It’s a somber morning in Indianapolis and in the racing world this morning as news that Tom Carnegie has died at the age of 91. And while the news is sad, Tom lived a full life and left an indelible and wonderful mark on the landscape of American motorsports, serving as the public address announcer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 61 years.
I’m in my mid 30′s so I was able to enjoy the twilight of Mr. Carnegie’s time at the mic. The most memorable experience for me was attending Pole Day in 1992 when new track records were set, and Roberto put up the big 2-3-0 and caused Carnegie to say “It’s a NEW TRACK RECORD!”
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the 1992 race, because I was a senior in high school, and didn’t have the funds to afford to attend, so I didn’t get to hear his comments on the pace lap crash by Roberto that year.
There’s a great post by George Phillips at the Oil Pressure blog that all Indy Car fans should read.
Here’s a snippet from George:
Carnegie was there to see the roadster era come and go, the British Invasion, the turbines, the big wings and “the split”. And he was there to interview AJ Foyt in 1993 as he took his ceremonious final lap, thirty-six years after he first appeared. Tom Carnegie was there for it all.
Carnegie’s tenure at the Speedway spanned the entire careers of icons such as Bill Vukovich, Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, Mario Andretti and every Unser and Bettenhausen that ever ran. He called races that had such immortal names as Ralph Hepburn, Rex Mays, Cliff Bergere, Sam Hanks, Ted Horn, Pat O’Connor and Fred Agabashian. He saw pole speeds that ranged from a 126.471 mph to 233.718 mph (Luyendyk‘s record of 236.986 was as a second-day qualifier and therefore not a pole speed).
You can read the rest of George’s post here.
IMS also has their story on Tom Carnegie here.