The fascinating life of Don Nichols heads our annual Christmas gift ideas for racers as Pete Lyons explores the man behind the Shadow race cars. Lyons, the dean of American motorsports writers who has been writing and taking photos for seven decades, befriended Nichols and got the whole story of how a WWII paratrooper on D Day became such a viable part of Can-Am and Formula 1. It brings back great memories of the 1970s when innovation was alive and kicking, Shadow succeeding against some of the toughest competition ever.
Before he became a journalist covering IndyCar racing, John Oreovicz was the public relations director for Bruce McCaw and PacWest Racing in CART. In “Time Flies,” Oreo relives the good, bad and ugly of a new team and all the political pitfalls it encounters. It’s an honest read of how difficult it is to success as a start-up team regardless of the talent, and PacWest had plenty of that. It can be purchased at the RACER Store or JohnOreovicz.com.
Gordon Kirby’s latest historical perspective may be his finest as he profiles Chris Pook, how the Long Beach Grand Prix came to fruition and all the obstacles that had to be cleared to bring Formula 1 to the streets of a city that nobody really wanted to visit in 1975. “Chris Pook & the History of the Long Beach GP” is chock full of great photos, and is available at the RACER Store or Joe Freeman’s RaceMaker Press.
John Smailes spent the better part of two years researching and interviewing people for his “Speed Kings”, a look at all the drivers from Australia and New Zealand that have run at the Indianapolis 500. Early on in this book you understand why Indy wasn’t just another race to the boys from Down Under. The book is available at JohnSmailes.com.au.
The latest from Dave Argabright’s growing library is “Life with Luke,” which is the biography of former sprint-car bad ass Jimmy Sills, one of racing’s nicest guys. Go to Coastal181.com or DaveArgabright.com.
Longtime collector Ron Nelson’s book “A Photo Pass to the Amazing 1960s” is a pictorial look at sports cars and Indy cars. It can be purchased through the Elkhart Lake Racing Museum and, eventually, Amazon.com.
Jade Gurss’ latest offering is “Racer,” the life story of the late John Andretti – his path to the top of his profession and the battle with cancer that finally claimed his life. Purchase at Amazon or your local bookstore.
Then there is Mike Lashmet, who spends most of his waking hours organizing races and appearances for vintage Indy cars. His 2021 calendar is packed with all the restored beauty from days gone by. Vintageindyregistry.com is the place to purchase.