Legendary Indianapolis 500 Announcer Bob Jenkins Passes Away at 73

by Joe Rutland

Motorsports fans received some sad news on Monday that legendary Indianapolis 500 announcer Bob Jenkins had died at age 73.

Jenkins’ death was announced by Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles, according to the Indianapolis Star. Jenkins had been dealing with brain cancer for the past eight months. Obviously, the Indianapolis 500 became a part of his life as he was raised in Liberty, Ind.

“Part of the reason that Bob is so loved is that the race fans knew Bob was a fan,” Boles said. “You could tell by the way he told the stories. His passion came through in everything he did.”  

Indianapolis 500 Announcer Had Unpretentious Side To Himself

Jenkins, who became an iconic part of the Indianapolis 500 with his voice, also had an unpretentious character about him.

“There has never been a day Bob Jenkins walked into a room and said, ‘Hey, I’m Bob Jenkins, look at me,'” Boles said. “He still doesn’t get it. He never understood what a big, big deal he was.”

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also sent out a video through Twitter honoring Jenkins’ memory and work at the Indianapolis 500.

In his career, he covered IndyCar and NASCAR races for NBC Sports and ESPN.

“I always have been and am now a race fan who got lucky,” Jenkins told the Indianapolis Star in May. “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.”

Mario Andretti, Who Won 1969 Indy 500, Remembered Jenkins

Mario Andretti, who won the 1969 Indianapolis 500, remembered Jenkins and his famous voice.

“Bob Jenkins, over the years, he was just a figure that was always there and very much front and center in Indianapolis,” Andretti said. “His voice is just absolutely unique. I would always know who was talking.”

Mike Joy, who is the lead announcer on Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage, sent his condolences on Twitter on Monday night.

“Very sad news… Bob Jenkins was the racing anchor for a generation of today’s up and comers to study and learn from..” Joy wrote of the Indianapolis 500 broadcaster.

Helio Castroneves, who won the 2021 Indianapolis 500, also sent some kind words about Jenkins through Twitter.

“Deeply sad to hear the news of Bob Jenkins pass…I remember this pictures like was yesterday and We were joking around . #RIP my friend my thoughts and prayers to the family.”, he wrote.

Finally, Jenkins, in 2019, became a part of the IMS Hall of Fame. Outsider sends its condolences to the Jenkins family at this time.