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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Legend of the First Super Speedway: The Battle for the Soul of American Auto Racing by Mark Dill is a hard-hitting, heart-pounding story of grit, determination, and the American dream. This robust, visceral book, based on a true story, centers on two main characters, Barney Oldfield and Carl Fisher. Barney is a hard drinker and a top racer. Carl is driven to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a barren cornfield. The establishment thumbs its nose at them because they're mavericks who do things their way, but together they are a force to be reckoned with. Auto racing is a do or die arena, where one slight turn of the wheel or hesitation can mean the end of a career, a car, or a life.
This is the riveting story of the birth of the first super speedway. The year is 1910. The characters are tough men who aren't afraid to speak their minds or go after what they want. They live in an earlier time, in the infancy of auto racing, when people were willing to lay it all on the line and die for their dreams. Imagine millions of bricks making up the first Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Imagine you're driving the fastest car in the world. Imagine you could die trying to hold on to your championship title. Besides the compelling story of the characters, you have an interesting backdrop of how life, culture, and times were back then. As today, changes were happening rapidly in technology, culture, transportation, communication, commerce, you name it.
One of my favorite parts was about Barney sharing his early success with his father. In the end, the winner takes all, and it takes heart to grab onto it and make it your own. This is what these two men did for auto racing. They are imperfect and flawed, but that's what makes them interesting. Dill brings a fresh sense of energy and life to the story and characters, and it rings of realism and history. Photos accompany the book. For an entertaining, edgy book grounded in the history of auto racing, The Legend of the First Super Speedway by Mark Dill is one you shouldn't pass up. Fans of Ford v Ferrari will love this book.