Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend

Motorbooks
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On March 16, 1988, motorsport legend Mickey Thompson and his second wife, Trudy, were gunned down by hooded assassins in the driveway of their Bradbury, California, home. This shocking and brutal double-murder brought an abrupt end to one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of motorsports, a career that has never been completely profiled—until now. Author Erik Arneson delves into the life and career of one of racing’s greatest innovators and most successful businessmen, while also chronicling the story of his tragic murder and his family’s relentless quest to bring his killer to justice. This is a fascinating account of an amazing life that ended too soon.
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About the author

DIVErik Arneson is a former design editor and motorsports reporter for USA Today and is now director of public relations for SPEEDtv. He has written two books about drag racing, including John Force: The Straight Story of Drag Racing’s 300-MPH Superstar, published by Motorbooks. He received a Bronze Award at the 2008 International Automotive Media Awards for Excellence for this biography of Mickey Thompson./div

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Additional Information

Publisher
Motorbooks
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Published on
Mar 11, 2011
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781616730123
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Language
English
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Genres
Transportation / Automotive / General
Transportation / Automotive / History
Transportation / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Fresh on the heels of the best-selling book Lost Drag Strips comes a new look at other long-lost and forgotten drag racing facilities from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. 

In the first volume, the author examined the birth of drag racing and its subsequent popularity that invaded every city and community across America. Unfortunately, after the initial explosion of popularity, it waned, and various drag strips closed for a myriad of reasons. Financial pressure for the real estate they occupied, suburban sprawl, and waning participation were all reasons for the change in fortunes for the small, and even not-so-small, racetracks. The first volume was great, but readers demanded more!

Lost Drag Strips II picks up where the first volume left off, covering even more tracks with archival photos of racing in the tracks' heyday, the cars that ran there, and coverage of the tracks as they exist today. This volume also includes some of the tracks that survived, those that fought off the economic demons and the urban sprawl and continue to run today.

Tracks in this volume include: Fort Wainwright/Racing Lions Motorsports Park, Avenue G Drag Strip, Fremont/Baylands Drag Strip, San Fernando Drag Strip, Fontana Drag City, Inyokern Drag Strip, Kahuku Air Strip, Las Vegas Speedrome, Continental Divide Raceways, SRCA Drag Strip, Southwest Raceway, Willow Run Raceway, Minnesota Dragways, KCTA Drag Strip, Detroit Dragway, Niagara Airport Dragstrip, New York National Speedway, York US 30 Drag-O-Way, South Mountain Raceway, La Place Dragway, Yellow River Drag Strip, Thunderbolt Dragway, and more. 

Many fans of drag racing consider the most interesting era to be from the 1950s through the 1970s, the years when the sport really took off. During that period, so much changed from a speed and technology standpoint that people often refer to this time as the golden age of drag racing.

Drivers often became associated with a particular manufacturer, such as Chevy, Ford, or Chrysler through sponsorship, factory team rides, or sometimes simply their own preference. The more successful drivers became household names in the drag racing community. Chevy had Grumpy Jenkins, Pontiac had Arnie "the Farmer" Beswick, Mopar had Sox & Martin and Dandy Dick Landy, and Ford's most successful driver of the era was the legendary "Dyno Don" Nicholson.

Nicholson's first wins on a national level were actually in the early 1960s in Chevrolet products. He became extremely successful on the match-race circuit. Then, in 1964, he switched over to Mercury with the new Comet after General Motors enacted a factory ban on racing activities. He won 90 percent of his match races that year. He stuck with Ford and Mercury products and won throughout the 1960s and 1970s, even after Ford also pulled the plug on factory team sponsorship. He made it to the final rounds in nearly 50 national events during that period, in addition to winning championships, awards, and match races along the way. If you are a fan of a certain era of racing, a Ford fan, or certainly a "Dyno Don" fan, this book will be a welcome addition to your library.

Perhaps the most photographed personality in automotive and motorsports history, Linda Vaughn has entertained fans and has been a premier marketer of automotive goods for more than 55 years. From her first days as Miss Atlanta Raceway, coming of age while representing Hurst, through her annual appearances at America's top automotive and racing events, Linda continues to engage fans, drawing long lines whenever she makes an appearance. At her peak, Linda attended more than 100 events annually, year after year, and she still attends more than 25 events each year. The only entity that's probably seen as many events as Linda is Goodyear!

For the first time ever, Linda Vaughn allows her fans a behind-the-scenes look at her career in motorsports and promotion through her personal photographic archive and other photos. Through captions, Linda tells the story of individual images recounting countless stories from her photographic memory, with no detail left unshared. She recounts events with racing personalities and automotive icons from George Hurst to Richard Petty to Mario Andretti to Don Garlits. Nobody is left out as Linda tells stories about the photos chronicling her career in Motorsports. 

