Saturday, November 18, 2006

Five books about auto racing

Brock Yates recommended five books on car racing for Opinion Journal.

Here is the title published most recently--and the one that tops Yates's list:

Driving With the Devil by Neal Thompson

The awarding of the Nextel Cup on Sunday to Nascar's top driver will bring to a close another season for the second most popular sport in the U.S. after professional football. Despite the wide appeal of stock-car racing, though, Nascar's colorful roots in Southern culture and bootleg-liquor hauling are unfamiliar to many racing fans, let alone the general public. "Driving With the Devil" is an excellent primer on the subject. As its subtitle--"Moonshine, Detroit Wheels and the Birth of Nascar"--suggests, this history pokes through the nooks and crannies of the sport, profiling the drivers who fender-bashed their way through the "mechanized cockfights" of stock-car racing's early days and laid the groundwork for a multibillion-dollar sporting empire. Journalist Neal Thompson, who teaches in the University of North Carolina-Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program, shows a deep understanding of how Nascar racing essentially owns the world south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Click here to read about the other four titles to make the list.

Brock Yates is the author of books on auto racing, including Sunday Driver. His most recent book is Umbrella Mike: The True Story of the Chicago Gangster Behind the Indy 500.

--Marshal Zeringue