Indy: The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500

Overview

In a nation that worships the automobile for the freedom, style, and status that it confers, the Indianapolis 500, run on or near Memorial Day eighty-seven times, is an annual rite of passage celebrating Americans’ love affair with speed.

Indy recounts the drivers (677 men and 3 women) who have gone to Indianapolis in the past ninety-five years to live their dreams, staking their lives on the outcome. It highlights the faces in the crowd: hardworking Americans, tinhorn ...

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Overview

In a nation that worships the automobile for the freedom, style, and status that it confers, the Indianapolis 500, run on or near Memorial Day eighty-seven times, is an annual rite of passage celebrating Americans’ love affair with speed.

Indy recounts the drivers (677 men and 3 women) who have gone to Indianapolis in the past ninety-five years to live their dreams, staking their lives on the outcome. It highlights the faces in the crowd: hardworking Americans, tinhorn celebrities, hookers, movie stars, gate-crashers, and five American presidents. Terry Reed focuses his narrative on the track’s four quarter-mile-long turns, each the site of triumphs (including those of such multiple winners as Billy Vukovich, A. J. Foyt, and Helio Castroneves); grisly deaths (at least sixty-six, including three unrelated men of the same unusual last name who died in the same turn but in different decades); and bizarre heroics (like the sans souci French driver who downed champagne throughout the 1913 Indy 500 and still won). Reed also examines Indy’s confluence of racing and aeronautics (World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker once owned the track) and the impact upon the event of such forces as segregation, gender politics, food, fads, publicity stunts, world-class partying, and tasteless pop culture.

Indy takes readers on an entertaining, full-throttle ride through the history of one of the world’s most famous races and one of America’s most hallowed rituals. It is the definitive account of the crown jewel of American motorsports.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Indy is the most complete book in the Indianapolis 500 I’ve ever read. Terry Reed deserves the pole position for this book."

"Of all the books based on the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, none have been as extensively and penetratingly researched as Terry Reed’s."

"Terry Reed has done a magnificent job in writing an intriguing and captivating mosaic. He is accurate, entertaining, and amusing, and presents a chronicle that is truly enjoyable to read."

"Terry Reed demonstrates consummate skill as a writer, reporter, and researcher in this enhanced and updated second edition. His book is a pleasure to read and may come as enlightenment even to aficionados of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race."

"Fascinating . . . It's all there for Brickyard junkies, from the first race in 1911 through 2004."

"Captures the legends and lore of the race and the track that hosts it. . . . Indy offers up a detailed, engaging history."

"Indy is one of the most entertaining and enlightening books written on the Indianapolis 500. . . . It is the definitive account of the crown jewel of American motorsports."

"For Terry Reed, Indy surely has been a labor of love. . . . The result is extraordinary: a book that definitively answers the question, 'What's so special about Indy?'"

"Other books have of course been written about the sport . . . but none with the lore, depth, and detail of Indy."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574889079
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/31/2005
  • Edition description: Second
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 1,452,722
  • Product dimensions: 7.06 (w) x 9.94 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Reed has written numerous articles in automotive publications, including Stock Car Racing, Vintage Auto Racing, On Track, and Indy Car Racing, with best-of-year winners in the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association-refereed competition. He has also published books on Truman Capote and playwright and New Yorker essayist S. N. Behrman. He holds a doctorate in Anglo-American literature and lives near Cincinnati, Ohio.
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