Sprint Car Salvation
by Dave Argabright
The subtitle of this fast-moving novel is “A Jimmy Wilson racing adventure” and an adventure is just what it is!
Highly respected and talented racing journalist Dave Argabright is at it again. This time it’s a full-size, full-bore story of a—fictional—young open wheel driver and his quest to become a full-time pro. Set back in time about 20 or so years, Argabright spins a tale of the days when car owners were (at least) as colorful as their drivers and there really were (fairly easily recognized) good guys and bad guys.
If you’re an open wheel fan, you’ll likely recognize many of the folks and most of these tracks, even though author Argabright has given them all sort of “interesting” pseudonyms.
We mentioned “full-size” earlier because this hardcover novel is a full-length story of Aragbright’s protagonist that many of us first met in the pages of Sprint Car and Midget Magazine a few years back. Now, though, with a full-size novel to race around in, Argabright can really put all of his colorful characters through their paces.
Perhaps one of the best parts of this book is how accurately this author portrays sprint car racing. Maybe that’s because he’s been so good at reporting on it in print and on television for a good long time.
This book reads like a movie, maybe one made in about the same era that the book is set, say about twenty or thirty years back, when phones were still attached to walls with cords and racing was something that people did because they almost had no choice, and not just for the money.
I know, I know, nostalgia is way out of fashion these days, but, as the old gamblers used to say: Read ‘em and weep. . . . Better yet, pull your belts up a bit tighter and gas it through 230 or so pages of pure racin’ readin’. On the other hand, and in many ways, this book is something of a throwback. There’s no gratuitous blood and guts, and the sex scenes are limited to some hand-holding and a good-night kiss or two.
Nope . . . this is a novel, a tale, a story about racing. Righteous as all that seems, that’s exactly what makes Sprint Car Salvation such a cool read If You’re a Real Racing Fan. And even if you’re not, you’ve got to admire the tenacity of young guy trying to make his way in the world on his own terms. Argabright’s Jimmy Wilson could have just as easily been a cowboy, an architect, a high steel worker, or a stockbroker. . . . He simply wants to do his job as good as it can be done.
Argabright’s one-time editor, the redoubtable Chris Economaki, has always claimed that he never asked a racing driver, “. . . What’s it like out there?” That’s OK now, because Dave Argabright has written a new novel that answers that question. And my guess is that this is not the last we’ll hear from Mister Wilson: the Indy 500 beckons in the final pages, and Argabright knows a thing or two about the siren call of the Speedway.
Copyright 2011, Doug Stokes (speedreaders.info).