Sunday Money

Published By: HarperCollins

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Sports & Recreation

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Reviewed by Julie Failla Earhar

Personally, I think NASCAR is a silly sport. However, when Harper Perennial was giving away free copies of Jeff MacGregor's Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death! A Hot Lap Around America with NASCAR, well, I never, ever pass up a free book.

Don't get me wrong, I do get it--the racer's point of view: that near-death experience every time they climb behind the wheel. What I don't get is the fans' perspective. How is watching 43 specially built and designed cars hurtling around a racetrack at breakneck speeds for four or more hours any fun? If you're not the driver, what's the point?

That's what sports writer MacGregor and his wife set out to discover: what 75 million (and growing) fans seem to already understand. They trade in their Manhattan apartment for a humongous RV and run around the country for the racing season, a 40-week marathon.

The MacGregors log more than 48,000 miles over the season. Of course only the crew, the haulers, and the most ardent fans have to drive from track to track. The drivers fly in corporate-sponsored charters.

When MacGregor started typing, the imagery and the language usually reserved for literary tomes makes this adventure worth reading. He paints beautiful, haunting images that are equivalent to anything any literary writers can produce. Long Faulkner-esque (with appropriate punctuation) sentences, combined with the short, barking dialogue of the track, make for heady reading.

Thanks to the MacGregors, I feel as if I've experienced NASCAR from all angles: in the driver's seat, the grandstands, the pit, the infield, and the newsroom. Only I didn't have to endure the long, lonely road, the noise, or the sun, rain, cold or heat.

However, I still don't get why so many people spend Sunday afternoons watching grown men drive in circles. But that's just me.

Armchair Interviews says: 75 million fans must know something--and that "something" is written with powerful words in this interesting take on NASCAR.


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