Longtime Indianapolis 500 broadcaster Bob Jenkins dies after battle with cancer

·2 min read
An Indianapolis Motor Speedway flag
Bob Jenkins announced in February that he was battling brain cancer. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Longtime Indianapolis 500 broadcaster Bob Jenkins died Monday after an eight-month battle with brain cancer, the speedway announced.

He was 73.

Jenkins has been in the booth calling NASCAR and IndyCar races for decades. He worked as the play-by-play announcer calling the Indy 500 on ABC when the network still had the rights to the race, and called other IndyCar races on NBCSN and ESPN. He was also the chief announcer on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network for nearly a decade.

The Indiana native became the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's main public address announcer in 2011, and was inducted into the speedway’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

He stepped back from his role as the public address announcer in February after he was diagnosed with a pair of tumors in his brain, something he first noticed after waking up with a headache on Christmas last year. Until his cancer diagnosis, per the Indianapolis Star, Jenkins has missed just two Indy 500s since 1960.

"I always have been and am now a race fan who got lucky," Jenkins told IndyStar 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."

Jenkins beat colon cancer once before, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. She died months later.

Jenkins’ planned to work for the Indy 500 in May but couldn’t due to his health. So, he made sure to visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles at the track one last time.

"We stood on the yard of bricks for an hour and he just told stories," Boles said, via the IndyStar. "It was just really neat to see him at the place he loved so much, have it all to himself, telling stories."

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