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AAA/USAC/CART history books & magazines


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#1 ac_Masaryk

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 15:23

Hello

Any of you know good books and magazines, concerning on the history of the USAC/AAA/CART Championship?

Best Regards

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#2 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 17:56

Hello

Any of you know good books and magazines, concerning on the history of the USAC/AAA/CART Championship?

Best Regards


At present, until the Printz/McMaken book ever sees the light of day, there really are no good books on the history AAA racing period, although there are some that are interesting.

Generally, for every thousand books on formula one there is half a page on AAA/USAC/CART, and less on the history, maybe a sentence.

The Autocourse CART series, the Floyd Clymer annuals, the yearbooks that followed Clymer, the Gordon Kirby CART annuals, some of the CART media guides, some issues of IndyCar Magazine, and few odds and ends here and there, otherwise fairly slim pickings. There is probably more on TNF regarding AAA racing history -- as distinguished from nostalgia -- than between of the covers of all the books on AAA racing.

#3 RA Historian

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 22:35

For a number of years Autocourse put out an annual on CART/Champ Car that if nothing else was a place where one could look for results boxes, details, driver info, cars etc. Sadly that went away a few years ago. The annuals covered the years 1993-2006. A companion book on the IRL surfaced briefly in the earlier years of this decade, but that disappeared quickly. The last year of Champ Car has no record anywhere, and I am afraid that as time goes by it will be forgotten entirely.

While IRL has media guides with the results of previous years, it only covers IRL. Anything other than the IRL simply does not exist, if one goes solely on their media guides. Now that they are the 'custodian' of US Indy Car history, it is hoped that the powers that be realize their obligation and include all (AAA, USAC, CART, CCWS) in future guides and records.

History is being made all the time, but it seems that the recording of it is not being done. Very sad.

Tom

#4 helioseism

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:04

At present, until the Printz/McMaken book ever sees the light of day, there really are no good books on the history AAA racing period, although there are some that are interesting.


Don -- this is the first I have heard of this book, could you please supply some more information?

#5 Rob G

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 02:59

I found an old copy of Autocourse Official History: Cart: The First 20 Years, 1979-1998 recently, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Unfortunately there's no race-by-race recount, but there does seem to be a decent amount of info in there.

#6 felixdk

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:37

See if you can find a copy of "The Golden Age of the American Racing Car" by Griff Borgeson. I have a copy of the original edition from 1966 and it's a good book covering up to 1929, but it has no color photos. The second edition from 1997 has added color photos.

#7 B Squared

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 12:32

Dick Wallen has a nice series of books.

#8 john glenn printz

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 15:42

With regard to U.S. racing before USAC (1956) I would recommend all the following as essential;

A.) Pre-1920 period.

1. THE HISTORY OF AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING, 1909 TO 1917 by Russ Catlin. Published as a series of installments in SPEED AGE magazine from December 1954 to August 1955. Covers 1909 to 1917. Russ put a lot of effort and work into this first attempt to record the AAA's glorious past. Unfortunately Russ had no historical training and had not mastered his subject matter. It is a deeply flawed work, but everyone should take a look at it. Of the nine seasons covered here by Catlin, only 1916, had an AAA National Championship. The 1909-1915, and 1917 "National Championships" and their corresponding point distribution charts which Russ utilized here, were in fact, largely later creations of AAA official Arthur H. Means during 1926, 1927, and 1928. At the writing, Catlin didn't realize or seemingly know that, and thereby created a lengthly, detailed, but totally anachronistic narrative. Catlin's extended and seemingly scholarly presentation here has misled almost all U.S. researchers of American automobile racing prior to the 1920 season, for well over half a century.

2. THE CHECKERED FLAG (1962) by Peter Helck. Has coverage from 1894 to 1916, but deals mainly with the Gordon Bennett series, the Vanderbilt Cup, and American Grand Prize events. Carefully written with very few errors, but limited in its focus and scope, but still a very good book. Helck (quite correctly) does not mention any AAA National Championship Driving titles for 1909 to 1915. Peter in his discussion of the 1916 Vanderbilt Cup on page 110 introduces the 1916 AAA National Championship title thusly (quote), "By this time the fabric of racing was integrated with the so-called championship, an AAA institution, with Vanderbilt and Grand Prize victories counting in the point system. The parity and rivalry of Resta and Aitken in 2,000 miles of speedway racing would be savagely climaxed now at the season's end over the palm-shaded circuit of Santa Monica." The "Checkered Flag" was also an art book in its first printing, i.e. Scribner. The later cheap reprints published by Castle Books were not so nice, but all the text was retained.

3. THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR (1966) by Griffith Borgeson. Mostly deals with the 1920s, but begins in earnest with the year 1915. A pioneer work on racing car builders Harry Miller, Fred and August Duesenberg, and Louis Chevrolet. Contains material on drivers Tommy Milton, Frank Lockhart, and Louis Meyer. As more and more precise and detailed information surfaces about U.S. motor racing 1915 to 1930, Borgeson's book looks more and more like a brief and short, but brillant, "pastiche", culled from many and diverse sources, which were not always reliable. It was however a very seminal work at the time of its original publication in 1966 and is still a joy to read.

All of the above three are classics. To which must surely be added;

4. BARNEY OLDFIELD, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AMERICA'S LEGENDARY SPEED KING (2002, 2nd ed.) by William F. Nolan. Traces Oldfield's career from 1902 to 1918. The 2nd edition is a great improvement over the first published in 1961. However Nolan does not know about the official 1905 AAA National Track Championship, which was won by Oldfield, using cars furnished by the Peerless Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH. And Mr. Nolan hasn't the faintest suspicion either, that the so-called AAA National Championship seasons of 1909-1915 and 1917-1919, are totally ahistorical, having been taken in, in this regard by Catlin's HISTORY published in SPEED AGE. In fact Nolan says (quote on page 211), "Catlin's "History of AAA Championship Racing" in nine parts, was outstanding,"

5. RALPH DE PALMA. GENTLEMAN CHAMPION (2005) by Gary D. Doyle. Almost an art book instead of biography and history. A very fine narration of De Palma's career from 1908 to 1934. This book contains a very large, scholarly, and carefully annotated bibliography on pages 348 to 368. De Palma (1882-1956) was perhaps the leading U. S. based racing driver before 1920. Ralph's important victories include the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup; 1914 and 1920 Elgin, and the 1915 Indianapolis 500. Ralph competed in the French Grand Prixs for 1912 (Fiat), 1914 (Vauxhall), and 1921 (Ballot), with his best overall finish being 2nd in 1921.

6. THUNDER AT SUNRISE. A HISTORY OF THE VANDERBILT CUP, THE GRAND PRIZE, AND THE INDIANAPOLIS 500, 1904-1916 (2006) by John M. Burns. A very good and detailed work on the three great classic American motor contests, 1904-1916. A lot of basic and detailed background information here. As such, it is in its way, a good prequel to Borgeson's "Golden Age" which covers 1915 to 1929. However Burns' book contains no technical information on the cars.

7. THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 (1967, later editions) by Jack C. Fox. The first edition covers the 1911 to 1966 Indianapolis races. Contains the earliest published information on the AAA Championship chassis car makes from 1930 to 1955. I don't know where Jack obtained this information or how reliable it all is. I asked Mr. Fox twice, at about a four year interval, where his data here came from, but got no answer. The AAA Contest Board itself, it seems certain, never recorded the chassis makes. Mr. Fox also tries to list annually all the actual race entrants and all the non-qualified cars. This information is important and very useful. Fox's book still remains one of the best books ever produced on the Indy 500. The book was repeatedly reprinted and updated. The last edition, the 5th, appeared in 1994.

Two very important works which cover the European scene from 1894 onward are;

8. A RECORD OF MOTOR RACING 1894 - 1908 (1908. reprinted in 1949) by Gerald Rose. The most important book in English on European racing 1894 to 1908.

9. THE GRAND PRIX CAR (2nd ed. 1954, 2 vols.) by Laurence Pomeroy. Covers 1894 to 1953! May well be the greatest book on motor racing ever published.

However neither Rose or Pomeroy has much extensive coverage of racing in the U.S., but there is some. In any case, there is some very basic historical background material for all open wheel motor racing contained here, which should be known to all serious investigators. Both of these books were published only in Great Britain. Pomeroy thinks the 1916 Indianapolis race was shortened to 300 miles by rain, and that there was no big-time motor racing in the U.S. during 1917 and 1918. He's wrong on both counts!

B.) The 1920s.

1. WALL SMACKER. THE SAGA OF THE SPEEDWAY (1935) by Peter DePaolo. Covers DePaolo's career in racing, i.e. 1920 to 1935. Not always accurate, and often he doesn't tell us what we want to know, but still a interesting read by a two time AAA National Champion (in 1925 and 1927). Peter's spelling of Maserati is Mazzeratti! The book's content and style shows that DePaolo had never been to college.

2. KING OF THE BOARDS. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JIMMY MURPHY (2002) by Gary D. Doyle. By deliberate intention again, an art book. A rather unexpected surprize in that this work is long, very high in quality, and well researched. An absolute must for anyone interest in the early 1920s. Jimmy joined the AAA big time as a pilot for Duesenberg in 1919 and his later Championship driving career lasted from 1920 to 1924. Murphy won the AAA Driving Title in both 1922 and 1924.

3. BOARD TRACK. GUTS, GOLD AND GLORY (1990) by Dick Wallen. Essential reading and the basic data for the 1915 to 1931 period of U.S., AAA racing. Contains exhaustive statistics and box scores for the board tracks 1910-1931, on pages 409 to 426, compiled by Phil Harms. There are lots of photographs also.

4. THE MILLER DYNASTY (2nd ed., 1994) by Mark Dees. A detailed and colossal work on just Harry Armenius Miller (1875-1943). One of the best books ever published on U.S. racing. I believe that Dees however is a little confused and mixed up about Harry's cars, engines, and doings during 1914-1920.

5. THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR (1966) by Griffith Borgeson. Must be mentioned here in the 1920s context. The book contains lots of mistakes, lots of omissions, and lots of information. An extra plus is that Borgeson is a very fine writer. The 2nd edition of this book (1997), was not much of an improvement.

C.) THE 1930s.

1. GENTLEMAN START YOUR ENGINES (1955) by Wilbur Shaw. Delightful narrative of Wilbur's experiences in AAA Championship racing from 1927-1941. This autobiography was always thought to have been actually penned by Speedway publicist, Al Bloemker. Shaw won at Indy in 1937, 1939, and 1940, as well as the AAA National Driving Championship for 1937 and 1939. Wilbur can also be reckoned as the saviour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after World War II.

2. SPEEDWAY. HALF A CENTURY OF RACING WITH ART SPARKS (1983) by Gene Banning. The life and times of Art Sparks (1901-1984), one of the most important American mechanics and designers operating during the 1930's. Spark's direct career, with the AAA Championship cars, lasted from 1932 to 1949. A Sparks powered vehicle was the very first to officially lap the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at over 130 mph. This occurred on May 23, 1937 when Jimmy Snyder posted a circuit at 130.492 during the qualifications. And a Sparks designed car won at the Speedway in 1946 with diminutive pilot, George Robson. This book had a print run of just 1000 copies and now an example currently is worth about $300.

3. THE MILLER DYNASTY (2nd ed, 1994) by Mark Dees. Must be mentioned again here for the 1930s. All AAA information on the 1930s or junk formula Depression era racing is very hard to obtain. Dees' magnum opus contains good and informed chapters on Lou Moore, Wilbur Shaw, Art Sparks, the Offenhauser motor, and the Novi cars. Takes the story right up to the rear engine car revolution in USAC Championship racing during the years 1963-1965 and even beyond! A really splendid book.

D.) The 1940s. An era not well covered. The only two items worth mentioning are;

1. THE LIFE OF TED HORN. AMERICAN RACING CHAMPION (1949) by Russ Catlin. This book in my opinion is excruciating, as well as almost unreadable and unintelligible, as I don't care for Catlin's pompous and confused writing style here. The book also seems to have been penned for adolescents, and written by an adolescent. Mark Dees had the same low opinion of it and called it (quote) "a dreadfull book." But it has to be included here because books on the 1940s are scarce. Horn's AAA Championship career lasted from 1934 to 1948, and Ted won the AAA Driving Title in 1946, 1947, and 1948.

2. GO. THE BETTENHAUSEN STORY (1982) by Carl Hungness. Tries to narrate the entire Bettenhausen saga. Tony Bettenhausen, Sr. was a major figure in Championship racing from 1941 to 1961. This book is not very good on the period 1941 to 1949 however. Hungness pads his lack of 1940's material by including instead, data on Crocky Wright (real name Ernie Schlausky)! Carl once told me I couldn't write. Well I guess I feel somewhat the same about him! However Carl is an all-right guy and is very, very talented. He later got into violin making and sculpturing. Carl was absolutely treated unfairly and shamelessly by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it remains one of the greatest cases of gross injustice that I know of. The American racing sanctioning bodies seem intent in getting rid of its best people and keeping the worst. Hungness, of course, is much more famous for his Indianapolis Yearbooks which were published during the years 1973 to 1997.

E.) The 1950s

1. FABULOUS FIFTIES. AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (1993) by Dick Wallen. Nothing to criticize here as this is a book of the highest quality and full of information. Of course this volume splits the action, and surveys first the AAA Championship races (1950-1955) and then the earliest USAC Championship events (1956-1959). I, who am never satified, only wish there had been more information on the chassis builders. But if you want to know something about AAA/USAC Championship racing in the 1950s, this is where the information is.

2. INDY 500 MECHANIC (1975) by Clint Brawner and Joe Scalzo. I would not have believed that Scalzo and the old curmudgeon, Clint Brawner, could have combined and come up with anything at all. However I regard this book as Scalzo's very best. It is a damn fine book and one of my favorites. Clint Brawner (1916-1987) was an ace mechanic who won six National Championship Titles, three with Jimmy Bryan in 1954, 1956, 1957, and three with Mario Andretti in 1965, 1966, 1969). Clint had 51 Championship victories including the 1969 Indianapolis 500 with Mario. In addition cars groomed by Clint won four poles at Indianapolis, two with Eddie Sachs in 1960, 1961, and two with Andretti in 1966, 1967. When A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti were rookies at Indianapolis, in 1958 and 1965 respectively, Brawner was their head mechanic and crew chief on both occasions!

