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360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 30 illus., notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-1-4696-0991-1
Published: August 2013


White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France

By Daniel S. Pierce

Awards & Distinctions

Special Recognition, Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, Western North Carolina Historical Association

In this history of the stock car racing circuit known as NASCAR, Daniel S. Pierce offers a revealing new look at the sport from its postwar beginnings on Daytona Beach and Piedmont dirt tracks through the early 1970s, when the sport spread beyond its southern roots and gained national recognition. Real NASCAR not only confirms the popular notion of NASCAR's origins in bootlegging, but also establishes beyond a doubt the close ties between organized racing and the illegal liquor industry, a story that readers will find both fascinating and controversial.

About the Author

Daniel S. Pierce is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He is author of The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park.


"Of the many books on NASCAR history, few have been either as thorough or as authoritative as this one. . . . Pierce's aim to build his work on documented evidence rather than widely accepted and oft-repeated lore makes his book a standout. Enthusiastically recommended."
--Library Journal starred review

"The first comprehensive history of early southern stock-car racing that reflects its rustic character but not at the expense of academic rigor."
--Journal of Southern History

"If you're a Southerner, by birth or by inclination, and love Southern foodways, folkways, highways, and low-ways, you'll lap up Daniel S. Pierce's Real NASCAR . . . like grits and red-eye gravy, even if you've never been to a stock car race or watched one on television."
--Our State

"[A] fascinating history of the era."

"Stories of stock car racing and moonshining come to life through oral histories. . . . Real NASCAR contains an energy and respect for its subject that reveals the historian's personal enthusiasm. Even if you have never been a NASCAR fan, you will find much to keep you reading in this intriguing history of the sport."
--Smoky Mountain Living

"Details the sport's genesis as it has never been shown before. . . . A story that readers will find both fascinating and controversial."
--McCormick Messenger

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