"Stardust International Raceway -- Motorsports Meets the Mob in Vegas  1965-1971"
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Randy Cannon has written a long, extremely well-researched tome (more than a book!) exhaustively documenting the history of auto racing in Las Vegas. Beginning with informal street drags in the early 1950s, racing in the Las Vegas Valley progressd to top-level professional drag and road racing at the eponymous “Stardust International Raceway”.

But there’s more to the story than just the racing. Cannon also brings alive the involvement of organized crime figures in this history. From shady businessmen to outright gangsters, colorful characters all, Las Vegas lived up to its reputation as the USA’s “Sin city”.

But it is the racing that will bring the enthusiast to this book. Especially, drag racing fans will find much here to enjoy. I’m not that much into drag racing, so I’ve never sought out the specifics of drag racing history. But I found plenty here that fascinated me about the cars and the personalities; I’ve never seen so much information on the evolution of drag racing in a popular book.

Of course, most of us who’ll read this book will be drawn to it for the Can-Am and USRRC history.

“Stardust International Raceway” was carved out of raw desert. Few amenities awaited spectators. Blazing heat, freezing cold, and often, high winds, greeted participants and spectators alike. A trip off-course usually meant damage to the errant driver’s car from the rough, rocky, terrain. Then there was Jim Hall’s accident in the 1968 Can-Am which ended his driving career and could easily have killed him.

Financially, “Stardust Internaional Raceway” was never a winner. Not enough spectators attended, and its real purpose, drawing gamblers to the Stardust Casino’s tables, didn’t pan out either. With no profits for anyone involved, the Raceway’s real estate was sold to developers and big time racing in Las Vegas came to an end.

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