NASCAR has a long and storied history. Whether you are a fan who is just getting acquainted with the sport or one who has been around for decades the names of Petty, Pearson, Allison, Waltrip, and Earnhardt mean something. They aren't just guys who made a living from racing. They are the men who helped NASCAR grow from a localized sport to a national sport viewed by millions each weekend.
In undertaking this project for Skirts and Scuffs I have found that many histories of the sport are similar. When you are trying to read as many books as possible on the subject it can get a bit monotonous. I was feeling that when I picked up a copy of The NASCAR Vault at the library. (they are starting to know me by name) One look at this book and I knew it was something special. I'm not sure it was the imposing size and weight or the glimpses of history I got as I quickly flipped through the pages, but I knew I wasn't leaving the library without it.
All you have to do is flip open to the first page to realize that this book is a unique glimpse into the past. Marketed as an official history featuring rare collectibles from motorsports images and archives The NASCAR Vault doesn't just tell you about this history; it puts you right in the middle of it. While there are many stories contained in the Vault they aren't the focus of this book. The focus is on the pieces of actual memorabilia that are contained between the stories. Throughout the book you will find several reproductions of graphics, programs, rule books, decals, patches, and brochures. Each is protected in a plastic enclosure.
Want to see the 1948 rule book? Just slide it out of the enclosure and you will find all 33 rules. My favorite of all is #4 which says:
If a car is a convertible type, it must be run with the top up and in proper pace and must be quipped with safety hoops mounted on the frame.
It's hard to imagine the drivers of today driving a truly stock car on the track but back before the templates and the COT that's what NASCAR was.
Another great piece of memorabilia is the program from the first ever awards banquet held in New York in 1981. If you caught this season's banquet in Las Vegas it's easy to see how far the sport has come in the last three decades. Back then drivers were just excited to get acknowledged. Today they get live televised coverage of the event during prime time and a week of media hoopla to go with it.
Even if you aren't into the history of NASCAR this book is well worth your time to check out. You won't find yourself falling asleep between the pages and you won't find yourself wishing you could just make it to the end of the book sometime this year. If I had to pick just one book this would be it.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Skirts and Scuffs or other contributors
image courtesy of Amazon.com