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Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death! A Hot Lap Around America with… (edition 2008)

by Jeff Macgregor

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725166,644 (3.72)None
Member:napmom
Title:Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death! A Hot Lap Around America with Nascar (P.S.)
Authors:Jeff Macgregor
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:sports

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Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death! A Hot Lap Around America with NASCAR by Jeff MacGregor

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This was a good book for me to read to dispel my ignorance of NASCAR as a sport. Like large parts of the rest of the general public, I have been aware of NASCAR in a vague way. And have seen some of the big ones (I learned from this book that that is the term for a large pile up of a bunch of cars crashing into each other) on televised highlights of races. I colleague with whom I worked for quite a few years followed NASCAR intently and so I heard some of his comments. I am glad that this was the book that I picked to find out about the topic because the author explained in terms that I could understand. Also, his comments were not value judgements boldly stated. Rather, the author wrote a basic account of facts and sensory data that he experienced, and let the reader judge the meaning of it. But I could not help thinking that underneath his calm demeanor, he thought that a lot of things were either amazing, or stupid, or wonderful, or zany, as the case may be. If you, like me, are starting out completely ignorant about some of the history of NASCAR, and want to find out to watch for when you are tuned in to TV, then definitely, please read this book.
I relished the parts of the book where the author talks about the good old days, when tickets were $10, and it was not over-run by media hype and phony hangers-on. I wonder if it is true that every good artistic or sports trend is ruined when big business invades and takes over the sponsorship. Probably. But all sentimental indulgence in old-times for old-times' sake. I also loved the story about the bootleg whiskey runners and their souped-up cars.
The stories of how he passed his time while driving back and forth across the country with his wife: they read books to each other.
Definitely worth it. I will seek out any other books that this author has written.
  libraryhermit | Apr 20, 2010 |
Too much of the author, not enough of racers and racing. ( )
  omphalos02 | Jan 20, 2007 |
Need for speed
Outside of short glimpses in bars, restaurants and other places where the TV is not under my control, I've never watched a NASCAR race. But once I read even one page of Jeff MacGregor's "Sunday Money: A Hot Lap Around America with NASCAR" (HarperCollins, $26). I was strapped in tight, circling the track at 200 miles per hour, unable to put the book down.

MacGregor is a contributor to Sports Illustrated, and together with his wife, a photographer, rents a motorhome and travels the nation for one NASCAR season, following the sport that has "more fans than Turkey has Turks or Great Britain Brits," as MacGregor puts it, and "where there are as many ways to die as parts on the car."

Even if NASCAR isn't your speed, MacGregor's colorful, original language and knack for finding the perfect detail will keep you riveted. He describes a distinguished-looking car owner as looking "like the U.S. ambassador to Cary Grant." The hair color alone of a worker at the Richard Petty Driving Experience inspires him to go on and on for a page and a half speculating about the man's life. Like NASCAR, MacGregor's book never stops, never slows down, never lets up, but unlike NASCAR, there aren't endless hours during which absolutely nothing is happening.

MacGregor and wife criss-cross the nation from track to track, but less time is spent on the specifics of each race than on NASCAR as a whole. Readers learn of its short history, how it's forever tangled with the American South, and how attempts to corporatize it may ensure its monetary success while destroying the loyalty of its core fans. Yet none of that's presented in biz-school gobbledygook. It's as entertaining and lively, packed with examples and anecdotes and written by a sharp mind with a gentle hand. Put yourself on the fast track to the bookstore to buy "Sunday Money." —G.F.C.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7233782/ ( )
  GaelFC | Nov 3, 2006 |
The only real sport, everything else is just a game. ( )
  RMSmithJr | Dec 24, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060094710, Hardcover)

Author Jeff MacGregor was committed to understanding NASCAR, so instead of merely dropping in on a race or two, he traveled the nearly yearlong season in an RV with his wife, photographer Olya Evanitsky. The result is many books in one. It's a vivid history of the sport's roots, as it grows from a rowdy way for Florida good ol' boys to blow off steam to being a titan of American culture with a fan base of 75 million. It also covers a broad swath of personalities within NASCAR--from the widely loved and even more widely loathed driver Jeff Gordon to the iconic Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt, whose mythic power grew exponentially after his death at Daytona (death is never far from anyone’s mind in NASCAR). Finally, Sunday Money is a memoir--MacGregor chronicles exactly what life is like when a married couple blows their savings on a massive RV and logs 48,000 miles within the blasting radius of race after race after race.

