1925 Indianapolis 500 Winner Pete DePaolo

Published On March 16, 2011 » 4186 Views» By Donald Davidson » Blogs, Gasoline Alley Unplugged
1925 Indianapolis 500 Winner Pete DePaolo

1925 Indianapolis 500 Winner Pete DePaolo

1925 Indianapolis 500 Winner Pete DePaolo

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Donald Davidson

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson, based at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, developed a passionate interest in the Indianapolis 500 as a teenager in England. Arriving at IMS in 1964, he delighted the racing community with his ability to recite year-by-year accounts of participants’ careers. Returning permanently in 1965, he was invited by Sid Collins to join the worldwide IMS Radio Network and was hired by Henry Banks as USAC statistician, remaining at USAC for almost 32 years. He was named Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian in 1998. Along with numerous television and radio assignments, raconteur Davidson has played host to the popular call-in radio show “The Talk of Gasoline Alley” on 1070 AM in Indianapolis during the month of May continuously since 1971. His writing credits include countless historical articles and columns, a pair of “500” annuals in 1974 and ‘75 and co-authorship with Rick Shaffer of the acclaimed “Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500,” published in 2006.
8 comments
Catherine Grace Miller
Catherine Grace Miller

I,m his grandaughter and live on Maui he was a wonderful grandfather and softened with age!he loved my hands and spirit! I had no idea how famous he was! he was very humble and sang me the KKK-Katy song when ever he could! His wife, my grandmother was a proper and fiesty english woman. A little macho italian and a fiesty englisf woman!They made quite a pair! 8 grandchildren and two children! we are all still alive! we called them Monners and Popete! My uncle Tommy is turning 90 this october 12 2013! sincerly Catherine (Katy) Miller

Tom Swimm
Tom Swimm

There are quite a few copies of "Wall Smacker" currently listed on eBay. I'm a friend of Peter's son and have a screenplay titled The Brickyard Boys based on his life and the years he raced at Indianapolis. It's adapted from the book and his memoirs.

Dave Carlson
Dave Carlson

Chris Blackwell,If you're still looking for a copy of Pete DePaulo's book "Wall Smacker",try www.alibris.com If you like books on Indy cars from that era,try www.milleroffy.com and click on "recommended books".

Dave Watts
Dave Watts

Being from South Jersey, there's a kind of Peter DePaolo connection, as I belive he lived in Vineland, N.J during the mid 20's. Peter was also in charge of the Ford factory teams in the mid 50's before Nascar stopped them in 1957.

Cheryl Puzzello
Cheryl Puzzello

Peter also wrote a book about his parents "Going To See My Sweetheart". I don't know if it was ever published. I have a typed copy that Peter gave my parents.

DJ Blythe
DJ Blythe

Rougher than tape, these wooden steering wheels were wrapped with 1/16", cotton kern mantle, Venetian blind cord. Some times the line was painted, or shellacked so as to keep it taught. This was done to give the driver a firm grip when the wheel became sweaty & oily, according to my Pop, who worked for National for a short time in the late teens. Pete's looks to have been close wrapped, then over-wrapped again with wide wraps. I did this to my old Ford truck one time. It works great, but I would not have cared to race 500 miles over bricks, hanging on to that thing either!

Chris Blackwell
Chris Blackwell

Coincidentally, last night I listened for the first time to my newly purchased download of the 1971 race, at which Peter DePaolo sang "Back Home Again in Indiana." It's available elsewhere on this website, and is certainly worth a listen if anyone is interested in getting it. I've heard of Peter's book "Wall Smacker", but I've never seen it. If anyone knows where I might be able to obtain a copy for my collection, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Morris Hedge
Morris Hedge

I think he sang "Back Home Again" for a race in the seventies. I think the Vukovich accident web sight has a recording of him interviewing Vuky in 1955. Both of these jive with Donald's comment about his voice.