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MICKEY THOMPSON - The lost story of the original Speed King in his own words

Published on Fri, Jan 3, 2020

By: Doug Stokes

LA CAR New Book Information & Notes:

MICKEY THOMPSON  The Lost Story Of The Original Speed King In His Own Words
Author: Tom Madigan
Foreword by: Alex Xydias
First Edition (published 12/10/19)
Hardback, 240 Pages, 8.5” x 10”
150 Color and B&W photos
ISBN: 9780760365991
Publisher: Motorbooks
$50.00 US / £35.00 Great Britain

Editor’s note: What follows is a publisher-supplied description of the late Tom Madigan’s last book: “Mickey Thompson –The Lost Story Of The Original Speed King In His Own Words”.  It’s an accurate account of what people will get when they read this book.   I’ve started to write my own review a number of times now and had to stop each because I was getting far too wrapped up in my own personal thoughts about Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy.
   I worked as the Media Relations person for their “Championship Off-Road Gran Prix” series of stadium-staged events from mid-1984 until late-1988. 
   In his book Madigan paints an accurate picture of Mickey, always running a peak revs, enthusiastic, innovative, and both a great joy and a pain in the ass to be around.
   My experiences with Mickey and Trudy were, from day one, always an adventure of one kind or another, and something that became a nightmare one day all those years ago. 
   Tom’s book is not about that part of the Mickey Thompson story, it’s a personal walk and talk (maybe that should be “ride and talk” … Mickey used to get in his car with people and just drive around, while they talked so they wouldn’t be bothered by phone calls). 
   Fittingly somehow I guess, the “lost” in the book’s title refers to the interviews applies as well to both the interviewer and the interviewee. The revelations here are nominal at best … but the story is inspiring (and all true).
   Sadly, Tom Madigan passed away before this book released, it stands as a typical (and excellent) example of his passion for the sport and telling its stories in good fashion. –Doug Stokes

Now here’s what the publisher says about this book:

“Mickey Thompson” offers a now-impossible (Thompson and his wife were murdered in 1988) first-person telling of the legendary racer and motorsport impresario’s high-speed life, from his earliest days through the height of his competition exploits on drag strips, at Bonneville, the Indy 500, Baja, and more—complemented by some 100 rare images culled from family archives, the NHRA museum, and the collections of friends and fellow racers.

Four decades after his tragic death, Mickey Thompson’s name and accomplishments remain legendary among motorsports and automotive enthusiasts. Thompson did it all on four wheels: land-speed racing, drag racing, off-road, NASCAR, Indianapolis…anything involving speed.

Armed with a restless mind and a keen business sense, Thompson moved from success to success.In the early 1970s, motorsports writer (and former drag racer) Tom Madigan and Thompson embarked on a project to write the latter’s autobiography.

After two years, extensive interviews, and a near-finished manuscript the whole enterprise fell apart for a number of reasons. Type-written sheets, neatly stacked, were boxed, stored, and mostly forgotten. Mickey Thompson: The Lost Story of the Original Speed King in His Own Words is that never-published work … an amazing biographical artifact from what many consider the golden age of automotive racing.

Author Tom Madigan has been part of the California car culture since the end of World War II. He is the author of several motorsports books*, including: Fuel and Guts: The Birth of Top Fuel Drag Racing Edelbrock: Made in the USABoss, the Bill Stroppe Story;  Hurricane: The Bob Hannah Story; and most recently: The Legacy of Justice – an American Family Story.  Madigan passed away in April of this year at age 80.

*all recommended reading here.

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