Indy 500 announcer Bob Jenkins dies

Indy Bob Jenkins dead
Chris Owens/IndyCar
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Bob Jenkins, a longtime motorsports broadcaster known for his legendary work on the Indy 500 and NASCAR, is dead after a battle with brain cancer. He died Monday at 73.

The Liberty, Indiana, native was among four people to serve as the TV play-by-play announcer during ABC’s 54-year run of broadcasting the Indianapolis 500.

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. He also had been the chief announcer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network from 1990-98.

Among the most famous calls in his memorable baritone was the finish of the 1992 Indy 500, which Al Unser Jr. won by 0.043 seconds over Scott Goodyear in the closest finish of the 105-year-old race. His voice also was featured in several auto racing videogames and movies.

“Bob Jenkins had an incredible passion for racing and his enthusiasm, combined with his genuine love and knowledge of the sport, endeared him to motorsports fans all over the world,” Penske Entertainment Corp. Chairman Roger Penske said in a statement. “His announcing career spanned nearly 50 years, and to an entire generation, the sound of Bob’s voice simply meant it was time to go racing. That legendary voice became the soundtrack for the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We will miss Bob’s kindness, his professionalism and his unique ability to bring us all closer to the track with his stories and insights. Our thoughts are with Bob’s family and his many friends throughout the racing community and beyond.”

Jenkins received the Robin Miller Award while at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. IMS president Doug Boles posted a tribute Monday.

He had survived colon cancer in 1980s and retired from TV announcing to care for his wife, Pam, who died of cancer in October 2012. Last February, Jenkins said he was stepping away from his IMS role as track announcer after he was diagnosed with two malignant tumors behind his right temple after a severe headache last Christmas night.

“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 a February 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.”

As NBC Sports Group Vice President of Editorial Content Ron Vaccaro wrote in February, Jenkins was a voice to a generation of fans who learned about racing while listening to his dulcet tones.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.