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NASCAR KNIGHTS

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jul 28, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Book Review

GREATEST STOCK CAR RACES: TRIUMPHS & TRAGEDIES OF YESTERDAY & TODAY by Glenda Fordham OverTime Books, Edmonton, AB T6E 1W9 Paperback; 168 pages 5.25w x 8.25h ISBN: 1897277059 $9.95

Review by BRIAN KENNEDY, PhD

Greatest Stock Car Races

If you follow stock car racing, particularly of the NASCAR variety, you likely have some familiarity with much of what's discussed in this book. You've heard of the great fight to end the 1979 Daytona 500, or perhaps the tragedy that took Fireball Roberts in 1964. But you've likely never seen it all put into one package as easy to digest as this little book. At just 140 pages, plus a useful glossary of racing terms and definitions, Greatest Stock Car Races keeps it brief, but hits all the major moments in NASCAR history from the past fifty-plus years. As such, it's a good refresher, or perhaps a useful primer for a young fan who has no idea about what happened before the current era. It's not just a quickie history told in overview format, though. Instead, the book manages, despite its brevity, to capture the feel of many of the old-time races it discusses. The best example of this is in Chapter Six, "The First Daytona 500: 1959" but there are lots of other enjoyable passages which make the reader feel as if she or he is watching the action, or a wreck, rather than reading about it (see the 1988 Daytona 500 in Chapter Thirteen or the 1995 Bristol race in Seventeen). The book also straightens out some misconceptions that even the hard-core fan probably has, due to time creating a fog of memory. Do you know, for instance, which of these three: Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, and Cale Yarborough, didn't throw a punch after the 1979 Daytona 500, but got the brunt of the blame anyway? Read and find out. Written with Canadian fans also in mind, the book gives American readers a new view on the sport as it interjects factoids about racing north of the border. Did you know that Richard Petty's first official start was in Toronto? Or that CASCAR, the Canuck equivalent to NASCAR, now has ties with the US-based sanctioning body? It's where the sport is going in the future, baby, so you ought to know. The only thing to quibble about with the volume is a few factual errors and some editing mistakes, such as identifying Richard Petty as the driver of a "No. 7 Ford" in his last race and the statement that Earnhardt got the congrats of the other teams in the 1998 Daytona 500 as he drove his car "on Victory Lane" (it was down the pit lane), plus the odd typo. But weak editing/fact checking in spots is not enough to discount this as a valuable resource for the fan who wants to get up to speed on the history of the sport in the space of a Sunday afternoon's reading. So buy it as a refresher, buy it to teach yourself some history you've never known, or buy it for a friend just getting into the NASCAR wars. At less than ten bucks, you can't go wrong.

Greatest Stock Car Races: Triumphs & Tragedies of Yesterday & Today by Glenda Fordham Published by OverTime Books, Lone Pine Publishing Softcover, 168 pages $9.95 order via OverTime Books or call 1800 548 1169

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