The day was February 18th, 2001, and NASCAR mourned the loss of its godfather, Dale Earnhardt. As with many in the press corps, "New York Time"s sports reporter Dave Caldwell hoped to get an interview with Mr. Earnhardt, possibly asking how he felt having one of his race teams' cars win the Daytona 500. But his question, and the questions of the other reporters and the fans at the race that day, would go unanswered. Dale Earnhardt's death heralded a change in the sport of stock car racing. The nation took notice of his death, and many became fans of NASCAR. Dave Caldwell's poignant retelling of that fateful day pulls readers in. However, this book is about NASCAR racing. His colorful writing makes this not only an informative book but one that is fun to read. The use of black-and-white photographs really gives nuance to the tone of this book. It is obvious in reading the text that Earnhardt's death had a profound effect on the author and he, along with others, was infected with the passion and sense of family NASCAR racing engenders. Throughout the main text are excerpts from newspaper articles, and a selected list of newspaper articles for further reading is included at the back of the book. This is interesting in that it allows the reader to look for more information and to further their research without being relegated to books or Web sites. "Speed Show" makes a good nonfiction book for any library collection.
Beginning with the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt at age forty-nine in a race at Daytona International Speedway, New York Times sports correspondent Caldwell details the history, basics, technology, fans, and future of NASCAR-the NationalAssociation for Stock Car Auto Racing. Besides the factual information, boxed anecdotes are scattered throughout the book. Who knew about stock racing's origins in bootlegging? Racers, pit crews, racetracks, families, sponsors, and fans are all portrayed in detail. Even the system of scoring points for the drivers is explained in easy-to-understand terms. Equipment worn by the drivers, including the HANS (Head and Neck Support) helmet, is discussed in detail. Brilliant, color photographs are on almost every page and even include an incredible shot of Air Force One, with President Bush aboard, above the Daytona track in 2004. With plenty of text, ample photographs, and lots of information, this remarkable book will appeal to anyone, NASCAR fan or not.
Jeffrey A. FrenchCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information. - School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up
This concise history of NASCAR racing and its recent surge in popularity starts with the author's eyewitness account of Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash at the 2001 Daytona 500 and the aftermath of the tragedy, both of which Caldwell covered for the "New York Times" . Subsequent chapters cover the basics of stock-car racing, from qualifying through the races and the championship point system; the technological side, featuring the cars and other equipment; the creation and development of NASCAR and its leading personalities; the relationship with the fans; marketing; and the outlook for the future. Caldwell's text is enjoyably readable, in spite of his tendency to jump abruptly from one topic to another. The sport's lack of diversity is offset by featuring information on female and minority drivers and the association's efforts to attract amore diverse audience. The book is well documented and enhanced by excellent color photos. Offsets provide more in-depth detail, such as notes on multiple championship winners, biographical info, and historical events. A minor error results from a poorly worded explanation of the points system, but otherwise this is an accurate effort. Overall, this is a comprehensive look at the NASCAR phenomenon for beginners, and it has more than enough visual appeal to please longtime fans.show more