The Indianapolis Motor Speedway says Donald Davidson will retire at the end of the year after serving as the official historian for the famed track for more than 20 years. But his legacy and racing knowledge of IMS go back nearly 60 years.
IMS Officials say Davidson has “encyclopedic knowledge” of the speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
Davidson, who was born in England, first traveled from his home country to the U.S. to visit the speedway in May 1964. He has served as IMS historian since January 1998 but has held other roles throughout the decades.
“I have been blessed with a truly amazing career which has been jam-packed with hundreds upon hundreds of personally rewarding experiences, but the years have flown by at an alarming rate and never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that this magical ride would last as long as it has,” said Davidson.
In addition to being a historian, Davidson has also been heard and seen on numerous broadcast outlets over the decades due to his breadth of knowledge.
“No one has more knowledge or more appreciation of the heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than Donald Davidson,” said Roger Penske, chairman of the Penske Corp. and owner of IMS. “His ability to seemingly recall every detail of IMS history is remarkable, and he is one of the greatest storytellers racing has ever seen.”
Davidson says the decision was not done overnight. He says he has been contemplating other areas of his life that he would like to spend more time, “…and this has only been further underscored with daily reminders during the challenging last few months of having to work from home.”
Davidson was presented with the state’s highest civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash, in 2016. He was also inducted into the IMS Hall of Fame in 2010, the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2013 and the United States Auto Club Hall of Fame in 2017.