The Story of Auto Racing by the man who was there.
Feb 6, 2008
Book Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz
Let ‘Em All Go, The Story of Auto Racing by the man who was there, is an inside view of motor racing by the acclaimed publisher, Chris Economaki, the foremost racing journalist of our time. Let ‘Em All Go is a textual book, rather than a pictorially captioned book and is directed to those who have a true interest and love for motorsports. The book was co-authored by Dave Argabright and the two writers fit their styles together seamlessly. Chris is a legend as the journalist, editor and publisher of Speed Sport News, the magazine/newspaper that keeps motorsport racing fans aware of what’s happening in racing today. Argabright is just as well known for his journalism, writing and broadcasting in auto racing. Either one of the authors can weave a fascinating tale for racing enthusiasts, but together they have created a superb work. Let ‘Em All Go is a hard-bound book, measuring 5 ½ by 8 ½ inches in size and is one inch thick, a perfect size for the bookcase or the coffee table. There are 46 Black and White and 12 Color photographs throughout the book, with adequate captions. There are no other graphs, charts or visual aids, but the book is the memoirs of Economaki and they go deep into our racing history. Let ‘Em All Go contains an Acknowledgment, Table of Contents, Foreword, Introduction, Prologue, 31 chapters, Epilogue and an Index, covering 341 pages. Roger Penske wrote the two-page Foreword. Argabright penned the 6-page Introduction. The Table of Contents is clear and concise and the Index is absolutely full and complete. As a reviewer, I stress to writers to add an index, but rarely do I see one that is complete and thorough. The Index covers 12 pages and sets this book apart as a serious effort to define this book as a complete journalistic work.
Let ‘Em All Go is published by Books by Dave Argabright, P.O. Box 84, Fishers, Indiana 46038, or contact the publisher at www.daveargabright.com. The Printer is Print Communications, Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana. The ISBN number is 0-9719639-3-2 and you can order this book at any large book store or through Autobooks/Aerobooks in Burbank, California, or call 818-845-0707. There is no dust jacket, but Let ‘Em All Go has photographs of Economaki emblazoned on the cover and is very well done. The tell-all approach is fascinating. I thumbed through the index and picked out favorite topics, then checked to see what Economaki had to say about them. The author is a friendly and open guy, who admits to being a miser and a family man. He tells each story with an honest and straightforward manner that is interesting and entrancing. Economaki doesn’t mince words. He lets the reader into his world of motorsports racing and the story action never wanders. Chris is a consummate professional who knows how to interview others and find the important issues. I found the book impossible to put down, even rereading chapters that I had read the day before. Economaki covers the gamut of auto racing from the 1930’s to the present. It is obvious that he loves car racing and openly admits that the stick and ball games hold no interest for him. There’s more to Chris Economaki than his memoirs. He’s very accessible and a friend to just about everyone in auto racing. His recollection of the early days of TV broadcasting is spellbinding. He tells us about Jim McKay, Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, Reggie Jackson, Al Michaels, Chris Schenkel, Roone Arledge, Ken Squier and other broadcasters and his views are unabashedly forthright.
Let ‘Em All Go goes right to the heart of events in all kinds of auto racing. The author tells of his experiences with stock car racing and the stars in NASCAR. Bill France is a friend and mentor and helps Economaki land a job with ABC’s Wide World of Sports. He covers road course racing, open wheel and drag racing. He’s seen the infighting among race teams and racing leagues. He has developed long and deep friendships with racers, owner, media personalities, mechanics and fans. Economaki has rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and dined in little Italian restaurants in the backwoods of North Carolina. He remembers the days when race teams lived on a shoe string budget and built race cars under shade trees and beaten down garages. He’s seen big sponsors like Winston revolutionize auto racing and infuse the sport with vast sums of money. Let ‘Em All Go begins with Economaki’s boyhood in New York and his early participation in oval track racing as a crewman. He served in the Army during World War II, rising to the rank of sergeant, and then returned home to marry his wife, Tommye. On April 15, 1950, he was offered the job of editor at National Speed Sport News, a job he was destined to have. Economaki has that special instinct for storytelling and the courage and moxie to meet people and win their friendship. The men and women that he has met, interviewed and become friends with are far too numerous to name them all, but a few of them are; Bill France, Wally Parks, Parnelli Jones, Don Garlits, Jim McKay, A.J. Foyt, the Unser brothers, J.C. Agajanian, Andy Granatelli, John Force, Phil Hill, A.J. Watson, Roger Ward, Roger Penske, Eddie Sachs, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Smokey Yunick, Rex Mays, Bobbie Allison and many more. Let ‘Em All Go is a book that racing fans everywhere will find impossible to put down.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.
Let ‘Em All Go is published by Books by Dave Argabright. You can order the book from the publisher at www.daveargabright.com.