got his start in New Britain
|By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press
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Arute has been known as a lot of names since his days as a youngster
growing up in New Britain. There was Little Jack, Jackie, Jack, Jr, and
now just Jack Arute, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is his hectic
schedule and work load.
Arute began his network broadcasting career with ABC sports and ESPN in
1984. He served as one of the voices of NASCAR racing for MRN Radio, the
Motor Racing Network from 1972 to 1980.
Today, Arute can be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio serving as host of a
college football show daily and then Sunday’s doing the NFL Rewind show.
For years, Arute was part of the Indy 500 coverage but sadly for viewers
no longer is, and when asked why he is not connected with Indy racing
today, where he literally became known as one of the television voices of
the Indy 500 he replied, “I wish I still was but they decided to go into
Nobody today may know more about the Indy 500 and Indy car racing than
Arute began his broadcasting days at his father’s Stafford Motor Speedway
as he was track announcer along with current FOX racing announcer, Mike
“I was on the air with ABC for 29 years doing Indy racing, college
football sideline reporter as well as working several Olympics.” Arute
said after finishing his radio show recently.
Arute will always have a special place in his heart for Indy racing, but
he fears the sport has been left behind instead of trying to stay current
or move ahead.
“They have spent too much time trying to recapture the past. You can’t go
back, you can only look to the future. They are making several of the same
mistakes that CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) made,” he said.
CART and the Indy Racing League (IRL) were two separate Indy-style
organizations fighting for control and today Indy Car racing, the former
IRL, is the lone open wheel promoter.
“They need to entice new fans to watch Indy car racing. They still think
all they have to do is recapture the CART fans of the past and they will
be all right. Those fans have moved on to other things,” Arute said.
Today the Indianapolis 500 is Indy Car racing’s biggest event both
nationally and worldwide, and while it still draws 350,000 fans at the
track on race day, and millions more on television and radio, the race
itself isn’t what it once was.
There are less Americans in Indy racing, more street courses than oval
tracks, which NASCAR runs on, and a lack of interest in the sport which
once was the dominate force in American auto racing, especially in the
1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s.
NASCAR has since taken over that niche but Arute wonders with the
astronomical cost of racing if NASCAR isn’t heading for trouble.
“I don’t know if Richard Petty or Tony Stewart would make it today in
racing if they were starting out because of the cost. Back then, if you
had talent you could get a ride and work your way up, but now you have to
bring a ton of money or a sponsorship program to get in,” Arute said.
“Where is the next Jeff Gordon or Joey Logano coming from? NASCAR had a
minor league with the local race tracks across the country but now they
are pushing the K&N series as the next place to watch the future stars of
Besides his radio shows, he continues to serve as president of the
Stafford Motor Speedway which runs weekly Friday night modified racing,
along with other support divisions.
“My brother Mark and his wife Lisa do a great job of running the day to
day operations of the speedway and I like my role of just walking around
the pit area and talking with people,” Arute said.
Arute has always had an opinion and he would let it be known, whether it
was about the state of auto racing or the confusion of the college
football system. It has sometimes gotten him into hot water, but also
makes him a person you would want to talk with and listen to.
When Arute retires, and he shows no sign of that, his resume will show he
worked as a vice president in charge of communications for the Charlotte
Motor Speedway, manager of a public relations firm, Vice President and
General Manager for Junior Johnson and Associates as well as running his
own public relations company. He also is an author of “Jack Arute’s Tales
from the Indy 500.”
“I am really happy with that,” he said. “It is now going into its third
printing and includes everything through last year’s Indy race.”
Arute is as comfortable talking about the status of short track racing to
the short comings of the NASCAR Whelen modified tour, Indy Car racing,
NASCAR and college football, but it was his humble beginnings in the
Hardware City that gave this worldwide-known broadcaster his start.