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New York Times Speed Show

New York Times Speed Show

How NASCAR Won the Heart of America

New York Times

Dave Caldwell



Daytona Beach, Florida, 2001. Sportswriter Dave Caldwell watches from the stands as a black Chevrolet pulls ahead in the final laps of the Daytona 500. In an instant, it's over. The car smashes into a wall at 175 miles an hour, killing one of stock car racing's most loved drivers. The death of Dale Earnhardt inspired an outpouring of grief, drawing new fans to the sport and driving NASCAR to the top of the sporting industry. From its roots during Prohibition to today's die-hard fans, Dave Caldwell weaves together his firsthand observations as a NASCAR reporter with excerpts from The New York Times archives to give readers an inside look at the spectacle that is America's new favorite pastime.

Chapter One
February 18, 2001
"It's What We Do"
The pack of stock cars, their engines growling, had circled the racetrack 199
times. Nearly half the cars still on the track had been crumpled in a
spectacular wreck that left skid...

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Dave Caldwell

Dave Caldwell has worked as a correspondent for The New York Times since 2000, covering a variety of sports, including stock car racing, hockey, baseball, football, and basketball. He lives in New Jersey and has two sons.


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