The Wildest Ride

The Wildest Ride

A History of NASCAR (or how a bunch of good old boys built a billion dollar industry out of wrecking cars)

In The Wildest Ride, Joe Menzer gives us a timely, comprehensive look at the dramatic, rollicking history of stock-car racing in America, exploring both its inauspicious bootlegging beginnings and the billion-dollar industry that it has become. Menzer straps the reader into the driver's seat for a run through NASCAR's history, revealing the sport's remarkable rise from rogue outfit to corporate darling. Menzer also profiles the many superstar drivers who have dominated the sport, men as unpredictable as they are fearless, including "The Intimidator," Dale Earnhardt, whose ferocious driving made him NASCAR's signature personality -- and whose tragic death at the 2001 Daytona 500 was mourned by millions.
Menzer expertly maneuvers through the tight corners and wide-open straightaways of NASCAR's history, examining the circuit's attempt to distance itself from its "redneck racin'" past without compromising its country roots. Simultaneously rowdy and insightful, The Wildest Ride is a thorough and unfailingly honest account of NASCAR's amazing rise to prominence and a sweeping account of a uniquely American phenomenon.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743226257 | 
  • June 2002
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Wrigley Field

Dawn did not beat the paint crew to Bristol Motor Speedway, tucked away in the foothills of the Cherokee National Forest that spill into the Great Smoky Mountains in the northeast corner of Tennessee. A great serenity settles over the area at dawn and at dusk each day, but it would be shattered in a few hours by the roar of forty-three race cars. The paint crew had work to accomplish before then. Less than twenty-four hours earlier, during the running of the Cheez-It 250 NASCAR Busch series race, the outside retaining walls of the .533-mile track had taken a serious beating.

Black marks were everywhere. It... see more

About the Author

Joe Menzer
Photo Credit: Sarah Menzer

Joe Menzer

Joe Menzer is the author or coauthor of four previous books, including The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR and Four Corners: How UNC, N.C. State, Duke, & Wake Forest Made North Carolina the Center of the Basketball Universe. He has written for such publications as Sporting News and Inside Sports. Since 1995 he has covered the Carolina Panthers and the NFL for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina. He lives with his wife and four children in Charlotte, N.C.

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