"Don't come here and grumble about going too fast. Get the hell out of the race car if you have feathers on your legs or butt."
- Dale Earnhardt Sr.
NASCAR racing is fast, furious and filled with colorful characters who have lots to say -- sometimes at the most inopportune times. Drive Like Hell celebrates the wit and wisdom of the NASCAR circuit. Race fans of all ages will love this entertaining collection of quotes and quips from today's stars and the legends of auto racing.
Here's a small sampling of the more than 400 quotes:
Eric Zweig is an author and journalist who edited three other Quotes and Quips books: Par for the Course; Gentlemen, This is a Football; and Home Plate Don't Move.
I like that quote. Sure, it's where the title of this book comes from, but it's more than that. In just two sentences, this quote encompasses the essence of NASCAR. It's the thrill of modern racing -- with a hint of the stock car's "good ole boy" roots.
NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) was formed in 1947. The "Strictly Stock" division (which has become the circuit we know today) started in 1949. But stock car racing is much older than that. Its roots date back to the Prohibition era of the 1920S and 1930s. (Even as late as 1941, stock car legend Lloyd Seay was killed in a dispute over illegal whiskey. Longtime NASCAR president Bill France Jr. has referred to him as "the Dale Earnhardt of 1941.") Obviously, running whiskey from hidden stills to hundreds of markets across the U.S. Southeast was a dangerous business. The drivers needed fast cars and a lot of guts.
Eventually, as the moonshine drivers got more and more competitive, they took to racing. And fans came out to watch them.
Today, of course, NASCAR has expanded well beyond its original Southern fan base. But then again, stock car racing has always had fans in far-flung places. Growing up in Toronto in the 1970s, we had racing at Pinecrest Speedway and, in the 1950s and 60s, there was stock car racing in the Stadium at the Canadian National Exhibition, where the CFL's Toronto Argonauts and later the Toronto Blue Jays played.
I got my earliest stock car experience attending Saturday night races at the Barrie Speedway in Ontario. It was lots of fun, and even on nights when we weren't at the races, you could hear the roar of the engines at our family cottage some three miles away. I still hear the roar on Saturday nights and it always makes me smile. The Barrie Speedway is the kind of place that current NASCAR driver Greg Biffle is referring to when he says, "running under the lights at the local short track, that feels like home."
I think what I liked about the stock car races even then, although I was years away from getting my license, was that these looked like cars anyone could drive. They weren't like Indy cars and Formula One racers. These were the cars you saw on out on the road -- only with cooler paint jobs!
But of course, it's a lot tougher than it looks. As sportswriter Peter Golenbock says, "If baseball is chess with a bat, ball and glove, stock car racing is chess on wheels."
But you don't often get 100,000 fans screaming at a chess match. You didn't get 100,000 fans at the Barrie Speedway either. Still, I understand it when Kurt Busch says, "the coolest thing is when you come to a race ... when you see it live and you get the sound and you get the feel and then the smell."
Let's be honest. You won't get that here. But I had a good time putting this book together. I hope you'll enjoy it too!
Age vs. Experience