3. INDIANAPOLIS ROADSTER 1952-1964 (1999) by Joe Scalzo. Written in an surrealistic and bizarre style but informed and interesting. Lots of out of the way knowledge here. Scalzo's perspective on the roadster era is completely different from my own.

4. VUKOVICH. AN INSPIRING STORY OF AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT (2004) by Bob Gates. A good book about the Vukovich dynasty. Tells the story of Bill Vukovich, Sr. largely as I remembered it, when I was a kid.

5. AGAINST DEATH AND TIME. ONE FATAL SEASON IN RACING'S GLORY YEARS (2004) by Brock Yates. Focuses on the horrific 1955 season, when the automobile racing world seemed to be on fire. I don't know how good this book is, but it certainly brings back 1955 and its painful remembrances for me. I lived through it all. 1955 was the worst year for death and destruction in automobile racing and it still remains so.

F.) Two other fine books with racing history covering the AAA era are Gordon Eliot White's very important volumes;

1. OFFENHAUSER. THE LEGENDARY RACING ENGINE AND THE MEN WHO BUILT IT. (1996)

2. KURTIS -KRAFT. MASTERWORKS OF SPEED AND STYLE (2001)

G.) After the end of AAA racing (1955) the saga can be continued with two Dick Wallen books on USAC;

1. ROAR FROM THE SIXTIES. AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (1997)

2. SEVENTIES CHAMPIONSHIP REVOLUTION. AMERICAN RACING CHAMPIONSHIP (2003)

H.) The story continues with CART ;

1. CART THE FIRST 20 YEARS 1979-1998 (1999) by Rick Shaffer. May have been produced and published to facilitate and help the sale of CART stock, which began trading on March 16, 1998. Still it's the first place to go, if you want to start researching CART's history. The issuance and selling of stock by CART was an indication that they were broke. But the money collected, $100,000,000 (!), kept them alive until the end of 2003 when they declared themselves bankrupt.

I.) Motor racing encyclopaedias and record books;

1. ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF MOTOR SPORT (1971) edited by George Nicholas Georgano. A very ambitious and large compilation of miscellanea, i.e. 656 pages of small print and many photos. Apparently the original and serious idea here was to incorporate all of motor racing's past lore and history into a single, useful, reference volume. However the book's odd arrangement of material and its format, largely nullifies that. The book badly needed historical and chronological outline articles or surveys, on both the history of Grand Prix (1906-1970) and the American National Championship (1916-1970) racing, to tie everything together and make it intelligible. As it is, the work is an incomplete and magnificent torso, lacking much basic, essential, important, and needed information.

The editor obviously tried to give the U.S. National Championship series its just due, but didn't succeed. The American AAA and USAC Championship Trails gets the short shift. For instance the book has large sections on the world's leading racing car constructers and notable drivers. Most of the Indianapolis 500 winners are noticed in the biography section, but Tony Bettenhauser, Sr., a two time U.S. Champion (1951 and 1958) and the winner of over 20 Indy Car races, does not appear, but Sam Posey does! Make sense of that! With regard to the U.S. or AAA National Driving Champions the following got no biographies: Eddie Hearne-1923; Bob Carey-1932, Henry Banks-1950, Tony Bettenhausen-1951, and Chuck Stevenson-1952.

The section on race car makers mentions no U.S. Championship car constructors between Harry Miller and Frank Kurtis, so the 1930-1950 AAA era is complelely wiped out, and made totally null and void. The book really contains no information on AAA National Championship racing 1916 to 1955 except for the Indianapolis 500 winners, an article on the board tracks, and a very cursory piece on Indianapolis cars 1946-1970. It also contains a three page outline article on the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Al Bloemker. Actually Bloemker was put in charge obviously, with regard to all matters relating to either the AAA or USAC National Championship racing.

In the section entitled "The organization of motor sport" there is no information on the pre-USAC years in the United States, i.e. before 1956. The American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioned most of the important U.S. motor races between 1902 to 1955, but there is no mention of the AAA Contest Board (1909-1955) or its National Championship circuit (1916-1955)! These are very major and serious omissions for any so-called or would-be historical "encyclopaedia of motor sport"! Thus the book virtually eliminates and omits the first full half century of major American motor sport history. It is not clear to me if anyone in 1970 had the necessary knowledge to compile a good and complete historical survey of the AAA Championship circuit's history, as the period 1931 to 1949 in particular, then laid in almost complete and total obscurity.

One virtue of the book is however that the information accuracy is at a very high level and can generally be relied on. There was talk of a 2nd edition, but nothing ever appeared. The book needs to be updated and its major deficiencies corrected. The book was obviously a very serious try, but a failure. It also contains no statistical data or listings of note.

2. INTERNATIONAL MOTOR RACING GUIDE (2003) by Peter Higham. A very high quality handbook of basic information and statistics on international motor sport in general and the major races 1894 to 2002. Most of my further observations are therefore mere quibbles. Major league U.S. open wheel racing is mostly covered in four separate sections (1) Indianapolis 500; (2) North American Indycar Championships; (3) CART Championship; and (4) IRL Championship. Quite unintentionally Higham had provided the needed complementary and supplemental statistical information, lacking in Georganos' Encyclopedia! The quibbles;

a.) The Vanderbilt Cup races of 1904, 1905, and 1906 were among the major international races of their day and should be included in the front section EARLY GRAND PRIX RACING and their top five finishers recorded, not delegated to a minor listing on page 733. Admittedly the Vanderbilt Cup races of 1908, 1909, and 1910 were of vastly less significance. For instance, the 1909 and 1910 V.C.'s required stock chassis only. In 1911 the V.C. again allowed thoroughbred racing cars to compete, but never again were the later V.C.'s of great international importance. It remained however one of the big three U.S. events. The other two being the American Grand Prize and the Indianapolis 500.

b.) On page 763 three 1912 Milwaukee races are listed as having taken place at the Milwaukee mile. This is quite incorrect. The Ralph DePalma win listed here was the 1912 October 2, Vanderbilt Cup. The 1912 Vanderbilt Cup did not consist of 300 laps around the Milwaukee mile! Instead all of these three 1912 Milwaukee races were staged on a 7.88 mile road circuit, laid out on the city's streets.

