Black Noon - The Year They Stopped the Indy 500
"Black Noon is one of the best books on racing that I’ve come across. It’s packed full of interesting stories about all of us who competed in the ’64 Indy 500, giving readers insight into how that tragic day unfolded. That victory was one of the greatest and saddest of my career. Art Garner captures not just that day but that whole era through perceptive reporting. I think this book will appeal to both the serious race enthusiast and the casual fan who wants to know more about the golden era of Indy car racing."
-A.J. Foyt, International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee and 4-time winner of the Indy 500
"A compelling and intriguing tale."
-Matt DeLorenzo, former editor-in-chief of Road & Track magazine and former editor at AutoWeek magazine
"This is one of the best racing books I’ve read…I’d recommend it for everyone from the racing historian to the casual sports fan."
-Bobby Unser, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion
"The 1964 Indy 50 is a part of racing history that needs to be preserved for the future and Black Noon does it! It provides plenty of funny and teary remembrances of the drivers, owners, crew members and track personnel from that terrible day."
-Eddie Sachs, Jr.
"The most well-researched, comprehensive and accurate account of that day, [Garner] has boiled down years of research and hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews into what is – beyond a doubt – the definitive book on the people, the cars, and the forces that came together in that fateful race."
-The Family of Dave MacDonald
The 48th running of the Indianapolis 500 took place 50 years ago on Memorial Day weekend, 1964 It would prove not to be a celebration of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but rather, the darkest day in the event’s history. A.J. Foyt was the winner of the race that day, but as acclaimed writer Art Garner details in his terrific narrative history of the events of May 30, 1964, BLACK NOON: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500, tragedy was the tone set early in the race and remained throughout.
A fiery, seven-car crash along the straight-away on the second lap of the race took the lives of racers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. The result was that for the first time in the nearly-half century of the race the Indy 500 was stopped. It was obvious to all that day that this crash was truly horrendous. When the announcement came from the track announcer that Sachs had died in the crash, it inspired an impromptu on-air eulogy from radio announcer Sid Collins. When MacDonald died a few hours later from the terrible burns he suffered, the true magnitude of the day was forever etched in the minds of all in attendance.
BLACK NOON brings readers behind the scenes of the events leading up to that fateful day. Informed by extensive interviews including six of the seven surviving racers, Garner brings to life the greatest names in racing – A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, and Bobby Unser. Readers will learn of the car designs and manufacturers, the race strategy of the teams, and the psyche of the men who lived for a need for speed. MacDonald, for instance, drove a Mickey Thompson designed rear-engine car that other drivers were leery of getting behind the wheel.
The conclusion of the tragic race saw sweeping reforms to all of racing and Indy in particular. In a sport where the specter of death looms on every curve there really is no way to make the race completely free of risk. The events of May 30, 1964 cast a spotlight on how suddenly the tragic side of auto racing can rear its ugly head. Art Garner has given the racing world, and Indianapolis especially, a needed and powerful treatment of this pivotal and sad day.
Unique aspects of the 1964 Indianapolis 500
Winner A.J. Foyt was the last driver to win Indy in a front-engined roadster
- Foyt went the entire race without once changing tires
- The 1964 race was the first one shown live, flag-to-flag, on closed circuit TV in theatres around the U.S.
- Since 1965 all Indy race cars are rear-engined formula-style cars
- The 1964 Indy 500 was the last race before the switch from gasoline to methanol
A journalism graduate of Michigan State University, Art Garner has developed a writing and public relations career that has intertwined with motorsports for more than 35 years. He has worked as a public relations executive at Ford, Toyota, and Honda, through which he has attended races at virtually every major, and not so major, track in America. He lives in Palos Verdes, California.
BLACK NOON - The Year They Stopped the Indy 500
By Art Garner
On Sale Date 5/6/14
Pages 352 plus one 8-page b&w photo insert
ISBN # 9781250017772
Buy here at Amazon