Bob Jenkins, an iconic broadcaster of the Indianapolis 500, died on Monday after an eight month battle with brain cancer. He was 73.
A Liberty, Indiana native, Jenkins broadcasted for over five decades on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, including a stretch from 1990 to 1998 when he served as the chief announcer. He’s also one of only four people to serve as ABC’s play-by-play announcer in the 54-year history of broadcasting the Indianapolis 500.
Not only was he a master of capturing the action, but Jenkins was also well-liked by the IndyCar community and known for his familiar and easygoing personality. He became best known for his expert call of the closing seconds of the 1992 Indy 500 when Al Unser Jr. held off Scott Goodyear to win the closest race in the event’s history by 0.043 seconds.
Jenkins didn’t stick to just IndyCar announcing during his career. He also branched out into NASCAR broadcasting on television for ESPN/ABC and NBC Sports. He always cited that he was just a racing fan who got lucky enough to get an opportunity on radio and TV.
“I always have been and am now a race fan who got lucky,” Jenkins told IndyStar in May of this year. “I did not put myself on a pedestal just because I had a high-profile job on radio or television. That does not make me better.
“All I want to be remembered as is a race fan who got a job in radio or TV. And for some reason, people liked me.”
IndyCar has lost an icon.
Bob Jenkins passed away earlier today after an 8-month battle with brain cancer.
The legendary broadcaster was 73.
“All I want to be remembered as is a race fan who got a job in radio or TV. For some reason, people liked me.” https://t.co/HUXobjr5Io
— Nathan Brown (@By_NathanBrown) August 9, 2021
Jenkins was a colon cancer survivor in the 1980s and retired from television in 2012. He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2019 after an accomplished career in broadcasting.
We send our condolences to Jenkins’ family and friends during this difficult time.
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