c.) On page 452 are listed the engine displacement regulations for the National Championship series from 1911 on. It is here assumed that the rules that obtained at Indianapolis were always the same as those used in the other Championship events for the same year. This however is not always true, for the AAA Championship events staged between 1916 and 1938. As a matter of actual fact, the regulations for the AAA Championship races varied during the season in the years 1916, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1936 and 1937! And the author forgets also that no AAA Championship contests were held before 1916. In fact these ideas are all a legacy and residue left over from the Means-Haresnape-Catlin-Russo mythological system. And it is a total misconception to think that all the important AAA races of 1909-1912, ran under one universal race formula for each year. AAA racing during those years was organized along entirely different lines, i. e. as originally laid down and influenced by the Manufacturer's Contest Association (MCA) complex regulations put forward in April 1909. Actually all the AAA "National Championship" events listed for 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 are totally bogus and should be entirely deleted. It's again, all the false ideas introduced originally by Arthur Means and Val Haresnape, and seconded later by Russ Catlin and Bob Russo, at work once more.

d.) Higham's AAA data 1909-1955 (i.e. pages 456-466), put together by McMaken and myself originally, came directly from either the 1981 PPG CART ANNUAL and/or the 1985 CART MEDIA GUIDE. I believe Gordon Kirby was in contact with Higham and sent the information to him. Two slight changes were made which I deem from correct to incorrect, to wit. 1. Cliff Durant ran Stutz and Miller built cars under the name "Chevrolet" during 1917 to 1920, and the AAA Contest Board allowed him to do so. The car that Durant used to win the March 15, 1919 Santa Monica road race was a 1915 Indianapolis type Stutz, which ran under the name "Chevrolet Special". It was meant to fool the general public back then, but now only continues to confuse and fool racing historians. Someone has changed our correct car designation of Stutz to an incorrect Chevrolet. 2. I would not expect an Englishman to have ever heard of Myron Fohr (1912-1994), but during 1948 and 1949 he was ranked 2nd in the final AAA National point standings for both years. In the 1948 Milwaukee 200 of August 29, Fohr started the car, but had 67 laps of relief from Tony Bettenhausen, in this 200 lap event. Fohr started the car and was in it when the checkered flag fell. Ken and myself always listed the starting driver first and the relief pilot second, i.e. Fohr/Bettenhausen. In Higham's book it is reversed to read Bettenhausen/Fohr on page 464. Fohr did not relieve Bettenhausen, it was the other way around. Having heard much of the more famous Tony Bettenhausen, it was somewhat natural for an Englishman to reverse the order, and put Bettenhausen first. But I think it creates an entirely false impression.

Living in England Mr. Higham, was insulated from all the acrimonius warfare and debate created by McMaken and myself in the U.S., about the status of the AAA 1909-1915 and 1917-1920 point charts, made by Arthur Means, in the late 1920s. However I think Higham, by printing our views (page 456) as correct, is entirely correct himself! Generally Higham is a sourcebook that is accurate and can be relied upon. If you don't own one, order your copy today.

3. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AUTO RACING GREATS (1973) by Robert Cutter and Bob Fendell. Again a very ambitious work. The U.S and foreign personages get about equal space here for the first time. A big book of 675 pages. Contains more errors per page than any other motor sport reference work, and cannot be relied on. The text puzzles me because the sources for all the errors and contamination remains largely unknown to me. Maybe its just their own doing. The entries for American racing personnel tend to be anecdotal in nature rather than overly factual. There is no entry for Duesenberg! This volume is a good illustration of just how hard it is for researchers, even Cutter and Fendell, to obtain good and exact information about major league open wheel U.S. automobile racing. There is no bibliography and no statistical information. The book reminds me of the Russ Catlin's writing and manner of doing things. The sport needs a higher level of scholarship than is exhibited here.

4. WINNERS BOOK (2010) by James O'Keefe. O'Keefe's big book is a very attractive tome. It serves as a supplement and is complementary to Higham's work. The real backbone of any reconstruction of the past and/or the solid foundation for historical research, is an accurate and detailed chronological framework. O'Keefe's Chapter 2 "American Championship Races" pages 47-142 now puts that question entirely to rest, as far as U.S. big time "open wheel" racing is concerned. Chapter 2 here is certainly a major contribution to major league "open wheel" U.S. motor racing history. What remains to be done, is to recover and narrate all the history that lays behind James' voluminous U.S. data! James' Chapter 1 "Grand Prix-Formula 1 and Other Major Races" pages 1-46, surveys the major world wide European style contests. In sum, a very nice, important, useful, up to date, and accurate compilation of statistical information and data, on all the major and important international and U.S. automobile races, 1894-2009. 576 pages in all.

Well all the above works should keep anyone busy for a quite a while. No doubt most of them are going to be very hard to find, as none of them were 'best sellers'. All of them are indispensible for a serious researcher and collectively they form a basic library on major league U.S. motor racing. I may have missed a good one or two, because all this is immediately off the top of my head. Anyway these are the books that come to mind, at present. It is I think, a significant body, of literature. Championship (AAA & USAC) and/or Indy Car Racing (CART, IRL, & CC), as it has been conducted in the U.S. for almost a century, does need an accurate, authoritative, detailed, complete, and overall narrative history. But no such work or volume presently exists. Despite everything, and even all the above, the history of big time "open wheel" American automobile racing history is still a very confusing mess. I may update this listing from time to time.

Edited by john glenn printz, 27 September 2011 - 19:59.


#9 john glenn printz

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 16:12

A Ken M. McMaken-Printz perspective on U.S. racing history 1894-1965, can be gleaned from reading the following Forums.Autosport database "nostalgia forum" threads in consecutive order: 1. THE YEARS 1894 TO 1897; 2. AMERICAN RACING 1894 TO 1920; 3. THE FIRST 500; 4. AMERICAN RACING: THE GOLDEN AGE; 5. FRANK LOCKHART; 6. 1928 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 7. INDIANAPOLIS JUNK FORMULA; 8. LOUIS MEYER; 9. 1934 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 10. 1946 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 11. 1947 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 12. 1948 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 13. YOUR EARLIEST INDY 500 MEMORIES (post of Jan. 16, 2009, which covers very briefly 1946 to 1955)); 14. USAC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1956 TO 1962; and finally; 15. USAC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1963-1965.

There is no book in the works. I believe Mr. McMaken's AAA Championship box scores should be published, however.

Sincerely, J. G. Printz

Edited by john glenn printz, 22 November 2010 - 19:11.


#10 Lemnpiper

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 02:33

A Ken M. McMaken-Printz perspective on U.S. racing history 1894-1965, can be gleaned from reading the following Forums.Autosport database "nostalgia forum" threads in consecutive order: 1. THE YEARS 1894 TO 1897; 2. AMERICAN RACING 1894 TO 1920; 3. THE FIRST 500; 4. AMERICAN RACING: THE GOLDEN AGE; 5. FRANK LOCKHART; 6. INDIANAPOLIS JUNK FORMULA; 7. LOUIS MEYER; 8. 1946 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 9. 1947 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 10. 1948 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP; 11. YOUR EARLIEST INDY 500 MEMORIES (post of Jan. 16, 2009, which covers very briefly 1946 to 1955)); 12. USAC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1956 TO 1962; and finally; 13. USAC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1963-1965.

There is no book in the works. I believe Mr. McMaken's AAA Championship box scores should be published, however.

Sincerely, J. G. Printz



Mr Printz ,


Anyone that looks at the work Mr McMaken & You put into creating those posts in those threads must agree that they themselves are a "book" in actuality due to their content.


