Indy: The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500, second edition
By Terry Reed
Potomac Books, Inc., $17.95
Jack Arute's Tales from the Indy 500
By Jack Arute with Jenna Fryer
Foreword by A.J. Foyt
Sports Publishing L.L.C., $19.95
For enthusiasts and neophytes, Terry Reed is the who, what, where, why, how, when of the Speedway and the American automobile story at the turn of the 20th century. Harrowing and heroic, the Indy 500, in context with economics, culture, politics and wars, becomes a much more dimensional subject than a latter-day May beer binge.
Jack Arute's "Collection of the Greatest Stories Ever Told" is as effusive as his pit reporting with ABC. But this is a man who has never gotten over his 1969 introduction to Gasoline Alley. Since 1984, Arute has been covering motorsports across the USA, but nothing stirs him as much as the Indy 500. He hasn't forgotten anyone or anything, and he shares it in quick soundbites that make for easy reading and smart sharing.
Reed takes longer to digest. The personalities are presented in more depth, and the incidents are marked by truths and consequences. Statistics abound in this chronological, carefully researched history. Organized as a trip around the track, this is a book with a mission - not easily read, but getting to the finish makes you a winner.