Read Vukovich: An Inspiring Story of American Achievement by Bob Gates Online

Title : Vukovich: An Inspiring Story of American Achievement
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781891390166
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Vukovich: An Inspiring Story of American Achievement Reviews

  • John
    2019-03-29 15:11

    Bill Vukovich. The man has been gone for 61 years now and his Indy career was short, spanning just 5 Indianapolis 500 races. Before that he raced midget cars once racing resumed following the war. In all, his career lasted just 10 years. What is it about this man that made him so admired (perhaps revered in some circles), and widely acknowledged as one of the best ever to wheel a car at Indy? In his time he was a household name, gracing the cover of Life magazine and his death at Indy set in motion a series of events that would have lasting consequences for Championship racing in the United States. Indeed, his death was probably as big a deal at the time as the later death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001.I’ll confess that I am not impartial when it comes to the subject of Bill Vukovich. My father, who shared a hometown with Vukovich, was a friend and business associate of the man. I grew up hearing stories and listening to the “500” on the radio with my father. I recall devouring as many racing books as I could find for more information about this legendary racer. To my constant disappointment I never read anything that expanded on what I already knew from talking to my father. Many years later, my father packed up all his memorabilia and flew off to Indianapolis to meet with a man named Bob Gates who he had heard was writing a book about Bill Vukovich. Finally the long awaited biography that I had craved all those years was imminent. Once the book was published, my father bought a boxful from the publisher and gave copies to all his close racing friends and, of course, to me. I immediately flew through the book and enjoyed it immensely. I have since read it a couple of more times.Gates’ writing style is not exceptional but is solid and engaging and I was able to read it fairly quickly. This tome achieves what it sets out to do, namely flesh out the missing background information that had heretofore been unavailable. In this book we learn of Vukovich’s difficult early life in California’s central valley. We learn about his introduction to racing and, with his brother Mike, entry in to the local racing scene. Here is where the book really shines. Gates goes into significant detail about Vukovich’s midget racing days; the days that ultimately led him to Indianapolis. We learn that the man was a legend in the California midget racing scene, from which so many great drivers came during this period. Then there’s the part about Indianapolis. Gates includes far more detail about his experiences than I’ve ever previously seen. There are interviews with his chief mechanic where we learn more about his personality and interactions with other drivers. There are letters home describing the events of his month of May and there are the official Indianapolis archives and statistics. We learn that that the man’s personality was far more complex than that which he showed to the press and the general public. We also learn just how intense and driven he really was and how universally respected he was. On the surface this book probably won’t appeal to non-racing fans, which is too bad. In fact, it may not even appeal to your standard NASCAR fan. This is certainly a niche book. It will most likely appeal to those interested in the Indianapolis 500 and its history and dirt track fans, specifically sprint car and midget fans who yearn for the old days when their local heroes could make it big at the Brickyard. Despite this, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in sport. This man was a giant and deserves to be remembered.