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.
When in Indy, visit the Slippery Noodle Inn, featured in the book "Grease Monkey."