Daytona by Ed Hinton
From the Birth of Speed to the Death of the Man in Black

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Twenty times Dale Earnhardt had tried. Nineteen times he'd failed, often astoundingly, sometimes magnificently. And so it was an old man in Earnhardt's car in Victory Lane, fifty years to the day after the first NASCAR race on the sands of Daytona Beach. The cobalt eyes were weary. The hard face was ashen, suddenly lined with wrinkles beyond his forty-six years.

Now it was as if all the sorrow of those nineteen losses had deluged him at once. Virtually every member of every team had lined up to slap hands with him as he drove by. It was the most monumental salute in the history of American motor racing.

Earnhardt drove into the infield grass in front of the pit road, and across the enormous painted word "Daytona," he did the most artistic "doughnuts" ever by a victor-he spun and whirled his car until the tires gouged out of the grass a gigantic "3" in earthen colors. And then in Victory Lane all the heartbreak came in one last crashing wave...

For a generation Ed Hinton has been witness to what may be the most truly American sport of all. Once loved by those mostly living south of the Mason-Dixon line, NASCAR has captured the imagination of an entire nation. Television ratings are skyrocketing, and names like Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt are part of the American fabric. Now, after years of covering heart-stopping races, gasoline alley power struggles, and family feuds, Hinton delivers the book on racing that America has been waiting for...


Hinton takes us on a full-throttle history of Daytona from the days when well-healed daredevils and tycoons held speed contests on the beach to Daytona's eventual overthrow of the Indy 500 as America's premier racing event. Along the way he chronicles the personal side of the sport, including the rise and fall of "the King," Richard Petty, the tragic dynasty of the Allison family, the rags-to-riches story of Dale Earnhardt, and some of the sport's most vicious, on- and off-the-track rivalries-among racers, owners, crew chiefs, and carmakers themselves.

With finely etched prose, Hinton straps us into a state-of-the-art racing machine to experience unimaginable power held with a feathery touch, while waging the nerve-racking war for space, speed, and track. He takes us through the garage area on a Daytona 500 morning, where cars "like monstrous patients in intensive care" are given final tunings by specialists and the air shudders with the sound of unmufflered engines reaching RPMs that would explode your family car. And he takes us into those moments that stay in the mind forever: moments of split-second victory or defeat, moments of unbelievable skill and courage, and, tragically, moments of death.

Ultimately, DAYTONA is a story about people: fathers and sons; teammates and competitors; the visionary who invented the sport, Big Bill France; the boy genius Jeff Gordon, who overthrew the Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt; those speed demons like Willie K. Vanderbilt, Fireball Roberts, and Junior Johnson, who came along long before Daytona and NASCAR became household names. Big, brawling, colorful, and smart-every bit as exciting as the sport itself, DAYTONA does for racing what The Boys of Summer did for baseball-and will stand as a classic in its own right.


About Ed Hinton

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Hinton is a senior writer for the Tribune News Services and has covered NASCAR and Daytona since 1974. He has received ore than 20 awards for motor sports writing, and he's one of the most sought after authorities on the sport in the world today, having appeared on CNN/SI and CNN News, as well as many other programs.
Published January 1, 2001 by Unknown. 400 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Journalist and NASCAR fan Hinton accelerates along 70 years of raceway history in a volume that bonds track groupies, folk-genius mechanics, paraplegics, NASCAR martyrs, AIDS, drugs, overnight millionaires, generational rivalries and family feuds at 200 mph into a coherent tale for the sport's de...

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