He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back : The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR's Feudin', Fightin' Good Ol' Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map
On a cold February day in 1979, when most of the Northeast was snowed in by a blizzard, NASCAR entered the American consciousness with a dramatic telecast of the Daytona 500. It was the first 500-mile race to be broadcast live on national television and featured the heroes and legends of the sport racing on a hallowed track. With one of the wildest finishes in sports history--a finish that was just the start of the drama--everything changed for what is now America's second most popular sport.
HE CRASHED ME SO I CRASHED HIM BACK is the story of an emerging sport trying to find its feet. It's the story of how Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, A.J. Foyt, and Kyle Petty came together in an unforgettable season that featured the first nationally televised NASCAR races. There were rivalries--even the sibling kind--and plenty of fistfights, feuds, and frenzied finishes. Rollicking and full of larger-than-life characters, HE CRASHED ME SO I CRASHED HIM BACK is the remarkable tale of the birth of modern stock-car racing.
Starred Review. Stock car racing had long been a Southern phenomenon, but 1979 changed everything. A fight at the live, nationally televised Daytona 500 between Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough helped, especially since monstrous snowstorms over the race's weekend essentially made the East housebound, contributing to big ratings. There was more to NASCAR's rise to legitimacy, according to Bechtel, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated. From cowboy boots to Smokey and the Bandit, America was becoming consumed with the South's culture, and NASCAR fell right in line. A fledgling television network called ESPN needed sports programming to fill its schedule, and NASCAR was happy to oblige. Hotshot rookie Dale Earnhardt's fearless driving and working-class appeal landed a legend and the foundation of its future popularity. Throughout, Bechtel uses the 1979 NASCAR season as his backdrop, profiling the motley crew of racers and executives who were at the forefront. What could have been a painful juggling act becomes an illuminating, informative, and entertaining read, as the engaging and droll Bechtel is in complete control from start to finish. 8-page color insert. (Feb.)
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Little, Brown and Company
February 07, 2010
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