The Legend of the First Super Speedway Children's Edition


A big thank you to the noted author and Indy 500 historian Sigur Whitaker's great review of our children's book based on the original, "Legend of the First Super Speedway" book released in 2020. Both books are at Sigur's review from her e-newsletter appears below. Check out her website and you can subscribe to her newsletter at the address at the end of her review.

"Mark Dill grew up in Indianapolis and is passionate and knowledgeable about the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and auto racing. A couple of years ago, he released a book, The Legend of the First Super Speedway which transports readers back to the early 1900s. The book covers the early days of auto racing and the men who were involved including William K. (Willie K.) Vanderbilt II, Barney Oldfield, Henry Ford, Carl Fisher, and Tom Cooper. It was a time when daredevils dared death and went faster in the rudimentary automobile than people could believe possible.

Mark has a grandson who, from his earliest years, has shown an interest in toy automobiles and auto racing. Mark took the time and effort to make a book for this grandson so that they can share their mutual interest in auto racing.

The book tells the story of the early automobile races and the founding of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The illustrations by Mary Lynn Smith, one on each page, bring the book to life. While the target audience is third grade, it will be understandable to young children and is a great opportunity to read with a child, expand their vocabulary, and expand their knowledge of automobiles. It will also appeal to children in higher grades. This is a book that children, particularly those who show an interest in automobiles, will enjoy and would make a good present.

The book tells the story of the earliest days of racing including when Barney Oldfield, then unknown, raced the 999 built by Henry Ford and against all odds won the race. In the summer of 1903, Barney Oldfield, piloting the 999, was the first to drive a mile a minute at the Indiana State Fairgrounds horse track.

One of Oldfield’s friends was Carl Fisher, the entrepreneur who owned an automobile dealership in Indianapolis. Ever the dreamer, Fisher wanted to build a big racetrack. He and three friends were at the Indiana State Fair horse track on a cold November night when a National automobile, owned by one of the friends, set a new 24-hour endurance record. While gathered around the fire, the friends became enthusiastic about Fisher’s vision for a speedway which would hasten the development of the automobile.

The friends built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first race was a balloon race followed by motorcycle races. When the big track hosted automobile races, the track wasn’t able to bear the weight of the automobiles. With multiple wrecks, there were threats to close down the Speedway. The four owners responded by bricking the track.

Oldfield, who continued barnstorming, had the dream of setting new speed records. He bought the “Blitzen Benz” from Germany and with it set a new world’s record at Ormond-Daytona Beach. Carl Fisher induced Oldfield to set a new speed record of over 100 miles per hour establishing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the fastest racetrack in the nation.

My book, Racing with Roger Penske, has been released and is available in both paperback and electronic versions. You can order it from your favorite bookseller, my publisher McFarland & Co., or

If you know of someone who would enjoy this article, please forward it to them. If someone sent this to you and you would like to be added to my subscriber list, please let me know at

If you would like to see previous blog posts, they are available at"


Cover.png1.88 MB