The Hammer and Nigel Show
Tragedy at The Track: David Hasselhoff Sings The National Anthem at The Indy 500 in 1986
(Silver Screen Collection / Contributor / Getty Images)
It was awful. It was horrific. It was straight out of a Stephen King novel. David Hasselhoff's rendition of the National Anthem prior to the 1986 running of the Indianapolis 500 destroyed the idealism and hopes of an entire generation of race fans.
More than 30 years after the fact, there are still those who hesitate when asked to offer their perspective on what they will only refer to as "the incident."
"I'd rather not speak of it," Kelly Decker, 61, said via phone Wednesday. "I done blacked out halfway through the second verse. When I came to three days later, I was told I had miscarried my unborn daughter."
Decker, who now raises organic hogs on a farm in West Virginia, was well into her third trimester when the tragedy occurred. She returned to her residence after a four week stay in a local hospital. The pink nursery in her mobile home was painted an ambivalent and neutral beige the following week.
"I'll never forgive that feller for what he done to me," Decker said through tears. "Even now, I get flashbacks whenever I sees a Trans Am; don't matter what color the sumbitch is."
Jeremy Maupin, 41, claims that fateful day in 1986 was the primary reason that his father abandoned the ministry after 27 years as the pastor of a well known mega church in Northern California.
"That moment is seared into my memory," said Maupin through the bars of his cramped and dingy prison cell. "Hoff started singing. He weren't but three or four words into the song when my pappy turned to me and said, 'Youngin' there ain't no God.'"
Some who were in attendance refuse to place blame.
Cassie Luanne, 45, told this reporter that she felt Hasselhoff did the best he could with the material he was given.
"I think he should’ve been a bigger star," said Luanne. "I always liked Knight Rider."
Legendary race car driver Arie Luyendyk, however, is less forgiving.
"I crashed at Indy in '86,” said Luyendyk. "Hasselhoff was the reason."
WIBC hosts Hammer and Nigel have the audio of the worst tragedy in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history in the clip below.