What I Got For Christmas

Given that a lot of the US, including Nashville, has been in a winter wonderland for the last few days, I thought it would be appropriate to stretch a little bit more out of Christmas before putting it away for good. It got down to 1º F yesterday in Nashville, but based on what I’ve heard and seen from Indianapolis – that was downright balmy. Hopefully, we can all enjoy some relative warmth this weekend before experiencing another snowmageddon this winter. So for those that were expecting a hard-hitting post about IndyCar, please forgive this wintertime "puff-piece".

So now that Christmas and all the holidays are behind us, I’ve now finally gotten back into the swing of things at work and on this site. Since I started my break just before Christmas, there was not a whole lot going on to comment about, until we learned of the death of Andy Granatelli and the serious injuries to Michael Schumacher. There was the fact that I unintentionally offended a reader with my last post of 2013 regarding Christmas cards showing pictures of children. As luck would have it, I received a Christmas card from a very loyal reader who will remain nameless, showing nothing but children on the very day that rant was posted. As I said in my apologetic e-mail to her, I hope most people know that many of my rants are sarcastically written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Oh well.

About a week before Christmas, I wrote a post about what IndyCar fans should wish for. I received three gifts this year that are all very significant for any fan of IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 In particular.

The first of which was actually given to me a couple of weeks before Christmas, but it counts as a Christmas gift nonetheless. It came from my good friend, co-worker and cohort on the One Take Only videos – John McLallan. As is typical of someone selfish like me, I got John nothing. But being much more giving than I am, John presented me with a set of two vintage cocktail glasses from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1975. On one side is the traditional wing & wheel logo along with Tony Hulman’s signature. On the other, is a list of all winners from 1911 through 1975.


These glasses are already a collector’s item and will only become more so with time. Although I would never tell him to his face, John is a very good friend and his friendship is much appreciated. John turned fifty-eight this past Saturday and I would like to take this opportunity to wish hm a happy birthday. But did I buy him anything? No.

Susan had already ordered my main racing gift when I posted that article. In the article, the first “must-have” item was Donald Davidson’s History of the Indianapolis 500. I mentioned that I had the original version which was published in 2006, but had gone out of print. Well, lo and behold, she bought me the updated version that was released this past October. The new version includes the 2013 race that was won by Tony Kanaan, as well as a tribute to Dan Wheldon.

Donald Book

My thoughtful wife continues to amaze me how she can keep up with all the memorabilia in a sport she didn’t follow until we got together. After sorting through it, I would recommend that owners of the previous version go ahead and take the plunge to order this one as well. Both versions are available through Amazon.

The third gift didn’t come until after Christmas. The sender, who probably wishes to remain anonymous, had my old address before I got married. Plus the UPS fiasco over Christmas delayed it even further. Nevertheless, I finally got possession of it.

It is a large coffee-table book that is also worth reading – Indy 500: More Than a Race by Tom Carnegie. Yes, it is THAT Tom Carnegie. From what I have read so far, it is Carnegie’s personal insights of his perspective of the race as a kid growing up in Iowa, as well as his direct involvement with the race as the PA announcer from 1946 up until the book came out after the 1986 race.


Of course, we all know that Tom Carnegie sat behind the microphone for another twenty years after this book was published. But there are tons of photos that I have never seen published before anywhere. With over four-hundred unique pictures and Tom Carnegie’s perspective – I will definitely add this to the list of “must-have” books for the collection of any serious fan of the Indianapolis 500.

As an added bonus, my oldest brother brought me a copy of As a Matter of Fact, I am Parnelli Jones to read before we meet up again in May.


It’s a loaner, but it involves one of my favorite drivers in the history of the Speedway. I will start on it as I wrap up Parnelli; a Story of Auto Racing, an excellent book written in 1969 by Bill Libby. It was mailed to me back in the fall by Donald & Laurie McElvain from Montana, who have followed this site for years.


One omission from my wish list a couple of weeks ago, that I should have added is Hard Luck Lloyd by John Lingle, who I know as one of the excellent IndyCar bloggers over at More Front Wing.


I do not yet own a copy of his book on the unlucky driver from Wichita Falls, Texas. It was released just before Christmas. But from what I’ve heard throughout the blogosphere, it is an excellent book. It is currently not available through Amazon, but you can order it here.

Thanks to those who provided some Christmas cheer – John, Susan, our racing friends in Florida and Montana along with my friends in Indianapolis who sent me the card with photos of their daughter, causing me some deserved self-embarrassment. You all helped make this a very memorable Christmas.

So, in a year when there was nothing that I really expected to get that was IndyCar related, I now have plenty to keep me occupied during the long cold offseason. But now that we are officially into 2014, the opening race in St. Petersburg suddenly seems a lot closer.

George Phillips


9 Responses to “What I Got For Christmas”

  1. Mike Silver Says:

    Great list, George. I got Hard Luck Lloyd for my birthday. I’m about 1/3 through it. It is excellent. I’m going to get the Revised History of the 500 as my next book.

  2. For those of us who read your scribblin’ on a regular basis and have never met you in person, it is hard to believe that you are as selfish, self-centered, and shallow as you claim to be. I guess we wiil just have to take your word for it. LOL (Hopefully you did get your wife something)

    Thanks for the book info. I am going to fire up the ol’ woodstove and head off to Barnes and Noble. (No damn tablets in this house!)

  3. billytheskink Says:

    That’s quite a haul George, that Tom Carnegie book in particular looks fantastic. Some of these are gonna wind up on my birthday wish list.
    I was feeling pretty good about the old Racing Champions 1:64 scale cars from 1995 (Gordon, Vasser, and Unser Jr.) that I received for Christmas until I saw this… But seriously, it looks like you have a great reading list for the new year.

  4. I went to the museum and purchased the 2nd addition of Donald and Rick’s book, knowing that the 2 of them were signing the books for a couple hours. Interstingly enough, Donald advised us that the original book is sold out, and there will not be any further publishing of it. He also said he had heard it was worth anywhere from $300.00 – $600.00 now. I was very happy to hear this, as I purchased it when it was sold also, with both of their signatures at that time. It is great reading, most interesting was how and where the early drivers lived or stayed at for the month of May back in the day. If any of you have the opportunity to find the original book, it is well worth your money you spend.

  5. One year from now we will all be watching Formula e.

  6. Wow, George, you made out like a bandit this year! Kudos to Susan for finding the perfect gift. I too received the Davidson book and am engrossed in all of the details and photos. I also was gifted with the Parnelli Jones/Miletich cars coffee table book. The photography is amazing! And Dario’s book on the romance of racing is on its way. I wish I could say I have the time to read all of these and finish Parnelli Jones’ biography!

    BTW, I think you just told John you value his friendship. Happy New Year! Is it March yet??

  7. The Tom Carnegie book has been in my library since 1991. I’m 30 years old and my parents bought me the book after my first trip to the speedway.

  8. George great stuff! I have a full box of those Libby rocks glasses and then a couple hits and misses with the high balls. I treasure them. I think the full set that I have date back to 61. I only ever bring them out in the month of May. I hope I won’t be out of line to suggest that of all the books you mentioned, I believe most of them are available from Coastal181.com. Friends with Lew Boyd there and I’m pretty sure they published the Parnelli book and now have another book out about Bentley Warren that Bones wrote that you may enjoy. Anyway as always great stuff and keep up the good work!

  9. Wonderful site. A lot of helpful information here.
    I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thank you in your effort!

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