Races, Racers, and Racism, collide head-on
Dust Jacket Hardcover(B/W)
With slavery, its bastard child racism, and the Ku Klux Klan all looming large in the rear-view mirror, "Grease Monkey" is a story of interracial friendship and auto racing partnership in a state dominated by an emerging automobile industry... and the Klan. Based upon the true life of Herschel B. Gulley and his friend and partner in their auto racing enterprise, the book traces Gulley's life from a twelve-year old farm head-of-household, to the dirt tracks of America, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His partner's history and what made him the man he was, is traced from Central Africa, to slavery, to freedom in Indiana, to WW I France, and back to Indianapolis where his claims to racing fame were established and his abilities as both a driver and mechanic were proven. Indiana's arguable role as the original auto manufacturing capitol of the world, Chevrolet Manufacturing Company's Indianapolis roots, the reasons for the birth of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Ford-Chevy racing connection and the birth of the Colored Speedway Association are highlighted by interaction with Louis Chevrolet, Henry Ford, Wilbur Shaw and Charlie Wiggins. Climaxing with a duel-to-the-death on a Hoosier dirt track, the book is a must-read for anyone with interests in autos, auto racing, Indiana history or social history in America.
“Politics makes strange bedfellows,” Sheriff replied, “in case you haven’t heard. It’s like I said, some of the members at the club build cars and some of them are pretty well connected politically. Them that’s well connected politically have an image problem.” “That’s hard to believe,” Herschel said sarcastically. “Just because they’re in the Klan?” Sheriff chose not to reply. “In any event,” he continued, “they come to the conclusion that they could overcome some of their image problem if they was to sponsor a nigger racer.” “Then why didn’t they sponsor a race car driver? That guy you’re with ain’t never drove at any races I’ve seen. According to my partner, he’s a collector for whoever’s runnin’ the numbers racket down on the Avenue.” “Yes, well, ahem,” Sheriff began, “some of them are pretty well connected too.” As they were nearing Sheriff’s car’s parking area, Sheriff said no more; He simply turned, thanked Herschel for the Cokes and rejoined his team. Herschel continued walking back towards his own parking area, surprised to see Johnny walking in the same direction about 20 paces in front of him. When he arrived beside their car, Johnny was already there, waiting for him. Herschel handed Johnny a Coke and Johnny asked him, a vitriolic tone in his voice, “So what’d that son of a bitch have to say?” Herschel remembered back to the first night he and Johnny had met as boys and Johnny’s dad’s accusation that Sheriff was in the Klan. The old accusation was accurate, he now knew. “Well, he said some of his politically-connected friends were sponsoring that car and a Negro driver as a public relations effort.” “Bullshit,” Johnny replied. “First off, his politically connected friends ain’t necessarily Democrats or Republicans; they’s Klansmen, pure and simple.” “How do you know that?” “While you was talkin’ to the Sheriff, I was talkin’ to Phinneas, their “driver.” That public relations thing is nothin’ but bullshit so their sponsors don’t look as bad as normal. He tol’ me what he’s really ‘sposed to be doin’ at the wheel of their race car; just like always, he’s ‘sposed to be bustin’ some heads.” “Whose?” With a grim expression on his face, Johnny gave Herschel a one-word answer: “Yours.” For further information, please see www.grease-monkey-novel.com or www.stevengpercifield.com.
Steven G. Percifield,
an Indianapolis native, graduated from Indiana University and works in marketing, publishing, and communications. He and his wife, Sue, live in Plainfield, Illinois. Herschel W. Gulley
was born in Indianapolis and worked forty-five years in marketing and advertising. Retired, he and his wife, Sue, live near Peru, Indiana.
For further information, please see www.grease-monkey-novel.com or www.stevengpercifield.com.
Dust Jacket Hardcover(B/W)
Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)