Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

August 8, 2012

A Treasure Trove For Fans of the Indianapolis 500

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:21 pm

Throughout the 100 year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway several individuals have distinguished themselves in a variety of colorful and noteworthy ways. From the original owners/founders to Tony Hulman, personalities who brought the racing to the people including folks like Sid Collins and Tom Carnegie, the mechanics, drivers and owners, and the lore and stories surrounding anyone and everyone who worked, watched or listened make up a rich tapestry of history that should never be lost.

The one person any racing fan is the luckiest to have around is Donald Davidson, the IMS Historian whose uncanny knack for storing even miniscule historic facts is uncanny. He is the treasure hunter’s treasure hunter for all things IMS and the 500. Most racing fans have no idea how lucky they are to have someone like Donald keeping track of everything from the very beginning. In his typical self-effacing style he will tell you it is not really a big deal but for passionate racing fans the preservation of the rich history of IMS is paramount.

Donald freely shares what he knows with most anyone who asks, and he genuinely relishes listening to stories and anecdotes from like-minded fans. The big picture problem is that Donald, like all of the rest of us, will not be around forever, and there is not really any person alive who could replace him. Therefore the preservation of what is in his mind is essential for generations that follow.

One such person who has begun tackling the challenge is Mike Thomsen, who continues painstakingly archiving the history of IMS in a website hosted on WIBC site. In that site are collections of Donald Davidson stories from the popular and long running ‘Talk of Gasoline Alley’ series, as well as other 500-related audio and specials. Mike says the project is still young and has a way to go. The content is already extraordinary and our hats are off to both Donald Davidson for collecting, remembering and sharing the history and to Mike Thomsen for spearheading such a remarkable effort to preserve it.

For fans of the Indianapolis 500 and IMS this is utterly fabulous. A tip of the hat to all involved, and most important . . . thank you and keep up the great work.



  1. Speaking of history, if you have not been to the IMS museum in a while, they have made some changes with the collection. The Spirit of America is there along with a number of race cars that I had not seen there before, including a 72 Dragster. They have quite a few of the winning cars, going back to 1909. Definitely worth the price of admission.

    Comment by Bob F. — August 9, 2012 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Defender,

    It’s been a while…are you still out there? I visited the IMS Bookstore before the 500 in May and my disbelief was confirmed…why is there no definitive history of American Open Wheel racing that encompasses all sanctioning bodies, all drivers, chassis, teams, events, venues and championships? I have about a dozen great histories about F1 and we know that NASCAR has plenty of books out there about Junior Johnson, etc. but Indy Car, as usual, lacks something that the other series possess…perhaps we can start a petition to have the historian or somebody else chronicle the rich and diverse past of our beloved sport, which must include USAC, CART, Champ Car, IRL and whatever we call the series these days, with rich text and vivid photos…

    Comment by Neil Rubin — August 11, 2012 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  3. I lost all respect for Donald Davidson after reading the Hungness 500 yearbook from 1996. Back then, people had to choose sides and Donald clearly went to Tony George and took a big ole lick of the boot. He was annoying on the radio broadcast for the Nationwide race at IMS. He clearly knows very little about Nascar and all he and the rest of the bootlickers could talk about was the track and history. Very few care.
    Editor’s Note: Unsurprising one of your ilk might lose respect for Donald. Ignorance is bliss. The man has more knowledge in his pinky than your handful of haters has collectively. Show some respect, boy. What he does transcends the politics. The sport is far more rich with him in it.

    Comment by TroyM — August 28, 2012 @ 1:13 am | Reply

    • Boy???? I call things like I see them. The knowledge Donald carries around is mostly worthless information that only a small number of people around central Indiana care about.
      Editor’s Note: That’s right. Boy. The knowledge Donald Davidson carries around is the history of the sport, often in granular detail, which is something actual racing fans and those who appreciate and respect history have no problem embracing. I feel sorry for those of you ignorant enough to foolishly chide.

      Comment by TroyM — August 30, 2012 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  4. Thank you for the kind comments about the WIBC website I’ve been working on. There’s a ton of audio still to come. I appreciate your support of the project and your support of Donald and the Talk of Gasoline Alley.

    Mike Thomsen

    Comment by Mike Thomsen — September 3, 2012 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

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