Indy car racing is the basis of two books whose authors hope to use to give fans young and old the same love of the sport that the authors have attained over the years.
“Chasing Checkers,” a new young adult novel by Chris Hinchcliffe, follows the path of a young racer getting ready to race in the biggest race of his career. It’s a story inspired by the career path taken by a Verizon IndyCar Series driver – James Hinchcliffe, who happens to be the author’s younger brother.
“I always knew that I didn’t want to do a biography,” Chris Hinchcliffe said. “But I liked the idea of using James’ experiences as a template for the overall structure. For example, the young Canadian boy visiting the track with his dad as a kid, getting into go-karts and being offered a chance to ride in a brand new series — this stuff is James.
“But the core of the story and the relationships between the characters are almost entirely fictional. For example, Teddy, the main character, is adopted and his parents are divorced. I hope no one starts to think that’s true about James! Of course, people are going to read the book and wonder what’s true and what isn’t. I always thought that would be part of the fun for James' fans.”
The book, available in print and digital form, can be purchased from Amazon.com and most major booksellers in North America. Hinchcliffe’s goal is to make “Chasing Checkers” a series similar to the Percy Jackson books.
“The story in ‘Chasing Checkers’ isn’t even the one I wanted to tell initially,” Chris said. “I wanted to tell a story that took place over a single season in a single series. And I still want to tell that story. In a lot of ways, ‘Chasing Checkers’ really just sets the scene for the next book. After that, who knows? Teddy still has a ways to go before he makes it into the big leagues. I think it would be fun to follow him on that journey a little longer.”
For younger readers, Chris Workman has released a follow-up to his successful 2016 children’s book “Josef, the Indy Car Driver.” The new book, also about Indy car racing, is called “‘The Spectacle – Celebrating the History of the Indianapolis 500” and features the history of the world’s most famous race.
“After creating ‘Josef, the Indy Car Driver,’ which features one of INDYCAR’s top rising stars at my favorite track featuring the current spec of cars, I really wanted to develop another book that would provide kids with some historical perspective on how Indy car racing has developed over time, feature some of the incredible cars and showcase many of the legendary drivers,” Workman said. “Focusing on ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ was a no-brainer. It is unlike anything else in terms of history, importance and drama.”
The new book debuted during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg two weeks ago and may be purchased from the Apex Legends website. It will available on Amazon.com, BN.com and other online booksellers beginning April 1.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Racing for Cancer, founded by 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay in honor of his mother. Hunter-Reay wrote the foreword of the book.
“The book Josef and I worked on is more of a traditional children’s picture book featuring a story designed to give kids a glimpse of what it is like to be an Indy car driver and the path you take to become one,” Workman said. “’The Spectacle’ is a more of a non-fiction reference book that kids can use to get a snapshot of a century’s worth of Indy 500 action.
“There are characters in the book to tie it all together and make it relatable to kids and I hope it serves as a jumping-off point for young race fans to dive deeper into the history and research things like who A.J. Foyt is or Harry Miller’s accomplishments.
“The cool thing is I think a lot of parents – even those who are pretty hardcore race fans - will learn something, too. It was a pretty amazing experience diving as deep as I did into all the great history around this event; it was quite a challenge to try to break it down and organize it for a young audience.”