Fictional Novel Or Blueprint For Success

Book Review: “Return To Glory”, by Greg Littleton

HAMMOND, IN: In most cases, fictional works with auto racing themes are quite hard for true students of the sport to accept. However, the novel, “Return To Glory”, by Greg Littleton may be more than just another silly, whimsical tale; it just may be a blueprint for the successful future of Indy Car racing. Or, perhaps, it should be.

Littleton, who previously co-authored the excellent research book, “The Roadsters of Indianapolis”, tries his hand at a novel this time, and it’s a dusey. The story centers on a very timely subject; a complete change of formula for the Indy 500. The author, who is obviously a traditionalist, suggests that the only way to “save” the Indianapolis 500 is to throw away the rulebook and, for the running of the 100th anniversary Race in 2011, bring in front-engined, upright Silver Crown cars that America can identify with!

Far fetched? Ridiculous? Maybe…and maybe not.

The notion that the Indy 500 is in trouble is something that many of us fear. The bad economy, coupled with the boring all Dallara-Honda formula and a shortage of identifiable drivers have led to a growing lack of interest in what used to be America’s greatest race. And recently, with the change of leadership at the Speedway, even more doubt has been cast on the future.

If there ever was a time to “throw the dice” and totally revamp the format, perhaps that time has come.

Throughout “Return To Glory”, we meet cast members representing racing personalities we all know. It’s not hard to pick out characters loosely based on Tony George, A.J. Foyt, Danica Patrick, Mario Andretti, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi. Half the fun of Littleton’s tale is trying to identify the characters he creates.

It’s obvious that the author truly loves the Indianapolis 500, and it’s certain that readers who share that passion will end up feeling exhilarated upon completion of this book. The characters are well crafted, and the story unfolds in a smooth, logical manner. And…there are more that a few surprises during the journey.

In a way, it’s a shame that this is only a novel…

“Return To Glory” (paperback) by Greg Littleton
$14.95: Available from Pitstop Books

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