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1989: Tom Carnegie talks Indy 500, Tony Hinkle, and retirement

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Posted at 5:25 AM, May 23, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Avid Indy 500 fans likely remember the calls, ”He’s on it” and “It’s a new track record,” from Indianapolis Motor Speedway track announcer Tom Carnegie who held that title for six decades.

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Carnegie also served as sports director at WRTV, then WFBM. Carnegie came to the television station in 1953 after working as an announcer at WIRE radio. It was a career change he discussed with colleague and longtime WRTV journalist Howard Caldwell in May 1989.

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“I had no concept of what it was to be on camera,” Carnegie said. “[There was] no opportunity to learn because we were the first, so you just had to go in and do it; comb your hair, we didn’t put on makeup then.”

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Carnegie covered many of the major sports stories in central Indiana, but that’s not what mattered to him.

“To me, the most satisfying part of the television business is not the stories you might do, but the opportunity to meet the people and to get a feel for them,” Carnegie said.

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Carnegie also called the Indiana state high school basketball tournament for more than two decades alongside longtime friend and former Butler coach Tony Hinkle.

“You couldn’t get much out of him except for expressions like, ‘Whoever’s going to score the most points is going to win this game, Tom,’” Carnegie said. “It was a 25-year association that I really loved.”

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Although Carnegie retired from WRTV in 1985, he remained active at the track and in his personal life through exercise.

“I think that’s the thing that’s kept me going, keeping active,” Carnegie said. “Ii think it’s great health wise.”

Tom Carnegie died in February 2011 at the age of 91.