My folks had one of those big radios that sat on the floor, and I remember listening to my favorite shows, which included “The Lone Ranger” and “Superman.” My parents liked “The Jack Benny Show,” “Burns and Allen” and “Our Miss Brooks.” Lots of these shows were converted to television. I have seen some of those old shows on cable stations in recent weeks.
I remember listening to the race while riding with my dad on his daily pick-up milk route. We finished the route before the race was over and listened to the end of it at home. The broadcast was aired all over the world by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, and I thought it was so cool that all of the announcers were local fellows who we could hear every day.
E.Z. Gwynn, Sid Collins, Jim Shelton, Paul Page, Bob Jenkins and many others entertained us over the years. I always thought that if I visited the track a time or two during May and spent time looking at all of the cars and drivers, I could fully imagine A.J. Foyt and all the others screaming past the start/finish line as the announcers reported on it.
I enjoyed listening to this year’s race in my back yard with Stuart, my therapy dog.
I was excited when the Brickyard 400 was started in 1994. Two or three years ago I wrote an article about getting to tour Junior Johnson’s NASCAR facilities. For years he drove and owned race cars. During the tour I noticed a small problem with some fasteners on his cars, and I was asked to explain the issue to him. He asked me to travel to all the other race shops and explain my thoughts to them.
I pointed out that he and his employees would be seeing all of these racers that weekend and they could easily make the explanation in a couple of hours. His response was that all of the owners and teams all lied to each other so much that he wouldn’t be believed.
I was once working with a salesperson in Houston who had several large automobile dealerships for customers. I was introduced to the parts manager and a couple of other employees, and they wanted to know where I lived. When I told them Indianapolis, one of the guys headed to the door and returned with a fellow that the parts manager was eager to introduce me to. There were standing orders to contact the owner if anyone from Indianapolis ever showed up at the building. I knew who it was before the introductions were made.
A.J. Foyt shook my hand and started asking me questions. We had a blast tossing out names to see if we had connections. Visiting with A.J. was a wonderful and totally unexpected event.
It was great to hear him on the radio on race day this year.