Linda Vaughn: The First Lady of Motorsports is the most comprehensive gathering of imagery ever assembled on Linda Vaughn. Through her 50-plus years in Motorsports, Linda has lived it all, been everywhere, and met everyone. Whether you are simply a fan of Linda or a collector of Linda Vaughn memorabilia, this will be the premier piece in your collection!

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To tell the life story of Ed "Isky" Iskenderian is to tell the history of hot rodding in America. Ed was there from the very beginning. Born in 1921 to first-generation Armenian immigrants, Ed's first hobby was ham radio, but like many young men in the years before World War II, his interest turned to automobiles, especially hot rods. Ed had natural skills in metal working and machining that were developed in high school. He wanted to further develop those skills, so he joined the Air Corps to continue his education and flew with Air Transport Command. By the time Ed mustered out of the service, the California hot rod scene was in full bloom, with tens of thousands of vets who had the desire to make cars go fast.

Isky: Ed Iskenderian and the History of Hot Rodding, tells the whole story, from his pre-war Lake Muroc and car club activities, his service in the military, starting a small business fabricating parts and making cams in the back of a rented shop, and then selling cams to other rodders. It covers how he grew a business from a single cam grinder and became the leading cam authority in barely 10 years. Ed was a gifted machinist, and he also had a natural knack for promotion. He purchased an ad in the second issue of Hot Rod magazine, sensing something big; his instincts, as always, were right. He was also the first to use T-shirts and uniforms as promotion. Not only was he an early pioneer in the industry for print adverting and catalogs, he was also among the first to understand the value of having successful race cars using his cams in their engines and wearing his decals on their fenders. The biggest names in the racing industry were running Isky cams, and Ed made sure the world knew it.

Ed's company name went on to become one of the household names in the performance community. His continued success is an entertaining tale of mingling with industry icons, insight into the business of hot rodding, great stories of yesterday and today, and a life very well lived. You will enjoy the stories recorded here as much as Ed "Isky" Iskenderian seems to enjoy telling them. 


Winner of the 2014 Dean Batchelor Award, Motor Press Guild "Book of the Year"

Before noon on May 30th, 1964, the Indy 500 was stopped for the first time in history by an accident. Seven cars had crashed in a fiery wreck, killing two drivers, and threatening the very future of the 500.

Black Noon chronicles one of the darkest and most important days in auto-racing history. As rookie Dave MacDonald came out of the fourth turn and onto the front stretch at the end of the second lap, he found his rear-engine car lifted by the turbulence kicked up from two cars he was attempting to pass. With limited steering input, MacDonald lost control of his car and careened off the inside wall of the track, exploding into a huge fireball and sliding back into oncoming traffic.

Closing fast was affable fan favorite Eddie Sachs. "The Clown Prince of Racing" hit MacDonald's sliding car broadside, setting off a second explosion that killed Sachs instantly. MacDonald, pulled from the wreckage, died two hours later.

After the track was cleared and the race restarted, it was legend A. J. Foyt who raced to a decisive, if hollow, victory. Torn between elation and horror, Foyt, along with others, championed stricter safety regulations, including mandatory pit stops, limiting the amount a fuel a car could carry, and minimum-weight standards.

In this tight, fast-paced narrative, Art Garner brings to life the bygone era when drivers lived hard, raced hard, and at times died hard. Drawing from interviews, Garner expertly reconstructs the fateful events and decisions leading up to the sport's blackest day, and the incriminating aftermath that forever altered the sport.

Black Noon remembers the race that changed everything and the men that paved the way for the Golden Age of Indy car racing.
  The Jeep Cherokee is one of the most prolific and rugged sport utility vehicles in history. Throngs of off-roading enthusiasts have chosen the Cherokee for navigating over the toughest terrain, climbing rocks, and trail driving, but these unibody 1984-2001 models have much room for improvement to become the best off-road vehicles. 

In Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001, author Eric Zappe explains how to transform a stock Cherokee into the toughest and most capable off-road 4x4 SUV. The author details the buildup, right combination of parts and products, and modifications necessary to build an aggressive off-road rig. He also shows how to weld and gusset the frame in critical areas. 

Installing a three- and four-link suspension system is also profiled so the Cherokee delivers greater travel and better off-road handling. Suspension and frame modifications are necessary to run large wheels and tires. And these wheels and tires are essential for traction, performance, and ground clearance in extreme off-road situations.

Swapping in Dana 44, Dana 60, and Ford 9-inch axles delivers superior performance and durability, which is covered as well. In addition, how to modify the Jeep inline 6-cylinder engine for increased displacement and performance is revealed.  

All of the most popular and effective mods, parts, and upgrades for a dedicated off-road Cherokee are covered. If you’ve been looking for the one guide to build the most capable off-road Cherokee, you’ve found it. 

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