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I have the privilege of reviewing yet another beautiful book of historic race photography for you my readers- this book is Riverside International Raceway by Pete Lyons. Riverside International Raceway documents the history of a track now gone (it is now a subdivision) in beautiful pictures and words.

Right from the back dust jacket of the book we are told that even diehard Riverside raceway fans “will admit the environment was usually too hot, sometimes too cold, extremely dry or depressingly wet, often windy and never ever a garden spot” however they still came in droves.

The book details the three decades or so of Riverside Raceway’s life and subsequent death. The desert, the races, the speed. It’s laid out in chapters that detail specifics of the track and the series that ran it including: FIA Formula 1, SCCA Pro Racing, NASCAR, TransAm, Can-AM, USAC, CART Indy Cars, IROC, Off Road (and the list goes on). A sampling of names in the book: Fred Lorenzen, Rick Mears, Geoff Bodine, Emerson Fittipaldi, Terry Labonte, Bobby Rahal, Tom Sneva, AJ Foyt, and native son Dan Gurney (who also wrote the book’s forward) to name a few grabbed while flipping through the book to remind myself of it’s contents  for review purposes. My favorite part of the book- beyond the photography, is  just a little sidebar on page 43 detailing the track’s history in film- being so close yet so far away from Hollywood. The book is chucked full of interesting sidebars- including one on how the track was used for teaching driving (page 74), the Olympic Relay (Page 83). There are so many photos that it’s impossible to pick just one…but perhaps the most poignant picture is the one on page 191- a photo of piece of the speedway and a Riverside Raceway patch.  Gone but obviously not forgotten by this book.

They physical book itself is a heavy duty book, with a gorgeous dust jacket. The book is 204 pages inclusive of the indexes.

Written by Pete Lyons, Riverside International Raceway clearly demonstrates Lyon’s obvious love of motorsports and the time period of Riverside.  Pete Lyon’s father, Ozzie Lyons was the U.S. correspondent to Britain’s Autosport magazine, and often took Pete with him during vacations.  It’s that kind of of exposure- from childhood through adulthood that allows someone like Pete Lyon’s to cultivate such a gorgeous book.

This book will satisfy the history buffs, the auto racing buffs and the photography buffs. If your father is any one of these? He will love this book for father’s day- or any day.

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m looking at you): A copy of Riverside International Raceway was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

I have professed my love of books- not just reading but the physicality of the actual bound paper structure called books before and I have to tell you that I have just found another one that is as much a work of art as it is an actual book.  Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World by Colin Comer is absolutely stunning as far as book’s go- much like Shelby’s Cobras are when compared to other cars. This book is actually a special collector’s edition of the author’s book Shelby Cobra Fifty Years that includes new and updated material, including tributes to the late Carroll Shelby, poster-sized gatefolds with artwork by Hector Cadametori, and frameable garage art.

Something most of my readers know about me if they have been reading for any length of time is that I love American muscle cars- with Chevrolet’s  Nomad and Corvette being my all-time favorites. But the photos in this book are swaying me towards adding a Cobra to my “fantasy car garage” that I have built in my mind. The book starts off by detailing the how and why of Carroll Shelby, chicken farmer turned champion race driver, deciding he is going to manufacture cars and not just any kind car mind you but an ultra high performance car. It continues on through the production span of the Cobra. The book has several “pit stops” along the way – sidebars within the regular book that talk about or are interviews with people who knew Carroll Shelby or worked directly for him- my favorite of those is the interview with Phil Remington, Shelby’s lead engineer, on page 26-27.

And have I mentioned the photos? The photos in this book are just as stunning as the cars themselves- making it easy to appreciate their beautiful lines and structure- at least as far a piece of paper can possibly do a machine justice.  There aren’t just photos of the cars however in the book- there are graphics from magazines in the day like Road and Track (page 71), the promotional postcards (page 118), and the elusive 1963 dealer “snake skin” kit (210-211). There are also two “garage art” pull-outs featuring artwork but if you pull those out of the book to hang in the garage you are crazy- or ordered two books!  Oh and I mentioned the gorgeous photos right?

This book is by author Colin Comer. Comer has built a successful restoration business and collector car dealership and developed a passion for writing about cars.  He has written for many sports car and American car collector magazines, as well as publishing several books including this one.  In the book’s preface Comer shares many pictures of his own Cobras!

The book is a definite show piece and something I have already cleared space for on my cluttered motorsports shelf on my bookcase. If your father (or anyone really) is a Shelby Cobra lover, just a lover of automotive history, racing history, or motorsports photography this book would be the perfect gift!

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m Looking At You): A copy of Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

I have always had a thing for classic cars- specifically American muscle cars and corvettes. If I had endless funds and a huge garage it would be filled with with them (and maybe a couple of current and vintage Italian sportscars). the two show pieces of my collection (you know this vintage car collection that I have amassed in my mind) would be the 1954 Chevy Nomad (in yellow please) and a 1963 Split Window Vette.  You might think this is all just lip service- but it’s not- I really do love classic cars- enough that when the big classic car auctions are over in nearby Monterey- it’s not unusual to find me walking around the ones they have on display to the public (because I won’t pay the big bucks some of the auctions want to drool on cars I can’t afford).