One question i do have is this , When long time auto racing commentators (ie Economaki, Yates,) or former racers do write a book do they tend to be less accurate due to an attempt to sensationalize the sport ,or as in Economaki;s case they can recall much of the older stuff that seems so implausable to modern fans who only have the last 10 years or so to remember?




Paul

#11 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 06:01

J.G. Printz lists a number of books that are usually found in the library of about every person who takes a serious interest in the history of American automobile racing, especially the open-wheeled series. A few, such as the Catlin biography of Ted Horn, the Yate's book on 1955, and the Wallen book on the Seventies, for example, are next to useless and simply take up shelf space. Another book that belongs on the bookshelf is the Al Bochroch book, American Automobile Racing An Illustrated History, which is readily available at reasonable prices, specially the Penguin paperback edition that appeared in the late Seventies.

However, as for a HISTORY of American automobile racing, one that attempts to actually focus on the history of the racing and not on the nuts and bolts of the cars -- which is the usual focus, there does not seem to be such a book. It had been hoped to provide an update of sorts (a mile wide & a micron or two deep), to the Bochroch book as part of the Ludvigsen Racing Colours Series, American Racing Blue and White, but the downturn in the economy put an end that effort.

What interest there is in this area, the nuts & bolts, the machinery, usually hogs the spotlight, all the other aspects of racing generally being relegated to the background. Here a tip of the hat must be given to Dick Wallen for his books on the board tracks, the Fifties, and the Sixties, the one on the Seventies being nowhere close to the three just mentioned.

What J.G. Printz has placed on this forum is about a thousand times more than you will find anywhere else. Again, as Printz says, the box scores of Ken McMaken deserve to be published.

There are few -- a very few -- other books that Printz did not mention that are out there that could be put on the bookshelf, but other than what is here at this forum and the bits and tidbits at another forum or two, as well as few Web sites (Mark Dill's being one), the history of American automobile racing up to the early Twenties is very much still a do-it-yourself project. The same can be said for American racing history in general, there being a few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy picture. As ever, the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins is one of few bright lights.

#12 gerrit stevens

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 15:17

With regard to U.S. racing before USAC (1956) I would recommend all the following as essential;

A.) Pre-1920 period.

1. THE HISTORY OF AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING, 1909 TO 1917 by Russ Catlin. Published as a series of installments in SPEED AGE magazine from December 1954 to August 1955. Covers 1909 to 1917. Russ put a lot of effort and work into this first attempt to record the AAA's glorious past. Unfortunately Russ had no historical training and had not mastered his subject matter. It is a deeply flawed work, but everyone should take a look at it. Of the nine seasons covered here by Catlin, only 1916, had an AAA National Championship. The 1909-1915, and 1917 "National Championships" and their corresponding point distribution charts which Russ utilized here, were in fact, largely later creations of AAA official Arthur H. Means during 1926, 1927, and 1928. At the writing, Catlin didn't realize or seemingly know that, and thereby created a lengthly, detailed, but totally anachronistic narrative. Catlin's extended and seemingly scholarly presentation here has misled almost all U.S. researchers of American automobile racing prior to the 1920 season, for well over half a century.

2. THE CHECKERED FLAG (1962) by Peter Helck. Has coverage from 1894 to 1916, but deals mainly with the Gordon Bennett series, the Vanderbilt Cup, and American Grand Prize events. Carefully written with very few errors, but limited in its focus and scope, but still a very good book. Helck (quite correctly) does not mention any AAA National Championship Driving titles for 1909 to 1915. Peter in his discussion of the 1916 Vanderbilt Cup on page 110 introduces the 1916 AAA National Championship title thusly (quote), "By this time the fabric of racing was integrated with the so-called championship, an AAA institution, with Vanderbilt and Grand Prize victories counting in the point system. The parity and rivalry of Resta and Aitken in 2,000 miles of speedway racing would be savagely climaxed now at the season's end over the palm-shaded circuit of Santa Monica." The "Checkered Flag" was also an art book in its first printing, i.e. Scribner. The later cheap reprints published by Castle Books were not so nice, but all the text was retained.

3. THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR (1966) by Griffith Borgeson. Mostly deals with the 1920s, but begins in earnest with the year 1915. A pioneer work on racing car builders Harry Miller, Fred and August Duesenberg, and Louis Chevrolet. Contains material on drivers Tommy Milton, Frank Lockhart, and Louis Meyer. As more and more precise and detailed information surfaces about U.S. motor racing 1915 to 1930, Borgeson's book looks more and more like a brief and short, but brillant, "pastiche", culled from many and diverse sources, which were not always reliable. It was however a very seminal work at the time of its original publication in 1966 and is still a joy to read.

All of the above three are classics. To which must surely be added;

4. BARNEY OLDFIELD, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AMERICA'S LEGENDARY SPEED KING (2002, 2nd ed.) by William F. Nolan. Traces Oldfield's career from 1902 to 1918. The 2nd edition is a great improvement over the first published in 1961. However Nolan does not know about the official 1905 AAA National Track Championship, which was won by Oldfield, using cars furnished by the Peerless Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH. And Mr. Nolan hasn't the faintest suspicion either, that the so-called AAA National Championship seasons of 1909-1915 and 1917-1919, are totally ahistorical, having been taken in, in this regard by Catlin's HISTORY published in SPEED AGE. In fact Nolan says (quote on page 211), "Catlin's "History of AAA Championship Racing" in nine parts, was outstanding,"

5. RALPH DE PALMA. GENTLEMAN CHAMPION (2005) by Gary D. Doyle. Almost an art book instead of biography and history. A very fine narration of De Palma's career from 1908 to 1934. This book contains a very large, scholarly, and carefully annotated bibliography on pages 348 to 368. De Palma (1882-1956) was perhaps the leading U. S. based racing driver before 1920. Ralph's important victories include the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup; 1914 and 1920 Elgin, and the 1915 Indianapolis 500. Ralph competed in the French Grand Prixs for 1912 (Fiat), 1914 (Vauxhall), and 1921 (Ballot), with his best overall finish being 2nd in 1921.

6. THUNDER AT SUNRISE. A HISTORY OF THE VANDERBILT CUP, THE GRAND PRIZE, AND THE INDIANAPOLIS 500, 1904-1916 (2006) by John M. Burns. A very good and detailed work on the three great classic American motor contests, 1904-1916. A lot of basic and detailed background information here. As such, it is in its way, a good prequel to Borgeson's "Golden Age" which covers 1915 to 1929. However Burns' book contains no technical information on the cars.

7. THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 (1967, later editions) by Jack C. Fox. The first edition covers the 1911 to 1966 Indianapolis races. Contains the earliest published information on the AAA Championship chassis car makes from 1930 to 1955. I don't know where Jack obtained this information or how reliable it all is. I asked Mr. Fox twice, at about a four year interval, where his data here came from, but got no answer. The AAA Contest Board itself, it seems certain, never recorded the chassis makes. Mr. Fox also tries to list annually all the actual race entrants and all the non-qualified cars. This information is important and very useful. Fox's book still remains one of the best books ever produced on the Indy 500. The book was repeatedly reprinted and updated. The last edition, the 5th, appeared in 1994.

