Motorsports and American Culture by Mark D. Howell
From Demolition Derbies to NASCAR

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Soon after the first automobiles were introduced in the United States, auto racing became a reality. Since that time, motorsports have expanded to include drag racing, open wheel racing, rallying, demolition derbies, stock car racing, and more. Motorsports have grown to such an extent that NASCAR is now the second most watched professional sport in America, behind only football. But motorsports are about much more than going fast and finishing first. These events also reflect our culture, our society, our values, and our history.

In Motorsports and American Culture: From Demolition Derbies to NASCAR, Mark D. Howell and John D. Miller bring together essays that examine the relevancy of motorsports to American culture and history, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Addressing a wide spectrum of motorsports—such as stock car racing, demolition derbies, land speed record pursuits, and even staged train wrecks—the essays highlight the social and cultural implications of contemporary and historical moments in these sports. Topics covered include gender roles in motorsports, hot rods and the creation of fan and participant identities, the appeal of demolition derbies, the globalization of motorsports, the role of moonshine in stock car history, the economic relationship between NASCAR and its corporate sponsors, and more.

Offering the most thorough study of motorsports to date from a diverse pool of disciplines and subjects, Motorsports and American Culture will appeal to motorsports and automobile enthusiasts, as well as those interested in American history, popular culture, sports history, and gender studies.

About Mark D. Howell

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Mark D. Howell is professor of communications at Northwestern Michigan College. He is an internationally-recognized automobile historian and motorsports scholar. His numerous publications include the book From Moonshine to Madison Avenue: A Cultural History of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and his “Professor of Speed” columns are regularly posted on, an award-winning automobile racing web site.John D. Miller is assistant professor of literature and cultural studies at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. A former freelance motorsports writer, his recent scholarly publications include essays on Southern literature and popular culture.
Published April 10, 2014 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 248 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction