The worst kept secret in motorsports broadcasting was made official on Tuesday as ABC/ESPN announced that Allen Bestwick had signed a new multi-year agreement with the network and will become the lead play-by-play voice of the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series.
Bestwick has most recently served as the lead announcer for the network's NASCAR coverage, a role that he will maintain in the final season of ABC/ESPN's contract with major league Stock Car racing. And once NASCAR leaves for FOX and NBC, Bestwick will remain with the network, anchoring SEC Network events, golf and in addition to the IndyCar Series.
"I'm deeply flattered to be a part of this," Bestwick said on Tuesday during the annual IndyCar Media Day in Orlando, Fla. "It's an exciting change and it's a great time for change. The Indianapolis 500 is special."
Bestwick, who is best known for his NASCAR work, said he had a deep admiration of the Indianapolis 500 dating back to his childhood where he read the book "Thirty Days in May: The Indy 500" by Hal Higdon at least 18 times.
"I dog-eared that book," Bestwick said. "I swear I read it at least 18 times. And I have been fascinated by that place and by that race ever since. Most of my career has found me in Charlotte, North Carolina that weekend but I can't wait to be a part of this and get started."
To IndyCar fans critical that a perceived 'NASCAR guy' is coming in to broadcast the races, Bestwick says he is fully prepared to immerse himself in the product and that doing his homework will not be an issue. Bestwick added that he recently spent a day at the Team Penske IndyCar shop and spent the day learning the terms and specifics about open-wheel racing.
"I would say first of all that I'm a racing guy," Bestwick said. "Long before I was a NASCAR guy, I had a '53 Late Model car in my garage... that my Dad raced when I was 6-10-years-old and that had nothing to do with NASCAR. That was a local short track.
"I did the American Le Mans Series with NBC and everyone seemed pleased and with the IndyCar Series, I'll just let my work speak for itself."
Bestwick will miss several NASCAR races this season while on the IndyCar circuit. Dave Burns will move to the play-by-play position in his absence.