Acknowledged as one of the greatest racing car drivers of all time, immigrant Ralph DePalma began as a riding mechanic and reluctant driver, only to become a true champion in long grueling races on American road courses. He continued to dominate during the wild era of the high-banked board tracks, and later in life became possibly the greatest dirt track driver in the history of the sport, with hundreds of wins all over the U.S.
A truly international figure, he was also one of the few American drivers to compete successfully in Europe before World War II, racing in three French Grand Prix races and the first Grand Premio d’Italia. His competitive career lasted an incredible twenty-seven years, from 1907 to 1934. It encompassed drives in a remarkable array of great racing machines, from early Fiats and a remarkable 1914 GP Mercedes (with which he won the Indy 500), to a French Ballot and the jewel-like Duesenbergs and Millers that dominated the board speedways and dirt tracks of the 1920s and 30s.
After his retirement he remained one of the sport’s most well recognized and highly respected ambassadors, always retaining his polite manner and gentlemanly appearance. In this comprehensive and exhaustively researched biography, author Gary Doyle has carefully chronicled Ralph’s great career and provides an amazing array of superb photographs and artistic renderings of all of its significant moments.
It is truly the definitive work on DePalma and is a required work for the library of any serious student of automobile racing history.