At the age of thirty, you wouldn't think NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart would have much of a life to write his own autobiography. At least, I didn't think so and I was a pretty fan of the guy before I even read this book. For those of you who aren't into NASCAR or racing period, Tony is known for being passionate to win and sometimes that gets him in trouble. The thing that gets him into trouble more than his passion is his honesty about any situation that he thought really "sucked". He's used four-letter words with reporters and even smashed one of their tape recorders, but that's the only side the press seems to want you believe.
The first line of his part of the preface is "If people learn anything from this book, I hope it's that I'm not such a bad guy". That book accomplishes that and more. I read Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s "Driver #8" book earlier this year, so I kinda knew what I was in for when I sat down to read about another favorite of mine from the NASCAR circuit.
Tony starts out talking about how his father got him into racing and how he usedto race around their old garage on his tricycle. It seemed that Tony was born for speed and he was started in racing with the help of his parents.
Tony then takes you through the life of a professional racer on short tracks in his late teens and early twenties when he would sleep at the home of his car owner and count his winnings to see if he had enough gas just to get home. Things start to come together for Tony when A.J. Foyt asked him to test his Indy car in 1997.
As a boy born of Indiana, Tony has always dreamed of winning the Indy 500 and always thought he would become an Indy driver. But circumstances in 1998 showed Tony that NASCAR was the way to go and he went on to win 1999 Winston Cup Rookie Of The Year. The rest is all knowledge to NASCAR fans, but now you have the whole story behind that first attempt by a passionate young man. And, as an added bonus, you get to hear what Tony thinks of all those stories floating around about him being such a bad guy with a huge temper. Some of it you agree with and other times you just understand, but don't like. I will tell you one thing, Tony does have a big heart and he isn't always that enraged driver. He did, for instance, buy that reporter another tape recorder after hitting out of his hands and not without apologizing either.
I know one thing from this book, Tony Stewart is a true racer, but he needed a little help on the book writing. The book had me lost at times with all the jumping around. He doesn't just stay with one year and try to tell you everything that happened. Instead, I feel he jumps around too much. The material was good, but unorganized. And, perhaps, this is just me, but I think he rambled on a little bit at the end. The quotes from his family, former drivers, and personal acquaintances really added to the book, along with his personal opinions, but it wasn't enough to keep the speed on track.
Title: True Speed