The true story behind NASCAR’s moonshine-fueled origins. Long before the sport of stock-car racing existed, young men in the rural, Depression-wracked South learned that cars and speed were tickets to a better life. With few options beyond farm or factory, the best chance of escape was running moonshine. Bootlegging offered speed, adventure, and wads of cash—if the drivers survived. In this dynamic era, three men with a passion for Ford V-8s—convicted criminal Ray Parks, foul-mouthed mechanic Red Vogt, and crippled war veteran Red Byron, NASCAR’s first champion—emerged as the first stock car “team.” Theirs is the violent, poignant story of how moonshine and fast cars merged to create a new sport for the South to call its own. 


"Here's the real story, not just of NASCAR, but of the new South that emerged from moonshine and speed." -Richard Ben Cramer

"A definite crowning achievement… Thompson’s writing is superb. He is a grand storyteller and does his homework.” -The Boston Herald

"There are more divorces, drunks and wrecks than you can shake a checkered flag at ... A thoroughly researched account of a 'simpler time' in a sport that has since become a multi-billion dollar business." -NBC News anchor Brian Williams, in the Wall Street Journal

“A thrilling ride … Thompson brings an infectious energy to this stretch of Southern history – even if you don’t know a master cylinder from a head gasket.” -The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Excellent… shows a deep understanding of how Nascar racing essentially owns the world south of the Mason-Dixon Line. ” -Brock Yates, Wall Street Journal (“Five Best Books on Car Racing” -- Driving with the Devil is #1)

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“It is a fascinating read – part sports, part culture – and perhaps as close as any book has come to exploring and explaining stock car racing’s deep Southern roots.” -The Tennessean 

“Thompson has attitude, curiosity and affection (and) he knows how to get inside the character of the eccentrics who shaped the sport.” -The Chicago Sun-Times