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  • CART Races on Radio

    Our enthusiasm for the vintage 500 radio broadcasts has gotten me to try to tackle the question of just how many Indy races from the 70s to 90s in the USAC and CART eras are known to have had radio broadcasts as well?

    I've been studying some old newspaper articles and this is what I came up with regarding the CART era. The first CART Radio Network ran from 1983 to 1986 and folded after the Portland race in 1986. I have a distinct memory of being a member of the CART Winners Circle Club and how members could buy tapes of the radio broadcasts they had planned and I had picked Meadowlands, Michigan and Pocono 500s but because the Network folded after Portland, my money was refunded.

    This article from the Indianapolis Star in June 1986 reports on the network folding due to "mismanagement" and that only 25 stations were carrying the races. It also says they did two races in 1983 (I can confirm the Michigan 500 was one of them based on a Detroit newspaper listing), four in 1984 and all races in 1985 except for Sanair (which would mean they did come back and do the Michigan 500 after the postponement!)

    A couple newspapers occasionally allude to the existence of a radio network or radio coverage in the years following but the Indianapolis Star in 1992 says that CART was planning to bring back its network after a "5 and a half year absence" meaning nothing was done in the intervening period unless local markets were doing their own broadcasts of a CART race being held locally. Would that indicate that a full set of races resumed in 1992?

    A 1999 article noting the end of Page Productions involvement with CART's radio network implies that all races were being done on the radio since 1984 but that's clearly wrong based on the other info.

    I would imagine the chances of ever hearing these broadcasts is pretty remote but the more I listen to vintage 500 broadcasts and the more vintage sports radio I have been fortunate to find over the years, the more I appreciate the ability to make racing come alive and how often they managed to cover things missed on telecasts. A full documenting of what *could* be lurking out there would be great to know.

    1986-06-28 Indianapolis Star (CART Radio).jpg

  • #2
    I know this isn’t exactly what you asked about.

    But MRN actually did several USAC and CART broadcasts with an eclectic crew including Barney Hall, Mike Joy, Eli Gold and driver analyst Bob Hurt.

    As far as CART on the radio, I believe the Michigan 500 was on the radio for many years as I appeared on the prerace show a couple of times.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
      I know this isn’t exactly what you asked about.

      But MRN actually did several USAC and CART broadcasts with an eclectic crew including Barney Hall, Mike Joy, Eli Gold and driver analyst Bob Hurt.

      As far as CART on the radio, I believe the Michigan 500 was on the radio for many years as I appeared on the prerace show a couple of times.



      Excuse me for verifying but the Bob Hurt you mention, was he the very same Bob Hurt who was paralyzed in an accident at the Speedway in May '68?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
        I know this isn’t exactly what you asked about.

        But MRN actually did several USAC and CART broadcasts with an eclectic crew including Barney Hall, Mike Joy, Eli Gold and driver analyst Bob Hurt.

        As far as CART on the radio, I believe the Michigan 500 was on the radio for many years as I appeared on the prerace show a couple of times.
        I don’t know if they’re still there but I downloaded the ‘73 California 500, the ‘79 Music 500 (Pocono), and one of the ‘79 Norton Twin 250’s from the MRN broadcast archives on their website.
        “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
        I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
        I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

        Comment


        • #5
          The three MRN Indy races aren't still up so those who downloaded their copies make sure they're backed up! MRN also uploaded one Formula One race, the 1977 Watkins Glen race, and that's no longer available as well.

          I appreciate all the supplemental information since my hope is to create a kind of database on what races did get radio coverage (live full race coverage and not a station giving short updates from the scene). Looking further, there was apparently no Michigan 500 radio broadcast in 1984 presumably because of how long things went in 1983. The one confirmed 1984 CART race I found information on was Las Vegas.

          Checking further last night, I notice that the inaugural California 500 in 1970 was done by a network that originated from KBIG in Los Angeles and was called by Roy Storey who was based in San Francisco and had been the voice of the minor league hockey San Francisco Seals among other things. MRN personnel then apparently handled things through 1973 (The race we have) and then in 1974, Sid Collins and Freddie Agabashian did the race as part of an "Ontario Motor Speedway Network" counterpart to the IMS network. I'm presuming this was in place the rest of that race's run as another article alludes to Paul working on that when he got hired by NBC in late 78 to do the first CART races. Here is a 1974 article announcing Sid's hiring for the 74 Cal 500 broadcast.

          The inaugural California 500 is also mentioned as having been done on closed circuit theater TV to low audiences and apparently poor camera coverage (Keith Jackson was calling it all by himself and articles say almost all key action was missed).

