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
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
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
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.