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Three NASCAR Books You Need

thumbnail for Harold Osmers video

"He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back" - "NASCAR 75 Years" - "Sea to Shining Sea"

Narrow your NASCAR library to just three books! No, don't do that. But these three should be on your shelf as they explain and express the history of NASCAR like no others.

By Doug Stokes & Harold Osmer

Fri, Jan 26, 2024 07:52 PM PST

Some time long ago (1995) I hired on as the Public Relations person for a brand new racing facility that was being built out in the far end of Riverside County called Perris Auto Speedway. It was a 1/2-mile clay oval track that, since then, has seen thousands of miles of exciting racing action and has spawned a number of top pro drivers in its thirty or so years of existence…

One day late in 1996 was handed a package that was addressed to an unknown name in the track’s PR department … it was a copy of a thesis for a masters degree in Geography from Cal State University, Northridge written by a fellow named Harold Osmer.

Called “Automobile Racing Venues in Los Angeles 1900-1990”, it ran 111 pages and told the history of 100 motorsports competition facilities that had operated in the Los Angeles (and beyond) area. Huge, small, and in between, these venues all had one thing in common, and that was land use. And that story followed the twisted tail of land (and water) that has been the subject of many books and a few movies as well.

I did not know Harold at the time and when I called I don’t think he was seriously thinking about turning his Masters thesis into a book that would eventually see multiple printings and thousand of copies in the hands of motorsports enthusiasts. Subsequently we became friends and compare notes on the way of the world (the motorsports one of course) quite often. He has a rare quality of evenness on the subject, basing his reflections on fact, something that almost seems arcane these days.

Harold has gone on to write a couple more books on the wide-ranging subject of motorsports in California, including one about the Santa Monica (yeah, Santa Monica) Road races that were held very early in the last century.

He’s also become a gifted in-person presenter and lecturer as well as an insightful video reviewer of books on the subject - as you’ll see here:

About The Authors

Doug Stokes's profile picture

Doug Stokes

Doug has a long and wide-ranging history in the motoring business. He served five years as the Executive Director of the International Kart Federation, and was the PR guy for the Mickey Thompson's Off-Road Championship Gran Prix. He worked racing PR for both Honda and Suzuki and was a senior PR person on the first Los Angeles (Vintage) Grand Prix. He was also the first PR Manager for Perris Auto Speedway, and spent over 20 years as the VP of Communications at Irwindale Speedway. Stokes is the recipient of the American Autowriters and Broadcaster’s 2005 Chapman Award for Excellence in Public Relations and was honored in 2015 by the Motor Press Guild with their Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award. “… I’ve also been reviewing automobiles and books for over 20 years, and really enjoy my LA Car assignments.” he added.

Together with

Harold Osmer's profile picture

Harold Osmer

Harold Osmer works as a writer as well as a publisher in whatever spare time he can find. He’s authored award-winning books about auto racing in Los Angeles, has a Masters degree in geography, and holds a black belt in karate. He’s a regular at local car shows and race venues where he’s often seen setting up a table and selling books. His show ride is a 1951 Chevy pickup, dressed to emulate a Spec truck, complete with graphics, numbers, and sponsor decals.

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