Indy 500 announcer Bob Jenkins reveals brain cancer battle, will step back from IMS role

Indy Bob Jenkins dead
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcer Bob Jenkins, a former play-by-play voice of the Indy 500, will be stepping back from his role after revealing Tuesday that he is battling brain cancer.

“I’m not going to completely retire; I’m going to say I’m cautiously optimistic about working some of the public address this year, but you will not see me or hear me as much as you have during the past few years,” Jenkins said in an interview with IMS president Doug Boles in the speedway’s “Behind the Bricks” video series. “I’m going to do all I can because I am going through radiation and chemotherapy to knock this cancer out of my brain.

“The thing that I can’t do, although I do every night, I can’t pray as much as all my race fans can do, and I sincerely believe that is a major, major contribution to how this thing is going to turn out. So thank you race fans and everybody watching here at the speedway for your concern and prayers. I want every one of them. I’ll just never get over how much of a help that is going to be.”

Boles told Jenkins “that seat in the PA booth is there any day you want to come in, there’s nothing like Bob Jenkins’ voice to make a race fan feel they’re in the right spot in the month of May when they get here.”

Jenkins has been an Indianapolis 500 fixture for decades, first as a broadcaster for ABC/ESPN and the IMS radio network. He was among four broadcasters to handle Indy 500 play-by-play announcing during ABC’s 54-year run of broadcasting the race.

After also calling IndyCar races on NBCSN and ESPN, he since had settled into the role since 2011 of IMS’ main PA announcer, inheriting a role that Tom Carnegie made famous for 60 years as the voice of the speedway from 1946-2006.

Jenkins said he was diagnosed with two malignant tumors in his right temple after awakening with a severe headache on Christmas night.

“I had colon cancer in 1983, and I survived that, and with God’s help and my beloved race fans, I’m going to make it,” said Jenkins, whose wife, Pam, died of brain cancer eight years ago. “I don’t have a large family, Doug, I have a niece and nephew. But I consider the first people I should tell my family, and my family is my race fans and people like you who contribute to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 500 every year and make it what it is and what it has been since 1911.”

During the rest of the interview (which can be seen here), Jenkins discussed his favorite Indy 500 memories with Boles.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.