A Treasured Tradition Starts Back Tonight

If you are a die-hard fan of the Indianapolis 500, you most likely know what today is. OK, the date of May 7 may carry a lot of other historical significance to the race that I’m not aware of – but I’m talking about this year. Tonight marks the return of one of my most treasured traditions of the Month of May. It’s the first night this season for Donald Davidson and The Talk of Gasoline Alley.

If you are lucky enough to live in Indianapolis, you already know that you can listen to Donald answer questions “…of a nostalgic nature” on 1070 The Fan or. For those of us that live outside of the area, we can still listen live on 1070thefan.com or the 1070 app. If you miss it for whatever reason, you can always listen to the podcasts that are archived (sans commercials) on the website just a couple of hours after the live broadcast,

I like both. I always try to listen live during the evening, because I work during the day. But I also download each podcast to save. I started doing this in 2006, back in the days when I had my first iPod and before the iPhone had been invented. I saved all seventeen episodes from that season and would listen to them over the next year anytime I would be taking my nightly walks or doing yard work. By the time May 2007 rolled around, I pretty much had the 2006 season memorized.

I have made it a point to download and save each episode from every season since then. Then a couple of years ago, a friend of mine directed me to a website that had all of the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons and a few random episodes from 2000, 2001 and 2002. Going into tonight, I now have 303 episodes of The Talk of Gasoline Alley loaded onto my phone. I have also made several backup copies just in case something crashes. Tonight will be 304 episodes and counting.

The episodes aren’t as long as they used to be. Back around 2006 until around 2010 or so, not only would you get the first hour that aired over WFNI (formerly WIBC), you would also get the second hour that played over Network Indiana – which I’m guessing was a string of smaller stations across the state. The Network Indiana shows had a little more relaxed pace because there were fewer commercial breaks and Donald could really expand his stories. Somewhere along the way, the Network Indiana shows either stopped or quit being available online.

This will infuriate most Indiana residents, but I always cheer against the Indiana Pacers and for one reason only. When they are good and go deep into the playoffs, they interfere with my Month of May. If the Pacers are playing in May, they preempt Donald Davidson. This year, I was worried when they made the playoffs and threatened to beat Cleveland. It may be the only time I’ve ever rooted for LeBron James, because I wanted the Pacers out of the way before tonight.

Starting tonight, each weeknight will begin with a one-hour Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee at 7:00 EDT. Then Kevin will stay over and host The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson from 8:00 EDT until 9:00. Sometimes there are weekend shows, but I’m not sure if there are any shows on weekends this season.

So whether you listen live or you want to download an episode to save, you can click on the link to The Talk of Gasoline Alley I have on the right hand column on this page under “Favorite Links” and it’ll take you right to the page with archived episodes.

If you find yourself in the cold dark days of December and January and you are starving for anything to do with racing, there are few things that will sound better than hearing Donald Davidson talking to Dave from Marion, Mike from Vernon Hills (who will be going for his third straight win in the Oilpressure.com Trivia Contest starting Wednesday), Paul from Racine, Jay in St. Paul or Jerry in Delphi. Hearing Donald wax on about Sam Hanks, Jimmy Daywalt, Eddie Sachs or Wilbur Shaw is about the best therapy anyone could hope for.

I have an idea that most people that come here probably listen to The Talk of Gasoline Alley on a fairly regular basis. If you don’t, what are you waiting for? Give it a try for a few nights this season, and you’ll soon be hooked. The next thing you know, you’ll find yourself combing the internet for old archived episodes just like I did. It’s just another of the many rituals of May.

George Phillips

8 Responses to “A Treasured Tradition Starts Back Tonight”

  1. BrandonWright77 Says:

    Tragically, I didn’t know about TOGA until a few years ago. Thank goodness for podcast archives! I like to load a few on my phone whenever I’m going to The Track and listen to them as I roam the grounds.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    Ah, Christmas carols of May – daily Oilpressure, daily Trackside with Cavin and Kevin, and daily Talk Of Gasoline Alley.

    What a wonderful time of year.

  3. Oh wow! I’m surprised at the poll results. How come so many readers are not listening to Donald? You don’t know what you’re missing.

  4. SkipinSC Says:

    I would still like the two programs to find a home on Sirius. They have an “IndyCar Channel” (which magically appears only on Race Days,) and it would be refreshing to have these shows on live air for those who aren’t local.

  5. BrandonWright77 Says:

    I just stumbled upon a site that has a load of past TOGA episodes available for download, going back to the early/mid 00’s.

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