Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

October 1, 2013

IMS historian entering broadcast hall of fame

Donald Davidson is already a member of the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, thanks to his capacity as historian of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now he can add membership in the Richard M. Fairbanks Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame to his resume.

Davidson will be inducted during a ceremony Oct. 3 at the Indianapolis Marriott North Hotel. He’s in a class that includes former WISH-TV Sports Director “Big Jim” Wilson, horror movie host Bob “Sammy Terry” Carter, and broadcast executives Lloyd Wright and Vicki Weger of PBS fame.

Davidson ranks the honor right up there with his other achievements.

“I’ve never earned my living as a broadcaster,” he said. “Typically those who are in that do it as a career. Broadcasting for me has sort of been a sideline to my actual job.”

His call-in radio program, “Talk of Gasoline Alley” (now heard on 1070 AM The Fan), started in 1971 and is still broadcast nightly during the month of May. Davidson still loves fielding questions from callers about the Indianapolis 500.

“It’s flattering because we’ve been doing it for so long,” said Davidson, who’s also a regular on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. “They always have good questions. There seems to be a large group of people out there that care about the things I do.”

Indeed, Davidson is the only person to be a full-time historian for a motorsports facility. He can’t really say what initially interested him in the sport when he was a teen. Davidson is originally from Salisbury, Wiltshire, in southwest England. Racing is huge there, but back then the Indianapolis 500 wasn’t. It is now that many Europeans compete in the race.

The first Indy 500 that Davidson ever saw live — in 1964 — is still the one that holds the most memories for him.

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