The American dirt track racer

by Joe Scalzo ISBN 7603 1017 3 Published by MBI, £29.99

A book that deserves to be read out loud. Scalzo's colourful language has a 'to hell with the rules' feel, just like this rowdy branch of racing. With his trademark off-the-wall metaphors and cheery insensitivity, Scalzo draws a crude, raw, intense sport which threw up great names like Foyt and Andretti, but also killed and scorched plenty.

A dirt-track reporter himself since the 1950s, Scalzo tells it to you first hand, and reveals the hidden official censorship: the national press campaigned to stifle this lethal game, but those scribblers and snappers who dared report any deaths were cold-shouldered, even beaten. Official incompetence and bullying were rife.

After the big laughs, great stories and lavish pictures, Scalzo finishes with the cold shower of reality. It makes for great reading.

Gordon Cruickshank