IMS radio voice Mike King will step down

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There will be a new “voice of the Indianapolis 500” on the IMS Radio Network next May. The question is whether it will be a completely new voice or a familiar old friend.

The position is open because Mike King, the longtime voice for IMSRN since 1996, and the voice of the ‘500 since 1999, will step down on November 1 to tend to family and other business responsibilities, per an IMS release. King started as a pit reporter in 1995.

“I would like to thank the Hulman-George family and the entire INDYCAR family for an incredible 19 years with the IMS Radio Network,” King said in the release. “Calling the Indy 500 and every other IndyCar Series race has fulfilled so many of my hopes and dreams. I loved every second of it, especially that special connection with the fans over the airwaves. But I’m also looking forward to this next phase of my life, including dedicating more time to my family, which always has been so understanding and supportive while I was on the road working with the network.”

King’s day job is working as a marketing and public relations specialist at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind.

Some of the other voices on the IMS Radio Network include Jake Query (also a pit reporter for NBCSN’s Indy Lights coverage), IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, full season reporters Nick Yeoman, Mark Jaynes and Michael Young and other part-time voices that include Indiana Pacers broadcaster Chris Denari, Jerry Baker and Katie Hargitt, who was a pit reporter for a handful of events earlier this year.

Familiar voices who no doubt would stir the senses for longtime Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar fans include Bob Jenkins and Paul Page, but no word has been given as to whether either is a serious candidate for the role.

Whether this is merely King stepping down or a harbinger of other changes within the Hulman Racing division, under Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, also remains to be seen. Miles has said throughout this year that some strategic changes would come under the Hulman Racing umbrella on the personnel side.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”