Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Mason, MI (Monday, November 9, 2020) - The “Voices of Summer" are those golden tones everyone hears coming from the speakers at the racetracks each season. The mention of a racetrack's name often triggers the knowledge of who the voice is for that track; from Mt.Pleasant and Chief Leo Pego, Flat Rock/Toledo and Gary Lindahl, Tri City Motor Speedway and Roger Williams to Kalamazoo and Jason Seltzer, that connection to the people behind the speakers is usually instant.
When you hear Corrigan Oil Speedway the name "Big" Ed Inloes is immediately attached. The Flint, Michigan resident was a diehard race fan long before holding a microphone at the Mason, Michigan speed plant.
"As a kid, my dad and I were always going to the races and always had copies of The MARC Times Racing News to keep up with what was happening in the racing world,” remembered Inloes. “It wasn't until I was 8 years old when Eddie Hayden put me in his car after a feature win at Auto City and proceeded to do donuts in the turn that I was really hooked," he said.
"In the 90's we started listening to WACY Radio 1160 while at Auto City and heard Greg Yost talking. I thought he sounded like he needed help," chuckled Inloes. "I was working at a gas station at the time and told Larry Hennessey (then the station manager at WACY) about thinking Greg needed help and he set up a meeting with Greg and I and that's basically how I became his apprentice," Inloes said.
Ed's first night of calling any racing action for a track came in 1994. "Greg was calling an Indycar race at Michigan International [Speedway] and he asked me to fill in for him. Being the 4th of July was a big deal and we had some kids come up to announce as well, but I had to leave early as my friend and racing partner Mike Clark had a massive heart attack in the stands. It was Matt Prieur (current Berlin co-announcer) that finished the show," recounted Inloes.
In 2000, Inloes got his first dose of a full season of being who everyone heard when they came to Owosso Speedway. "Greg had accepted the job as General Manager at Auto City and Donny Shaw and Karl Kiefer had just bought Owosso and decided to take a chance and let Matt and I be co-announcers. I also worked at Dixie until June of that year when I decided to focus my efforts on Owosso."
It would stay that way until 2003 when Jim Leasure would contact him about Spartan. "Paul Zimmerman had just passed and Jim was going to take over. He knew I was free on Friday nights, and as a race fan and now announcer, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Then he got Springport and asked if I would be willing to, and I said yes, and started there in 2004," said Inloes.
While he was sidelined at Corrigan this year due to the shutdowns, Inloes was looking forward to getting back behind the mic at "The Track The Stars Call Home" but that isn't going to happen.
"I got a call on the 19th from Tom Hernly Jr [new owner of Corrigan Speedway] that they were going to go in a different direction and that I wasn't part of their plans," confessed Inloes. "After 17 years of calling the action there I was shocked. I've gone through all the emotions the last few days and have come to the point of just wishing Corrigan Oil Speedway the best of luck in 2021 and beyond," a somber Inloes stated.
For nearly 30 years "Big" Ed has accomplished a lot in local racing. Whether it was being a writer for The Late Model Digest and The Michigan Racing Scene to co-hosting radio shows like Live From the Pits and RaceTalk. From calling races (Tri City Motor Speedway-asphalt, Crystal, Berlin, Kalamazoo, Flat Rock, Toledo, Angola, Whittemore, Baer Field, Dixie, Auto City, Springport) and mentoring young announcers like Kyle Trinklein (former Short Track Truck Challenge Series) and Sean Sprague (former GLS and Angola and current I96 Speedway), Ed can still be heard at Owosso Speedway on Saturday nights.
When asked about his plans for Friday nights in 2021, Inloes stated "It'll be really weird not heading West toward Corrigan, but I'll feed my racing addiction as a fan or an employee somewhere."
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Chuck Darling, Horsepower Happenings
Cover Photo - Rand Thomson