With my interest in NASCAR, which has been good for many years now, growing exponentially since last year, I have been looking for decent books on the sport. Even though this one is a little dated now, I still found it enjoyable and relevant for the time it was written. Here is my review for “NASCAR Nation”
“NASCAR Nation: How Racing’s Values Mirror America’s” by Chris Myers
Auto Racing, NASCAR, history
October 2, 2012
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Some sports books that are read several years after their publication show their age early and may not be as relevant now as they were at the time of publication and some withstand the test of time and are still relevant, possibly with some minor changes. This book on how NASCAR reflects American values and tradition falls into the latter category, even if Chris Myers’ writing does seem dated at times.
That happens when the names of drivers and other people associated with the sport are mentioned as none of the championship drivers he mentions prominently, such as Dale Earnhardt (both father and son), Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are all retired. Some of the races have changed names due to sponsorships and now, nine years after publication, it seems quaint to hear the words “Sprint Cup” when NASCAR’s biggest circuit has no sponsor name and is just known as the Cup Series.
However, that is all moot when Myers writes about how the drivers, fans, owners and practically everyone involved in the sport help to make it not only a sport that reflects American values but also other aspects that place it in a unique position among spectator sports. These include regular NASCAR occurrences such as the invocation and prayer that is done before the national anthem is played and the access that fans have to the drivers, the cars, the garage and pit road. While that may come back since it is now not allowed due to the pandemic, it still places NASCAR in a unique position for accessibility.
Some readers may feel that this is a “rah-rah” type of book that simply talks about what a great sport this is, but Myers is writing from the heart and whether one loves NASCAR as much as he does or thinks this is going a little overboard, it is one that truly does show the connection between American values, at least in the early part of the 2010’s decade, and the sport.
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