Friday, February 11, 2011

A Sad, Sad Day....

Today is an incredibly sad day. A day in which I, and I'm sure many of you wish had never come. In the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, at the age of 91, Tom Carnegie has passed away.

Born Carl Kenagy (And still his legal name), the legendary voice of the '500' spent 61 years behind the mic at Indianapolis. Famous for that deep, rich voice Carnegie was most famous for his trademarked calls, "And, Heeee'sss on it", "It's a newww track rrrecord", and so many more.

A great read from last May on the Connecticut native can be found over at Oilpressure.

My last run in with the Indianapolis legend came last May. While taking the elevator up to the fourth floor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center, a few seconds into the ride it stops. The doors opened to the 3rd floor cafeteria and in came the one and only, Tom Carnegie.  I remember the short and very simple moment vividly. I greeted him with "How are you doing Mr. Carnegie?", and after the brief conversation I exited to the fourth floor. One of the many memories I'll never forget.

Rest in peace, Mr. Carnegie.

Reaction from around the paddock...

Marco Andretti via Twitter, "RIP Tom Carnegie. Indy isn't the same with out you!! Thanks for the memories!"

Helio Castroneves via Twitter, "Sadness in Indy. He died today, aged 91, Tom Carnegie, the narrator of the Indy 500 for 61"years! In our hearts forever!

Danica Patrick via Twitter, "Tom Carnegie died at 91 yrs old. It was always cool to hear "and he's on it" well she in my case. Almost made it to the 100th anni at Indy."

Ana Beatriz via Twitter, "RIP Mr. Carnegie"

Alex Lloyd viat Twitter, "Very sad to hear of Tom Carnegie's passing today. He will always be the voice of Indy!"

Roger Yasukawa via Twitter, "Very sad to hear the news about Tom Carnegie. His voice will be missed at IMS. RIP"

Graham Rahal, “Tom Carnegie was a legend of our sport, a voice and a name which will never be forgotten. I only wish I could have heard those famous lines of his more often. It's an absolute shame to lose a guy who single-handedly changed the way the Indianapolis 500 was broadcast to the world. I wish the best to his friends and family, and send my most sincere condolences.”

Dario Franchitti, “Tom Carnegie was a legend. He was such a huge part of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first time I went to IMS I heard his iconic, booming voice and I’ll always remember his commentary of the races. He will be missed.”

John Andretti, "Tom Carnegie will always be remembered by not only myself, but my entire family. I remember going to the track as a kid with my father (Aldo), uncle (Mario) and cousin (Michael) in the month of May and hearing his voice and the phrase, 'A new track record!' That excitement he made you feel. He made the hairs on your neck stand. And the same when he said, 'He's on it!' These are staples of racing history now because of Tom.

"Anything that ever happened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tom had that special way of making it feel even bigger, greater than anything else happening that day. The track will remain the same, but its voice will never be. Tom Carnegie will be forever a part of the history of the Speedway. My family and I send our condolences to his family and friends."

Mario Andretti via Twitter, "Tom Carnegie has died, Indy 500 track announcer for 60 yrs. His iconic voice made the 500 a richer event. Good-bye my friend."

Mari Hulman George, “This is a very sad day for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and everyone worldwide who loved Tom Carnegie. Millions of race fans who never met Tom still felt as if they knew him because of his distinctive voice and his passion for the Speedway, its events and its people. Tom cared about everyone at the track, whether it was a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner or a young fan attending a practice day. He provided the soundtrack for the greatest moments of 61 years at IMS, and he never will be forgotten. Tom was a dear friend of four generations of the Hulman-George family, and we will miss him dearly.”

Randy Bernard, "It was truly an honor to meet a man that played such an important role in creating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500.  If there are two sayings that truly resonate with race fans around the world, it is 'Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines' and Mr. Carnegie's iconic 'It's a new track record.'  His warm personality and booming voice will always be remembered as an important part of what made fans and competitors fall in the love with 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'  His enthusiasm for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the sport of Indy car racing will be greatly missed."

Terry Angstadt, "What you remember, of course, is the voice. It is the Indy 500 to everyone. Those who have had the pleasure of knowing the man understand what an incredibly warm and endearing person he was. He was one of those special people that cross your path in life and I'm fortunate to have known him for more than a decade."

Brian Barnhart, "Tom Carnegie was an institution at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and recognized around the world for his contributions to making it the world's most famous course. His booming voice and signature 'It's a new track record' will live on in the minds of all race fans. More importantly, he was a friend to hundreds of competitors who attempted to find their way into Victory Circle at the Speedway over the years. I'll remember him as the essence of 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.' "

Andretti Autosport via Twitter, "We are saddened today by the loss of Tom Carnegie. Please keep his family in your thoughts. We've lost an Indy 500 legend."

