James R. Phillippe, the voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, died on Dec. 15. Cause of death was not released. He was 84.
Phillippe earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Indiana University, and a master’s from Cornell University. After working as a radio announcer in Evansville, Ind., and Huntington, W. Va., he became a professor of drama and radio at Butler University in Indianapolis. Phillippe chaired the drama department and the radio and television department, managed the student radio station and broadcast the school’s home basketball and football games during his 35-year tenure.
In 1950, he was invited to work as a track announcer with Tom Carnegie at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Phillippe relished the opportunity and announced every race at the speedway for the next half century.
A member of the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Phillippe received the Butler Medal of Honor, the university’s highest honor. He also won the Unsung Hero Award for his longtime service to the Speedway.