It started in 1972 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jim Nabors singing Back Home Again In Indiana just prior to the most famous words in racing, "Gentlemen, start your engines". It has been done every year since, although a couple of times a recording was played when Nabors was too ill to attend. This weekend's Indy 500 will be the final time that Nabors will perform the classic home state song because at 84, he has decided to slow down and enjoy the fruits of a great career from his home in Honolulu.

Jim Nabors has more than 200 films to his credit, he has recorded 46 albums and has brought smiles to generations of TV lovers as the lovable and irrepressible, Gomer Pyle, a character that first appeared in the old Andy Griffith show after Griffith discovered Nabors performing in a club and hired him on the spot.

It was in 1972 that Nabors received an unexpected invitation to sing the now famous song at the Indy 500. Since then, even casual race fans make sure they at least tune in to hear Nabors' deep baritone voice, which is a tradition in my family and you can bet we will be tuned in this Monday to see and hear history as Nabors performs the song for the final time.

Change is always hard, but Nabors has earned his down time. When one tradition fades, a new tradition will be born and that will be the case at Indy, but honestly, it will be very strange at next year's Indy 500 without Jim Nabors. Enjoy whatever the future holds for you Mr. Nabors, but above all else....thank you and god bless you.

Below is a recording of Nabors' very first Indy 500 performance in 1972....enjoy.


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