How kids talk, how kids think--and any kid can read it. Johnny Regan's a grease monkey with a genius for mechanics, only like his shop teacher says, he goes ape when somebody tries to teach him something. Wrong side of the tracks syndrome (our word), okay for helping his friend Al win stock car races with a ram tube one time, tire studs another; okay for beating up Porter Hagen III, the jerk who's been bugging him; no good for a future with the rich girl he's dating. After lots of shop talk, a few good races (with Johnny opting for the skill of rallyes over the speed of the flat track) some tentative probes from Audrey (but ""I'm sorry, I'm pushing you"") and the likely reformation of Porter, comes self-respect and ""a new day""--a chance to go to engineering school after graduation. The plot doesn't shape up as much, maybe, but Johnny does, and he tells it straight, sharp, fast--in overdrive all the way.