INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Bob Jenkins broadcast career in Motorsports has taken him from the radio booth to TV and to the public address system at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jenkins sat down to talk with Indy 500 contributor Laura Steele about his love for the Indy 500 and its home.
Jenkins said even though he’s been in several different platforms he has two moments that he claims are his favorite. One of those moments is when he was 11 years old and his dad took him to his first race in 1961.
“I remember standing up in my seat looking toward turn four to see whether Ward or Rathman was leading a lap and it was just a magic moment and setting the stage for my wanting to come back time and time again,” said Jenkins.
He also shared the second moment.
“The second most exciting moment I had was calling the finish of the 1992 race on the radio. (It was a) terrible day windy miserably cold. The announcers were saying let’s just get this race over with, we wanna get down from our perches. It boiled down to the closest finish in history and fortunately I got to call that finish and that will be at the top of my chart for being the most thrilling moment out here,” Jenkins shared.
Though seasoned at his craft, Jenkins credits legendary announcer Tom Cargenie for giving him some of the best advice.
“He taught me so much. He was the voice of the Speedway and he would tell you that you are in a sense an actor out here for the audience, the fans out here are the people you try to relate to. He also suggested that you’ve got to repeat things especially during race day because there are cars going around constantly, Jenkins said.
Jenkins only missed two Indy 500s since 1960. One when his brother wouldn’t take him in 1961 and the other was in 1965.
“I was on my senior trip in high school in DC and while other people were seeing the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial I was in the bus with a transistor radio listening to the Indy 500.”
Bob Jenkins says he’s just a race fan who got lucky. He will be heard on the IMS public address beginning opening weekend on May 12 through the month and of course for the 100th running of the Indy 500.
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