Two very important works which cover the European scene from 1894 onward are;

8. A RECORD OF MOTOR RACING 1894 - 1908 (1908. reprinted in 1949) by Gerald Rose. The most important book in English on European racing 1894 to 1908.

9. THE GRAND PRIX CAR (2nd ed. 1954, 2 vols.) by Laurence Pomeroy. Covers 1894 to 1953! May well be the greatest book on motor racing ever published.

However neither Rose or Pomeroy has much extensive coverage of racing in the U.S., but there is some. In any case, there is some very basic historical background material for all open wheel motor racing contained here, which should be known to all serious investigators. Both of these books were published only in Great Britain. Pomeroy thinks the 1916 Indianapolis race was shortened to 300 miles by rain, and that there was no big-time motor racing in the U.S. during 1917 and 1918. He's wrong on both counts!

B.) The 1920s.

1. WALL SMACKER. THE SAGA OF THE SPEEDWAY (1935) by Peter DePaolo. Covers DePaolo's career in racing, i.e. 1920 to 1935. Not always accurate, and often he doesn't tell us what we want to know, but still a interesting read by a two time AAA National Champion (in 1925 and 1927). Peter's spelling of Maserati is Mazzeratti! The book's content and style shows that DePaolo had never been to college.

2. KING OF THE BOARDS. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JIMMY MURPHY (2002) by Gary D. Doyle. By deliberate intention again, an art book. A rather unexpected surprize in that this work is long, very high in quality, and well researched. An absolute must for anyone interest in the early 1920s. Jimmy joined the AAA big time as a pilot for Duesenberg in 1919 and his later Championship driving career lasted from 1920 to 1924. Murphy won the AAA Driving Title in both 1922 and 1924.

3. BOARD TRACK. GUTS, GOLD AND GLORY (1990) by Dick Wallen. Essential reading and the basic data for the 1915 to 1931 period of U.S., AAA racing. Contains exhaustive statistics and box scores for the board tracks 1910-1931, on pages 409 to 426, compiled by Phil Harms. There are lots of photographs also.

4. THE MILLER DYNASTY (2nd ed., 1994) by Mark Dees. A detailed and colossal work on just Harry Armenius Miller (1875-1943). One of the best books ever published on U.S. racing. I believe that Dees however is a little confused and mixed up about Harry's cars, engines, and doings during 1914-1920.

5. THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR (1966) by Griffith Borgeson. Must be mentioned here in the 1920s context. The book contains lots of mistakes, lots of omissions, and lots of information. An extra plus is that Borgeson is a very fine writer. The 2nd edition of this book (1997), was not much of an improvement.

C.) THE 1930s.

1. GENTLEMAN START YOUR ENGINES (1955) by Wilbur Shaw. Delightful narrative of Wilbur's experiences in AAA Championship racing from 1927-1941. This autobiography was always thought to have been actually penned by Speedway publicist, Al Bloemker. Shaw won at Indy in 1937, 1939, and 1940, as well as the AAA National Driving Championship for 1937 and 1939. Wilbur can also be reckoned as the saviour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after World War II.

2. SPEEDWAY. HALF A CENTURY OF RACING WITH ART SPARKS (1983) by Gene Banning. The life and times of Art Sparks (1901-1984), one of the most important American mechanics and designers operating during the 1930's. Spark's direct career, with the AAA Championship cars, lasted from 1932 to 1949. A Sparks powered vehicle was the very first to officially lap the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at over 130 mph. This occurred on May 23, 1937 when Jimmy Snyder posted a circuit at 130.492 during the qualifications. And a Sparks designed car won at the Speedway in 1946 with diminutive pilot, George Robson. This book had a print run of just 1000 copies and now an example currently is worth about $300.

3. THE MILLER DYNASTY (2nd ed, 1994) by Mark Dees. Must be mentioned again here for the 1930s. All AAA information on the 1930s or junk formula Depression era racing is very hard to obtain. Dees' magnum opus contains good and informed chapters on Lou Moore, Wilbur Shaw, Art Sparks, the Offenhauser motor, and the Novi cars. Takes the story right up to the rear engine car revolution in USAC Championship racing during the years 1963-1965 and even beyond! A really splendid book.

D.) The 1940s. An era not well covered. The only two items worth mentioning are;

1. THE LIFE OF TED HORN. AMERICAN RACING CHAMPION (1949) by Russ Catlin. This book in my opinion is excruciating, as well as almost unreadable and unintelligible, as I don't care for Catlin's pompous and confused writing style here. The book also seems to have been penned for adolescents, and written by an adolescent. Mark Dees had the same low opinion of it and called it (quote) "a dreadfull book." But it has to be included here because books on the 1940s are scarce. Horn's AAA Championship career lasted from 1934 to 1948, and Ted won the AAA Driving Title in 1946, 1947, and 1948.

2. GO. THE BETTENHAUSEN STORY (1982) by Carl Hungness. Tries to narrate the entire Bettenhausen saga. Tony Bettenhausen, Sr. was a major figure in Championship racing from 1941 to 1961. This book is not very good on the period 1941 to 1949 however. Hungness pads his lack of 1940's material by including instead, data on Crocky Wright (real name Ernie Schlausky)! Carl once told me I couldn't write. Well I guess I feel somewhat the same about him! However Carl is an all-right guy and is very, very talented. He later got into violin making and sculpturing. Carl was absolutely treated unfairly and shamelessly by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it remains one of the greatest cases of gross injustice that I know of. The American racing sanctioning bodies seem intent in getting rid of its best people and keeping the worst. Hungness, of course, is much more famous for his Indianapolis Yearbooks which were published during the years 1973 to 1997.

E.) The 1950s

1. FABULOUS FIFTIES. AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (1993) by Dick Wallen. Nothing to criticize here as this is a book of the highest quality and full of information. Of course this volume splits the action, and surveys first the AAA Championship races (1950-1955) and then the earliest USAC Championship events (1956-1959). I, who am never satified, only wish there had been more information on the chassis builders. But if you want to know something about AAA/USAC Championship racing in the 1950s, this is where the information is.

2. INDY 500 MECHANIC (1975) by Clint Brawner and Joe Scalzo. I would not have believed that Scalzo and the old curmudgeon, Clint Brawner, could have combined and come up with anything at all. However I regard this book as Scalzo's very best. It is a damn fine book and one of my favorites. Clint Brawner (1916-1987) was an ace mechanic who won six National Championship Titles, three with Jimmy Bryan in 1954, 1956, 1957, and three with Mario Andretti in 1965, 1966, 1969). Clint had 51 Championship victories including the 1969 Indianapolis 500 with Mario. In addition cars groomed by Clint won four poles at Indianapolis, two with Eddie Sachs in 1960, 1961, and two with Andretti in 1966, 1967. When A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti were rookies at Indianapolis, in 1958 and 1965 respectively, Brawner was their head mechanic and crew chief on both occasions!

