New Book Details Early Indy 500 Cars, Drivers

Inkom, ID — David Story is an inspiring example of pursuing your passions — no matter how long it takes.

After setting aside a childhood love of the Indy 500 and later, his degreed artistic talent, in favor of starting and running a successful 25-year homebuilding business, Story returned to those interests in retirement. He’s found an outlet for both with his first book, “The First 30 Years of the Indianapolis 500,” featuring his illustrations and writing about the iconic race’s formative history.

The 70-page, 12” x 9” format showcases the depth of his realistic illustrations while the accompanying text offers new insight into the colorful personalities and real dangers involved in the Indianapolis motorsports scene. Story also includes details on many of the famous Indy traditions — including the winner drinking milk in Victory Lane — and how they came about. (FYI, it was Louis Meyer who was the first to guzzle milk after claiming his second Indy win in 1933.)

Story credits Mark Dill and his First Super Speedway website for reigniting his interest in the 500.

“After discovering the website many years ago, I started a conversation with Mark,” Story said. “One thing led to another and I started submitting sketches for the site. When I started work on the book, Mark offered to review it and to suggest corrections. In researching this great race and its history, I’ve been amazed at the amount of misinformation out there. Mark has kept me on the straight and true.”

Among his discoveries was finding out the number of drivers who died soon after winning the 500.

It’s somewhat ironic — when highlighting the design and mechanics of early 20th century race cars — that Story creates his illustrations with electronic means. He uses an Apple iPad tablet for the drawings, then imports them into Adobe Photoshop software to edit and fine-tune.

“It has been an interesting process to move from paper and pen to digital,” he said. “I still use canvas and oil for paintings, but all my sketching is now done digitally.”

He found that some of the sketches came easily, and that he labored over others.

“For example, the 1919 Peugeot just worked and I may have spent only 3 or 4 hours on it,” he added. “On the other hand, I worked a week on the 1930 winning car and I am still not happy with it.”

Even so, Story doesn’t claim to have a favorite car. He hopes that his appreciation for the era and what it represented for the burgeoning field of cars and motorsports is what comes through.

“Many of these cars were literally built in backyard garages and taken to the track in an effort to qualify for the race,” he said. “I love that. If I have a personal favorite, it would be Wilbur Shaw because of what he did as a race car driver and later for saving the Speedway.”