Acclaimed writer pens 500 book

March 3, 2009
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charlesSimon & Schuster has commissioned a book about the first Indianapolis 500. The book publishing company hired former Sports Illustrated executive editor Charles Leerhsen to write the story of the 1911 race, and hopes to have it on book store shelves by the race’s centennial.

“The book will deal with the world in general in that era, the rise of the automobile, the birth of the Speedway, and of course the race,” Leerhsen, pictured at right, told IBJ.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is not officially involved in the project, is assisting Leerhsen with research. “We’ve offered our files and personnel to work with him to the extent he needs it,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Fred Nation. “He has already visited our facility one or two times, and I expect he will be back.”

Nation is optimistic about the book’s impact. “Based on Charles’ reputation, and the work he’s done before, we think this book should heighten the interest and raise the profile of this race,” Nation said.

Last year, Simon & Schuster released Leerhsen’s acclaimed book about harness racing titled “Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America.” That book is set in the same time period as the inaugural Indy 500.

Leerhsen, a magazine veteran who has also worked stints for Newsweek, People and US Weekly, is in the research and early writing phases of the book. Leerhsen said his book will weave in some present-day information about the Speedway “when it makes sense.”

Leerhsen has written books with test pilot Chuck Yeager, successful television executive Brandon Tartikoff and business tycoon Donald Trump.
  • I know these types of books have the potential to be limited in audience. But if it is as good as his work with Chuck Yeager than it will be really good. He knows how to capture a readers interest beyond just what the person or sport is most known for. I look forward to reading it.
  • I think this is just the start of the publicity Indy will get over the next 3 years. With the movie scheduled to be filmed and all of the events related to the 100th, this will be good for IMS and for Indianapolis
  • The book sounds like it has potential. I will have to wait until BiF's review however.

    Why IMS thinks this would help their cause is astonishing. All anyone has to do is compare 1911-95 to the absolute fraud foisted from 1996-present to know that the current farce is worthless. But Anton the brilliant just wants to hear good things from his yes men, and he pays them well to say good things to him. How creepy.

    And Fred Nation, before he who cannot be preceded by F threw his fit, the 500's profile did not need to be raised! Now you have dismal ratings, the scorn of the world, and have a hard time gioving tickets away! Good thing bootlicking lackeys like you are there to help the Dim One with his 'fixing! Not! :lol:

    When is someone going to write a book about Mari, Guy and Elmer? That'd be a riotous jaunt! Or the definitive story of Lord Inheritors first marriage? Hoo-eee, that's gotta be a barn burner!

    Seriously, anyone know what motivated Simon & Schuster to commission this?
  • Simple answer, Stan, just to get in your craw. They wanted to stick a fork in you cause you're done!
  • Oh, and Stan, one more thing. For a guy who has all the answers, you seem to have a lot of questions.
  • When is someone going to write a book about Mari, Guy and Elmer?

    Shootout at the Hulman Corral?

    Cocaine, Alcohol and Guns Don't Mix?
  • Ok, is there any topic that does not bring out the TG haters? Don't you guys have a life? Give it a rest. You guys are mad at TG for doing what he feels is best for his race and his race track. If you can do better, then offer to buy the track, or start your own. Otherwise get on with your life and get over the hatred.
  • If the book on Dan Patch is any indication, this should be a good read. The story of the IMS is bigger than Tony George, and really in the whole scheme of things, is bigger than Indianapolis. It should be a solid tale.
  • This book and the movie have a good shot of being the next Hoosiers. Indiana has a habit of putting out good sports stories.

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