What To Read: The Weekend Starts on Wednesday by Andrew Giangola

weekend31 If people are the glue binding a sport, NASCAR fans are Krazy Glue, not the milky wait-all-day-for-it-to-dry stuff. NASCAR fans can create strong, lasting bonds, and they do it fast without a whiff of pretension or self-confidence – Andrew Giangola
Each and every NASCAR fan has a story. A story of the moment they knew this was their sport. A story of the tracks they have visited and the friends they have made either in the infield or in the bleachers. A story of the time they convinced a friend to just “watch it and you will understand” and that friend became a passionate fan. A story of the time they climbed into the chair with dad as a child and became enamored with the bright shiny cars on TV. A story of the time they held their breath with hopes their driver would emerge from the wreckage in one piece. We use these stories to connect with other fans and they are usually part of the opening conversation with a fan we are meeting for the first time…well that and how much better our driver is than theirs.

At the beginning of the 2010 Season NASCAR “PR Man” Andrew Giangola published a book entitled The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans. From the moment I heard about the book I’ve been wanting to read it. I’d read reviews by other bloggers and had heard great things about it, but like and crazed NASCAR fan I wanted to read it for myself. I wanted to dive into the lives of other NASCAR fans just like me and learn their background and their passions.

Admittedly I have read a lot of NASCAR books in the last year. Some I have read for the site while others I have read for education. This one just looked like a fun read and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. Taking time away from his desk job, Giangola dived into the heart of NASCAR to get in touch with some of it’s most well known and not so well known fans. He spent countless hours in the infield of some of the most notorious party destinations on the circuit and spent time in the homes of some fans with museum-worthy NASCAR memorabilia displays. Giangola rubbed elbows with movie stars who claim NASCAR as their sport and spent time with a physicist who, along with trying to cure cancer, is attempting to make the science of NASCAR understandable to the fan sitting at home on the couch watching the broadcast. Along the way the author found out that what he had been hearing about NASCAR fans was true; they are indeed the heart and soul of the sport.

For me this book was like getting acquainted with new friends. Regardless of who they were rooting for, what they did to pay the bills, or how they became a fan, each person in The Weekend Starts on Wednesday was at their core a fan just like you and I. Some of the fans profiled in the book have experienced great tragedy and have used the sport as a way to grieve. Others have nothing buy joy in their lives and see NASCAR as an extension of that joy. These remarkable fans weren’t shy to share their stories and were not taken aback when a man in a NASCAR logoed shirt showed up on their campsite or doorstep unexpectedly. They did what most NASCAR fans do and opened up their hearts, their souls, and their grills.

For me the best part of The Weekend Starts on Wednesday was reading the stories of the female fans. While stores of female fans pepper the book, Part VII was undoubtedly my favorite. In reading the introduction to the "Ladies Love Racing” section I felt as if Giangola understood exactly what Skirts and Scuffs is about, even if he didn’t know we existed until last week. Giangola has this to say about female NASCAR fans:
…there are female fans who take apart engines and will take you apart if you have a problem with that; who are drawn to the danger and mystery of the sport; who watch races on TV to witness pure passion and unscripted emotion; who love the camaraderie of these family-friendly festivals; who feel the nervous anxiety of the lip-biting wives atop the pit boxes.
Giangola admits that some female fans are watching because of an attractive driver, but for most of us the looks are irrelevant. We want the speed and the emotion that make the sport of NASCAR amazing.

In all honesty I could go on and on about this book and dive more deeply in to the individual stories, but I’m going to leave that up to you. If you are looking for something to read on a hot summer day, a cold winter night, or a Sunday without a race pick up a copy of The Weekend Starts on Wednesday by Andrew Giangola and meet some new friends.

A special thanks to author Andrew Giangola who provided us with a copy of the book for review purposes.
What To Read: The Weekend Starts on Wednesday by Andrew Giangola What To Read: The Weekend Starts on Wednesday by Andrew Giangola Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Wednesday, August 04, 2010 Rating: 5