Two men loyally associated with the Indianapolis 500 have passed on, causing the Indy Racing League to pause and remember them.

Michael J Kollins and John R DeCamp, each of whom spent 30 years in different capacities during running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, both died in the first week of December.

Kollins, a noted automotive author, served on the tech committee and was director of product certification for USAC at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1955-85. He passed away at the age of 91 on 3 December. DeCamp, famous for his many years of broadcasting Purdue Boilermakers' sports events, was statistician for the broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 from 1957-87, but passed away at the age of 82 two days after his 'colleague'.

Kollins was a licensed AAA driver who also was a race car builder, owner and mechanic. He was president of Kollins Design and Engineering, and worked for 20 years in several managerial positions with Chrysler Corporation. Before that, he was chief of section service engineering and technical data with Packard for ten years, and was also a test driver and engineering analyst for the company. He was an honorary life member of the Indianapolis 500 Oldtimer Club.

Kollins was a trustee of the National Automotive Historical Collection and a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, writing many articles on the early days of racing and the automotive industry. He is survived by his wife Julia, three children and three grandchildren.

DeCamp, known as the 'Voice of Purdue' for his commentary work, attended the 1946 Indianapolis 500, the first after World War II, with WXLW Indianapolis radio announcer Charlie Brockman. Brockman duly introduced him to Sid Collins, the 'Voice of the Indy 500', and this led to his becoming part of the Indy 500 network. He replaced Brockman, who was moving to television, as scorer, timer and statistician in 1957, having warmed up for this task by broadcasting midget races at Lafayette Speedway between 1950-56. DeCamp's final race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was 1987, working with Paul Page and Donald Davidson in the radio booth.

At Purdue, he provided play-by-play of Boilermakers' football and basketball games from 1940 until his retirement in 1986. He started his broadcasting career with station WBAA while an undergraduate at Purdue and became station manager in 1960. He retired as director of public relations and promotions for Purdue's athletic department.

He is survived by wife Elinor, two sons, a stepson, his brother and six grandchildren.

 

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