I've been meaning to post about this for some time now. A while back Steve Lehto (the Steve who writes articles about Lemons laws and other legal cases involving cars) had a "retweet to win" contest. The winner would get a copy of his book - Bobby Isaac: What Speed Looks like. Here's what it looks like:
You really should follow Steve on Twitter - @stevelehto.
Don't let the size deceive you. It's really quite a good sized book . I'll admit - I was expecting something quite a bit... smaller. It's roughly the same size as an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper, with surprisingly small print. Without the references, it clocks in around 160 pages. With the references - roughly 215 pages. That's right - Steve's book has more citations and footnotes in it than your average Master's thesis. Steve definitely did his homework on this one.
That's what I find a bit troubling, but interesting - why the subject? I'll be honest - before reading this book, I didn't have a very good understanding or respect for NASCAR, and I had never heard of Bobby Isaac. A friend of mine who watches NASCAR hadn't heard of him either. But despite this, it ends up being an interesting read.
The book covers the life of Bobby Isaac - a young man who became involved in motor racing around the start of the NASCAR era in the south. He wasn't a particularly outspoken person, and would often shrug off media interviews or any other sort of attention. Because of this, there seems to be quite a lot of misinformation - about the man, his character, and even the spelling of his name. For this reason it also seems like Steve had his work cut out for him on writing about Bobby, and might explain the insane number of references in the book.
The book does seem to bounce around a little bit, and cover a ton of NASCAR races - who ran in them, who won, and anything of interest that happened. I was expecting a little bit more about the land-speed records that Bobby & Co. set out at Bonneville, but it turns out that was only a very short period of time - only a few weeks over the course of his entire career. I imagine it'd be hard to cover anything more about it than he did.
Some day I could see the story of Bobby Isaac making a movie - in particular one of the last scenes in the book. If anyone ever does make a movie about him, I can pretty much guarantee that Steve's book would be a key piece of source material for it.
All in all - it was an interesting read. Perhaps a bit information heavy when it came to covering many of the particular races, but given the lack of real information about Bobby Issac, I can understand. Parts of particular interest were the development of the "winged" NASCAR cars - the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird. Steve also does a wonderful job of describing those warm, muggy nights at many of the tracks in the southern states - engines roaring, and the smell of hot exhaust, dust, and all. If you can find a copy of it, give it a read.
Also, if you are on Twitter, and aren't following Steve, you really should. He had another "retweet to win" contest, and my wife won a copy of his latest book - American Murder Houses.