Growing Up NASCAR: Racing's Most Outrageous Promoter Tells All

Growing Up NASCAR: Racing's Most Outrageous Promoter Tells All

by Humpy Wheeler, Peter Golenbock


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In 1949, w

hen Humpy Wheeler

was 11, he attended the very first NASCAR race

. For the next ten years, he spent

as much time in the pits

as he could, and came to know many of the

sport’s pioneers.

Eventually, Wheeler

began promoting races at Carolina tracks such as Concord Speedway, Robin

wood Speedway, and Starlight Speedway. Racing was so rough back then he kept a gun by his side when he paid the

purse, and often used his fists to keep order. By the time Wheeler retired

in 2008, he had

helped NASCAR


the six

-billion-dollar-a-year industry

it is today.

Filled with photographs from Wheeler's personal archives, Growing up NASCAR presents the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR from the consumate insider.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760337752
Publisher: Motorbooks
Publication date: 03/15/2010
Edition description: First
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

In 1947, when Humpy Wheeler was nine years old, he put his thumb out on Highway 29 and hitched a ride to the Charlotte Speedway. Since then, Humpy has held just about every job there is in NASCAR. The consummate promoter, Humpy invented the pre-race show.Peter Golenbock has been writing books about sports since 1975. Some of his best sellers are Dynasty, The Bronx Zoo (with Sparky Lyle), Number 1 (with Billy Martin), and Balls (with Greg Nettles.) He has also written a series of NASCAR histories including American Zoom, The Last Lap, and NASCAR Confidential.

Table of Contents

1 We Watched the Race Cars Go By 1

2 The Scotch-Irish and the Segregated South 15

3 Learning the Ropes 32

4 Moonshine and Racing 45

5 The Robinwood Speedway 52

6 Slick 69

7 Witness to Disaster 79

8 When the Rubber Meets the Road 95

9 Big Bill France 109

10 Ralph and the Indian 116

11 Bobby Allison 123

12 Junior Johnson 130

13 Driving for Junior 138

14 Curtis and Bruton Go Bust 155

15 Hired to Run the Charlotte Motor Speedway 162

16 Bruton and I 173

17 Dirt Poor Dale 186

18 Dale and Richard Childress 193

19 Rick Hendrick Changes the Game 201

20 Days of Thunder 213

21 Alan Kulwicki's Too Short Journey 223

22 The All Star Race 229

23 Robert Yates Knows Tragedy 244

24 Bobby Allison's Nightmare 249

25 NASCAR and Bruton Go National 253

26 Joe Gibbs and Dale Jarrett 268

27 Jack Roush and Mark Martin 272

28 The Death of Dale Earnhardt 276

29 The Corporatization of Racing 282

30 Good-Bye 288

31 Racing of the Future 294

Index 299

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Bristol Herald Courier, March 19, 2010

“With the assistance of author Peter Golenbock, Wheeler’s recently traced his colorful life and career in the book Growing Up NASCAR: Racing's Most Outrageous Promoter Tells All. From grimy dirt tracks to lavish

superspeedways, Wheeler feels there are five essential elements for attracting and retaining fans to motorsports.”


Gaston Gazette, March 26, 2010

 “Wheeler’s stories of growing up in Belmont, his mother’s store in Gastonia and his maternal grandparents’ home in Bessemer lend a strong Gaston County flavor to the book. It explores his days at Robinwood Speedway.

Wheeler describes his role as a young promoter fresh out of college and the exploits of such Gastonia drivers as the Cooper Brothers, Jim Dimeo, Harold Dunnaway and others who created dynamic action at what he said

was the best quarter-mile track ever built.”

“Truly a fun, entertaining book, it also gives some good insights into the man and the personality behind what we’ve all seen in races.” –

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