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Indianapolis 500 Fun Facts
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis 500 Fun Facts

The Legacy of Tom Carnegie at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“And...he’s on it!” “It’s a new...track...record!” We know you heard Tom Carnegie’s voice in your head as you read those famous phrases. Tom had a long and meaningful impact on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. Explore that rich history in this section.

Tom Carnegie

Facts & Figures on the 61- Year Tenure of Legendary IMS Public Address Announcer Tom Carnegie

Listed below are a few interesting facts and figures about the 61-year tenure of Tom Carnegie as Public Address announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, compiled by IMS Historian Donald Davidson.

  • Tom Carnegie died Feb. 11, 2011 at age 91. He called 61 Indianapolis 500’s, 12 Brickyard 400’s and six United States Grands Prix for millions of fans at IMS between May 1946 - May 2006.
  • Tom Carnegie called 61 of the 94 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races that have taken place, nearly two-thirds of the number of races since the inaugural event in 1911.
  • There were 11 Presidents of the United States during Tom Carnegie’s tenure as IMS Public Address announcer. When he called his first “500” in 1946, Harry Truman was President. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both whom occupied the Oval Office during Carnegie’s tenure, were not alive in 1946.
  • Of the 708 different drivers who started in an Indianapolis 500 through 2006, 411 of them made their debut with Tom Carnegie on the Public Address.
  • Every grandstand or building seen from inside IMS was built after Tom Carnegie started his Public Address tenure in 1946. While some buildings outside the track are older, it is believed that the oldest structure one can now see from inside the track is believed to be the Clarian Emergency Medical Center, built in 1948.
  • The single-lap record when Tom Carnegie debuted in 1946 was Ralph Hepburn’s 134.449 mph. Fifty years later, Arie Luyendyk recorded one at 237.498 mph, thus exceeding Hepburn’s speed by 103 mph. Carnegie called both attempts.
  • The low end of prize money in 2006, Tom Carnegie’s final year, was Larry Foyt’s $192,305 for 30th place. In 1946, Carnegie’s first year, the entire purse was $115,679, while Hal Cole’s portion for 32nd was $600.
  • A.J. Foyt drove in the “500” a record 35 consecutive times between 1958 and 1992. Tom Carnegie called 12 races before Foyt even arrived and another 14 after his last start.
  • When Tom Carnegie first called the “500” in 1946, there were only five radio stations in town and no TV stations.
  • At least 22 drivers Tom Carnegie called on Race Day have been either the son, the grandson or a nephew of a driver who had previously competed during his tenure.
  • The last time fans heard Tom Carnegie bellow his famous phrase, “It’s … a … newww ... track … record” came during Arie Luyendyk’s assault on the record books in May 1996. On May 12, 1984, Carnegie said it five times in less than three minutes. Tom Sneva broke the track record on his opening qualifying lap and topped it on each succeeding lap, shattering the four-lap mark in the process