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The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR (or,…

The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR (or, How a Bunch of Good Ol' Boys…

by Joe Menzer

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743226259, Paperback)

In The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR, Joe Menzer traces the vivid history of stock car racing from when bootleggers drove hopped-up cars to outrun the law for fun and profit to the present racing frenzy that has thrust NASCAR to the front of the pack as one of America's fastest-growing sports industries.

The result of Menzer's research is not dry prose filled with racing statistics but rather a loose chronology of anecdotes that reads like an oral history. Legendary finishes, rivalries, and rags-to-riches success stories are championed here, including the exploits of Joe Weatherly and Curtis Turner (both on and off the track) and the personalities of David Pearson, Bill Elliott, and the Petty family. Menzer does not back off from the low points either, from Wendell Scott's experience as the first African American driver to the unhealthy mix of stock cars and alcohol (often at the same time).

Despite the conversational tone, Menzer never loses sight of the politics, sponsorship, and fan-base issues that have arisen, especially as faster cars and tracks began to be built in the 1950s and '60s. As driver Jimmy Thompson assessed the new Daytona International Speedway in 1959: "There have been other tracks that separated the men from the boys. This is the track that will separate the brave from the weak after the boys are gone." --Michael Ferch

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In The Wildest Ride, Joe Menzer gives us a timely, comprehensive look at the dramatic, rollicking history of stock-car racing in America, exploring both its inauspicious bootlegging beginnings and the billion-dollar industry that it has become. Menzer straps the reader into the driver's seat for a run through NASCAR's history, revealing the sport's remarkable rise from rogue outfit to corporate darling. Menzer also profiles the many superstar drivers who have dominated the sport, men as unpredictable as they are fearless, including "The Intimidator," Dale Earnhardt, whose ferocious driving made him NASCAR's signature personality -- and whose tragic death at the 2001 Daytona 500 was mourned by millions. Menzer expertly maneuvers through the tight corners and wide-open straightaways of NASCAR's history, examining the circuit's attempt to distance itself from its "redneck racin'" past without compromising its country roots. Simultaneously rowdy and insightful, The Wildest Ride is a thorough and unfailingly honest account of NASCAR's amazing rise to prominence and a sweeping account of a uniquely American phenomenon.… (more)

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