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Favorite Books on Indy 500 History

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  • Favorite Books on Indy 500 History

    I’d be interested in knowing what books you regard as excellent sources for the history of the Indy 500. I assume the Donald Davidson/Rick Shaffer book would rank right up there, as would the Jack Fox book. Are there others you consider “must haves” for scholars of the Indy 500?

  • #2
    There's the Indianapolis News one, which is similar to a Fox continuation, more colour but less on the DNQs.

    But that's really it. For deeper sources you will only get things that cover part of Indy as part of their tale; Libby's book on Parnelli or De Paolo's Wall Smacker!, or Gary Doyle's excellent books.

    Also Indy: Racing Before the 500 The Untold Story of the Brickyard by Bruce Scott is worth a look for the pre-1911 races.
    "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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    • #3
      "500 Miles to Go" by Al Bloemker: http://500milestogo.org/

      "The Indy 500: Thirty Days in May" by Hal Higdon

      "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" by Wilbur Shaw


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      • #4
        Originally posted by ensign14 View Post
        There's the Indianapolis News one, which is similar to a Fox continuation, more colour but less on the DNQs.

        But that's really it. For deeper sources you will only get things that cover part of Indy as part of their tale; Libby's book on Parnelli or De Paolo's Wall Smacker!, or Gary Doyle's excellent books.

        Also Indy: Racing Before the 500 The Untold Story of the Brickyard by Bruce Scott is worth a look for the pre-1911 races.


        I recommand another book, related with the pre 500 history: "Thunder at Sunrise" by John M. Burns.

        It isn't Indy only but also dealing about the two other great events that preceeded the 500 (being the Vandebilt Cup and the Grand Prize races, held since 1904.) the book deals with the years 1904-1916.
        And how these two great road racing events, with all their impact, eventually lost their glamour and prestige due to the success of the Indy 500.
        And what a loss that eventually was.

        Just about everyone over here will ravell about the Marmon Wasp

        But `Old 16`, at least as legendary in US racing history as the Wasp.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ken-Paul View Post
          "500 Miles to Go" by Al Bloemker: http://500milestogo.org/

          "The Indy 500: Thirty Days in May" by Hal Higdon

          "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" by Wilbur Shaw

          all 3 are fantastic indeed. I also love the book about the Beast, the 1994 merc indy 500 engine for Penske if people are interested in a very good read about a specific year or two.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rjohnson View Post
            I’d be interested in knowing what books you regard as excellent sources for the history of the Indy 500. I assume the Donald Davidson/Rick Shaffer book would rank right up there, as would the Jack Fox book. Are there others you consider “must haves” for scholars of the Indy 500?
            Welcome back
            There's really no such thing as Gary the Moose, Sybil.

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            • #7
              I've always considered the Clymer/Hungness Yearbooks a great source of information. The daily reports are great for information you likely won't get anywhere else.
              "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

              John Kennedy at American University 1963

              "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

              A. Lincoln

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              • #8
                Did not like the Bloemker book at all. Major missed opportunity. The whole thing read like a children's novel, all made-up quotes.
                "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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                • #9
                  Ensign14 - By Indianapolis News, are you referring to newspaper articles, or did the News publish a book? If the latter, what is the title? Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    A Month at The Brickyard - Sonny Kleinfield

                    Black Noon - Art Garner

                    The Indy 500: An American Institution Under Fire - Ron Dorson

                    Clymer 500 yearbooks
                    I'll see YOU at the races!

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                    • #11
                      Black Noon

                      Beast

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                      • #12
                        The most recent edition of Shaffer/ Davidson suffers a little from having not been perfectly reviewed and updated. I'm sure that the underlying information and reporting for each year is very reliable, but more than once I read a conclusion or generalization that was correct for the previous edition but no longer correct.
                        Racing ain't much, but workin's nothing. Richard Tharp

                        Lying was a no-brainer for me. Robin Miller

                        "I thought they booed [Danica] because she was being a complete jerk, but then they applauded for A.J. Foyt. Now I'm just confused."

                        The real world sucks. Ed McCullough

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                        • #13
                          "They Call Me Mr. 500". I got it for a birthday present long ago. Good primer on the turbines
                          but full of the Granatelli family early exploits. Some stories are hilarious. I think I lost it over
                          the years.
                          "The Internet. Where fools go to feel important" - Sir Charles Barkley

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                          • #14
                            The jack arute book is awesome. short simple stories. fun to read.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atrackforumfan View Post
                              The most recent edition of Shaffer/ Davidson suffers a little from having not been perfechtly reviewed and updated. I'm sure that the underlying information and reporting for each year is very reliable, but more than once I read a conclusion or generalization that was correct for the previous edition but no longer correct.
                              It is currently available at a bargain price of $27.94 on Amazon, however:

                              https://www.amazon.com/dp/1905334826...4A22ZHA9SFWY7M

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