The Race Fans’ Christmas Gift Guide

Race fans are always happy to receive gifts, especially gifts related to racing.  Here are some suggestions for the race fan on your list, including many gifts that I have enjoyed over the years.

One of the best things I’ve received is tickets to a race. Many fans say they would be happy to go to more races if they had the budget. Race tickets  as a gift are a big help in making races more affordable. If you have never been to an Indycar race, get one for yourself as well. It’s silly to let your friend go alone.

A ride in an Indycar 2-seater will delight any Indycar fan.  It was one of the best I ever got. The ride is good at any track offering them.  There are sometimes discounts on Groupon.  It’s the best way to see what driving an Indycar is all about.

My friend George Phillips, in his column yesterday,talks about the Indy Racing Experience. You get to drive an Indycar on your own at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.This is something I want to try in the next couple of years.  If you haven’t read this column before, check it out.  It is always a good read.

Have friends who collect things?  We fans are eager to get our hands on anything related to racing. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum has lots of things for the collector. They are currently having daily sales on selected items. They also have a clearance sale in mid-November with incredible deals. Also, check eBay for items like old programs and ticket stubs.

Books about racing, especially racing history, are one thing I can’t get enough of.  I highly recommend Black Noon by Art Garner. It tells the story of the 1964 Indianapolis 500 and talks about how the events of that day came to be and their lasting effects on racing  The author does a great job profiling Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. This is one of the best books on the history of the 500 I have read.

Beast by Jade Gurss details Roger Penske and Imor engineering developing the Mercedes badged engine that dominated the 1994 500.  It was not as easy as it appeared. Gurss also discusses the brewing storm that led to the split in 1996. Even though you know the outcome, the narrative creates a suspenseful conclusion.

I have not read Lionheart by Andy Hallberry and Jeff Olson. I anticipate receiving it in a few days.  I have heard great things about it, and I will share my thoughts in January. The IMS Museum shop has it online for purchase.

Trivia buffs will enjoy Pat Kennedy’s compilations of trivia questions. He has two volumes of How Much Do You really know about the Indianapolis 500?, The Official Indy 500 Trivia Book, and Indy 500 Recaps, the Short Chute Edition.  The recaps book has a summary of every race and a results table for each race.

Other books I have enjoyed are Vukovich by Bob Gates and Umbrella Mike by Brock Yates. Umbrella Mike tells the story of Mike Boyle, whose cars won three Indianapolis 500s, including the famous Maserati car driven by Wilbur Shaw in 1939 and 1940.

Hard Luck Llloyd by John Lingle is a biography of Llloyd Ruby, a great racer who almost won the 500 several times, but bad luck always seemed to thwart his trip to Victory Lane.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season. I will be back after the first of the year when I settle in following my southern migration.