Howell covers a number of subjects dealing with the business side of NASCAR, such as its corporate sponsorship system and its merchandizing industry. NASCAR is a much more successful business enterprise than other professional sports, Howell claims, due to the fact that it is a privately held trust, owned by the France family and founded by Bill France, Sr. Howell attributes much of the growth of NASCAR to the advent of cable television, which first carried races in their entirety. NASCAR is also a highly successful advertising opportunity for corporations because of the high degree of fan loyalty to those products associated with NASCAR. As the corporate version of NASCAR expands across the country and even around the world, (last year they held an exhibition race in Japan) Howell in the end poses the question of whether bigger is necessarily better for NASCAR.
Howell spends more of his time, however, on the personal side of NASCAR. The NASCAR drivers are more fan friendly and accessible than the athletes in any other professional sport. In turn NASCAR fans are extremely loyal to their favorite drivers. The drivers are American folk heroes, Howell, argues because they embody certain values that Americans, especially rural and blue-collar Americans appreciate; although Howell is very careful not to place any stereotypes on the sport. Howell highlights the careers and public images of racing heroes from the early 20th century, such as Barney Oldfield, through the moonshiners like Junior Johnson all the way to the heroes of today, like Dale Earnhardt. Howell also includes an ethnography of some of his own personal experiences with NASCAR and its participants that is valuable, if for no other reason, in acquainting the reader with the personality of the inside of NASCAR, which is, it seems to me, very laid back in manner but competitive in spirit. The guys in NASCAR are hardworking, regular, and down-to-earth folks, and Howell asserts that that is one good reason they are so likable. Howell's book perhaps at times theorizes too much about the "cultural meaning" that NASCAR imposes or reflects in society, but in general is successful, I think, in giving a thorough description and analysis of a sport that is, as he says, "long ignored and often stereotyped" (Howell 198.)