Book Review: Magnolias, Sweet Tea, and Exhaust--a Book for All Fans

It all started with a Facebook message from someone I didn’t know.  She was a friend of a friend who had a new book coming out in July.  I was in the press box at Martinsville Speedway on that day and looking at the social media site while waiting for the race to begin.  She offered to send me a pre-release copy of the book.  What I found was one of the most comprehensive beginner’s books on NASCAR and being a fan.

The book has an interesting title.  Magnolias, Sweet Tea, and Exhaust is a book about a woman who lived in the South but didn’t know the first thing about the sport, even though she lived in the sport’s natural habitat.  That woman was Carole Townsend, a reporter and columnist for the Gwinnett Daily Post, a Georgia newspaper. Her journey is not only interesting, but a great introduction to the sport that captivates fans from February until November each year.

Her first race, the Daytona 500 is documented as well as trips to Talladega Superspeedway, Darlington Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway and other tracks.  The author explains what it is like to be there as a fan as well as becoming a near insider.  Not surprisingly, she admits she got hooked on the sport at the NASCAR Driving Experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

I could go into detail about this fine book, but I will leave that up to you when you actually read it.  If you or a family member has the attitude that NASCAR is boring or it’s just highly modified cars running around in circles, this is the book for you.  It surely whets this old veteran’s appetite to head for the track again.  Everything written in her book is spot on and in a style that is very readable.  You can find this beginner’s guide to NASCAR at in Kindle and hardcover editions.  I highly recommend this book not only for the novice, but also for the long-time fan.

Townsend, Carole. Magnolias, Sweet Tea, and Exhaust. New York: Sports Publishing, 2014

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the midle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2014, Issue 7, Posted 12:21 AM, 07.02.2014