3. INDIANAPOLIS ROADSTER 1952-1964 (1999) by Joe Scalzo. Written in an surrealistic and bizarre style but informed and interesting. Lots of out of the way knowledge here. Scalzo's perspective on the roadster era is completely different from my own.

4. VUKOVICH. AN INSPIRING STORY OF AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT (2004) by Bob Gates. A good book about the Vukovich dynasty. Tells the story of Bill Vukovich, Sr. largely as I remembered it, when I was a kid.

5. AGAINST DEATH AND TIME. ONE FATAL SEASON IN RACING'S GLORY YEARS (2004) by Brock Yates. Focuses on the horrific 1955 season, when the automobile racing world seemed to be on fire. I don't know how good this book is, but it certainly brings back 1955 and its painful remembrances for me. I lived through it all. 1955 was the worst year for death and destruction in automobile racing and it still remains so.

F.) Two other fine books with racing history covering the AAA era are Gordon Eliot White's very important volumes;

1. OFFENHAUSER. THE LEGENDARY RACING ENGINE AND THE MEN WHO BUILT IT. (1996)

2. KURTIS -KRAFT. MASTERWORKS OF SPEED AND STYLE (2001)

G.) After the end of AAA racing (1955) the saga can be continued with two Dick Wallen books on USAC;

1. ROAR FROM THE SIXTIES. AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (1997)

2. SEVENTIES CHAMPIONSHIP REVOLUTION. AMERICAN RACING CHAMPIONSHIP (2003)

H.) The story continues with CART ;

1. CART THE FIRST 20 YEARS 1979-1998 (1999) by Rick Shaffer. May have been produced and published to facilitate and help the sale of CART stock, which began trading on March 16, 1998. Still it's the first place to go, if you want to start researching CART's history. The issuance and selling of stock by CART was an indication that they were broke. But the money collected, $100,000,000 (!), kept them alive until the end of 2003 when they declared themselves bankrupt.

I.) Motor racing encyclopaedias and record books;

1. ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF MOTOR SPORT (1971) edited by George Nicholas Georgano. A very ambitious and large compilation of miscellanea, i.e. 656 pages of small print and many photos. Apparently the original and serious idea here was to incorporate all of motor racing's past lore and history into a single, useful, reference volume. However the book's odd arrangement of material and its format, largely nullifies that. The book badly needed historical and chronological outline articles or surveys, on both the history of Grand Prix (1906-1970) and the American National Championship (1916-1970) racing, to tie everything together and make it intelligible. As it is, the work is an incomplete and magnificent torso, lacking much basic, essential, important, and needed information.

The editor obviously tried to give the U.S. National Championship series its just due, but didn't succeed. The American AAA and USAC Championship Trails gets the short shift. For instance the book has large sections on the world's leading racing car constructers and notable drivers. Most of the Indianapolis 500 winners are noticed in the biography section, but Tony Bettenhauser, Sr., a two time U.S. Champion (1951 and 1958) and the winner of over 20 Indy Car races, does not appear, but Sam Posey does! Make sense of that! With regard to the U.S. or AAA National Driving Champions the following got no biographies: Eddie Hearne-1923; Bob Carey-1932, Henry Banks-1950, Tony Bettenhausen-1951, and Chuck Stevenson-1952.

The section on race car makers mentions no U.S. Championship car constructors between Harry Miller and Frank Kurtis, so the 1930-1950 AAA era is complelely wiped out, and made totally null and void. The book really contains no information on AAA National Championship racing 1916 to 1955 except for the Indianapolis 500 winners, an article on the board tracks, and a very cursory piece on Indianapolis cars 1946-1970. It also contains a three page outline article on the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Al Bloemker. Actually Bloemker was put in charge obviously, with regard to all matters relating to either the AAA or USAC National Championship racing.

In the section entitled "The organization of motor sport" there is no information on the pre-USAC years in the United States, i.e. before 1956. The American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioned most of the important U.S. motor races between 1902 to 1955, but there is no mention of the AAA Contest Board (1909-1955) or its National Championship circuit (1916-1955)! These are very major and serious omissions for any so-called or would-be historical "encyclopaedia of motor sport"! Thus the book virtually eliminates and omits the first full half century of major American motor sport history. It is not clear to me if anyone in 1970 had the necessary knowledge to compile a good and complete historical survey of the AAA Championship circuit's history, as the period 1931 to 1949 in particular, then laid in almost complete and total obscurity.

One virtue of the book is however that the information accuracy is at a very high level and can generally be relied on. There was talk of a 2nd edition, but nothing ever appeared. The book needs to be updated and its major deficiencies corrected. The book was obviously a very serious try, but a failure. It also contains no statistical data or listings of note.

2. INTERNATIONAL MOTOR RACING GUIDE (2003) by Peter Higham. A very high quality handbook of basic information and statistics on international motor sport in general and the major races 1894 to 2002. Most of my further observations are therefore mere quibbles. Major league U.S. open wheel racing is mostly covered in four separate sections (1) Indianapolis 500; (2) North American Indycar Championships; (3) CART Championship; and (4) IRL Championship. Quite unintentionally Higham had provided the needed complementary and supplemental statistical information, lacking in Georganos' Encyclopedia! The quibbles;

a.) The Vanderbilt Cup races of 1904, 1905, and 1906 were among the major international races of their day and should be included in the front section EARLY GRAND PRIX RACING and their top five finishers recorded, not delegated to a minor listing on page 733. Admittedly the Vanderbilt Cup races of 1908, 1909, and 1910 were of vastly less significance. For instance, the 1909 and 1910 V.C.'s required stock chassis only. In 1911 the V.C. again allowed thoroughbred racing cars to compete, but never again were the later V.C.'s of great international importance. It remained however one of the big three U.S. events. The other two being the American Grand Prize and the Indianapolis 500.

b.) On page 763 three 1912 Milwaukee races are listed as having taken place at the Milwaukee mile. This is quite incorrect. The Ralph DePalma win listed here was the 1912 October 2, Vanderbilt Cup. The 1912 Vanderbilt Cup did not consist of 300 laps around the Milwaukee mile! Instead all of these three 1912 Milwaukee races were staged on a 7.88 mile road circuit, laid out on the city's streets.

c.) On page 452 are listed the engine displacement regulations for the National Championship series from 1911 on. It is here assumed that the rules that obtained at Indianapolis were always the same as those used in the other Championship events for the same year. This however is not always true, for the AAA Championship events staged between 1916 and 1938. As a matter of actual fact, the regulations for the AAA Championship races varied during the season in the years 1916, 1920, 1923, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1936 and 1937! And the author forgets also that no AAA Championship contests were held before 1916. In fact these ideas are all a legacy and residue left over from the Means-Haresnape-Catlin-Russo mythological system. And it is a total misconception to think that all the important AAA races of 1909-1912, ran under one universal race formula for each year. AAA racing during those years was organized along entirely different lines, i. e. as originally laid down and influenced by the Manufacturer's Contest Association (MCA) complex regulations put forward in April 1909. Actually all the AAA "National Championship" events listed for 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 are totally bogus and should be entirely deleted. It's again, all the false ideas introduced originally by Arthur Means and Val Haresnape, and seconded later by Russ Catlin and Bob Russo, at work once more.

