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The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR
(or, How a Bunch of Good Ol' Boys Built a Billion-Dollar Industry out of Wrecking Cars) by Joe Menzer

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.

Book Details

The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR by Joe Menzer
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743226259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743226257