I really enjoyed the singing cab driver, Aiden Kent, who has been a taxi driver in London for more than 20 years. He once found several CDs in the back of his cab. After listening to a few of the Frank Sinatra CDs, he decided that he wanted to learn to sing. You can look him up on YouTube. I learned that he will be performing in Las Vegas later this year. He plans to take his cab with him, but he isn’t going to drive it all the way.
And to make things even better, my coffee was brewed to perfection, and Stuart, our therapy dog, sat on my lap most of the morning.
Later in the day I watched qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I know that things have to change, but I was a bit confused Saturday. My memories of qualifying are that there are two weekends. The first day establishes the pole winner, and the last day was known as Bump Day. This happened when the field was full and unqualified cars could qualify and bump the slowest car in the field.
Now there are only two days of qualifying.
Saturday was Bump Day. Years ago there were many more cars entered than would make the field of 33. This year there were only 35 cars, so only two cars wouldn’t make the race.
It was interesting to watch the teams scramble to get a car ready to try to re-qualify. The end of qualifying had always been 6 p.m., but for some reason it was 5:50 p.m. That confused me and one of the teams.
The nine fastest cars from Saturday competed Sunday for the pole and their placement in the front three rows. So, at the end of the last day (formerly known as Bump Day), the pole winner was decided.
I have always been an avid listener of the Indy 500 on the radio. Back in the late 1940s and early ’50s, my dad had a country pickup milk route. He drove to farms and loaded 8- or 10-gallon cans of milk onto his truck and drove them to the dairy to be processed. The 1949 and ’50 races were locally televised on WFBM-TV (now WTHR). I remember watching part of the races in one of the buildings at the Polk Milk Co. when we were unloading the milk.
After that it was only live on the Speedway Radio Network. If I wasn’t going to attend the race, I listened to it on the radio. Because I was familiar with the track and the drivers, I could close my eyes and envision the race as the announcers called it.
Mark Jaynes, a Southsider, is the current chief announcer for the IndyCar Radio Network. He is the sixth “Voice of the 500” for the network. He follows a great group of announcers who held that title: Sid Collins, Paul Page, Lou Palmer, Bob Jenkins and Mike King.
Another Southsider who spent several years calling the race on the radio was Tom Pedan, chief announcer for WIRE Radio. He and his family lived about six blocks from us, and his son Mark, was in my high school graduating class at Southport. I once purchased a car from Mr. Pedan.
I’m sure on Sunday I will be doing something like cleaning my car or garage while listening to the race on the radio.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.