Monday, March 29, 2010

book review, Racing While Black

Racing While Black
How an African-American Stock Car Team Made Its Mark on NASCAR

Leonard T. Miller, Andrew Simon


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As I began to read the book, I remembered in my mid-teens I had been to a drag race in Albuquerque in the mid-1970s that featured "Hell On Wheels": the car had a tank-styled theme. And, my first stepfather had an audio album recording of drag racing sounds. That's right, and album of nothing but drag racing...

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The book chronicles the experiences of a father and son who love racing and choose to own a team with the goal of participating in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). For all of their successes, there are many instances of overwhelming...and surprising examples of...lack of support from various types of people, white and black. Frustration is a constant theme within the book, as well as a love and passion for racing.

The negative responses from some Caucasians was not surprising. The described instances of unfulfilled agreements, and reneged commitments, greatly disturbed me. Those who said they were going to be helpful and abandoned Miller remind me of the phrase, "shooting oneself in the foot": they shot themselves in theirs (and shot Miller in his at the same time). There were potential sponsors that gave the impression they would participate, and never did. And major business organizations, and individuals, made commitments and did not honor them...but did attempt to take some credit for any glory and success that may have occurred.

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(Half-way through the book I thought this will make a great mini-series, or movie...and then I find...)

Leonard T. Miller is the screenwriter of the upcoming movie "Silent Thunder" which is based on the book by his father, Leonard W. Miller who is the first black owner of an American car racing team. HighRoad Entertainment has optioned the rights...
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