Thirty days! From the moment the drivers entered in the 1970 Indianapolis 500 rolled their cars onto the track for practice until the command “Gentlemen start your engines,” they faced thirty days of intense action. The drivers needed to go fast enough to earn one of the thirty-three starting positions. Only then would they have chance to win what sportswriters and fans called “the greatest spectacle in racing.” An award-winning sportswriter Hal Higdon was there to report on the action: hovering in the pits next to the racers in their cars, wandering into Gasoline Alley to tell their stories, absorbing all the excitement the month of May brings to Indianapolis. Here is the tale day by day, of those thirty crucial days-the drivers with fast cars and slow cars, the drivers with rich sponsors and those with little money, the drivers with talent and those who need good luck to place high, or even qualify. The list of competitors in 1970 was formidable, and included Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, A.J. Foyt, and the Unser brothers. Add the owners: Roger Penske and Andy Granatelli. Once the gentlemen start their engines, the race begins. The danger builds. A tiny twitch heading into a turn can result in bent metal and lost lives. Even the fans live in danger. This is the story of the 1970 Indy 500, but the scenes are repeated on the stained turns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway year after year.
Hal Higdon is the author of thirty-four books and in 2003 was awarded a Career Achievement Award- the highest honor given to writer members-by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
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