John “Jack” Zink loved to compete. Throughout his lifetime, he fulfilled that desire in business, on the racetrack and endurance course, on the water…even in politics.
Historian and author Dr. Bob Blackburn takes readers for a fast-paced ride across the multi-faceted life of the industrialist and auto racing pioneer in “To Indy and Beyond: The Life of Racing Legend Jack Zink”. The 206-page book chronicles Zink’s passion for racing that led him to the top of several motor sports – including two victories at the Indianapolis 500.
During his 60-year love affair with speed, Zink captured titles and set the standard in stock car, endurance and midget auto racing. Before turning 30 years old, Jack led his team to back-to-back Indy victories in 1955 and 1956. He then took up off-road and motorcycle racing and won more than a dozen major events, including the grueling Baja 500.
Never satisfied to simply let grass grow under his feet, Zink took to the water and became a well-known and highly successful figure in Lightning-class sailing.
During this same time, Jack Zink was a skilled engineer and businessman, ultimately building not one but two companies into international giants – first the John Zink Company, and later Zeeco – that still dominate the combustion industry with burners, flares and incinerators that greatly reduce pollution.
And Zink’s passion for competition even led him into the political arena where he ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for United States Senate in 1980.
With more than 150 photos, “To Indy and Beyond: The Life of Racing Legend Jack Zink” is a fascinating read for fans of motor sports – and Tulsa and Oklahoma history. It is also powerfully motivational, as Blackburn captures the essence of the energetic, competitive spirit that drove Jack Zink.
After a private release last year, the book is now available to the public at selected Tulsa-area booksellers and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway online gift shop. The book can also be purchased online at Amazon.com and jackzinkracing.com. Dr. Bob L. Blackburn is director of the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma History Center. He can be reached at (405) 522-5201, or firstname.lastname@example.org.