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The Daytona 500: The Thrill and Thunder of the Great American Race (Spectacular Sports) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 64 pages||Age Level: 10 - 18||Grade Level: 5 - 12|
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It all began with a challenge when Ransom Olds and Alex Winter decided to pit their cars against each other on the beach at Ormond, Florida. The "Pirate" and the "Bullet" may not have come close to hitting the high speeds of cars that would come later, but they were legendary in that they set the stage for generations of racers to come. You'll be able to follow many trailblazers as they raced their cars on the beaches until you meet up with "Big Bill" France, a visionary who would attempt to give some structure to the sport. France "wanted to start an organization to govern stock car racing." By the end of 1947 his dream came true when the organization was formed and rules were agreed upon by the consensus of "35 drivers, mechanics, and businesspeople at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach." NASCAR would soon be up and running.
It will almost feel like you're right in the stands watching as you read some interesting vignettes of the sport and hear the crowds go wild as exciting historical stories are recapped. You'll read about the first Daytona 500 wild `n crazy first race, DeWayne "Tiny" Lund's heroism and Cinderella-like chance at winning a race, how Mario Andretti "thrilled the fans and unnerved the other drivers" with his antics on the track, Richard Petty and David Pearson's extreme rivalry, and how "trading paint" ended up in a real time fight between the Allison brothers and Cale Yarborough.
After the "wild 1979 finish," which you'll read about in this book, "NASCAR became a truly national sport," one that can now boast millions of fans of all ages and walks of life. As the stakes became higher the drivers began to push their cars to incredible speeds, but soon NASCAR realized the unsafe conditions and implemented restrictor plates that would reduce "horsepower--and speed." In the more recent history of the sport the stories seemed to become more electrifying. You'll read about the Allison family duel in the 1988 Daytona 500, how Wessa Miller rubbed a lucky penny so Dale Earnhardt would win, Michael Waltrip's triumphant win that turned into a tragedy, and how one jobless racer came from behind to win. If all the amazing stories aren't enough you're going to learn about the evolution of the stock car, you'll get to check out the specs of the stock car, and finally get to read about the Thrill and Thunder of the Great American Race!
The young reader will get a real taste of the "Thrill and Thunder" of the Daytona 500 in the pages of this book. I've read several books about individual racers and the NASCAR circuit, but this is one of the most interesting by far. The marvelous assortment of stories in this book was what interested me the most as I read about the most obscure figures right along with the more commonly known racers in the sport. I found the overview early history of stock car racing jumpstarted this book very nicely and kept my interest until the last pages. The funky real life characters of Henry Seagrave (Mad Major) and Sir Malcolm Campbell were quite interesting to say the least. The book was very well written and researched and many interviews were conducted in person. There are numerous informative sidebars and ~HOT~ photographs. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary (including slang), an interview with John Andretti, an explanation of the meaning of NASCAR flags, source notes, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. This is a Junior Library Guild Selection.
This book courtesy of the publisher.
I saw this book on NetGalley and immediately requested it so my son and I could read it together. My son loved the pictures of all the car wrecks! Besides that though, we really enjoyed reading about the history behind the Daytona 500. Did you know that the first Daytona race was actually held on the beach? I certainly didn't! My son loved the "Bullet" car that was one of the first to race in the Daytona (this was, of course, before NASCAR was an event).
What I liked most about this book was that it was easy for my 8 year old to listen too or just look at the pictures. He was not bored at all by the book and was thrilled to know all the facts behind the race. In fact, for days after we read the book he told everyone the history behind the Daytona and the "Allison Family Duel" amongst other facts! I liked that it had a glossary in the back so I could understand the different slang that was used (although my son already knew it all) and the interview with John Andretti.
The author obviously spent a lot of time researching and included a lot of the fun facts in sidebars. The pictures were amazing and I thought this book was much better than some of the previous ones my son had brought home from the library. My son is constantly asking me to look at the book so he can reread it. I think I am going to have to buy him his own copy!