The great Sage Steele drives pace car in 20th running of the Brickyard 400

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — In the world of media, Sage Steele of ESPN is as good as they come. The 1995 Indiana University graduate was asked to lead the field for the 20th annual Brickyard 400 and so she said yes, of course.

ESPN's Sage Steele drives the pace car for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.What an opportunity for Steele, who has so many fond memories of Indiana. She’s a dedicated IU fan and a big supporter of the Pacers.

“I am honored and just floored that it’s all coming full circle like this,” Steele said. “I could not be more thrilled because of what Indianapolis means to me and that’s where my love of racing began. I never in a million years thought I’d be asked to do something like this. It just means more to me than anything I’ve ever been asked to do.”

Steele began her career at WSBT-TV in South Bend. Finally, the station gave her an opportunity in front of the camera and she flourished. She then spent a couple of years at WISH-TV in Indianapolis, covering this race and the Indianapolis 500, to name a few. In 2007, after six years with Comcast SportsNet in D.C., Steele made the jump to Bristol to work for the Worldwide Leader.

Since, she’s worked hard to the top and is now one of ESPN’s best anchors. In June, she anchored SportsCenter’s coverage from the NBA Finals. She’s versatile, smooth and makes interviews feel like conversations rather than a scripted question followed by a dry answer.

See Also: ESPN’s Sage Steele shares stories and advice with avid IU students

Steele grew up in an Army family so she often moved around the country. She went to Carmel High School for her senior year, before attending Indiana University. She actually met her husband, Jonathan, in the lobby of the Herman B. Wells library. Seriously.

One of Steele’s best characteristics is her willingness to help others. She’s outstanding at her job and an exceptional role model for many females desiring to be sportscasters. And even though she’s near the top of the sportscasting world, you wouldn’t know it by the way she carries herself. When some in this business are successful, they don’t make time for those below them, especially newbies. Steele isn’t that way at all.

Steele was truly honored to return to Indy and get the Brickyard 400 rolling. Talking with her before she suited up and jumped in the Camaro ZL1 Coupe, she was a bit nervous – who wouldn’t be? – but was ecstatic for the experience. Her three kids were watching from home and had to be thinking, “That’s our mom. How cool!”

[Photo via @JJFOX59SPORTS]

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