Been missing NASCAR and its colorful stories? The weekend’s ripe with good ones – not just the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but Danica Patrick’s much-anticipated debut in the Nationwide Series on Saturday.
Perfect timing, too, for Andrew Giangola’s new book, “The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans,” which was released Wednesday (natch) by Motorbooks.
I’ll acknowledge up front that I haven’t read all of it yet, but the chapters I’ve read so far are heart-warming, entertaining, fascinating portraits of the people who make up NASCAR’s enormous fan base – said to be 75 million strong. There’s TV news anchor Brian Williams, chef Mario Batali, but also the Boise beauty salon owner, the army corporal from Charlotte, who lost his leg in Iraq.
Giangola is NASCAR’s director of business communications. His book captures his quirky sense of humor, flair for writing and appreciation for the absurd. Anyone who’s been the recipient – as I have – of his real-life tales that he shares in neat prose via email, knows what I’m talking about. You’ll find some of them on his New Yorker in NASCAR Country blog, here
These include stories and photos of his “scary smart” – as he calls her – teenage daughter Gaby. I’d share one of Gaby’s projects, The Pie Hole, which is her take on certain current events or issues, divided into a pie chart on a white board in the Giangola home, but the only one I’ve saved isn’t safe for work.
Giangola, who has been with NASCAR since 2003, knew about NASCAR fans and their passion, but he wanted to go out and meet them. He convinced his bosses to let him tell their stories, in his own words. Follow his The Weekend starts on Wednesday blog here.