Donald Davidson visits

Sarah Smith and Donald Davidson share a laugh after Donald recorded the answering message on Sarah's phone.

Sarah Smith and Donald Davidson share a laugh after Donald recorded the answering message on Sarah’s phone.

It is still referred to as the month of May, it is actually only 12 days now. They still have carb day but the cars haven’t used carburetors since 1963. The garage area is known as Gasoline Alley but they haven’t used gasoline in the 500 since 1965.
They still sing “Back Home Again in Indiana”, release balloons and the winning driver drinks milk in victory lane.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is hosting the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 this year and all the traditions and history that makes this the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” are front and center.
No one knows more about the events and people that make the 500 special than Donald Davidson. Donald Davidson is the historian for IMS and is presently touring all the counties in Indiana reminding hoosiers of the rich race history.
The Plymouth Rotary hosted Mr. Davidson at their regular meeting Monday. He relayed some history and anecdotes about how special the fans feel about the race. The 500 is more than an automotive race to most of the fans. It is an annual event that brings family and friends from all over together to experience the event.
Donald Davidson himself was smitten with the race at a young age and traveled from his native England to attend the 1964 race. As a young boy Donald took an interest in racing and was learning all he could about the drivers and cars that were popular in Europe. Then he came upon this race in Indianapolis, Indiana that was different than anything Europe had. The drivers names, the cars even the track was different. As a teenager he saved his money and traveled to attend the Indianapolis 500.
When he got here he was able to get a bronze badge which allowed him access to the garage area. He met Sid Collins who gave him a spot on the radio broadcast. The next year he was back as a regular on the radio.
Donald is quick to tell you that he is not a gear head and isn’t as interested in the controversy or politics of the race. He enjoys the people and the personalities that give the race the rich history that it has.
Mr. Davidson took questions from the Rotarians and guests in attendance. Questions covered a wide range of subjects from his favorite spot to view the race, the technology advances the race as brought about and even gave a short history of the infamous “Snake Pit”. He answered all the questions in depth and with details about the people involved without any assistance other than what he described as his Selective Retentive Easy-Access Memory.
One of the subjects that came up was the track personnel referred to as Yellow Shirts. This year with the 100th race the track is preparing for larger than normal attendance and are seeking more people to work at the track. If you are interested in working one day or more contact the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for details.