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Posted September 18, 2002
David Poole¿s Race with Destiny: The Year that Changed NASCAR envisions history from the present, submerging the reader in a multi-layered account of a dramatic year for the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. The action-filled Hooters 500 race on November 12, 1992 eventually led to the points championship being won by Alan Kulwicki over Davey Allison and Bill Elliott. Poole¿s crafty and enjoyable read takes his audience not only through a gripping season finale, but also interestingly places the year as a turning point for the sport of stock car racing. Reading the book not only takes the reader on a season journey¿it also compels the reader to think about the difficult project Poole faced as an author. Given the deaths of Allison and Kulwicki in 1992, Poole¿s primary sources are obviously not accounts from these racing legends, but other first-hand versions constructed through interviews with some of the sport¿s well-known staples, such as Larry McReynolds, Bill Davis, Ty Norris, Wayne Estes, Michael Kranefuss, Benny Parsons, Jim Hunter, Monte Dutton, and Deb Williams. Poole does an outstanding job recreating the past from the present by situating the reader as an inside spectator¿the book allows readers to imaginatively glimpse the personal dramas facing the teams and drivers. By far, the most successful part of Poole¿s project is the writing itself, as he obviously gave thoughtful consideration to the process of reading¿he allows the reader to comfortably envision and imagine what must have been going on in the minds of Kulwicki and Tom Roberts (Kulwicki¿s PR agent) as the season unfolded. Poole is a gifted storyteller, as he also provides remarkable accounts of several races over the year, and literally allows readers to imagine themselves ¿being there¿ listening to drivers¿ radios, conversations between crew chiefs and drivers, and press conferences throughout the year. This book is an excellent read¿not only for the seasoned NASCAR fan, but those who are just entering the sport in search of historical background. As an anthropologist currently on tour with the NASCAR circuit, I have found this book to be one of my favorite reads this year, and see myself using it not only as a historical reference point, but for understanding how narratives of NASCAR can be successfully inscribed between the covers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.