Organized chronologically, The Definitive History follows the sport from its inception, with hundreds of photographs and stories from all of NASCAR's finest--from early drivers such as Johnny "Madman" Mantz, Fireball Roberts, and Red Byron to the hot drivers and the turn of the century: Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kenny Irwin. Car owner Bud Moore remembered the first race at Darlington, a 500-miler on asphalt--which was a new racing surface for most drivers. The biggest problem was the wear on tires, which kept blowing out: "About everybody ran out. We went out in the infield and jacked up spectators' cars and took the tires off them." Special sections highlight NASCAR lore, pointing out, for example, that stock car racing is a family affair for many, including the Pettys (Lee Petty, who raced in the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race; son Richard "I've Never Been Scared in a Race Car" Petty; grandson Kyle, who won his first series race in 1986; and great grandson Adam, an up-and-coming racer himself).
Well written and lavishly illustrated, race fans of all ages will enjoy this warm tribute to NASCAR. --M. Stein