Kudos to author Ralph Kramer. This is a fantastic book filled with fascinating information and behind-the-scenes stories of the drivers, the cars, and how the race evolved. You can almost smell the fuel and smoking tires and feel the thunder and the vibration in the stands as the cars roar past. David Letterman adds his unique brand of humor to the Foreword, and Helio Castroneves, in the Preface, gives a heartfelt tribute to the race that made him famous as a three-time winner.
The art is awesome too. Page 28 shows a fantastic cutaway illustration of a 1920s car by world-class artist David Kimble. Kimble's got another cutaway on pages 208-209 that details the high-tech features of a modern Indy engine. Page 195 shows a close up of a modern steering wheel, with buttons and dials rivaling a 747 cockpit and an explanation of the function of each. Did you know a racer can shift the car's weight during a race simply by flicking a switch? The books even has frame-by-frame shots of Mike Conway's spectacular 220 mph crash in the 2010 race, and an account of how the safety features saved his life.
There's a section at the end of the book called "Where Are They Now?", which displays photos of all the winning cars and explains their current status - who owns them and where they are now. At the time they were raced, most of cars weren't considered future museum specimens, but just commodities to be bought and sold. Some of them ended up in interesting places, like in a hotel lobby, where one came back from oblivion to win another race. As far as I know, this information is unique to this book. No one has ever compiled as complete a record of the winning cars before.
If you're an Indy fan (or even if you're just a casual observer), this is a must-have book!