The crop of racing books is growing with the sport. Many new entries in the literary world offer a variety of choices for the expanding book collection. It's impossible to list all the titles offered, but these are some of the more recent books placed on your neighborhood bookstore shelf. Whether it is biographical or historical, the pages of these books serve to show the power of racing in today's popular culture.
Silent Thunder: Breaking Through Cultural, Racial and Class Barriers in Motorsports
Author: Leonard W. Miller
Publisher: Red Sea Press
Pages: 212, plus 24
pages of photos
Leonard Miller's personal experiences stretch from his teenage days as one of the few African-American hot rodders, to his world as a minority in drag racing, to his days in the circle track realm. The common denominator throughout the journey is the amount of effort-often fruitless, but never untracked-Miller put into his programs.
The book came about when Miller's son Lenny advised him to tell the story after a rejection from a major automaker, and Miller did just that. Miller found that corporations looked upon supporting African-American racing efforts as a division of community affairs, not as motorsports, meaning those budgets were committed elsewhere and forcing his programs to compete against other elements for a small piece of the pie.
Miller found his efforts stonewalled by prejudice and preconception, but continues his fight to this day. The book serves as a look at an issue that is not going away in the near future ("We'll see a black president before we have a black driver in the Daytona 500," Miller told me). It is frank and honest and shows the resilience of his spirit for the cause. There are successes, but cases where one step forward often led to two steps back. Through it all, the possibility for change is never defeated.
Author: Peter Golenbock
Publisher: Motorbooks International
Released in May, the latest effort by Peter Golenbock (author of best sellers such as American Zoom and Thunder and Lightning) is not a tell-all book like the title might imply. Don't look for dirty laundry here. Instead, you'll find this book to be a collection of racing folklore from those who have experienced the sport in many ways.
In the first part, NASCAR pioneers speak freely about the rough and tumble times of the sport's beginnings. As the sport hurdles through the respective eras, you'll get right into the living rooms and garage areas of the people who made it happen and those who toiled behind the scenes. Interviews with champion Benny Parsons and champion-makers Jimmy Makar and Larry McRey- nolds appeal to those with an interest in how it's done.
This is not an effort that glorifies, but simply turns the fantasy of racing into the reality of the lives of the men and women who make it happen. Golenbock's meticulous attention to detail is borne out in the words as his interviews get right to the heart of the matter. No question is left unanswered. NASCAR Confidential tells the whole story in the areas it covers.
Offenhauser: The Legendary Engine and the Men Who Built It
Author: Gordon Eliot White
Publisher: MBI Publishing
If you followed racing a few decades ago, you understood the potent engine they called the Offy. Named for Fred Offenhauser, who took over a bankrupt engine business during the Depression, the Offy scored many open-wheel victories at Indianapolis and beyond. In fact, the engine won the Indy 500 in its first try. The history of the Offenhauser engine and the people who got it to racing legend status are spelled out in Gordon Eliot White's effort.