Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR

What mystifies me is that I am not a racing fan in the least but this book seemed to call to me from the library shelf. As a new resident of Georgia, coming from NY, I felt that I needed to do the “when in Rome…” thing and soldier through the book. No need to labor, as it had me in its grip from the first page. It answered all my questions about all things southern, with a vivid description of life here in the last century as well as an unbelievably human story of the men who made moonshine and how their driving skills translated well into car racing at the outset of the stock car boom.

It also introduced me to a unique man, a former master bootlegger named Raymond Parks, who, while not generally a race car driver, was as responsible as anyone for NASCAR being in existence today. His deep pockets kept many drivers racing and his mechanic, a genius named Red Vogt, actually came up with the name NASCAR. That Bill France used legal maneuvering to claim the NASCAR brand for himself and his family doesnt diminish what Raymond Parks did for the sport, and even for France himself who often found himself in need of financial help from the former moonshine baron Parks. Highly highly recommended for anyone who likes a good tale well told.

A footnote–Raymond Parks still lives and works in Atlanta, owning , fittingly, a liquor store on Northside Drive. He is 93 yrs old. I stopped in to say hello the other day, and he was courteous and happy to show me all of his wonderful NASCAR and racing mementos. While slowed by age and possibly early alzheimers, he was a gentleman and I enjoyed my chat with him. Red Vogt’s garage on Spring St, where the name NASCAR was coined, is still standing but is now an urban music shop. The garage door was open though, and I could see inside to where Red worked his miracles on the early Ford engines.  –

C. J. Abbott – Amazon Reviewer

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