Author Archive
Stories written by Bob_Gates

A Strong Foundation

Kenny Irwin, Jr. (NSSN Archives Photo)

Kenny Irwin, Jr. died just more than 10 years ago — July 7, 2000, during NASCAR Cup practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Stewart won the New England 300 that weekend and dedicated his victory to his fallen buddy.

Cannonball Baker’s Racing Legacy Lives On

BIKES AND BEYOND: Cannonball Baker aboard an Indian motorcycle during the early 1900s. (Bob Gates Collection Photo)

Cannonball Baker is an iconic name in the annals of motorcycle racing. The early 20th century rider was one of the sport’s first true heroes, possessing a celebrity that transcended his field of endeavor. His renown was such that President Herbert Hoover once said, “More people know Cannonball’s name than mine!”

Mann Breaking Stereotypes On Path Up Open-Wheel Ladder

Pippa Mann picked up her first Firestone Indy Lights triumph this season. (Bret Kelley/IndyCar Photo)

Pippa Mann’s 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season was momentous, often tough, sometimes disappointing, occasionally jubilant. Driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, she captured three poles, including Indianapolis, and won at Kentucky. Despite breaking her left hand at Edmonton and sitting out a race while it healed from surgery, she finished fifth in points.

Soft Spoken Henry Banks Showed Great Driving Ability

AT THE WHEEL: Noted midget racer Henry Banks later became a trusted USAC official. (Bob Gates Collection Photo)

Henry Banks didn’t look like a race-car driver. Soft spoken and well mannered, he looked more like an accountant or a teacher. Yet, behind the wheel of a race car, that Clark Kent persona disappeared, replaced with an extraordinary finesse, aggression and ability.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Attracted Hoosiers Like Griffith

INDY TIME: Cliff Griffith after qualifying for his second of four Indy 500 starts in 1952. (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo)

Born Clifton Reign Griffith in Nineveh, Ind., Feb. 6, 1916, Cliff Griffith spent his formative years in and around Indianapolis. Like most young men from central Indiana, he was inevitably drawn to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Reformed Hmiel Gaining Ground In Racing

Shane Hmiel (David E. Heithaus Photo).

On the morning of this year’s Brickyard 400, Steve Hmiel, director of competition at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, glanced at the calendar on his cell…

Lance Reventlow Created The Scarab Racing Cars

Lance Reventlow Created The Scarab Racing Cars

His mother was Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton. He was married, for a time, to actress Jill St. John. Cary Grant was a stepfather. The…

Granatelli’s Plymouth Wins First Dover Indy-Car Race

Granatelli’s Plymouth Wins First Dover Indy-Car Race

Plymouth is not a name often associated with Indy-car racing. On Aug. 24, 1969, however, not only did a Plymouth-powered car win an Indy-car…

Celebrating 100 Years, Belleville At Crossroad

Celebrating 100 Years, Belleville At Crossroad

HISTORIC VENUE: A Buick, a Model T and a White steamer participated in the first race at Belleville High Banks on July 4, 1910,…

Rickenbacker Was A Racer On And Off The Track

Rickenbacker Was A Racer On And Off The Track

DRIVING ACE: Eddie Rickenbacker and his co-driver prior to the 1916 Indianapolis 500. (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo)Long before Ohio-born Eddie Rickenbacker was America’s Ace…

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