Two beloved figures in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history have been elected to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame: two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, and longtime motorsports radio and television personality and IMS Public Address announcer Bob Jenkins.

The two were chosen from a ballot of 14 nominees by a distinguished panel of more than 140 auto racing journalists, participants and historians. Wheldon and Jenkins will be formally inducted into the elite group Thursday, May 23 at the 2019 IMS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Dinner, presented by Firestone, at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott.

2005, 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon

Wheldon was a favorite with fans and in the paddock and he was equally successful on the track. The Englishman earned 16 wins in 128 career NTT IndyCar Series starts, including the 2005 and 2011 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. After finishing second in the series championship to Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan in 2004, Wheldon earned the 2005 title with Andretti. He joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2006 and tied Sam Hornish Jr. in points – but lost the championship on the tiebreaker (most wins).

Nicknamed “Lionheart,” Wheldon was a native of Emberton, Buckinghamshire, England, and despite his early upbringing in karts and junior road-racing series, he excelled on ovals and professed a great love and respect for the 2.5-mile IMS oval.

Wheldon tragically lost his life in a multicar crash during the season-ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, 2011.

Jenkins, who was born in Richmond, Indiana, and grew up in nearby Liberty, has been a familiar face and voice on national motorsports coverage since 1979, when he was one of the first on-air employees of a new cable sports network, ESPN.

Motorsports broadcasting legend Bob Jenkins

Indiana University graduate Jenkins anchored ESPN’s weekly “Thunder” series national broadcasts of USAC Sprint and Midget races all over the Midwest. Jenkins also anchored hundreds of NASCAR broadcasts, forming a popular team with former drivers Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett, on ESPN and ABC from 1979 until 2000, including the first seven Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard races.

After several years as a reporter for the IMS Radio Network, Jenkins was “The Voice of the 500,” serving as chief announcer for the global broadcast of the race, from 1990-98.

Jenkins later anchored NTT IndyCar Series broadcasts on the Versus network (now NBCSN) and retired as an anchor in 2012. He continues to lend his voice to the IMS Public Address during events and is frequently a master of ceremonies for major racing functions.

“We’re extremely pleased that the IMS Hall of Fame voting panel have chosen Dan and Bob to be enshrined with so many legends of motorsport,” said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, which operates the IMS Museum. “Both of these men have never been shy about their love for IMS. Dan was more than a great father, husband, son and friend – we celebrate the man he was and his enthusiasm for life.

“Bob has brought to life some of the most memorable moments in IMS history – the closest ‘500’ finish in 1992 and Jeff Gordon’s victory at the inaugural Brickyard 400 immediately come to mind. His contributions to the Speedway are many.”

IMS Hall of Fame inductees are announced each year on “Founder’s Day,” March 20, the date in 1909 when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company was officially formed.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame honors and celebrates individual contribution to the sport of automobile racing at “The Greatest Race Course in the World.” It was founded in 1952 as the Auto Racing Hall of Fame under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. in 1962.

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About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its role as a global icon of sporting tradition and innovation.

Located inside the famed 2.5-mile IMS oval, the Museum is open 363 days a year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and relies on support from admissions, tours, sponsorships, annual memberships and planned-giving for its operations, educational programming, restoration and preservation efforts, exhibits and events.

For more information on the IMS Museum, please visit www.indyracingmuseum.org, contact the Museum at 317-492-6784, or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 14, 2019 – The 1960s – a thrilling decade of heroes and some of the most beloved cars in Indianapolis 500 history – will be saluted through a variety of exciting activities for fans during Legends Day presented by Firestone on Saturday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fan activities included with general admission to Legends Day presented by Firestone include:

– Autograph session with full 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge field from 9-10am in Pagoda Plaza –

– Public drivers’ meeting starting at 10:25 a.m. adjacent to the Tower Terrace stands –

– Historic car laps on the historic IMS oval from 11:15 a.m.-12:20 p.m., including Indy cars from the 1960s –

– Autograph session with retired Indy 500 drivers, with legends from the 1960s expected to participate, from noon-2:30pm in the North Chalet –

– Historic cars on display in trackside garages, including vehicles from the 1960s –

General admission tickets for Legends Day presented by Firestone are available at IMS.com for $10, with kids 15 and under admitted free with an adult.

Legends Day general admission tickets do not include admission to the Firestone Legends Day Concert featuring multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon inside Turn 4 at IMS. Tickets for that exciting show start at $35 and also are available at IMS.com.

“There have been many great eras in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, but few have captivated the fans like the 1960s,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “It was a transformative decade of iconic drivers and machines that helped ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ reach a new level of global popularity. We can’t wait to share in this celebration with our loyal fans on Legends Day presented with Firestone, and we thank Firestone for its continued support of these events that create new magic and memories.”

