Driver: Adventures of an Underground Road Racer

Overview

On his deathbed, Alex Roy's father dropped tantalizing hints about the notorious Cannonball Run of the 1970s, the utterly illegal high-speed nonstop race from New York to L.A. that was nothing at all like the one portrayed in the Burt Reynolds movie.

Inspired by his father's dying words, and against the advice of his loyal, lifelong friends, Roy enters the mysterious world of road rallies and underground races—trying both to find himself and to locate The Driver, the anonymous ...

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Overview

On his deathbed, Alex Roy's father dropped tantalizing hints about the notorious Cannonball Run of the 1970s, the utterly illegal high-speed nonstop race from New York to L.A. that was nothing at all like the one portrayed in the Burt Reynolds movie.

Inspired by his father's dying words, and against the advice of his loyal, lifelong friends, Roy enters the mysterious world of road rallies and underground races—trying both to find himself and to locate The Driver, the anonymous organizer of the world's ultimate secret race—neither of which may exist. But in order to get noticed by The Driver, Roy must first become a force to be reckoned with.

In this riveting memoir, Roy straps you into his highly modified BMW M5 and takes you on a terrifying 120 mph lap of Manhattan (his version of the French cult film Rendezvous), then tackles the Gumball 3000 and the Bullrun—the two most infamous road rallies in the world. He creates a character for himself and his car, Polizei Autobahn Interceptor, and they stick out among the Lamborghinis and Ferraris driven by millionaire playboys, software moguls, Arab princes, movie stars, leggy Czech supermodels, gear-heads, and tech whizzes. Out of the hundred-plus rally drivers, a select few—Alex Roy among them—compete as if these are full-on honestto-god road races, traveling from London to Morocco, from Budapest to Rome, from San Francisco to Miami at speeds approaching 200 mph.

With his M5 armed with amyriad of radar detectors, laser jammers, and police scanners, and his trunk crammed with a variety of fake uniforms, the obsessively prepared Roy evades arrest at almost every turn, wreaking havoc on his fiercest rivals, and gaining the admiration of police forces around the globe.

But his rise to the top of the rally-driving world ultimately proves hollow, until he meets a young film producer documenting the obscure post–Cannonball Run races and the holy grail of cross-country racing—the N.Y.-to-L.A. speed record of thirty-two hours and seven minutes set back in 1983. Can that time even be approached today, much less beaten? As Roy reveals in The Driver, there are reasons why no one has tried in twenty-four years. But should he try? Can he do it?

Full of hilarious, sexy, and shocking stories from a life lived at the right-hand edge of the speedometer, The Driver offers a never-before-told insider's account of the fast, dangerous, and unbelievable society that has long been offlimits to most of us. Filled with insane driving and Roy's quixotic quest to win both for his late father and for himself, The Driver is the tale of one man's insatiable drive beyond life in the fast lane.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"…highly entertaining insider’s look at the world of high-stakes, high-octane, high-risk road rallies…. Roy writes with enthusiasm and with a novelist’s sense of pacing and character. The book is so good, so filled with color and adrenaline, that it plays out like a movie in your mind."
Los Angeles Times
“...this is more than a testosterone cocktail of a memoir. It’s a joy ride...”
Booklist (starred review)
“…highly entertaining insider’s look at the world of high-stakes, high-octane, high-risk road rallies…. Roy writes with enthusiasm and with a novelist’s sense of pacing and character. The book is so good, so filled with color and adrenaline, that it plays out like a movie in your mind.”
Los Angeles Times
“...this is more than a testosterone cocktail of a memoir. It’s a joy ride...”
Booklist (starred review)
“…highly entertaining insider’s look at the world of high-stakes, high-octane, high-risk road rallies…. Roy writes with enthusiasm and with a novelist’s sense of pacing and character. The book is so good, so filled with color and adrenaline, that it plays out like a movie in your mind.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061227936
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Roy has been driving in international road rallies since 2003. He finished first in the 2006 Gumball 3000 and set a new speed record from New York to Los Angeles, making the nearly 3,000-mile drive in a staggering 32 hours and 7 minutes. When he is not on the road, he lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A cautionary tale of speed & obsession passed on from father to son

    On the surface, this book seems to be about one man's need to participate and win road rallies around the world, and to some extent, it is. But below all the cars, the crazy characters, triumphs and failures lies the age-old tale of a son in search of something much deeper, closer to home: The respect of his father.

    I am not going to spoil the ending for you, but when you read this book, whether you are a devoted petrolhead/gearhead keep in mind that when the author delves into all the technical wizardry he packs his vehicles with, the competitors in the pseudo-underground world of long-range road rallies, that what is really driving him through it all was a tale about the first scofflaws who competed in the real Cannonball runs in the 70s and the cross-country driving records they set in the process.These tales, elevated to mythical status by his dad, turn out to unshakable beacons that shape him as a man and a son.

    Like all true obsessions, there are prices to be paid and you'll read about these.

    Like all good adventures, you are going to meet a group of people in this 21st century piston-driven Iliad that will challenge your imagination-can they really be real? but do not detract from the story.

    Ultimately, THE DRIVER turns out to be a deeply personal, thoughtful narrative about one man's voyage of self discovery and whether or not what he finds to be most important of all matches, or betters that of his father. For sons, living up to what the old man has done can be a challenge or a curse. As told in this book, you might find it to be both.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    one who was captured by roy

    If you like road racing you will love this book. He is the real deal no matter what anybody says. And yes I got pulled over by roy and his team in a gummball rally.....it sucks

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Speed as fast as you can and buy this book!

    I found this book by accident, bought it on a whim, and it was great! In a nut shell, the book is about passion. If you feel passionate about any endeavor, golf, mountain climbing, etc... you will feel an infinity for what the author accomplished in rally driving. It was a quick read. I read it in two days, laughed out loud on many occasions and he wrote it in a style that I could feel myself behind the wheel of a sports car. I recommend this book very highly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Amazing!

    Wonderful book! Better than I thought it was going to be and I thought it would be good!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    I need some SLEEP!

    I bought the book... went home, and started reading... Stayed up all night and called in sick the next morning so I could finish it. SIMPLY AMAZING! I highly recomend this book to anyone who wants an inside look at the speeder's mindframe. If you're Top speed (like me) you'll love it... if you drive slow and have always wondered why some ppl fly past you this book will open your eyes. Regardless of your preference for speed buy this book so you can understand yourself, or those flying past you at 150+

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Addictive!

    I couldn't put this book down! It is exciting and heartening and breaks down those stereotypical views of the kind of people who take part in these rallies. Not just for petrol heads- even if you don't know your Ferrari from your Fiat, you'll enjoy it. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Achtung! So excitng I couldnt put it down

    An exciting real life automotive adventure, an amazing escape from the everyday life most lead. This is the chronicle of a man on a mission, battling only himself, it's an adrenalin and gasoline stained must read for anyone who loves fast cars and living on the edge. Roy deftly tells his tale of drivng in a style that makes you feel as if you were there in the car with him. After reading the book it took a day for my heart to stop racing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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