Indianapolis, IN (August 15, 2006)–Tom Carnegie, the track announcer for the Indy 500 for the last 61 years, is retiring this month, and was honored by his P.A. crew and friends at a banquet in Indianapolis on August 4. As part of the occasion, Crown International senior microphone engineer Bruce Bartlett presented Carnegie with a plaque and a Crown CM-310A differoid microphone engraved with his name.
Carnegie had used that microphone since 1988 to announce for the race from the pit area. The plaque read, “Presented to Tom Carnegie, the public-address voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in gratitude and recognition of your 61 years as Chief Announcer — Crown International.”
Speaking about the CM-310A in May, 1988, Carnegie said, “This microphone is the finest I’ve ever used in 43 years of broadcasting on the world’s largest P.A. system. Believe me, this microphone… is compatible with the job that we have to do to inform on qualifying day a crowd of some 250,000, and on race day a crowd in excess of 400,000. In short, I love it. And whoever put it together, let me have one each and every year. That’ll keep me coming back to the track.”
Recorded at the banquet were Carnegie’s comments on the catch phrases he invented: “Being there for 61 races you oughta come up with something that people remember. And all of a sudden, about 10 to 15 years into my tenure there, people began to repeat [the phrases], or ask me to say ‘Heeee’s on it’ or ‘It’s a new… track… record!’ I began to realize that there were dramatic ways to say things in a few words. Instead of rambling on you just… hit it and go!”
On his announcing career: “It’s been fun along with the work end of it. Some days got long; some days got tedious, but always in the back of my mind, I knew that I was in a very enviable position as the chief announcer at the world’s greatest race-track. And as long as you remember that, you’re gonna do a good job.” “It’s a race–and race track–that inspire you to do your best. Anybody that we’ve ever had on the public address system, or behind the scenes at Indianapolis, realizes that this is not just another race-track. It’s the greatest race-track in the world. It’s the most beautiful outdoor theater in the world. And our work and the behind-the-scenes activity reflect that all the way.”
Advice to his colleagues: “I think it’s important that you all enjoy the situation. Never let your script or whatever you’re doing get so serious that you forget to have fun out there.”