Friday, March 16, 2007

For NASCAR Fans (Mostly)

"Then Junior Said To Jeff..." (The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told) By David Poole and Jim McClauren. Triumph Books Copyright 2006

Why would you never want to fly in an airplane with Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly as the pilot and co-pilot? What was cheating to Junior Johnson? What condition did Smokey Yunick expect his cars to be in after a race? Was there anything illegal about Ray Everham and Jeff Gordon's "T-Rex" car? These questions and many more are answered in the excellent book "Then Junior Said To Jeff..." by NASCAR correspondent David Poole and long time NASCAR writer for The State, in South Carolina, Jim McClauren.
You probably don't have to be a NASCAR fan to enjoy the book, but, to paraphrase an old joke, it helps. The stories are written so NASCAR fans can understand them, without much explaination about how NASCAR works, but, if the reader is someone who not yet a fan, but is interested in NASCAR, he or she would probably enjoy some of the history presented in the book.
The stories are mostly short and easy to read. They are divided into fourteen chapters that are categorized by time frame, tracks, and personalities. For instance, Chapter 3: "The Lady in Black" is dedicated to stories about Darlington Raceway, Chapter 6: "The Legend of Ingle Hollow" features stories about Junior Johnson, and Chapter 13: "The Wonderboy," is, obviously, about Jeff Gordon. Many of the stories are about incidents that many of us may remember, but they are written in such a way that they remain entertaining and most are humorous enough to at least bring a smile to the reader's face.
Some of the stories remind us of those who lost their lives too early. Chapter 10: "Gone Too Soon," features stories about Tim Richmond, Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki. The last story in the book is about Dale Earnhardt, Jr's intense feeling that somebody pulled him out of the burning Corvette in Sonoma, even when there was nobody there to pull him out, except, possibly, the spirit of his late father.
The hardcover edition includes a CD that features four historic radio interviews from 2001. The first is an interview with Darryl Waltrip on his first season as a racing commentator for Fox. The second is Benny Parsons' interview with Bill Simpson, of Simpson Safety Equipment on the investigation into Dale Earnhardt's death at Daytona. The third is Parsons' interview with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. after his 2001 win at Daytona's Firecracker, er, Pepsi 400. The fourth is another Benny Parsons interview with Kevin Harvick after his surprise first win over Jeff Gordon at the March 2001 Atlanta race. This CD alone is worth the price of the book to the diehard NASCAR fan.
I'm not saying that this is a "must read" for the racing fan, but it is something the fan would want to read, and keep within easy reach in the home. If nothing else, it needs to be there to help keep the fan going through the next off-season.


gvav1 said...

Poole is a gr8 writer, I'll pick up this book soon.

The Dixie Butcher said...

I like Poole a lot, too- but I've been on the fence for a couple months about buying this one or not - as well as his book about Tim Richmond. I've heard (and one source is someone who was good friends with a writer who was close to Richmond) that he had to homogenize it to fit NASCAR's "new standards", as well as be respectul to the family, of course. Anybody here read that one?

If y'all like fiction, I cannot recommend "Drive Like Hell" by Dallas Hudgens highly enough. About a teen growing up a racer in Georgia in the 1970's- there's a lot of good racing fun in it, but mostly it's just a great story that catches "the vibe of the era" for those with "racing in their blood". The guy who wrote the movie & book "Big Fish" calls it "The Great American Redneck novel." Amazingly enough, all of the characters have their own teeth. Wonder what Mr. "I am the voice of Washington State" Seaquist would have to say about that?

RevJim said...

Thank you, Dixie, I'll look for it. Sounds good.
I don't think Mssrs Poole and McClauren held much back on this one, there are some stories that seem to add fuel to Mr. Seaquist's fire.