Most teenagers don’t like to read books. Let’s face it, reading isn’t respected like it should be. However, after reading a book that involved the sport millions of fans are passionate about, it is honest to say that there are quite the amount of life-changing books in this world.
NASCAR is a sport of marketing. Flat out and simple. The marketing part of the sport has come to a different strategy though. Not so much a strategy, but more of a way to call out to fans that drivers, former drivers and even crew members have some rather deep stories that they want fans to know the struggles they endured before they are judged.
Writing books for drivers isn’t a new thing though. Darrell Waltrip wrote a book back in 2004 and his co-worker from the NASCAR on FOX broadcasts, Larry McReynolds followed with his second book in 2005. Former crew chief, jackman and tire changer, Jeff Hammond also wrote a book. There aren’t many similarities between the stories told throughout these books, but the key similarity is that they share the same struggle. That struggle is the struggle to get where they landed.
If you haven’t noticed, not too many people get involved in NASCAR and for the ones that do, they didn’t get their by using their parent’s money like some speculate. Yeah, just like that whole Paul and John Menard thing where people think John pays for Paul’s racing career and bought him a spot in the most prestigious racing series in the globe.
The most passionate stories that have been told as of late come from the likes of Michael Waltrip. Waltrip is one of the most colorful drivers in the sport and has been racing for quite a long time now. In his book, In The Blink of an Eye, Waltrip expresses the deep sorrow he encountered when his hero, mentor and friend, Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away in what had to be the most difficult day one could imagine. Waltrip’s life is one giant roller coaster. He struggled just to get into racing and when he did, success was knocking at his door, but then he went on a losing streak of just 462 races, after all, it isn’t the hefty amount of loses that Ken Schrader (Waltrip’s close friend) has endured which has risen to nearly 550 race weekends in a row without being the first driver to the checkered flag.
Waltrip even used his book to make it known that he and his now ex-wife, Buffy, were separated since the 2007 season while going near backrupt. Imagine how tough it was to have the guts to say, let alone admit that to people? Or how about talking about his father dying in his arms? Yeah, NASCAR drivers have a human side too, not just that stereotypical redneck thing people always talk about.
It’s probable that every team owner in NASCAR has their fare share of stories to tell race fans. They seem to be interesting as people are still talking about the stories told by drivers throughout social media outlets such as Facebook and notably Twitter where the drivers have taken a presence to make sure people know their life stories. Books are meant to attract people’s attention and if any race fan wants something to keep themselves busy, read some of these books:
In the Blink of an Eye: Michael Waltrip
NASCAR For Dummies: Mark Martin
Sundays Will Never Be The Same: Racing, Tragedy, and Redemption–My Life in America’s Fastest Sport: Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip One-on-One: Darrell Waltrip
DW: A Lifetime Going Around In Circles: Darrell Waltrip
Growing Up In NASCAR: Racing’s Most Outrageous Promoter Tells All: Humpy Wheeler
Driver #8: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Awesome Bill From Dawesonville: My Life In NASCAR: Bill Elliott
Real Men Work In The Pits: A Life In NASCAR Racing: Jeff Hammond
How To Become A Winning Crew Chief: Larry McReynolds
The Big Picture: My Life From Pit Road to the Broadcast Booth: Larry McReynolds
Racing From the Back to the Front: Jeff Gordon
Though these aren’t the only books by drivers, former drivers and crew chiefs, etc, they are the most commonly read and could be inspiring to many new or old fans that are worth a shot at taking a look at.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.