News & Multimedia

Nabors Says Farewell With Song in His Heart

At the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a familiar voice performed “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” one last time.

Jim Nabors once was seen on television screens across the nation as Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” and its spinoff, "Gomer Pyle USMC." Nowadays, his character evokes a sense of nostalgia for those who grew up watching the shows in the 1960s and 70s. Even for those not old enough to remember those days, the sound of his voice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be recognized by fans of all ages.

The tradition of Nabors singing before the race began in 1972.

“I had no idea that it’d be all of these years later and I’d still be doing this,” said Nabors, 83. “I feel very grateful. I’ve been totally blessed in my life with getting to do things like this and getting to know all of the people I’ve known and become friends with.”

Between 1987 and 2006, Nabors hadn’t missed a race. The streak was broken in 2007 because of illness that prevented him from traveling from his home in Hawaii. For many, it was strange not hearing that baritone voice echo throughout the Speedway. However, after this year, they’ll have to move forward just as Nabors is.

“There’s a time in life when you have to move on. I’ll be 84 this year and I just figured it was time. It’s kind of hard to travel and there’s just a bunch of reasons,” Nabors said. “This really is the highlight of my year. It’s very sad for me, but there’s something inside me that tells me when to go.”

Though he’s an Alabama native, Indiana is a part of him.

“Right after singing ‘(Back Home Again in) Indiana’ for the first time, I became a total Hoosier – I really did,” he said. “It’s been a great run for me.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Nabors Says Farewell With Song in His Heart
 
Nabors Says Farewell With Song in His Heart
At the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a familiar voice performed “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” one last time.
Read More
Related Media
Kirby Chambliss
 
Ten Things You Didn't Know About Kirby Chambliss
Any Red Bull Air Race fan who doesn’t know that Kirby Chambliss was born in Texas – or that he is the only two-time titleholder in the current lineup – hasn’t been paying attention. But after 10 full seasons of dazzling crowds worldwide with his talent, there’s still plenty to discover about the pilot who was instrumental in developing the ultimate motorsport series in the sky. Such as…
Read More
Food Truck Friday
 
IMS, Red Bull Air Race To Take Over Food Truck Friday Downtown
With anticipation building for the first Red Bull Air Race, this Friday the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take over Food Truck Friday on Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis.
Read More
David Boudia
 
Olympic Gold Medalist Boudia to Serve as Grand Marshal at Red Bull Air Race
David Boudia, a four-time Olympic medalist and one of the world’s best 10-meter platform divers, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the inaugural Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Oct. 1-2.
Read More
Simon Pagenaud
 
Pagenaud Drives to Dominant Sonoma Victory and 2016 Championship
With a dominating drive from the pole position, Simon Pagenaud won the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
Read More
Geoff Aaron
 
Red Bull Bringing World of Extreme Sports to IMS During Air Race
Red Bull will bring the world of extreme sports to the first-ever Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 1-2. Top Red Bull athletes in disciplines such as slacklining, BMX and Moto Trials will complete action-packed demos during both days of racing.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,327
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @INDairport: Welcome to the club, @IMS! ?? https://t.co/sdaPIvGmoT
about 1 hour ago