MacGregor is funny, and it's interesting to watch how a man skeptical of the sport's allure at the beginning of the adventure is sucked in as the story goes along. As a writer, he's in no hurry, knocking off several paragraphs in the interest of a single whimsical analogy if he sees fit. Much of the time the diversions hit the mark, (sometimes they don't) and it's nice to see an editor let a talented writer like MacGregor run loose. NASCAR loyalists may enjoy the behind-the-scenes scoop even if they don't necessarily need to be introduced to who the drivers are. But non-fans who have been wondering why racing has become so huge so fast, may understand a little better after reading Sunday Money. It's a huge book, a massive sprawling narrative, but for a sport that is active nearly every weekend of the year and is growing ever larger and more successful, the length seems perfect. --John Moe

Photos from the Sunday Money 2002 NASCAR Tour
NASCAR star Jeff Gordon autographs for fans
Tony Stewart wins the NASCAR Winston Cup
Fans pack the stands for the Pepsi 400
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ward Burton's car pits mid-race during the NAPA 500
Cars race around the track in Charlotte Jeff MacGregor's Top Ten Tips for Your First NASCAR Race 10. Day race? Bring ear plugs, hat, binoculars.

9. Night race? Bring ear plugs, hat, beer goggles.

8. At Daytona and Talladega, there’s no such thing as too much sunblock. SPF 45. Apply liberally. Repeat, as needed, until you slip from your seat like a watermelon seed.

7. Yes, NASCAR is expanding everywhere and very fast, but effortful puns on the word Madagascar will only lead to embarrassment.

6. Your copy of Sunday Money is an excellent conversation starter for making new friends at the track. Thanks to its quilted cover, it also doubles as a comfy seat-cushion and a stylish windshield sun-screen.

5. Drivers cannot hear you yelling encouragement from the 58th row when they’re actually lapping the track. This will not stop the high school kid behind you from doing so.

4. Like room service Eggs Benedict, the Jumbo Grilled Turkey Legs at any racetrack always sound far better than they are. Avoid them. Let them thrive in the happy hunger of your imagination, rather than deliver their sad reality to your somersaulting innards. Life bears enough disappointments.

3. Women, despite the signs you’ll see in the third turn campground, there’s no such thing as a "Free Trackside Mammogram." Don’t let the Mardi Gras beads fool you; there are shockingly few accredited radiologists working the infield on race weekend.

2. All-purpose, all-context catch phrase guaranteed to make a NASCAR newbie sound like an old hand? "Go, Junior!" Appropriate any time!

1. If your tailgate margarita machine doesn’t make at least ten horsepower on the blender-drink dyno, don’t bother. Go big, baby, or don’t go.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:09 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

ASCAR racing, once considered no more than a regional circuit of moon shiners pounding around low-country dirt tracks in a cloud of red dust and clich , has somehow become the fastest-growing spectator sport in America -- and the buxom, bumpkin darling of Madison Avenue. With 75 million fans and its popularity soaring in every corner of the country, NASCAR is a 200-mile-an-hour traveling tent-and-revival show, a platinum-plated, multibillion-dollar V-8 hero machine -- a sports entertainment empire built at the very crossroads of pop culture, corporate commerce, and American mythology. Smart, funny, and profane, Sunday Money is the kaleidoscopic account of an entire season on the NASCAR circuit. Driving 48,000 miles in a tiny motor home, writer Jeff MacGregor and his wife, an award-winning photographer, covered 36 races at 23 tracks in 18 states, from Daytona to Darlington, New Hampshire to California, from the Wal-Mart to the Waldorf, profiling the lives of superstar drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, their crews, and their fans, across the grinding reach of a 40-week season. But this is not just a behind-the-scenes chronicle of America's loudest pastime. It is the story of a hundred stories; of red states and blue, of splendid Rebel lizards and golden Yankee hot shots, of mystic true believers and their holy roll of honored ghosts. In the tradition of On the Road , Travels with Charley , and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test , Sunday Money is a snapshot of American culture -- of race, religion, class, sex, money, politics, and fame -- taken from the window of a moving car, a brilliantly observed, keenly rendered, and darkly comic portrait of America. An all-encompassing survey of a year spent on the NASCAR circuit documents the author's 48,000-mile, eleven-month tour of America, during which he and his photographer wife documented the sport's significant growth as well as its reflection of American pop culture and commerce.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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