Floyd Clymer- The Indianapolis 500 in Depth

Floyd Clymer and motorsports grew up together.  After a career as one of the pioneers of motorcycle racing, Clymer began publishing books and repair manuals for motorcycles and cars in his 20’s. He purchased the Indian motorcycle company in the early 1960s after an attempt to buy the company failed a few years earlier.

For me, his greatest publications were the annual Indianapolis 500 yearbooks published between 1946 and 1968. They are an in-depth analysis and record of each year’s race as well as a record of he first third of the Hulman ownership period. Sadly, the only one I have is the 1961 yearbook, pictured at the top of the article. It was a gift from Harry Hartz.

Parts of the yearbook are taken straight from the Official Speedway program. The program from the track is a nice souvenir,  but the yearbooks delve deeper into the month of May.  There are pages devoted to technology, a chronicle of each day during the month, extended driver profiles, and a record of each car’s pit stops during the race. The pit stop record tells the lap, time of the stop, and what work was done.

I appreciated the tribute page to Tony Bettenhausen, who was fatally injured the day before Pole Day while testing a car for Paul Russo.


It’s a shame there still isn’t a publication like this. Collecting these books will be my next project after I have obtained all the Speedway programs  from 1946 until the present. The Clymer books are an invaluable archive of the months of May. It would be nice to bring a publication like this back.It is a great single source of virtually everything that occurred in each month of May.

Below are some photos from the 1961 yearbook.

Tires were different then.
Day by day


Teletype transmission from the press box
Jim Clark brought this curious looking car with the engine in the rear
The back cover