“Pit Pass Indy”

I don’t listen to many podcasts. I’m guessing that’s an age-related thing. Not many people my age listen to podcasts. I probably listen to more than I claim, however. I have roughly 335 episodes of The Talk of Gasoline Alley on my phone. I randomly listen to those when walking, doing yard work or riding in my car. That’s especially true at this time of year, when I’m starting to get really fired-up about the Indianapolis 500. Occasionally, I’ll listen to the most recent episode of Trackside on Wednesday mornings if I didn’t catch it live the night before; but normally I listen to it live on Tuesday nights.

Recently I’ve started utilizing the underused Podcast app on my phone, now that I have a car with Apple CarPlay on it. I’ve expanded my listening to Dinner with Racers, beyond the hilarious Bobby Unser episodes. They are good and informative, but nothing will ever approach the sheer entertainment value of the 2018 and 2019 Uncle Bobby episodes.

Lately, I’ve started listening to Pit Pass Indy. When I first started listening, it was more out of curiosity because I know the host – Bruce Martin.

Pit Pass Indy

To say that Martin is an accomplished motorsports journalist is a huge understatement. He’s been at this since 1981, and has racked up a lot of prestigious journalism awards; the kind that are voted on by his peers, which are the most impressive kind. To be honest, I didn’t realize just how accomplished he was until I started doing a little research for this post.

I was aware of who Bruce Martin was, long before I started this site back in 2009. I have been seeing him around at every media center and track we went to – usually as he was bouncing around the pits at a fast clip, sitting at his work station pounding away on his laptop or in a secluded corner conducting an interview. He never seemed to be one for making idle chit-chat and appeared to be very hard-working and dedicated to his craft. As it turns out – that’s only until he gets his work done. If he has finished his work, Bruce can engage in as much idle chit-chat as anyone.

Have you ever known someone who can say the most random things and they just come out funny? That’s Bruce Martin. I can say something and it just comes across as someone talking. Bruce could say the same thing and it would sound hilarious, even though he was not even trying to be humorous. Comedian Jonathan Winters was that way. He could say the most benign sentence and it just made you want to laugh.

It wasn’t until one year at Pocono, when I found myself sitting directly across the table from Bruce, that I realized how funny he can be just in a normal conversation. But it’s the way he talks in those normal conversations that I find so amusing. After more than forty years of covering motorsports, the man has more than a few stories to tell. His ability for storytelling is rivaled by few.

After that weekend at Pocono, I started seeking him out just to hear how he tells stories. We aren’t best friends or anything, but we have swapped a few offseason texts in the past. When he was at St. Petersburg for the season-opener, he sent me a text asking if Susan was OK, since we weren’t there this year – which I thought was very nice.

A close second behind Bruce’s knowledge of motorsports, is his vast knowledge of food. If you follow him on Twitter (@BruceMartin_500), you will see countless photos of food he has cooked himself, or ordered in whatever famous restaurant in whichever IndyCar city he happens to be in.

While we were in St. Petersburg for the start of the 2022 season, Susan asked him if he knew where we could find the best Cuban sandwiches in the area. It wasn’t close, but he sent us to La Segunda Bakery in Ybor City, which is on the far side of Tampa from the track. Believe me, it was worth the drive. They were so good, we went there again on our trip to Florida last October, and brought some back. The man knows food.

Anyway, back to Pit Pass Indy, I had seen him post about his podcast on social media for a short while. I decided one morning to pull it up on my Podcast app. It’s odd to listen to someone you know, sounding professional and all. But once I got pass the “Hey, I know that voice” phase; I discovered that the podcast was actually very good.

Keep in mind, I’ve only listened to a few of them, so my sample size is not that big. The first one I heard, he was interviewing Bud Denker of the Penske Corporation. Last week, I listened to Bruce interview Romain Grosjean and then someone with VICE, the production company heading up 100 Days to Indy. Paul Dalbey and I listened to the most recent episode on our way to Texas last week, where Bruce has James Hinchcliffe as a guest.

The best thing about Pit Pass Indy is they are short. Each episode seems to be about 35-37 minutes in length, which probably works for many daily commutes.

Bruce Martin is a good interviewer, which is a skill I am sorely lacking. That is why in almost fourteen years of this site, I’ve asked a grand total of one question in a press conference. It’s not that I’m scared or anything; it’s just that I can never think of any good questions to ask. One thing I am good at is observing driver’s reactions when other people ask them uncomfortable questions.

Pit Pass Indy is available on all major platforms where you will find podcasts. I have also posted a link to the right under Favorite Links. Give it a listen. I think you’ll find it enjoyable and informative.

George Phillips

Please Note: This weekend is Easter Weekend. I am off for Good Friday, so I don’t really want to spend Thursday night in front of a keyboard, and the same goes for Easter Sunday. Quite honestly, I am still recovering from our racing trip to Texas last weekend. My old body doesn’t bounce back as quick as it used to. Therefore, I am going to take TWO days off away from here, in order to rest up. There will be no post here on Friday Apr 7, nor one on Monday Apr 10. I will return here one week from today, Wednesday Apr 12. I wish everyone a safe and happy Easter weekend. – GP

4 Responses to ““Pit Pass Indy””

  1. regarding:
    “…the man has more than a few stories to tell.
    His ability for storytelling is rivaled by few.”

    stories sell.
    that is one reason people watch movies, read
    books, etc….there are some old “sayings”
    about a “repairman” will always have a job,
    or a good “salesman” will, too…but a good
    storyteller throughout written history is
    the only one who is revered.

    please enjoy the Easter story.

  2. Thanks for cluing us in to a podcast that I hadn’t heard of.

  3. OliverW Says:

    Mmmm. I listened and apart from the Callum Ilott interview thought it was underwhelming. Newgarden gave his usual meaningless spiel and I decided that I would never rent/hire from Penske Vehicles after being reminded of them probably at least ten times during the broadcast ! I will have another go though. Maybe just a bad day.

  4. True story: in all my years of having, at one time, a somewhat fairly successful IndyCar blog, with all the cool things I was able to do, photos I took, posts I wrote, and even the response his Indianapolis 500 journals received, the thing my dad always thought was just mind blowing was that I got to meet and spend time with Bruce Martin. As a subscriber to National Speed Sport News since the ‘50s, the guys who wrote for NSSN – guys like Economaki, Gary London, Bruce, and a bunch of others I’m forgetting now – were the titans of racing journalism. I really regret now that I never took that time to introduce dad to Bruce.

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