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Cheating: An Inside Look at the Bad Things Good NASCAR Winston Cup Racers Do in Pursuit of Speed Hardcover – September 27, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Jensen is former executive editor of Winston Cup Scene


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: David Bull Pub (September 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893618226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893618220
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Michael Daly on December 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Tom Jensen authors this overdue look at the "black art" of cheating in NASCAR, and along the way manages a decent job of seperating fact from fiction. He delves into the acts of cheating in the sport from its beginnings (when apparant Grand National winner Glenn Dunaway was disqualified and the race win went to Jim Roper) through the 1990s into the 21st century.
Three cheating scandals stand out here, and all three involve teams owned by Junior Johnson. If there is a theme to this book, it is that Junior Johnson was the sport's most dishonest team owner. The first was the 1973 National 500 at Charlotte. Cale Yarborough won the race, but his car and second-place Richard Petty were protested by Bobby Allison. An extremely long tear-down took place, and NASCAR ultimately said the race results would stand - which led Allison to file a lawsuit against NASCAR, because there was evidence that Cale's Chevrolet, wrenched by Johnson, ran some 70 cubic inches more than allowed by the rules.
If there is an eye-opener in this book, it is the admission by Junior's engine builder at the time, Robert Yates, that that particular engine and others built for Junior were indeed illegal; Yates states it measured 500 CID, versus the 431 limit of the time. Actually, though, Yates' admission isn't a surprise, as former crew chief J.C. "Jake" Elder stated in several 1990s interviews that Junior's crew chief Herb Nab acknowledged to him that Junior usually ran illegal displacement in his engines.
The second involves the infamous "Pettygate" Charlotte race of 1983. Jensen doesn't delve into any new ground here, which is a shortfall, because there was more to that scandal than is usually acknowledged.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I thought the book was fascinating, even though I know little about cars and even less about NASCAR. It details how drivers, mechanics, and/or team owners have either attempted to skirt the NASCAR rules or even thumbed their noses at NASCAR officials, all to get a slight competitive edge on the rest of the racing field, and the book spans from the humble beginnings of NASCAR to the present-day sports juggernaut that NASCAR has become. Jensen's writing style is such that even those who do not have a great understanding of automobile mechanics can visualize just what alterations are being made to the vehicles, and he is consistent in explaining clearly just what advantage those alterations might give the drivers. To see the book solely as a history of how NASCAR participants have attempted to get a couple of extra miles per hour, miles per gallon, or laps on a set of tires does not do the work justice, though. It is also a case-study in risk-taking behavior as the book's subjects can be seen and heard, in their own words, weighing the benefits of winning versus the consequences of getting caught playing outside the rules and existing in the political arena which governs both. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys competition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finally got around to purchasing this title after debating about it for a few years. Since I don't know a camshaft from a camcorder, I feared this book would be a history of chassis components and engines.

I was wrong.

Sort of.

The book was legitimately a history of shady tactics in the top NASCAR series from Race 1 where winner Glenn Dunnaway was disqualified through the 2001 Daytona 500 when almost everyone was illegal.

Unfortunately, almost 75% of the text seemed to be quotes with Jensen sporadically throwing in his two cents. That irks me when an "author" lets his interview subjects write the book with their quotes.

Anyway, the book deals heavily with the early innovators like Junior Johnson and Smokey Yunick. Both were rebellious in nature and their exploits are detailed as proof.

The 1983 Charlotte race with Richard Petty and his big engine is also brought up. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, NASCAR likes it when the fans go home knowing who the winner is and this was the case. Petty had an illegal engine, but Bill France, Jr. didn't wanna change the result so he only lost points and cash. This was the predecessor to today's idiocy, seen this year with Carl Edwards.

Another reason you will despise NASCAR a bit is when Jensen goes over Bill Elliott's 11-win 1985 campaign. According to Dan Elliott, who was a tire changer that season on the #9 Melling Ford, NASCAR had a meeting with the team and France told Bill to stop "stinking up the show."

Jensen paints a picture of the job of NASCAR inspector as a downhill battle, comparing their pay to peanuts and that of a team mechanic to living in the lap of luxury.

I enjoyed learning more about the inspection process but as a racing fan and not a gearhead, some of the lingo was foreign to me.

Carmageddon Rating: 3/5
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By Chris on June 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever wondered how Nascar teams try to better the rest of the field then this book is for you. It looks at the form of cheating or "being creative" in order to be the best race car out there. It looks at the sport from 1949 all the way till 2002 and how the rules have to changed to conform to the ever creative teams and the way in which they would modify the cars so as to not break the rules but to get an advantage. The book goes through each year and states are the rules were bent by the crews, and then how nascar wrote the rule to create an equal playing field.
An example would be when fuel lines. In the 50's, they did not specify the length or diameter of the fuel lines. So one crew being as smart as they were, decided to use a very wide diameter to fit more gas into the tank. Nascar caught this and mandated a specific size of line to be used. This example is one of many types of rules that are broken that the book portrays and then shows how it is corrected.
The book is full of information. The author took two years to write it by gathering many interviews from drivers to owners. Some even confess their ways of cheating, while others think best to keep it to themselves.
This book is for any Nascar fan and non Nascar fan, as it provides a past and present view of how teams skirted or still jump out of the boundaries of Nascar Racing.
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