200 M.P.H. by Frye Gaillard

200 M.P.H.

A Sizzling Season in the Petty/NASCAR Dynasty
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A year on the NASCAR circuit with the third Petty to leave his mark on racing history. With 12 years of only middling racing success, Petty has found living up to the family name a curse and a challenge--but occasionally a joy as well. His four wins going into the 1992 season, as Gaillard (The Dream Long Deferred, 1988, etc.) notes, hardly measured up to the great success of his father, Richard ``The King'' Petty, who boasts the most wins in NASCAR history, or of his grandfather Lee Petty, winner of the first Daytona 500 race. As Gaillard shows, while Kyle ``didn't wallow in the burden of being Richard Petty's son,'' it may not be entirely coincidental that Kyle's best season, 1992, was also his father's last: two wins; $1 million-plus in prize money; fifth in the Winston Cup point standings. It was also Kyle's ``comeback'' year, following his multiple-injury wreck in May 1991 at Talladega. Petty started the new season by wrecking his car, Mellow Yello, in a qualifying heat at Daytona--a race he was desperate to win--and managed only a sixth-place finish in a relatively untested backup car. He then captured his third straight pole position at Rockingham, where he won in 1990 and 1991, only to crack a cam shaft with 65 laps to go. The next several weeks were marked by frustrating mechanical problems and mishaps, but new crew-chief Robin Pemberton patched things together and Petty took second and third in races at Charlotte. Toward the end of the season, he had an outstanding five-week run of top-five finishes. As backdrop, Gaillard limns Petty family, and racing, history, as well as the careers of top drivers like Davey Allison, Bill Elliott, and Dale Earnhardt. Stalls occasionally but, overall, a fairly smooth trip around the track. (For an overview of NASCAR, turn to Peter Golenbock's American Zoom, p. 834.) (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09732-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993