A.J. Foyt, “People like Tom, you can’t replace them. I thought so much of him and one of the highlights I remember is when people would break records and you’d hear him say in that voice, ‘And it’s a new track record.’ No one is going to replace that. He just had a voice that you’re not going to replace and it’s a shame to see someone like that pass on. He was at Indy so many years and he loved Indy so much. We were very good friends. I thought the world of him and I think he thought the world of me.

“When I retired in ’93, [May 15, Pole Day] it was so hard because I was choking up and Tom was right there with me. I think he hated to see me retire. He told me later, not on the p.a., ‘Well there comes a time when we all have to do this AJ. I know how hard it was for you to do that and I just appreciate you doing the interview with me.’ I would rather have done it with him than anybody else even though I’ve got a lot of good friends there. He knew how to ask questions and when to ask. He knew when something was bad and he just knew how to do it. I think it’s born in you, it’s not something you learn.

“I did a lot of interviews with him and through the years, I’d be walking down the pit lane and he’d say, ‘Come over here A.J., talk to me’ and I always did. Anytime he wanted anything from me, I was more than glad to do it for him. I’m going to miss him, we’re all going to miss him.”

Roger Penske, "Tom Carnegie was a true gentleman and a legend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and throughout the state of Indiana. For so many years his unmistakable voice signified the beginning of the month of May and the Indianapolis 500. We will certainly miss Tom and his spirit, his unique style of announcing and his passion for racing."

Michael Andretti, "This is a sad day. Tom was one of a kind and was as much a part of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500 as the 'yard of bricks.'

"Even though he is gone, I think you'll always hear his voice when you think of the Speedway or the '500.' He was the voice for so many great moments in the history of that place and he will never be replaced. He was the best."

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing via Twitter, "Very saddened to learn the racing community has lost a legend - the voice of IMS has passed away. Rest in peace, Tom Carnegie."

Panther Racing via Twitter, "Panther Racing would like to extend its thoughts and prayers to the family of Tom Carnegie. He will forever be part of the fabric of IMS."

Chip Ganassi,“My heart goes out to the whole Carnegie family in this difficult time. Tom was an icon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - every bit as much as the Pagoda and Gasoline Alley. The whole racing community mourns his passing.”

Newman Haas Racing via Twitter, "Our condolences to his family too. Part of what made previous #Indy500s so special."

FAZZT Race Team via Twitter,  "Sincere condolences to Tom Carnegie's family. The IndyCar community mourns the loss of a great man, voice & integral part Indy500 history."

500 Festival via Twitter, "Our thoughts are with Tom Carnegie's family. Tom was a great addition to the legacy of Hoosier racing! We will miss him.

Jack Arute via Twitter, "RIP Tom Carnegie. The Indy 500 will never be the same"

Steve Schunck via Twitter, "RIP Tom Carnegie - "The Voice of the 500""

Arni Sribhen via Twitter, "RIP Tom Carnegie"

Peter Windsor via Twitter, "Tom Carnegie, the legendary 'voice" of the Indianapolis 500, passed away today: "On the front row! Maareeoo Andreddii.!." We'll miss him."

David Cripps via Twitter, "A new track record will never be the same at Indy......RIP Tom"

Robbie Floyd via Twitter, "R.I.P Tom Carnegie. He was always a pleasure to be around and will forever be the voice of Indy"


My last experience with Tom came a few years ago in the IMS garages. I had a print of a drawing of the track and asked him to sign it. While doing so I remember him asking if I drew it. RIP Tom

Today is truely a sad day. The wonderful track will never be the same again, Part of it will always be missing.It was a pleasure to meet you Mr.Tom Carnegie, a few year back. You very nice,humble and quick witted.You will always be missed but never ever forgotten. Thank you for all the memories. R.I.P Mr.Carnegie

Many have commented on Tom's sense of timing. It seems he got it right again. He left us before the season, at a time when we can reflect on what he meant to us, racing and the 500, without that reflecting impacting the necessary preparation of the various teams and those directly associated with them. Tom would not have wanted to interfere.
Still, he will be fresh in our minds and a significant part of the month of May as I am sure the racing fraternity will find a fitting way to recognize his contributions.
One suggestion I would like to offer is this. The face of IMS, Tony Hulman, has a special place on the Borg Warner trophy, I think the voice of IMS should as well.

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