Lou Palmer (motorsport broadcaster)
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Lou Palmer (born Louis A. Perunko Jr. in 1932 in Wheeling, West Virginia - died January 19, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana) was an American broadcaster best known for his work at the Indianapolis 500 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network from 1958 until 1989.
Palmer, who was raised in Syracuse, New York had moved to Indianapolis in 1953. Shortly after joining the news department of WIBC in Indianapolis he received an invitation from the "Voice of the 500", Sid Collins to joined the IMS Radio Network for the 1958 Indianapolis 500. Assigned turn 3 of the track because 'nothing ever happens there', Palmer was called upon to call a 15 car pileup in the turn on only the first lap of the race. The crash almost completely blocked the track and ended with the death of driver Pat O'Connor. Jerry Unser's car cleared the track's outer retaining wall causing him to suffer a dislocated shoulder during the first lap crash.
By the 1963 Indianapolis 500 Lou Palmer had moved from Turn 3 to being a pit reporter for raceday, a position he would continue in until 1988 when he replaced Paul Page as the Chief Announcer of the Indy 500. During his time as a pit reporter one of Palmer 's main functions was to interview the winning driver in Victory Lane.
Lou Palmer was part of the IMS Radio network for over 30 years. His tenure ended after the 1989 race for which he was the Chief Announcer. Unfortunately Lou holds the record for having the shortest run of all IMS Radio Network Chief Announcers with just two races.
Following the 1988 Indy 500, Palmer and Paul Page co-hosted/narrated a 3 hour video produced by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway called "The Indianapolis 500 - An American Tradition since 1911". The production detailed each Indianapolis 500 race until 1988 and included archive footage as well as interviews with drivers such as 1911 winner Ray Harroun and the first triple winner of the 500 Louis Meyer. It also told the history of the IMS and its founding father Carl Fisher, as well as later owners Eddie Rickenbacker and Tony Hulman.
Palmer continued to work at WIBC during the year but annually took a hiatus every May which he would spend most waking hours at the Speedway, feeding daily reports every 30 minutes and anchoring WIBC's day-long qualification coverage.
Lou Palmer died on January 19, 2008 in Indianapolis at the age of 75. He was survived by his second wife Beverly, son Al and daughter Laura. His first wife Cal died in 1997.
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