Ever wondered what your favorite Championship Auto Racing Teams heroes cooked up in the comfort of their own homes? I’m here to share, courtesy of Champions: Favorite Foods of Indy Car Racing.
The book was published by the Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary, which was a charitable organization designed to promote a family-friendly atmosphere in the racing world — which meant it did things like host fundraisers, fashion shows, auctions, and luncheons while also publishing cookbooks. It also donated money to hospitals to buy car seats for new families who couldn’t afford to do so on their own.
The copy I looked at was the first of a few different editions that expanded as the years went on, but this bad boy was published in 1993.I flipped through the book while at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York. For this edition, the first few pages were dedicated to IndyCar racing champions so you didn’t have to go hunting through to find your favorite driver’s recipes. It also meant you got to compare and contrast recipes directly, which led to some real goodies. And because I’m a good person, I thought I’d share a few with you.
One of the first recipes in the book is one from Roger Penske, a longtime racer and car owner and now the owner of the entire IndyCar series. He’s known for requiring his operations to be “Penske perfect,” with everyone well-dressed and ready to race. So, I don’t think it’s any surprise that The Captain’s recipe is for… salad.
Team owner Chip Ganassi also offered a salad recipe, but his was a pasta salad that actually sounds pretty damn good.
Meanwhile, actor and racer Paul Newman decided to go a bit of a different route. He decided to use this opportunity as an advertisement for his Newman’s Own food company. Why the hell not?
1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti could have shared a recipe from his Italian heritage. Instead, he went full rural Pennsylvania and taught us all how to make venison steaks. I’m upset at how damn good it sounds.
No one is surprised that certified Irishman Derek Daly decided to share a recipe for Irish soda bread.
I don’t like peanut butter in desserts, but I’d still eat Parnelli Jones’ recipe.
Pat Patrick, meanwhile, shared the best damn recipe in the entire book: a delicious London broil.
We’ll end on an Indianapolis classic: Mom Unser’s Indy chili. Mary “Mom” Unser was the mother to Al, Bobby, Louie, and Jerry Unser, and she brought her spicy Tex-Mex-style chili to the Indy 500 every single year she attended. She started out bringing it to the crews and safety teams as a thank-you for taking care of her boys on the track, and it quickly became a legend. You might miss out on Mom Unser’s special touch if you make it at home, but now you have a recipe to give it a try.
The IMRRC didn’t have copies of the newer editions of the book, but I’m looking forward to getting my hands on them to find out more.