NASCAR racing is as American as you can get. You've got traditional excitement. . .
men and machines in competition together.
--Junior Johnson

Introduction

Since the introduction of the automobile in America, we have been fascinated, and at times obsessed with testing its limits. Over the past hundred years as the American romance with the automobile has developed, Americans have also heroized those individuals who can drive cars the fastest, those who risk their lives to see how fast they can go. A close look at America's heroes behind the wheel can tell more than the stories of a few brave speed demons, but hopefully offer some wider insight into the people, culture, ideals, and economic systems that selected them as heroes. This site looks primarily at three men from accross the twentieth century: Barney Oldfield, Junior Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt. Barney Oldfield was the original American icon of the daredevil auto-racer in the earliest days of the automobile's popularity. Junior Johnson, similarly daring, is a former outlaw moonshiner turned NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) champion, a Good Ole' Boy to the core. Finally, Dale Earnhardt is a racing legend in his own time, a bridge between racing's past and its bright, billion dollar future. But to understand Earnhardt completely, one must understand those who have gone before him.

Barney Oldfield Junior Johnson Dale Earnhardt

Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading


Site Maintained by David Sarratt
American Studies Program
University of Virginia

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