Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500 Audiobook, by Charles Leerhsen Play Audiobook Sample

Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500 Audiobook

Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500 Audiobook, by Charles Leerhsen Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Brilliance Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 7.00 hours at 1.5x Speed 5.25 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: July 2020 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781713501800

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

73:51 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

07:56 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

31:20 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Charles Leerhsen: > View All...

Publisher Description

Hear the heart-pounding, engine-revving true story of the first Indy 500—America’s most celebrated automobile race.

In 1911, thousands of spectators gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch 40 cars compete in the first annual Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Better known as the Indy 500, the event was a celebration of the controversial new sport of automobile racing.

Dangerous and deadly, auto racing was drawing attention from across the country with its thrilling premise: No windshields, no helmets, no seatbelts–just speed. Fans would flock to race tracks to watch gutsy young men go up to 75 miles per hour in open cockpits.

But with fame came complications. Seven people were killed when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first opened. Racers’ wives became widows in the blink of an eye. Drivers encountered exploding tires, bursts of smoke, oily surfaces and pieces of asphalt flying at their faces—not to mention the wrenches and bolts thrown by unruly opponents gunning for the lead. And, while Marmon Wasp driver Ray Harroun was officially declared the winner of the first Indy 500, the decision is disputed to this day by fans and officials of the sport.

Listen to Blood and Smoke and go back to when America was first falling in love with automobile racing. Take the driver’s seat on this audio-venture and experience the early days of the Indy 500, the controversies that shaped this iconic race, and the young drivers who risked everything for fame, fortune, and first place.

Download and start listening now!

With alternating tales of horrifying crashes and the schemes of Carl Fisher, who promoted the Indianapolis Speedway as a venue for airplane races, this is a ripping good yarn of America in the early 20th century. Leerhsen, a witty storyteller, draws from contemporary articles, histories, and interviews to pull readers into a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the building of the Speedway and the first race.... this book has broad appeal, with laugh-out-loud stories and characters who would be unbelievable if they turned up in fiction. Highly recommended.

— Library Journal, starred review 


  • "Leerhsen provides an entertaining history of the automobile's growth in the early twentieth century. . . . Along the way, readers are treated to sharply humorous social commentary bolstered by fascinating details of Indianapolis life and industry.

    — Booklist

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About Charles Leerhsen

Charles Leerhsen is a former executive editor at Sports Illustrated. He has written for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and the New York Times. His books include Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America and Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the writer Sarah Saffian.

About Rob Shapiro

Rob Shapiro is a musician, writer, voice actor, and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He performed several seasons of radio comedy on Minneapolis Public Radio and voiced the titular lion in Leo the Lion. He is a musician and composer with his critically acclaimed band Populuxe. He is also a business consultant and software system designer.