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Generally, in the past, open-wheel racing was considered more sophisticated, urbane and international than the traditionally white, blue-collar, Southern stock car racing. Times have changed and racing is not so regionalized; NASCAR has become more popular than CART and IRL open-wheel racing — indeed, NASCAR is "America’s Motorsport."

The new biography of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson demonstrates just how American stock car racing really is. Tom Higgins and Steve Waid’s Junior Johnson: Brave in Life ($29.95) traces Johnson’s driving career which began at age 14 driving souped-up Fords hauling moonshine made by his father in the backwoods of North Carolina. Eventually, the Man caught up with Junior and he spent time in the slammer before dedicating himself full-time to racing. After burning up the circuit in the driver’s seat, Junior went on to become a successful team owner. Best of all, in 1982 he received a pardon for his bootlegging crimes from Ronald Reagan.

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