          1974-01-05 Indianapolis Star.jpg

          Comment


          • #6
            A little OT, but MRN also deleted one of the best Modified races ever.
            The Martinsville Mod half of the Mod/LMS Doubleheader when Bodine got into Richie Evans coming into 4 on the last lap and Richie won riding the wall on 2 wheels.
            Seems they’ve deleted pretty much everything not fendered to make room for more run of the mill Cup races.
            “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
            I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
            I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't think MRN has really uploaded anything "new" in a long while. They seem to have gotten in the habit of re-uploading a Cup race they put up previously whenever they do put something up now.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Indyote View Post




                Excuse me for verifying but the Bob Hurt you mention, was he the very same Bob Hurt who was paralyzed in an accident at the Speedway in May '68?
                That is correct.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eric Paddon View Post
                  I don't think MRN has really uploaded anything "new" in a long while. They seem to have gotten in the habit of re-uploading a Cup race they put up previously whenever they do put something up now.
                  At work I have a list of every USAC and CART race that it’s believed MRN did. I will post it if you think it would be beneficial to you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There were a couple of other USAC “races” that were carried on radio that were not known to exist until very recently.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post

                      At work I have a list of every USAC and CART race that it’s believed MRN did. I will post it if you think it would be beneficial to you.
                      Thanks, that would be great! Even if most of them never become available, it's nice to know what was done. I've been lucky finding loads of reel to reel recordings of baseball, football and even hockey and horse racing over the years and you never know if someone's attic might have something else.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here are the MRN races as I know them to be.



                        1971

                        California 500
                        Shaefer 500

                        1972

                        California 500

                        1973

                        California 500

                        1974

                        Michigan 200
                        Norton 250

                        1975

                        Norton 200

                        1976

                        Norton 200

                        1977

                        Norton 200

                        1978

                        Norton 200

                        1979

                        Norton 200
                        Pocono 500

                        1980

                        Pocono 500
                        Norton 200

                        1982

                        Michigan 500

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks, that is a big help! About the only thing I can add to that from the newspaper articles I found is a March 1973 piece that says MRN would be doing the Pocono (Schaefer) 500 and some limited coverage of Texas. It also mentions doing that in an arrangement with Mutual.

                          1982 being the last year they did something Indy oriented would make sense too in light of the first attempt at a CART radio network the following year.

                          1973-03-30 (MRN).jpg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eric Paddon View Post
                            Checking further last night, I notice that the inaugural California 500 in 1970 was done by a network that originated from KBIG in Los Angeles and was called by Roy Storey who was based in San Francisco and had been the voice of the minor league hockey San Francisco Seals among other things. MRN personnel then apparently handled things through 1973 (The race we have) and then in 1974, Sid Collins and Freddie Agabashian did the race as part of an "Ontario Motor Speedway Network" counterpart to the IMS network. I'm presuming this was in place the rest of that race's run as another article alludes to Paul working on that when he got hired by NBC in late 78 to do the first CART races. Here is a 1974 article announcing Sid's hiring for the 74 Cal 500 broadcast.

                            The inaugural California 500 is also mentioned as having been done on closed circuit theater TV to low audiences and apparently poor camera coverage (Keith Jackson was calling it all by himself and articles say almost all key action was missed).
                            I recall listening to KBIG's coverage, which included qualifying. KBIG-AM was out of Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. They sponsored cars as well (Kevin Bartlett).

                            Roy Storey not only called the Western Hockey League Seals, but also spent a bit of time with the NHL Seals as well. He replaced future Foster Hewitt Award winning broadcaster "Jiggs" McDonald as lead announcer for Los Angeles Kings games for one season, then worked in San Diego a few years in the mid/late-70s, doing radio for the San Diego Mariners in the WHA, before returning to the Bay Area. While described as cranky at times, he was a true pro. As a fill-in TV sportscaster in San Diego, he'd always make sure to read the winners from all major racing series and the local short track, even getting to international sports and fishing records (!). As a teenager in San Diego, I once saw a snazzy Oldsmobile drive up alongside the family car, and recognized Roy Storey driving. Sure enough, the personalized plate read "STOREY."

                            A couple of (hopefully) interesting links on Roy Storey, who was a story in himself:
                            https://bayarearadio.org/people-2/storey (audio links of some of his work)
                            https://www.nhl.com/kings/news/50-fo...ey/c-288761924

                            BTW, as a 9th Grader, I did a great bit imitating Roy Storey doing an ad break in a Kings game for Hoffy brand hot dogs
                            Last edited by JThur1; 02-07-2020, 11:28 AM.
                            "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The final interation of the CART Radio Network began in 1992 and lasted through Spring Training 2002 ...

                              I was one of the announcers though it’s entire run, for two years as the swingman (pits, turns or booth as needed), four years as co-anchor and the final four as anchor....

                              The first eight years was managed and produced by Page Productions, and the final two years it was taken in house by CART.....

                              The primary talent line-up included:

                              Lou Palmer (1992-1997 as anchor)
                              Tom Michaels (1992-2002 as turn, pits, co-anchor, anchor)
                              Larry Henry (1992-94 and 1999-2002)
                              Ned Wicker (1992-2002 pits and booth)
                              Sally Larvick (pits)
                              Paul Brian (booth)
                              Jim Murphy (pits)
                              Parker Johnstone (booth 1998)
                              Jeremy Shaw (booth, turn)
                              Scott Pruett (2001 analyst)
                              Chris McClure
                              Jim King (pits)
                              Mary Mendez (pits)
                              plus others

                              We did almost every CART race during this period including Rio (1996, 97, 98, 2000), Surfers (1999, 2000, 2001) and Motegi (2000 and 2001), all done live and on site...

                              It was a great ride and I’ll put the broadcasts favorably against other racing broadcasts....

                              BTW, I also had the chance to work races with the IMS Radio crew...They also did/do fine broadcasts and were/are great people to work with and for....

                              Comment

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