It shouldn’t be a surprise to you then that I have been known to watch the Barrett-Jackson auctions when they are on TV or perusing the press releases about Barrett that sometimes find their way into my email inbox.  I squealed when I saw this will be up for auction tomorrow April 17th, 2015 on the opening day of Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach:

Artist rendering of the 1969 Tony “Smoke” Stewart inspired Chevelle to be auctioned off at Barrett Jackson.


According to the description on the Barret Jackson website the Chevelle is a one-of-a-kind customer that “Tony and his staff were instrumental in the design of.”  Would that NOT be the best car ever to own? I might just reconsider that imaginary NOMAD I have as being the flagship of my collection…I can only imagine what this car will go for.  Best part of all? Proceeds from the sale of this cool Chevelle will go to the DARRELL GWYNN FOUNDATION, which Tony has been a supporter of for years.

If you are at Barrett and can get me a decent photo of this awesome car I would be in your debt and would bestow upon you millions of brownie points that you can use towards your own imaginary car collection.

UPDATE: Looks like the Smoke Chevelle sold for $75,000 with proceeds going to the DARRELL GWYNN FOUNDATION!


If you are looking for the annual Vegas Racecation diary post with pictures that I usually do- it’s coming…but will be delayed a bit.  I am having issues with my laptop (let’s just say it’s under a year old and I just performed a system restore to factory and IT STILL ISN’T WORKING).  I will get the post up as soon as I can- I promise!  (Also-another hint: don’t buy a Lenovo unless you want a $700 boat anchor- I am going back to Toshibas- at least they work for a couple years before they die).

Until then- enjoy this picture of Tony Stewart, his father Nelson Stewart, and Jeff Gordon (oh and Misty and myself up in the peanut gallery):

Tony Stewart, his father Nelson Stewart, and Jeff Gordon chat in the garage area of Las Vegas Motorspeedway, 2015 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook page/Rusty Jarrett)

And if you would like to read my Good, Bad, & Ugly article from the Kobalt 400 you can read that here: The Good, Bad, & Ugly: Kobalt 400

Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

A car in the pre-war section of the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August 16ht, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

As much as I love to read- I am not a huge fan of historical fiction.  To me the genre is a contradiction to itself- is it history or is it fiction? In my mind- you can’t really be both since history deals with real people, places, and times. Conversely, by it’s very definition, fiction is fabrication, and of the imagination.  Plus I tend to enjoy my books to be set in the here and now or that at the very least could be set in the now despite when it was written. That’s just my personal preference- what makes me me I guess. Does that mean that is ONLY what I will read? No- of course not.

When I was offered a reader’s copy of Tracks: Racing The Sun by Sandro Martini, I went into it knowing that I was going to be reading historical fiction. I figured since it was about racing I would at the very least give it a try. This is another case where I am so glad I did.

I don’t know if it was made more realistic to me because of attending the Historic Car Races out at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this year where I fell in love with the pre-war section of the paddock area.  Or maybe it had to do with reading and reviewing the Eddie Rickenbacker biography earlier this year…but Tracks: Racing the Sun was a lovely surprise I might have normally dismissed casually because of the genre.

The oval at Indy,’ I told him, is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, Rudi. It’s a daunting place. An American place: it sucks you in and makes a friend of you-

And then it kills you with a smile,‘ completed Varzi.”- pages 307-308 Tracks: Racing the Sun by Sandro Martini.


Friday is the Amy-To-Vegas 500 and Monday is the Home-Again-500. Join me on twitter (@badgroove) for updates.

Amy- start  your engine.


If you are anywhere near the Stewart-Haas Racing shop on October 12th – this might be something you might want to show up to- whether you have a hot rod to enter or just (like me) like to appreciate other’s hot rods. Click the flyer to go to the webpage!

On a sunny Sunday in late March I drove my beloved silver 2008 Chevrolet HHR LT to my local Chevy dealership and left a few hours later with a bright shiny champagne silver…Chevy Equinox. Those who follow this blog or even my online social media are probably surprised that I didn’t leave with a Chevy Camaro. I have loved the Camaro since they re-debuted it and I continue to.  It’s a gorgeous car especially in that hot bright yellow color that I love.

So how on earth did I come out with a small SUV then?  Did I get talked into it by the salesman? Was it a last minute, impulse buy? The answer to both of the latter questions there are a resounding no. I went to the dealership with the express purpose of test driving a specific Equinox that I had already been discussing back and forth with the dealer through email and to see what they would give me for my HHR. As a matter of fact we had already done most of the haggling about the Equinox over email, and I had already been approved for financing.  It was just a matter of details. I went in knowing full well what an HHR was worth thanks to KBB.com as a trade in (you can also see what you can expect to get for it if you sell it yourself- something I did NOT want to go through the hassle of trying to do).