d.) Higham's AAA data 1909-1955 (i.e. pages 456-466), put together by McMaken and myself originally, came directly from either the 1981 PPG CART ANNUAL and/or the 1985 CART MEDIA GUIDE. I believe Gordon Kirby was in contact with Higham and sent the information to him. Two slight changes were made which I deem from correct to incorrect, to wit. 1. Cliff Durant ran Stutz and Miller built cars under the name "Chevrolet" during 1917 to 1920, and the AAA Contest Board allowed him to do so. The car that Durant used to win the March 15, 1919 Santa Monica road race was a 1915 Indianapolis type Stutz, which ran under the name "Chevrolet Special". It was meant to fool the general public back then, but now only continues to confuse and fool racing historians. Someone has changed our correct car designation of Stutz to an incorrect Chevrolet. 2. I would not expect an Englishman to have ever heard of Myron Fohr (1912-1994), but during 1948 and 1949 he was ranked 2nd in the final AAA National point standings for both years. In the 1948 Milwaukee 200 of August 29, Fohr started the car, but had 67 laps of relief from Tony Bettenhausen, in this 200 lap event. Fohr started the car and was in it when the checkered flag fell. Ken and myself always listed the starting driver first and the relief pilot second, i.e. Fohr/Bettenhausen. In Higham's book it is reversed to read Bettenhausen/Fohr on page 464. Fohr did not relieve Bettenhausen, it was the other way around. Having heard much of the more famous Tony Bettenhausen, it was somewhat natural for an Englishman to reverse the order, and put Bettenhausen first. But I think it creates an entirely false impression.

Living in England Mr. Higham, was insulated from all the acrimonius warfare and debate created by McMaken and myself in the U.S., about the status of the AAA 1909-1915 and 1917-1920 point charts, made by Arthur Means, in the late 1920s. However I think Higham, by printing our views (page 456) as correct, is entirely correct himself! Generally Higham is a sourcebook that is accurate and can be relied upon. If you don't own one, order your copy today.

3. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AUTO RACING GREATS (1973) by Robert Cutter and Bob Fendell. Again a very ambitious work. The U.S and foreign personages get about equal space here for the first time. A big book of 675 pages. Contains more errors per page than any other motor sport reference work, and cannot be relied on. The text puzzles me because the sources for all the errors and contamination remains largely unknown to me. Maybe its just their own doing. The entries for American racing personnel tend to be anecdotal in nature rather than overly factual. There is no entry for Duesenberg! This volume is a good illustration of just how hard it is for researchers, even Cutter and Fendell, to obtain good and exact information about major league open wheel U.S. automobile racing. There is no bibliography and no statistical information. The book reminds me of the Russ Catlin's writing and manner of doing things. The sport needs a higher level of scholarship than is exhibited here.

4. WINNERS BOOK (2010) by James O'Keefe. O'Keefe's big book is a very attractive tome. It serves as a supplement and is complementary to Higham's work. The real backbone of any reconstruction of the past and/or the solid foundation for historical research, is an accurate and detailed chronological framework. O'Keefe's Chapter 2 "American Championship Races" pages 47-142 now puts that question entirely to rest, as far as U.S. big time "open wheel" racing is concerned. Chapter 2 here is certainly a major contribution to major league "open wheel" U.S. motor racing history. What remains to be done, is to recover and narrate all the history that lays behind James' voluminous U.S. data! James' Chapter 1 "Grand Prix-Formula 1 and Other Major Races" pages 1-46, surveys the major world wide European style contests. In sum, a very nice, important, useful, up to date, and accurate compilation of statistical information and data, on all the major and important international and U.S. automobile races, 1894-2009. 576 pages in all.

Well all the above works should keep anyone busy for a quite a while. No doubt most of them are going to be very hard to find, as none of them were 'best sellers'. All of them are indispensible for a serious researcher and collectively they form a basic library on major league U.S. motor racing. I may have missed a good one or two, because all this is immediately off the top of my head. Anyway these are the books that come to mind, at present. It is I think, a significant body, of literature. Championship (AAA & USAC) and/or Indy Car Racing (CART, IRL, & CC), as it has been conducted in the U.S. for almost a century, does need an accurate, authoritative, detailed, complete, and overall narrative history. But no such work or volume presently exists. Despite everything, and even all the above, the history of big time "open wheel" American automobile racing history is still a very confusing mess. I may update this listing from time to time.


Mr. Printz, most of the above books are in my possession
But what do you think THE GREAT SAVANNAH RACES (Julian Quattlebaum) REAL ROAD RACING, THE SANTA MONICA ROAD RACES (Harold Osmer and Phil Harms), AMERICAN ROAD RACING - The 1930's (Joel E. Finn) and the WALLEN books, DISTANT THUNDER WHEN MIDGETS WERE MIGHTY and RIVERSIDE PALACE OF SPEED.

#13 Henri Greuter

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 18:50



if it is about the AAA&USAC championships only and about race reports of the season then I suggest look no further then the Wallen tomes if it comes to the 50s 60 and 70s.
And roll out big money for them.
But the sad part of these books for me is that Dick Wallen occupies the author's name on the covers and the fact that some 80 or more % of the contents is written by Bob Schilling and he is denied the honor to be on the cover as at least being the co-author of these works.
Schilling deserved better and more acknowledgements for his achievements with these books.

Mr Printz 's list reads like paradise on a bookshelf if you own all of those books....


Henri


#14 john glenn printz

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 15:30

I have tried above to list only books of the highest qualiity and of major importance. And my selection relates to only American National Championship racing or Indy Car Racing proper. I have no interest in midgets, sprint cars, sports cars, and stock cars.

I will now briefly update and add three important items, all "must" items;

1. REX MAYS, POLE POSITION by Bob Schilling. Best book on U.S. racing in the 1930s. Mays' racing career spanned 1931 to 1949. Lots of good photographs. A very good book about a hitherto largely obscure era. Mays was a first class American pilot who won the AAA National Driving Title in both 1940 and 1941, but in thirteen Indianapolis 500 starts (four of them from the pole) Mays never won.

2. AUTOCOURSE OFFICIAL ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 by Donald Davidson and Rick Shaffler. The best and the most detailed history of the "500" now available. This is a big book which everyone will want to own. Its accuracy is on a high level. I myself have not yet seen the more recent "fully revised and update" edition. A sumptuous volume. ADDED NOTE: this book, in its revised 2nd edition, will not be availble until April 2013.

3. IZOD INDYCAR SERIES 2012 HISTORICAL RECORD BOOK by Shunck and Sullivan. Best statistical book ever on U. S. National Championship and Indy Car racing. However it needs much larger explanatorily texts on its data, and what little it does have of such, is not always accurate or correct. This book still incorporates a great deal of the long evolving (from 1926-1999) Means/Haresnape/Catlin/Russo mythological ideas about AAA National Championship racing. Still, even with its warts and all, a very positive addition to U.S. major league "open wheel" motor racing information and history.

Edited by john glenn printz, 13 February 2013 - 21:58.