rich environment that you’re overprepared by a factor of four or five. You try to come up with opportunities to get all the good stories in because it’s such a human drama. At the end of the day, however, you look down at your notes and you realize you only used 20 percent of them. You missed out on some incredible stories.”
Page will get help from analysts Sam Posey and
Bobby Unser in the booth Sunday, with Jack Arute, Gary Gerould and Dr. Jerry Punch reporting from the pit area. “That’s why we rely so much on our pit reporters,” says Page.
On the technical side, Goodrich says he doesn’t expect to do anything special this year outside of possibly adding a low camera angle at Turn 1. He plans two on-board race-cams each for cars driven by Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Raul Boesel, Robby Gordon, Scott Goodyear and Arie Luyendyk.