"There is no way you can imagine growing up in the thirties and thinking in the nineties this is where we are going to be." This assertion by racing pioneer Junior Johnson best describes the rapid evolution of stock car racing. The races, which began as battles for bragging rights among bootleggers in the Deep South to see who had the fastest car, have become a multimillion-dollar sport associated with dozens of major corporations and numerous television networks. Long gone is the overriding image of good ol' boys running moonshine; NASCAR has become a glamorous, upscale, and thriving business throughout the country, a passion shared by millions of Americans who closely follow the Winston Cup series. With thirty-one races on the 1993 schedule at tracks from Watkins Glen, New York, to Sears Point, California, NASCAR reaffirms that there is nothing more at the root of the American mindset than cars. With capacity crowds at each event, the races have been described as a middle-aged Woodstock - only instead of rock and roll it's a celebration of fast cars and American tradition. American Zoom is the first and only book to capture the true flavor of this homegrown pastime. Peter Golenbock, with six bestsellers to his name, has earned a reputation as one of the most successful and respected sports authors. In his tumultuous histories of the New York Yankees (Dynasty, The Bronx Zoo, and Balls) and Brooklyn Dodgers (Bums), his revelatory and controversial book with Billy Martin (Number 1), and his expose of the North Carolina State basketball program (Personal Fouls), Golenbock has changed our perceptions of sports. Now, having spent a year and a half talking with all the main players ofNASCAR, Golenbock offers an oral history as told by the great drivers, mechanics, promoters, and others who have made the sport what it is today, talking about the people and cars who have made racing history. American Zoom is also the consummate insider's book, profiling the character
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Golenbock, best known for baseball histories (Fenway, 1992; The Forever Boys, 1991, etc.), now turns his diligent attention to stock-car racing--a sport he calls ``chess on wheels.'' In what's primarily an oral history patched together with generous helpings of his own commentary, Golenbock enthusiastically examines the history, personalities, and ins-and-outs of NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit. The circuit's 29 races, starting with ``opening day'' at the Daytona 500 (``the Super Bowl, the World Series'' of racing) in February, comprise a spectator sport ``every bit as great...and as much fun to follow as major league baseball.'' NASCAR, we learn, was the brainchild of Bill France, who organized a December 1947 meeting to set standards, rules, and policy for a circuit that would feature ``standard street stock cars'' that ``ordinary working people'' could identify with. Noting that the early drivers were ``the real Dukes of Hazzard,'' Golenbock traces the origins of stock-car racing back to the days of southern bootleggers--but at $85 per ticket, ``the days of the redneck, fried-chicken-and beer crowd [are] a distant memory.'' The sport boomed into a multibillion-dollar industry in the early 1970's when nonautomotive sponsors like R.J. Reynolds got involved, and its early heroes--like Junior Johnson, who won 50 races and is now a top owner; Glenn ``Fireball'' Roberts, the ``first superstar'' of racing, who was killed in a 1964 crash at Charlotte; and Richard ``The King'' Petty, who raced for over 30 years, from 1958 to 1992, and won an incredible 200 times--are to racing what Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth are to baseball. Not for casual readers--but sure to get stock-car enthusiasts' engines running. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Golenbock, author of the controversial Personal Fouls (Pocket Bks., 1989), offers this oral history of stock car racing from its crude beginnings as a contest among Southern bootleggers to its present status as a billion-dollar industry. The author wisely employs an oral history format to relate the background of this sport, and the technique best suits the subjects: jovial men with colorful personalities and nicknames, fondly remembering the "good old days." All the great names of stock car racing are here, from Richard Petty to Smokey Unick, from Bill France to Junior Johnson, from Bill Elliott to Dale Earnhardt. Strangely, this well-written account is the only comprehensive survey of stock car racing available, as most works on the subject are collections of photographs or coffee-table books. Recommended for most public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/93.
- Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, R.I.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 6443621
Book Description Macmillan General Reference, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1st pbk. ed. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX002032782X
Book Description Macmillan General Reference, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 002032782X
Book Description Macmillan General Reference, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11002032782X
Book Description Macmillan General Reference. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 002032782X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1777330