Book Information


Writing the Book

 As I was working on the research for this book I had the feeling that,  when I was reading about the practice sessions, it felt like the past.  But, when I was reading, thinking and remembering the qualification  days, it was like it just happened or was happening. I could hear "Hee's  on the bricks" again as well as all the other great lines we would hear  over the P.A.

It could be that the P.A,, and, of course, Tom  Carnegie, was the difference. You will remember that the P.A. was seldom  used during practice sessions, especially through the week. So, maybe  it is the way I remember the excitement of the Public Address system on  those qualification days that make it feel so "alive" and just like  yesterday.

These feelings caused me to make the decision to  use past and present tense when writing this book - and that turned out  to be difficult. While writing the tense was not my first priority,  therefore I had to edit each day later. My publisher and friend, Sue  Breeding, and I spent quite a bit of time changing words from past to  present, or visa versa. I hope we found them all, but there are so many,  a few may have slipped through.

So, when you are reading the  practice days I intend for you to be in the past but when you read the  qualification days I attempted to make it "now" without going too far  with the great quotes. For example, "Annd, heee's on it!" only appears a  few times. My goal was to try to make you feel you were there in that  moment of time. 

I look forward to the grammar police  commenting on this. I'm sure it will drive them crazy. However, I hope  you like it and find the memorable qualification days a little more  exciting because they are in present tense. 


Every qualification attempt during the 10-year period, 1954-1963,  is documented in this book. The official time that the car was pushed  from the starting line to start the qualification attempt is included. 

There  is an example of an official historical card on this site. These cards  were assembled as they happened, by the Speedway Historian, Bob Laycock. 

Click on the card image below and the official time appears on the bottom right.

Special Thank Yous


  • I would be remiss if I did not tell you how gratifying it was to work with Speedway Historian Donald Davidson on this project. Not only is his knowledge continually amazing, but his passion for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is immeasurable.

  • During my research for the book The Roadsters of Indianapolis, artist, historian and my friend the late Bob Clidinst, unknowingly inspired this book, 15 years later.

  • Bob made it possible for me to have access to the official Qualification records that had been assembled, over years, by the late Speedway Historian Bob Laycock. Without these records, every qualification attempt documented, I would not have thought to attempt this project.