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Two books for children, young adults introduced at Indianapolis 500

June 4, 2017

book and coloring book covers1Enticing the next generation of racing fan can be a large job. There are so many forms of entertainment available to children and, in this computer age not everyone has the kind of attention span needed to engage.

Last year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 provided the impetus for Chris Workman’s latest book, “The Spectacle – Celebrating the History of the Indianapolis 500.” A 64-page non-fiction tome written and illustrated by Workman debuts this month, self-published by Apex Legends and distributed by Cardinal Publishing Group. It tells the century’s worth of stories of the 500 in bursts of dialog between a father and child.

Chris Workman1

Chris Workman – Anne Proffit photo

From the building of the circuit, Ray Harroun’s initial win in the 500 all the way to Alexander Rossi’s rookie victory in the 100th race, Workman designed his book so that it could be read and understood in snippets. “I designed the book so [a young reader] could jump to any section and learn about facts related to that topic,” Workman said.

“If they want to learn about the closest finishes in Indy 500 history, they can jump to that. Or they can learn about ‘Offy’ engines and who has won the race four times. The book is best enjoyed when read from start to end, but a parent wanting to read it to a pre-schooler can easily break it into multiple quick readings for bedtime, waiting at a restaurant or whenever the time allows,” he said.

coloring book1Workman’s fanciful illustrations and crisp writing are certainly enticing to both children and adults. By segmenting the book into 23 partitions plus a foreword by Andretti Autosport racer, Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Workman allows the readers an intriguing look at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

“The Spectacle – Celebrating the History of the Indianapolis 500” has been offered at the rational price of $19.99 and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, as well as independent retailers and through library distribution. It’s the third racing book produced by Apex Legends, following “The Longest Day – A Childhood Race Adventure” and “Josef, The Indy Car Driver,” a true story about racer Josef Newgarden, currently racing for Team Penske.

Workman has also published a coloring book of “The Spectacle” for the artistic young race fan that parallels the book, albeit in far fewer pages. Altogether, this new offering is not to be missed. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book are being donated to Hunter-Reay’s designated charity, Racing for Cancer.

James and Christopher Hinchcliffe1

James and Christopher Hinchcliffe – Anne Proffit photo

There’s more to the Hinchcliffe family than racing and dancing, it appears. James Hinchcliffe’s older brother Christopher, by trade a teacher of legal and political philosophy has written a new book intended to appeal to the tween and teen who might be interested in motorsports – and learning about life in general.

Christopher Hinchcliffe1

The first-time author, who has a doctorate in law from the University of Oxford in England, was driven to write the fictional “Chasing Checkers” through familial research. Brother James’ far-arching Verizon IndyCar Series career started, just as fictional racer Teddy “Chex” Clark’s ascension, from karting to racing school and through ladder series to the biggest race of his life, allowing Hinchcliffe to draw on James’ experiences and flesh out his subject’s story.

“Chasing Checkers” is set, as was the brothers Hinchcliffe’s childhoods, in southern Ontario, Canada. It follows the exploits of a would-be professional racer and recounts the driver’s preparation for a race that could propel him to the big leagues. At the same time, the book looks at his personal life and the real world challenges any aspiring racer faces in trying to make it to the top of the motorsports ladder.

Chasing Checkers book cover1

Christopher Hinchcliffe has, as does his brother, a way with words that makes this book really easy to read and yet doesn’t try to appeal to those with a lower reading level. As it’s aimed for youthful readers, the wording might not be to collegiate levels, but neither does Hinchcliffe talk down to his audience.

He weaves a grand tale of this up-and-coming racer, his family tribulations and his off-track relationships, as well as Clark’s manner of approaching his racing. We get to see the good, the bad and, of course the ugly, such as when “Chex” manages to lose concentration… and the ramifications of his actions.

This writer intended to skim through Hinchcliffe’s book and do a “Cliff’s Notes” review, but was drawn into the story, enjoying it immensely. While intended for audiences that may be maturing rather than mature, this is a tale any race fan can enjoy and share. It’s easy to find oneself nodding at some of the action involved and the politics that never seem to go away.

In showing the growth of Teddy “Chex” Clark’s racing capabilities, Hinchcliffe writes, “Teddy pressed on the gas and rocketed forward. He barely had to lift his foot through the first turn. So this is what downforce feels like. He remembered [his teacher] Greg explaining the concept to him. ‘Wings on a car ain’t like wings on a plane. They push you down. The faster you go, the more they push. That means more control for you, the driver. Yes, downforce is a beautiful thing.’”

“Chasing Checkers, a 298-page softcover book was initially published in March of 2017 and is available through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and your local independent book store. In paperback format it retails for $11.99 and is also available as an eBook for $2.99. One can also purchase direct by contacting the author at http://www.chasingcheckersbook.com.

By Anne Proffit

Words and Photos By Anne Proffit

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