In 1964 the nation got the chance to watch the entire flag to flag broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 on closed circuit television in theater venues across the country for the first time. They got to watch A.J. Foyt take his second Indy 500 win and what would be the last victory for a front engine car at Indianapolis.
ABC captured this and about a century more worth of great finishes, great stories, great drivers, great innovation and history.
The next year in 1965 they captured the very first win by a rear engine car driven by the late and very respected Jim Clark.
The next 5 decades they captured the look of IndyCar’s going from almsot coffins with wheels, to the sporty high producing downforce machines we know today.
We also got to see the change in personality among drivers from a guy smoking a pack of cigarettes a day on practice days, to fit as a football player and super mentally focused drivers. The change in diversity prior to the early 60s from not having a single foreign driver in the field, to having 13 different nationalities having faces on the borg Warner trophy today.
ABC stuck with open wheel racing when it took its journey to hell back in the mid 90s when Cart and USAC split sanctioning and almost killed American open wheel racing entirely.
Some of the best racing commentators have come from ABC’s IndyCar broadcast, Bob Jenkins, Paul Page, Jim McKay, Chris Economaki, Jackie Stewart, Bob Varsha and many more.
ABC got motorsports as a whole where it is today. But times change and things come and go. ABC’s commitment to racing has slowly faded the last 10 years. Ending virtually all racing coverage other than airing Sky Sports' broadcast of Formula 1. NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA, USAC and lots more all were on ABC and ESPN at one time.
NBC is taking over for all IndyCar coverage next year and is probably more committed to them than any other Motorsport.
So maybe it is not the end or perhaps just the begging of what’s to come.