Andretti and Karam will get some attention during ABC's 50th anniversary coverage of the Indy 500

ABC's 50th anniversary coverage of Sunday's race at the Brickyard will include a focus on two local products.

Larry Hawley reports on Nazareth's Sage Karam, who had to miss his prom due to Indy 500 qualifying. His team made up for it by throwing him an mini prom in his garage on Wednesday

The Super Bowl is on a different network each year.

The World Series used to be on NBC, and then moved around to ABC and CBS before finding a home at Fox.

The NHL and NBA playoffs have moved around, too, and the NCAA's Final Four is now even on cable.

Things have changed a lot on the major sports TV landscape over the past 50 years, but there's one thing that has stayed the same — the Indianapolis 500 on ABC.

The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" being on the alphabet-starting network is one of the many traditions associated with one of the most tradition-rich events in sports.

"Fifty years on ABC. … for me, that starts with a 'Wow'," said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president in charge of motor sports production, during a teleconference this week. "My personal memories of the Indy 500 and ABC's coverage of it date back to when I was a kid. Memorial Day weekends with my family … appointment viewing. Those days it was on a tape delay at night. To see it come around a 50-year anniversary is just amazing."

Feinberg calls it a "cherished assignment that everybody embraces."

"Our goal is quite simple, and that's to uphold the tradition of excellence in coverage that's been established by our ABC colleagues over the past 49 years," he said.

Allen Bestwick, better known for ABC/ESPN's NASCAR coverage, will be the lap-by-lap announcer for the first time with Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear returning as analysts.

Even with the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race to follow on Fox later in the day, this is IndyCar's one day to shine; it's open-wheel racing's Super Bowl. And it's a day to embrace the past as well as cast a hopeful eye toward the future.

"I dreamed about it as a child when I was living in Italy, and I heard it on the radio," Cheever said. "I was lucky to come here and race. I was lucky enough to win it. Now I'm going to be sitting in the booth with two friends calling the 50th anniversary of ABC calling the Indy 500. I don't know how it could be any better than that."

Here in the Lehigh Valley, it could only be better if one of our two Nazareth natives — Marco Andretti or Sage Karam — takes the checkered flag.

A win by either would make it one of the biggest days in local sports history.

Obviously, Andretti, who narrowly missed winning his first 500 in 2007, has the better shot.

ABC's cameras as well as Bestwick, Cheever and Goodyear will be keeping a close eye on Andretti all day. He's starting sixth and usually is in contention.

"He is always a threat to win," Cheever said. "It's his family's team. He has been very quick. His rookie year at Indy was unbelievable. He lost by the smallest of margins. He is unfortunate in that he has some incredibly talented teammates and he's really going to be judged not so much by the fact that he wins or doesn't win, but how he compares with his teammates. That's a tall order."

Goodyear, who had his share of hard luck at the Brickyard with second-place finishes in 1992 and 1997 and was disqualified in 1995 even after he crossed the finish line, has empathy for Andretti.

"It weighs on you when you come back here to the Indianapolis 500," he said. "For him, I'm sure he thinks about it. I talked to him about it. He said 'No, it's behind me, I don't think about it too much.' But you do.

"I always looked at it like you'll get another chance. [Winning this race] is the reason you're living, breathing and racing. Your last name is Andretti, and there's pressure on a third-generation driver. I would love to see him win. It would be great for him, his family, and our sport to have Andretti win again."

As for 19-year-old Karam, Goodyear called him a nice young man who should not be in a rush.

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