Foreword to my Book, "The Legend of the First Super Speedway"


Foreword by Willy T. Ribbs
When Mark Dill asked me to write the foreword to his book, The Legend of the First Super Speedway, I agreed without giving it a second thought. I’ve known Mark for several years now, and we have become tight friends. We share a lot of values and interests, not the least of which is the sport of auto racing and especially the Indianapolis 500, where I became the first black driver to qualify in 1991 and then again in 1993. That was racing history that maybe even I did not fully appreciate until the release of “UPPITY,” the 2020 Netflix documentary that chronicles my career.

(Cover art by Daiv Barrios)
I think that experience piqued my curiosity about the broader context of the history of my sport, dating back to its early days. As my friendship with Mark grew, I came to realize not only his knowledge of early days racing but his passion for the topic as well. His attention to detail and concern for accuracy is the same as mine was in winning races and championships. That’s professionalism.
I say with total confidence that Mark is the perfect person to tell this previously untold tale. He brings to the surface the true-life characters that created American auto racing. There’s no sugar coating on this one. What you’ll find is not only an entertaining and revealing story of how American racing was born but the larger, the sometimes ugly context that admits but does not dwell on racism and gender roles in early 20th Century America. The story is cast in reality that never apologizes for the faults and foibles of the men who made what seemed impossible happen. They shaped both a sport and so much of the technology we take for granted today.
(The Legend of the First Speedway, the Battle for the Soul of American Auto Racing will be available by the end of August.)