The 1960s were one of the most transformative eras in the history of the world’s most prestigious auto race.

Indy icons such as Jim Rathmann, A.J. Foyt, Rodger Ward, Parnelli Jones, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” during the 1960s, while legends such as Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Gordon Johncock, Dan Gurney, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Mark Donohue and Lloyd Ruby all made their “500” debuts during the decade. Team Penske, which has won a record 17 Indianapolis 500’s, also made its IMS debut in 1969.

Great technological change also swept across the Speedway during the decade. The 1960s started with the continued dominance of the hulking front-engine roadster cars, such as Jones’ famous No. 98 Watson/Offy nicknamed “Calhoun” that he drove to victory in 1963. But the revolution of lithe, rear-engine formula cars also took root during the decade, with Clark’s victory in a Lotus-Ford in 1965 starting a streak of Indy 500 wins by rear-engine cars that continues to this day.

Famous cars powered by gas turbine helicopter engines also captivated fans with their distinctive sound and set speed records in the late 1960s. Andretti’s 1969 race-winning Hawk III/Ford included aerodynamic pieces built into the body that set the stage for the wings that drastically increased downforce and speeds in the early 1970s at the Speedway.

The 1960s theme of Legends Day presented by Firestone also dovetails with the 50th anniversary celebration of the sole victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” by the legendary Andretti, in 1969. Andretti will be featured on Bronze Badge and Silver Badge credentials and in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Official Program.

Tickets for 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and the sixth INDYCAR Grand Prix are on sale now at IMS.com.

March 06, 2019 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will honor 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his illustrious racing career with the exhibit, “Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, opening to the public Wednesday, May 1.

The exhibit is part of a comprehensive 50th anniversary celebration of Andretti’s dramatic victory at the 53rd running of the “500.” Andretti led 116 laps and delivered a popular, long-awaited victory for colorful car owner Andy Granatelli, despite having to race in a backup car and race-long engine overheating issues.

“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, will bring together many of the most significant cars in Andretti’s career at the IMS Museum – cars which also represent significant milestones in motorsports history given Andretti’s accomplishments. 

Andretti is the only driver in history to have won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and a Formula 1 World Championship. The Associated Press and RACER Magazine named him “Driver of the Century” in 2000, and he’s the only driver to earn “Driver of the Year” in three decades (1967, 1978, 1984).

The featured exhibits of “Mario Andretti: ICON,” are a full representation of the Nazareth, Pa., resident’s diverse career. A sampling of this can’t-miss exhibit includes:

  • The John Player Special Lotus Type 79-4, from the 1978 F1 World Championship run
  • The 1974 Vel’s Parnelli Jones team Formula 1 car
  • 1967 Dean Van Lines Brawner Hawk II Indy 500 pole-winner
  • 1967 Watson Leader Card Sprint car
  • The 1967 Daytona 500-winning car
  • A 1994 Lola T9400 from his “Arrivederci Mario” farewell season
  • The Horn Offenhauser Sprint Car, named “Baby,” from Andretti’s first Sprint car race.

Many other notable cars, firesuits, helmets and memorabilia will be part of “Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+. An audio tour featuring stories from Andretti, his longtime rivals A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, and team owner Roger Penske will provide entertaining, behind-the-scenes insight into his career.

“Winning the Indianapolis 500 changed my life and Indy has been like a second home for my family for a very long time, so I’m very much looking forward to everything the Museum and the Speedway have planned in May,” said Andretti. “To be called an “icon” is extremely humbling, but the collection put together by the IMS Museum staff is phenomenal. I cannot wait to see this exhibit and share my story with the fans from around the world who will see it in the coming months.”

Andretti also won four IndyCar championships and major sports car events such as the 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring – three times. But what truly sets Andretti apart from other racing legends is his incredible versatility. He regularly competed on dirt ovals, paved speedways and international road courses within a matter of days.

For instance, in the 12 weeks from Aug. 25-Nov. 17, 1968, he raced 12 times, in USAC Champ Cars and Stock Cars, F1 and the Can-Am series, earning two victories and seven top-five finishes. After qualifying on pole Sept. 7 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ dirt mile for the “Hoosier Hundred,” and finishing second, he flew all night to Monza, Italy, for the F1 Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 8 – only to learn another team had protested his inclusion in the GP, and he wouldn’t race, because he had raced within 24 hours!

Merchandise featuring the Mario Andretti 50th Anniversary logo will be available throughout the Month of May at the IMS Gift Shops around IMS, including those in the Museum, and online. Check the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website, www.ims.com, for a schedule of special events honoring Andretti during the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+ will be open through November 10.