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Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death! A Hot Lap Around America with Nascar Hardcover – April 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060094710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060094713
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews Review

Author Jeff MacGregor was committed to understanding NASCAR, so instead of merely dropping in on a race or two, he traveled the nearly yearlong season in an RV with his wife, photographer Olya Evanitsky. The result is many books in one. It's a vivid history of the sport's roots, as it grows from a rowdy way for Florida good ol' boys to blow off steam to being a titan of American culture with a fan base of 75 million. It also covers a broad swath of personalities within NASCAR--from the widely loved and even more widely loathed driver Jeff Gordon to the iconic Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt, whose mythic power grew exponentially after his death at Daytona (death is never far from anyone’s mind in NASCAR). Finally, Sunday Money is a memoir--MacGregor chronicles exactly what life is like when a married couple blows their savings on a massive RV and logs 48,000 miles within the blasting radius of race after race after race.

MacGregor is funny, and it's interesting to watch how a man skeptical of the sport's allure at the beginning of the adventure is sucked in as the story goes along. As a writer, he's in no hurry, knocking off several paragraphs in the interest of a single whimsical analogy if he sees fit. Much of the time the diversions hit the mark, (sometimes they don't) and it's nice to see an editor let a talented writer like MacGregor run loose. NASCAR loyalists may enjoy the behind-the-scenes scoop even if they don't necessarily need to be introduced to who the drivers are. But non-fans who have been wondering why racing has become so huge so fast, may understand a little better after reading Sunday Money. It's a huge book, a massive sprawling narrative, but for a sport that is active nearly every weekend of the year and is growing ever larger and more successful, the length seems perfect. --John Moe

Photos from the Sunday Money 2002 NASCAR Tour

NASCAR star Jeff Gordon autographs for fans

Tony Stewart wins the NASCAR Winston Cup

Fans pack the stands for the Pepsi 400

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ward Burton's car pits mid-race during the NAPA 500

Cars race around the track in Charlotte
Jeff MacGregor's Top Ten Tips for Your First NASCAR Race
    10. Day race? Bring ear plugs, hat, binoculars.

    9. Night race? Bring ear plugs, hat, beer goggles.

    8. At Daytona and Talladega, there’s no such thing as too much sunblock. SPF 45. Apply liberally. Repeat, as needed, until you slip from your seat like a watermelon seed.

    7. Yes, NASCAR is expanding everywhere and very fast, but effortful puns on the word Madagascar will only lead to embarrassment.

    6. Your copy of Sunday Money is an excellent conversation starter for making new friends at the track. Thanks to its quilted cover, it also doubles as a comfy seat-cushion and a stylish windshield sun-screen.

    5. Drivers cannot hear you yelling encouragement from the 58th row when they’re actually lapping the track. This will not stop the high school kid behind you from doing so.

    4. Like room service Eggs Benedict, the Jumbo Grilled Turkey Legs at any racetrack always sound far better than they are. Avoid them. Let them thrive in the happy hunger of your imagination, rather than deliver their sad reality to your somersaulting innards. Life bears enough disappointments.

    3. Women, despite the signs you’ll see in the third turn campground, there’s no such thing as a "Free Trackside Mammogram." Don’t let the Mardi Gras beads fool you; there are shockingly few accredited radiologists working the infield on race weekend.

    2. All-purpose, all-context catch phrase guaranteed to make a NASCAR newbie sound like an old hand? "Go, Junior!" Appropriate any time!

    1. If your tailgate margarita machine doesn’t make at least ten horsepower on the blender-drink dyno, don’t bother. Go big, baby, or don’t go.

From Publishers Weekly

Starting at the beginning of the 2001 NASCAR season, Sports Illustrated contributor MacGregor and his photographer wife attended almost every race on the circuit in an attempt to understand the sport's wild appeal. The author's hopped-up reporting of the races, the fans and the history bolsters his admiration of the drivers and their skills. Traveling across the country, making pit stops in Wal-Mart parking lots, MacGregor becomes one with the throngs who worship weekly at the altars of speed and death in places like Richmond, Va.; Bristol, Tenn.; and Rockingham, N.C. As he reports the highlights of each race—who won, who wrecked, which racer had the sexiest women in his company, which fans were the wackiest—he neatly weaves the history of the sport into his story to measure the distance racing has traveled from its days on dirt tracks with unregulated stock cars to mammoth stadiums and corporate sponsorships. Through interviews with driver Jeff Gordon and others, MacGregor demystifies these celebrities' aura—they're ordinary folks—while at the same time proving that the glitter of being a winning NASCAR driver has propelled Gordon and others into a regal realm far above their fans' station. 8 pages of color photos not seen by PW. Agent, Heather Schroder. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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This funny and informative book is a terrific read.
A. Kimbro
Jeff MacGregor and his wife, photographer, Olya Evanitsky embarked on an adventure that most of us will never take especially in a motor home.
M & M
I am already a NASCAR fan so I was eager to read this book.
Allan Frank

