INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Donald Davidson is arguably one of the most famous transplanted Brits in central Indiana.
His British accent has become familiar to generations of race fans who have listened to him on the radio and seen him on TV. When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s track historian came to Indiana in 1964, he was young, skinny and very English, right down to his shoes.
"I wore what they called Winklepicker shoes. They were pointed toes, it was an Italian design. People would come up to me and just be fascinated by my shoes," said Davidson.
Donald certainly isn’t the only British influence on Indy’s most famous race. Drivers like Jim Clark and Graham Hill changed the 500 forever with the rear-engine cars in the mid-60’s.
"Half the Formula One field would be in Indianapolis when they were on top of their game, " said Davidson.
He says the British love of American football is a much newer phenomenon. He’s amazed that a sport that was once so foreign to the English is about to be played by his adopted hometown team in his native land in Wembley Stadium.
"The fact that the Indianapolis Colts-- I live in Indianapolis-- that the Indianapolis Colts are going over to play American football on grounds I went to several times."
When it comes to the Indy 500, Davidson has an answer for every question, but he’s at a loss to explain why the NFL has become popular enough that someday, a team may call England home, just like he once did.
"It's just surprised me that it's taken on," he said.