In this history of the stock car racing circuit known as NASCAR,
Daniel Pierce offers a revealing new look at the sport from its
postwar beginnings on Daytona Beach and Piedmont dirt tracks
through the early 1970s when the sport spread beyond its southern
roots and gained national recognition. Following NASCAR founder Big
Bill France from his start as a mechanic, Real NASCAR
details the sport's genesis as it has never been shown before.
Pierce not only confirms the popular notion of NASCAR's origins in
bootlegging, but also establishes beyond a doubt the close ties
between organized racing and the illegal liquor industry, a story
that readers will find both fascinating and controversial.
Drawing on the memories of a variety of participants--including
highly colorful characters like Lloyd Seay, Roy Hall, Gober
Sosebee, Smokey Yunick, Bunky Knudsen, Humpy Wheeler, Bobby Isaac,
Junior Johnson, and Big Bill France himself--Real NASCAR
shows how the reputation for wildness of these racers-by-day and
bootleggers-by-night drew throngs of spectators to the tracks in
the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. They came to watch their heroes maneuver
ordinary automobiles at incredible speed, beating and banging on
each other, wrecking spectacularly, and fighting out their
differences in the infield.
Although France faced many challenges--including a fickle Detroit
that often seemed unsure of its support for the sport, safety
issues that killed star drivers and threatened its very existence,
and drivers who twice tried to unionize to gain a bigger piece of
the NASCAR pie--by the early 1970s France and his allies had laid a
firm foundation for what has become today a billion-dollar industry
and arguably the largest spectator sport in America.