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Until reading Sunday Money, I had little interest in books about motorsport racing in general, and about NASCAR in particular. However, since childhood, I have had a keen interest in books which focus on adventures during a journey of some kind. Homer's Odyssey, for example, and Cervantes' Don Quixote. More recently, William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways and River Horse. To me, such books are like "magic carpets" which transport me to unfamiliar cultures and often to distant centuries. That said, Sunday Money is one of the most entertaining as well as most informative books I have read in recent years. MacGregor and his wife (an award-winning photographer) committed ten months and a small fortune to traveling almost 50,000 miles throughout the United States inorder to observe a complete NASCAR racing season first-hand. As I began to read this book, these were the questions of greatest interest to me:

1. What were the origins of NASCAR?

2. What have been the most significant developments since then?

3. Most people observe NASCAR races on television or at a distance from the on-track competition. What did the MacGregors (especially Jeff) learn about NASCAR racing which can only be experienced "up close and personal"?

4. Why has NASCAR racing become so popular?

5. What are the most common misconceptions about it and those who are so devoted to it?

6. In MacGregor's opinion, what does NASCAR reveal about our society?

7. What were the MacGregors' fondest memories of their 35-state journey?

8. How do male and female perspectives on NASCAR racing differ?

9. Why does NASCAR racing remain "overwhelmingly, blindingly white"?

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Lundeen on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I wouldn't consider myself a died-in-the-wool huge NASCAR fan, but this book was terrific. MacGregor's style is full of wit and yet he peels back much of the unknown about NASCAR and it's followers. He more than satisfies our curiosity and, as a result, leaves us not only smarter about NASCAR, but wiser about the kaleidoscope of our society.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. McD on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps a little mad himself (he and his wife cash their savings in for a dee-lux motorhome), a better author I couldn't imagine for taking me on this raucous roll around the racetracks, and through the heart of America. SUNDAY MONEY is a sexy, witty, colorful portrait of the world that is NASCAR.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By gcon on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boogity boogity boogity, let's go reading!

So a guy who isn't really a hardore NASCAR fan at all ups and buys a motorhome and he and his wife (who sounds like the coolest chick on the planet) follow the NASCAR circuit like hippies following the greatful dead.

the book is a travel narrative based around stockcar racing, with the history of the sport and organization, anecdotes, interviews, and a regular guy's view of the culture. the less you know about NASCAR, the better, you will learn all about it. as long as you don't absolutely despise the sport, you will probably enjoy the hell out of this book.

the author is quite unbiased. he doesn't just praise NASCAR, he tells the good and the bad, and gives some insight into the whole shebang that touches on things i never even thought about, like how, weather you like it or not, if you buy anything at your supermarket, you are linked to NASCAR.

the book is well written, funny, poetic at times, and i honestly felt like i was living in his motorhome with him and travelling right there with him. the only people i might not reccommend this book to are the hardcore fans, who already know just about everything this guy talks about, but then again, they might enjoy this guy's opinion and experiences, so yeah, i would reccommend it to everyone i talk to. yeehaw!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Sprague on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It is hard to describe the pleasure reading this book causes. Part of it is the sheer audacity of abandoning your comfortable life in NYC to the strict confines of motorhome living. And then reading as Jeff and his wife try to understand what they have gotten themselves into. And yet through all the noise and the smoke, Jeff seems to have crystallized the NASCAR experience for the fan and non-fan alike. His descriptions leap off the page and require you to pay attention. A must read for any fan of great writing
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Kimbro on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The roar of the engines. The roar of the crowds. You'll roar with laughter when you read Jeff MacGregor's "Sunday Money". This funny and informative book is a terrific read. You can almost taste the burning rubber and the BBQ as you race through this page turner. Mr. MacGregor and his photographer wife Olya, traveled around America for almost a year in a motorohome to create this book. The end result is a tale of the origins of NASCAR, and where the sport stands today. On any given Sunday you might find upwards of 400,000 screaming fans watching these daring young men take their lives in their hands. Six hundred horsepower cars, sometimes running three abreast at nearly two hundred miles an hour, inches away from each other. We've come a long way from the chariot races of Ben Hur. I don't think these drivers get the credit they deserve. What I liked most about this book is it gave me an insight not only into racing, but the culture that surrounds it. I wouldn't classify myself a racing fan by any means, but "Sunday Money" gave me a true appreciation of the sport, as it vividly brings to life the happenings on and off the track. Hot cars. Hot guys. Smoking hot girls! That's right. Babes aplenty. What more could you ask for? "Sunday Money" is right on the money!
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