I've just received my copy of your Board Track book, and I'm writing to tell you how pleased I am. Many excellent photographs, well researched, well written. Surely among the finest auto racing books ever. As they say over here, "A Jolly Good Show".
If you have ever been fascinated by the men and machines that hit the board tracks from coast to coast between 1910 and 1931, this is the book for you. Dick Wallen and a host of other historians have put together the definitive, limited edition, volume on the subject. Originally conceived for bicycles, later motorcycles, board tracks became the venue for powerful race cars. The majority of the twenty-four most prominent tracks reported lasted but a few years; Altoona was the longest running at eight years. Each track is presented with its own history by a different author while intermingled are chapters on teams, drivers, cars, feuds, and the glamour. Race car movie buffs will thoroughly enjoy "Glamour on the Boards", which looks at the full length movie features. See Tom Mix on horseback, dressed in his usual cowboy garb, pictured with a 1920s race car and drivers.
Where did these wonderful old photographs of drivers, cars, races, tracks, famous personalities, come from? Many were unearthed from private as well as public archives. Throughout are color pages depicting old posters, programs, paintings, Kimbie's marvellous cut-away illustration of Duray's Miller, and original art on the cover. Racing enthusiasts will delight in the amount of info on such drivers as DePalma, Jimmy Murphy, Ray Harroun, Oldfield, etc., not to mention the fans of Duesenberg, Stutz and Frontenac.
Wallen should be congratulated for not only his fine writing, but also for orchestrating such an unprecedented enterprise.
The 'Fabulous Fifties' has been on my 'want' list for some time now and my wife presented it to me for a Christmas gift.
The book is a work of art, it is an incredible window into the past and much, much more than I had anticipated. It is a priceless reference piece and a welcome addition to my library.
I am a serious collector with EVERY Clymer/Hungness Indy Yearbooks, every Open Wheel, Circle Track and all but nine copies of the old Speed Age magazines.
I attended many of the events documented in Fabulous Fifties and the combination text/photos brought back many vivid memories.
Again congratulations on a volumn of historical treasures.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Your book on the 50's is outstanding. Robin Miller, Auto Sports Writer for the Indianapolis News, says "without doubt" the finest racing book ever, and I agree.
Thank you very much for the 'Roar From the 60's' book. It's just like the 50's book, I couldn't put it down. You have created a masterpiece for the history of the sport we love.
Indy 500 Photographer
Best Book I ever read.
BOOK REVIEW: Roar From the Sixties: American Championship Racing, by Dick Wallen, forward by Parnelli Jones, 1997, Dick Wallen Productions, P.O. Box 10561, Glendale, AZ 85318; 623/566-5578; Hard cover, 11.25 x 8.75, 593 pages, 1400 photos; $125.
CART likes to point out the diversity of its current FedEx Championship Series, which appears on oval tracks, street courses, and road courses. But the USAC National Championship of the late '60s matched that and raised the ante with both events on mile-dirt tracks and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Indeed, Dick Wallen asserts that "the last real American championship race" was held on Sacramento's one-mile dirt oval in 1970. (Just picture Alex Zanardi, Michael Andretti, and Paul Tracy going at it in cageless front-engine dirt cars! That last dirt race featured Al and Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, and others.)
In "Roar From the Sixties: Ameriican Championship Racing", Wallen has assembled the definitive history of arguably the most formative period in American racing. The near-600-page work is thoroughly illustrated with more than 1400 photographs from a host of lensmen. The mainly black-and-white images transport the reader back to the time when Indy cars travelled from race to race on open trailers pulled by station wagons, and race drivers wore T-shirts behind the wheel. Words were mostly provided by Bob Schilling, but with more than able assistance from journalist Michael Jordan. There is also a forward by Parnelli Jones and an entire chapter by Johnny Rutherford, Indy winners both. Serious fans will spend hours reviewing the complete box scores from the '60 to '69 seasons.
Wallen didn't try to sugar-coat over the sad fact that racing was once a blood-thirsty sport. Indeed he includes several photos of fatal crashes in progress, as well as shots of the aftermath of Dave MacDonald's fatal '64 Indy crash and the remains of the Formula 2 Lotus that carried Jim Clark to his death.
This work is a must-read for those who long for the bucolic but brutal time that was racing in the '60s, but it should also be in the library of every serious fan of the house divided that is today's Indy car racing.