The Ghosts of NASCAR: The Harlan Boys and the First Daytona 500 (Paperback)John Havick (author)
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The Ghosts of NASCAR details how the Harlan Boys turned to racing cars to have fun and to escape the limited opportunities for poor boys in rural southwestern Iowa. As auto racing became more popular and better organised in the 1950s, Swanson, Lund, and Beauchamp battled dozens of rivals and came to dominate the sport in the Midwest. By the later part of the decade, the three men were ready to take on the competition in the South's growing NASCAR circuit. One of the top mechanics of the day, Swanson literally wrote the book on race cars at Chevrolet's clandestine racing shop in Atlanta, Georgia, while Beauchamp and Lund proved themselves worthy competitors. It all came to a head on the brand-new Daytona track in 1959.
The Harlan Boys' long careers and midwestern racing in general have largely faded from memory. The Ghosts of NASCAR recaptures it all: how they negotiated the corners on dirt tracks and passed or spun out their opponents; how officials tore down cars after races to make sure they conformed to track rules; the mix of violence and camaraderie among fierce competitors; and the struggles to organise and regulate the sport. One of very few accounts of 1950s midwestern stock car racing, The Ghosts of NASCAR is told by a man who was there during the sport's earliest days.
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Number of pages: 226
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
"A detailed account of stock car racing's overlooked pre-TV days, a simpler era when a big-hearted, lead-footed, small-town midwestern boy could reach NASCAR's top tiers. This is more than an investigation of the controversial first Daytona 500. It's the story of the sport's coming of age."--Neal Thompson, author, Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR
"John Havick has written an important, informative account of the early days of racing in the Midwest. He focuses on the life and times of Iowan Johnny Beauchamp, the Ghost of Playland Park, the declared victor of the very first Daytona 500--until NASCAR czar Bill France and racing legend Lee Petty conspired to cheat him out of his victory. The Ghosts of NASCAR is a winner."--Peter Golenbock, author, American Zoom, Last Lap, and NASCAR Confidential
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