Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address announcer Bob Jenkins revealed on Tuesday that he is battling cancer and will step back from his role at the famed track.
Bob Jenkins is the former play-by-play voice of the Indy 500 and was the lead announcer for the IndyCar Series on ABC/ESPN. Jenkins said in a video interview with IMS President Doug Boles that he is not planning to completely retire.
“I’m going to say I’m cautiously optimistic about working some of the public address this year, but you will not see me or hear me as much as you have during the past few years,” Bob Jenkins said. “I’m going to do all I can because I am going through radiation and chemotherapy to knock this cancer out of my brain.”
Bob Jenkins said he is relying on the thoughts and prayers of race fans during his battle.
“The thing that I can’t do, although I do every night, I can’t pray as much as all my race fans can do, and I sincerely believe that is a major, major contribution to how this thing is going to turn out,” he said. “So thank you race fans and everybody watching here at the speedway for your concern and prayers. I want every one of them. I’ll just never get over how much of a help that is going to be.”
Bob Jenkins has had a storied career at Indy
Bob Jenkins began his Indy broadcasting career for ABC/ESPN and the IMS radio network, handling play-by-play for the TV broadcasts of the Indy 500.
Bob Jenkins also called IndyCar races on NBC before settling into his role as the main PA announcer at IMS in 2011. He took over that role from Tom Carnegie, a fixture at the track for 60 years.
Bob Jenkins survived a bout with colon cancer in 1983. He was diagnosed with two malignant tumors in his brain after suffering a severe headache on Christmas night. His wife, Pam, died of brain cancer in 2012.
“With God’s help and my beloved race fans, I’m going to make it,” Jenkins said. “I don’t have a large family. I have a niece and nephew. But I consider the first people I should tell my family, and my family is my race fans and people … who contribute to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 500 every year and make it what it is and what it has been since 1911.”