In the aftermath of last week's horrific crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway there have been thousands of stories written about every angle, every driver involved, and now the penalties, or lack of.
The most deafening comment we have heard from this situation came from Brad Keselowski: "Could have killed someone in the grandstands."
Fans occupy the grandstands.
I have taken thousands of pictures at NASCAR events.
Each time I look through a set of pictures from a race, I always find one constant: the fans.
I see them at every race and every event. I see them before the race and usually long after the last hauler has left.
I hear them, I see them, I photograph them, but, I don’t know them.
Reading through Andrew Giangola’s book, The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans, has given me an opportunity to know some special fans.
The book starts with a foreword by Tony Stewart and finishes off with a very philosophical Kyle Busch. In between, readers are treated to a bountiful harvest of stories about NASCAR fans from all walks of life.
Giangola introduces us to people like Jack Hedge, the 82-year-old man who’s attended every Daytona 500, and Spencer Roy, a wheelchair-bound youth who watched Tony Stewart dance the jig in his motor home.
Every week, thousands of fans file into the racing venues across the country. Each one with a story as diverse as the tracks they visit.
While Giangola does a great job of interjecting bits of his own life and sprinkles in plenty of humor, the book is not devoid of heart-wrenching stories.
Meet John Bookie, a larger than life Jeff Gordon fan, and his girlfriend Christine Kavka. This young couple met through their love of sports, especially NASCAR.
When John passed away suddenly, Christine was left to carry out his final wish.
Traveling along the path to his final resting place, Christine learned it doesn’t matter what driver you root for, it matters that you’re a fan, and fans always help other fans.
NASCAR fans come from all walks of life and are not limited to John Q. Public.
In the section titled Famous Faces, Giangola shares stories from some of the most recognizable faces away from the race track. Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, and the beautiful Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton are among the many stars who love racing.
“It’s not for show,” said Giangola. “Their motives are pure. They attend races not for a photo op but because they cherish the same things in NASCAR as everyday fans.”
This book is all about the life and stories of NASCAR fans. Andrew Giangola has taken those stories and brought them to life.