Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500

By Art Garner

Winner of the 2014 Dean Batchelor Award, Motor Press Guild "Book of the Year"

Short-listed for 2015 PEN / ESPN Literary Award for Sports Writing
Before noon on May 30th, 1964, the Indy 500 was stopped for the first time in history by an accident. Seven cars had crashed in a fiery wreck, killing two drivers, and threatening the very future of the 500.

"Black Noon" chronicles one of the darkest and most important days in auto-racing history. As rookie Dave MacDonald came out of the fourth turn and onto the front stretch at the end of the second lap, he found his rear-engine car lifted by the turbulence kicked up from two cars he was attempting to pass. With limited steering input, MacDonald lost control of his car and careened off the inside wall of the track, exploding into a huge fireball and sliding back into oncoming traffic.

Closing fast was affable fan favorite Eddie Sachs. "The Clown Prince of Racing" hit MacDonald's sliding car broadside, setting off a second explosion that killed Sachs instantly. MacDonald, pulled from the wreckage, died two hours later.

After the track was cleared and the race restarted, it was legend A. J. Foyt who raced to a decisive, if hollow, victory. Torn between elation and horror, Foyt, along with others, championed stricter safety regulations, including mandatory pit stops, limiting the amount a fuel a car could carry, and minimum-weight standards.

In this tight, fast-paced narrative, Art Garner brings to life the bygone era when drivers lived hard, raced hard, and at times died hard. Drawing from interviews, Garner expertly reconstructs the fateful events and decisions leading up to the sport's blackest day, and the incriminating aftermath that forever altered the sport.

"Black Noon" remembers the race that changed everything and the men that paved the way for the Golden Age of Indy car racing.


""Black Noon" captures the era when I first started racing at Indianapolis and brought back a lot of memories--good and bad--that I had long forgotten. It was a hard time to be a race driver; we figured there was a 50/50 chance of being killed in a race car. And unfortunately that was acceptable. That is truly the scary part. The accident that stopped the '64 race and killed Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald was absolutely terrible--possibly the worst I ever saw. But it also forced our sport to change and put a new emphasis on safety. We all thank God for Bill Simpson and Goodyear Tire Co, as they were the leaders in safety for that day. This is one of the best racing books I've read and covers an important part of our history that often goes overlooked. I'd recommend it for everyone from the racing historian to the casual sports fan." --Bobby Unser, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion "Calling itself the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500 for more than 100 years has generated interest that rivals the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl as a single day sporting event. On this stage in 1964, tragedy struck on what would be the race's darkest day. Art Garner has written the definitive account of the accident that halted the race and took the lives of two racers, cagey veteran Eddie Sachs and rising star Dave MacDonald. With interviews of such legends as A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Bobby Unser, Garner weaves a compelling and intriguing tale of the events leading up to the race, the cause of the accident and the aftermath that forever changed the Indy 500." --Matt DeLorenzo, former editor-in-chief, Road & Track Magazine; former editor, AutoWeek Magazine "Much has been written about the 1964 Indianapolis 500 and the horrific crash that claimed the lives of American racers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. But not until recently have race historians and internet bloggers uncovered a clearer picture of what really happ


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ISBN: 9781250075123

About the Paperback

Publisher St. Martin's Griffin
Publish date 05/24/2016
Pages 352
ISBN-13 9781250075123
Language English

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