SPEEDWAY, Ind. – For more than five decades before passing away from cancer in 2021, Bob Jenkins made us feel like we were at the track with him.
He had the voice, but there’s something else Bob had. He had the voice in his head, which was Terry Lingner.
“This is going to sound weird, but it was kind of love at first work sight,” Terry told FOX59’s Lindy Thackston. “Gosh, we just hit it off right from the beginning as most people did with Bob, and I’ll be darned if it didn’t turn into about 40 years together.”
In 1980 ESPN was new, and Terry knew right away what Bob was too humble to ever accept: that he was a star.
Terry says first of all, Bob had a great clock in his head.
“I could tell him, ‘I’m in a bit of trouble down here, I need 33 seconds.’ And I didn’t have to worry about that, so that’s the core of being really good on air I think.”
He was also a pro at teeing up the analyst and his whole crew.
Lindy shared she can attest to this after working with Bob since 2008 as a TV IndyCar pit reporter and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Public Address announcer. He was also a big support to her as they both battled cancer.
Bob and Lindy were part of VERSUS TV coverage under Terry producing with Jack Arute, Robbie Buhl and others.
“There have been a lot of sports and racing networks that have come and gone, but that was a special crew,” said Terry. “The 250 of us down in the compound are all pros, but you better have the best people on the air. And he was always the best.”
Terry and Bob traveled to the biggest tracks in the world together, but Bob was always just a boy from Liberty, Indiana.
Jennifer Woodruff is a fourth-generation owner of Woodruff’s Supermarket.
“A lot of people around here know him, and I grew up knowing who he was,” said Jennifer. “There’s been a real buzz around here since the GoFundMe started. We’re very excited to see Pamela’s work. She’s extremely talented and we’re all excited to see her final piece on the building.”
Yes, renowned artist Pamela Bliss, the woman behind the Reggie Miller and Eva Kor murals in downtown Indianapolis, will transform the side of Woodruff’s once the community raises all the money.
“We just wanted to have something to represent Bob’s legacy here in Liberty and everything that he did coming from a small town.”
Bob’s being honored another way as well, along with his late wife Pam who also passed away from cancer.
“I’m really excited to let you guys know and let race fans know that Bob and Pam are going to be interned up on a beautiful crest at Crown Hill maybe 25 feet away from Indy founder Carl Fisher,” said Terry.
“It’s amazing. Bob wasn’t over the top on a lot of details about what he wanted to do after things took its course, but he did kind of casually mention he thought that would cool if he could be at Crown Hill. As I say this I’m smiling because for him to be right there makes me happy and I’m sure it makes him happy.”
If you’d like to donate to the Liberty mural, click here. Any money raised above the goal will be used to beautify the town.