[Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway press release]
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 – Beloved actor-entertainer and legendary Indianapolis 500 icon Jim Nabors will sing “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final time prior to the start of the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.
Nabors’ rendition of the song became a beloved tradition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since he first performed it in 1972. Always accompanied by the Purdue “All American” Marching Band and thousands of fans singing in unison throughout the massive facility, Nabors has performed the song 34 times in person at IMS.
“The first time that I ever sang at the Indy 500 in 1972, the warmth I got from the crowd immediately made me become a lifetime Hoosier; and I’ve always cherished it,” Nabors said. “I’ll see you all in May; but I’ve come to the conclusion that my health doesn’t permit me to travel very much anymore. So I’ll be retiring from singing ‘Back Home Again’ at the Indy 500 after this year.
“I want to give a special thanks to everyone; and particularly the Hulman George family, who have a special place in my heart and are my wonderful friends. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Nabors, 83, has performed at the Indianapolis 500 every year since 1987 with the exception of 2007 and 2012 races that he missed due to illness. A rendition of the song he performed at his home in Hawaii was played on the video screens at IMS prior to the 2012 race to the delight of his countless fans in attendance and millions watching on worldwide television.
“There are many special moments leading up to the start of the Indianapolis 500, but one of the most anticipated every year is when Jim Nabors sings ‘Back Home Again in Indiana,”‘ said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “This year will be even more special as Indianapolis 500 fans will cheer not only for what the song means but for what Jim Nabors has meant to the Indianapolis 500.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will honor and thank Nabors for his years of performance in several ways during Indianapolis 500 race weekend that will be announced at a later date. Fans are encouraged to tell their Nabors stories at IMS.com/WeAllHaveAStory.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will not announce a future plan for the “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” performance until after this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“We want the focus for this year to be on celebrating Jim’s final performance at Indianapolis,” said Boles.”
The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 25.