Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Crown Publishing Group, Feb 4, 2009 - History - 432 pages
27 Reviews
“Moonshiners put more time, energy, thought, and love into their cars than any racer ever will. Lose on the track and you go home. Lose with a load of whiskey and you go to jail.” —Junior Johnson, NASCAR legend and one-time whiskey runner

Today’s NASCAR is a family sport with 75 million loyal fans, which is growing bigger and more mainstream by the day. Part Disney, part Vegas, part Barnum & Bailey, NASCAR is also a multibillion-dollar business and a cultural phenomenon that transcends geography, class, and gender. But dark secrets lurk in NASCAR’s past.

Driving with the Devil uncovers for the first time the true story behind NASCAR’s distant, moonshine-fueled origins and paints a rich portrait of the colorful men who created it. Long before the sport of stock-car racing even existed, young men in the rural, Depression-wracked South had figured out that cars and speed were tickets to a better life. With few options beyond the farm or factory, the best chance of escape was running moonshine. Bootlegging offered speed, adventure, and wads of cash—if the drivers survived. Driving with the Devil is the story of bootleggers whose empires grew during Prohibition and continued to thrive well after Repeal, and of drivers who thundered down dusty back roads with moonshine deliveries, deftly outrunning federal agents. The car of choice was the Ford V-8, the hottest car of the 1930s, and ace mechanics tinkered with them until they could fly across mountain roads at 100 miles an hour.

After fighting in World War II, moonshiners transferred their skills to the rough, red-dirt racetracks of Dixie, and a national sport was born. In this dynamic era (1930s and ’40s), three men with a passion for Ford V-8s—convicted criminal Ray Parks, foul-mouthed mechanic Red Vogt, and crippled war veteran Red Byron, NASCAR’s first champion—emerged as the first stock car “team.” Theirs is the violent, poignant story of how moonshine and fast cars merged to create a new sport for the South to call its own.

Driving with the Devil is a fascinating look at the well-hidden historical connection between whiskey running and stock-car racing. NASCAR histories will tell you who led every lap of every race since the first official race in 1948. Driving with the Devil goes deeper to bring you the excitement, passion, crime, and death-defying feats of the wild, early days that NASCAR has carefully hidden from public view. In the tradition of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit, this tale not only reveals a bygone era of a beloved sport, but also the character of the country at a moment in time.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Review: Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR

User Review  - Eddie Taylor - Goodreads

When I saw the title of this book it realty interested me. So I got it and started reading. However, reading the introduction and learning that the author was Yankee had me wondering. There was a part ... Read full review

Review: Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR

User Review  - Bob Schmitz - Goodreads

Great book about the origins of NASCAR in the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, from the winding, dirt, unbanked mountain roads of Appalachia where revenue agents could not catch the young kids ... Read full review

Contents

PART I
2
NASCAR is no longer a southern sport
3
White lightning ll
13
Henry Ford created a monster
25
The bootlegger turn
50
An orgy of dust liquor and noise 12
72
All the women screamin Roy Hall
101
Yesterday his luck ran out
123
Henry Ford is dead
194
Next thing we know NASCAR belongs to Bill France
226
Racing Car Plunges into Throng 136
247
An ambience of death
265
The first race a bootlegger and a disqualification
279
Its not cheating it you dont get caught
295
No way a Plymouth can beat a Cadillac No w
313
Like sex the atom bomb and ice cream
331

MIRAEUIDUS DEATH ESCAPE
132
PART II
144
Body bags and B24 bombers
147
Its too late now to bring this crowd under control
168
NOTES
361
SOURCES
389
ACKNOWIIDGMENTS
396
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Neal Thompson is a veteran journalist who has worked for the Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, and St. Petersburg Times, and whose magazine stories have appeared in Outside, Esquire, Backpacker, and Men’s Health. He teaches at the University of North Carolina-Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program and is author of Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard, America’s First Spaceman. Thompson, his wife, and their two sons live in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina.


From the Hardcover edition.

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