Folk are swift to complain when post-race protests lace a Grand Prix paddock with doubt and delay confirmation of the result until long after the last spectators have left. Spare a thought, then, for those who witnessed a thrilling photo finish to the inaugural Daytona 500, in 1959, and left thinking Johnny Beauchamp had just pipped Lee Petty.
It took NASCAR patriarch Bill France three days to decide that, actually, the initial call had been wrong and the result should be reversed.
In this book, author Havick dissects the evidence and interviews witnesses in a bid to establish the truth — and at the same time paints a fascinating picture of a simpler, more innocent age, with NASCAR in its infancy and TV cameras focusing mostly elsewhere. Havick’s interest in the sport was first triggered when his grandfather sold a car to a young, aspiring local racer… named Johnny Beauchamp. SA
Published by The University of Iowa Press, ISBN 9781 609381974, $19.95