This is one story I haven’t told much.

   In 2000, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at the Talladega Texaco Walk of Fame ceremony. That year, the inductees were Darrell Waltrip and the late Bobby Hamilton. I was elated to be invited to the pre-ceremony, invitation only, reception. The entire time going up, I was nervous because I was going to get to be in a room where I had no clue who all would be there: current stars or legends of the past. Several local people were there that my family knew. We were conversing with them most of the time. After practice had concluded at Talladega that Friday, the dignitaries, inductees, and SEVERAL series figures started rolling in. The emcee of the event was the late Benny Parsons. I was introduced to him first when he came. You absolutely couldn’t imagine how nice of a gentleman he was. Throughout the reception, I had the opportunity to get photos and speak to people the likes of Robert Yates, Ricky Rudd, Bobby Hamilton, Darrell Waltrip, Mike Helton, Ernie Irvan, Benny Parsons himself, Phil Parsons, Richard Childress, and many others. 

   About 30 minutes before the reception ended, two more very large figures made their appearance. One of them was Dr. Jerry Punch, and the other was Bob Jenkins. I thought that my conversation with BP was good, boy was I wrong. I was introduced to them by BP himself, because it impressed Benny so much that I skipped our homecoming game that night to be at the ceremony. Bob asked me what led me to skip the game to be here. I simply told him things like this are once in a lifetime, and you don’t pass up a chance for rare opportunities if you get them. Doc had that “i’m impressed” look on his face, but the words Bob said were striking, and have stayed etched in my mind still to this day. Bob Jenkins uttered these words to me: ” I look at that as how I got my opportunity. I was a race fan that got lucky, and you are a race fan that got lucky enough to do this.” The only words that I could say, because it struck a lasting impression on me so hard, was ” Yes sir, you’re right.” Our conversation lasted about another 15 minutes or so before we had to go to downtown to the park for the ceremony. To this day, my conversation with Bob has been unforgettable. He even sat by me on the stage. One question I got to ask him was his: “What is one thing you enjoy so much about what you do, whether its on radio or television?” His response was subtle, yet humble: “Because I adore getting to paint the picture and tell the story of the sport to the fan that may not be able to see the race.” 

   The conversation has had a lasting impact on me, because he was so humble, and extremely nice to speak with. That night I was able to get a photo with Benny and Doc Punch, but wasn’t able to get one with Bob because he was a popular figure to talk to. The aspect that he took the time to speak to little ol’ me meant just as much as a photo. 

  This morning, the Good Lord called Bob Jenkins home, after his valiant fight with brain cancer. Arguably he will live on as the most iconic voice in motorsports broadcasting. Whether it was at his beloved home at IMS, or in our backyard at Talladega, his voice is unmistakable. As the FSU Seminoles stated about their beloved Coach Bobby Bowden this week: “Today we lost a legend, but you never lose a legacy.” Bob’s legacy will never be gone. 

  With my current involvement in the NASCAR ranks, his response to my reasoning for being there that day means more to me now than ever. 

 “We’re just race fans that got lucky”

May you rest in eternal peace Bob Jenkins. Godspeed, and we’ll see you on the other side. 

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