Book Review: 1001 NASCAR Facts

1001 NASCAR Facts by John Close


by Paul Gohde

Author John Close is a longtime NASCAR journalist, reporter, team member and race-day Spotter. He has written for racing trade papers, national magazines and daily newspapers.

His Wisconsin roots include growing up in a racing family, cheering on his father who raced jalopy stock cars four or five nights a week in the 1950s.

After years of work at Wisconsin’s short-tracks, Close moved from the Badger state to North Carolina in 1994 and while continuing to write for racing publications, he became a full-time media and marketing rep for several NASCAR teams including Richard Petty Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports.

With all of this racing history in his resume, Close is an ideal person to have written a new book called 1001 NASCAR Facts.

The 365-page book is divided by decades starting prior to NASCAR’s founding in the 1940’s and continuing on to the present. And with the book sub-divided into sections called Cars, Tracks, Pit Pass and Milestones, the reader has an easy time navigating from era to era while locating those 1001 nuggets of information.

Readers learn about the early founding of NASCAR by Bill France Sr., the move from the rough dirt tracks of the south to the Superspeedways of Talladega and Daytona and the transition of drivers from Lee Petty, Cale Yarborough and Fireball Roberts to Rusty Wallace, Tim Richmond and Jeff Gordon.

Facts can at times become boring while reading a history book, but Close takes the time to give the reader a background setting, a context, for each of those 10001 gems of information. With that in mind, the text and its 125 black/white photos come alive and help the reader understand why each fact is important and worth digesting.

“As a lifelong follower of NASCAR, and as someone who was fortunate enough to be a part of it professionally for 30 years, I thought I knew a lot about the history of the sport,” the author confesses. “Boy, was I surprised. Time and again throughout the research and writing of this project, I discovered facts about NASCAR that I didn’t know.”

You will, too if you read 1001 NASCAR Facts by John Close.

The book is available online from Car Tech Books ( or by calling 1.800.551.4754.

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Paul Gohde heard the sound of race cars early in his life.

Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950’s, Paul had no idea what “that noise” was all about that he heard several times a year. Finally, through prodding by friends of his parents, he was taken to several Thursday night modified stock car races on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the one-mile oval -and he was hooked.

The first Milwaukee Mile event that he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the pink Racing Associates lay-down Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After the 100-miler Gohde got the winner’s autograph in the pits, something he couldn’t do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he was hooked.

Paul began attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, and saw A. J. Foyt’s first Indy win. He began covering races in 1965 for Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter/photographer and his first credentialed race was Jim Clark’s historic Indy win.Paul has also done reporting, columns and photography for Midwest Racing News since the mid-sixties, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first big race to report for them.

He is a retired middle-grade teacher, an avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide at Miller Park. Paul loves to explore abandoned race tracks both here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats.

Paul loves the diversity of all types of racing, “a factor that got me hooked in the first place.”