Long Time Voice of the Speedway - Adams Has Been Announcing for Three Decades

By Ken de la Bastide

(February 18, 2011) – Change is a constant in all facets of daily life, but one thing that has not changed in more than three decades is the familiar voice of Denny Adams as the announcer at Anderson Speedway.

Adams announced for the first time on July 4, 1980 when legendary announcer Dutch Hurst became ill.

“They had honored Dutch for 30 years of announcing,” Adams recalled recently. “I told John Hellis that I would like the opportunity to announce if Dutch ever got sick or decided to retire.”

Adams said no one expected Hurst to become ill and he asked by Pat Hellis if he would be interested in announcing on July 4, 1980.

“That was the second biggest show of the season, aside from the Little 500,” Adams said of his first night as track announcer. “I was shaking in my shoes.”

Prior to that night Adams had never done any announcing. He was a reporter for Marc Time Racing news, worked the old scoreboard at Anderson Speedway and communicated with the flagman.

“I sat beside Dutch for a long time,” he said. “We talked together many times. Dutch was a legend around Anderson. I told everyone at the track and myself that I can’t be Dutch, I have to be me.”

For many nights when the racing program came to a close, Adams would sign off on behalf of Hurst until his death.

“I was holding the seat until he came back,” Adams said. “Over the years as I watched and listened to him, I thought that would be a cool thing to do.”

Every announcer has phrases that become attached with them, for Adams one has to be, “He’s on his donkey”, when racing gets particularly tight.

One tradition started by Hurst that has been carried on by Adams is the brief introduction prior to the playing of the national anthem before the start of racing which recognizes it as one of the most important things before any sporting event.

Adams said one of the things he is most proud of during his 30 year tenure as announcer is getting more information about the drivers in the various divisions to include sponsors, wins, championships and rookie of the year honors.

“Dutch used to have a sheet of paper with the car number, driver and driver’s hometown,” he said. “That was it. I wanted to have more information on each driver.”

Over the years Adams has garnered information on every driver that has competed in the Pay Less Little 500 and said it is still a hard race to prepare for.

“That first year in 1981, I had no information,” he said. “I went around to every driver and built up a card file of information. It was a challenge to build it up. Now the veteran drivers know what information I’m seeking each year.”

Just about every weekend for 30 years from March through October, Adams has been bringing racing fans the action at the speedway. But he admitted there are times when it’s better not to say very much.

“The owners don’t like quiet time on the PA (public address) system,” he said. “But at times when someone is seriously hurt, I don’t think we should be selling hot dogs. Another tough time is during rain delays.”

While admitting it would be hard to select the best drivers he has seen compete at Anderson Speedway over the years, Adams said it would have to be drivers that can compete in a lot of divisions.

Two he named were Joe Beaver, who he would like to see race a competitive sprint car, and the other is Rod Phipps.

“Joe (Beaver) can drive anything on wheels,” he said. “Rod (Phipps) is competitive in anything the drives. Not always a champion, but always in the running.”

Adams said he plans to continue announcing as long as Anderson Speedway offers him the job and it’s something he enjoys.

“I takes a lot of dedication to be here every Saturday night and not take a vacation,” he said.

Adams is a retired letter carrier having worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 31 years.

“One of the things I’m proudest of is something I started on my own,” he said. “The invocation prior to racing. It has developed into a mini-ministry for me. People respond to it.”