INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’ve ever listened to the Indy 500 on the radio, you’ll likely recognize his voice.
He is the voice of the Indy 500, and his name is Mark Jaynes.
He’s one of only six people who has served as the voice of the Indy 500.
“I thank our original anchor, I affectionately refer to him as ‘the Godfather,’ the late Sid Collins, for having the vision and the foresight to put the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network together,” Jaynes said. “I think the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network is as responsible as any entity for the growth and the popularity of the Indianapolis 500.”
As part of the IMS Radio Network, his voice is heard by millions of people. His goal? Create that theater of the mind and take listeners on a journey.
“We want to feel like those people that are in their backyards or on their boats or in their cars or whatever the case may be, are immediately transported to 16th and Georgetown who can’t be there for whatever the reason,” Jaynes explained.
He got his start at the network in 1996 as a pit reporter and worked his way up. The magnitude of what Jaynes does is not lost on him.
“We’re all, I think, fans of the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar series first, all of us that are blessed to be a part of this radio network,” he said. “It’s a responsibility that all of us take very, very seriously and we do our best to serve our fans and honor the history and tradition of those that came before us. To be one of only six people to ever be in that chair certainly reaffirms that this is the greatest country in which to live and if you work hard and put yourself in the right position, be in the right place at the right time, that your hard work will eventually pay off.”
Jaynes has had that passion since an early age. He told News 8 he talked his parents into buying him a cassette recorder in the 1970s and he used to do mock Indy 500s with neighborhood kids and even play-by-play of baseball games as a kid.
Also a communications teacher at Monrovia High School, his alma mater, Jaynes can look back on specific moments that reminded him of the impact his voice has during the race.
“Little things remind you of the significance of what you’re doing,” Jaynes said. “When I used to be in turn 3, when they threw it to me for the first time, all the people seated there in the northeast vista would turn and wave and give me a thumbs up to let me know that they were listening. So, it’s little things like that that remind you of how truly fortunate you are to be able to do this, but also it reminds you of the responsibility that you have to people who value your product and you need to serve them well.”