Book Review: “Daytona 24 Hours”

By Joe Jennings

In a labor of love, devoted sports car journalist J. J. O’Malley has produced a second volume on the history of sports-car racing at the Daytona International Speedway. The 192-page book is entitled “Daytona 24 Hours,” and it describes in detail the Daytona 24 action from 2009 to 2018.

Going back a few years, O’Malley initially wrote Volume 1 entitled Daytona 24 Hours: The Definitive History of America’s Great Endurance Race, which traced the race’s history from its beginning in 1962 to 2003 with an update published in 2008.

The new edition came out early in 2019 and it picks up where the earlier editions left off. Championship owner Chip Ganassi penned the foreword and readers will also get to read Hurley Haywood’s 2003 foreword. Other notable flashbacks make for compelling reading.
Noted historian Janos Wimpffen complements the book with carefully compiled statistics, which an enthusiast can’t help but revel in. Also, Brian Cleary’s brilliant photography is on display throughout – these photographs are more than worth the purchase price of the book.

O’Malley has been deeply involved with sports-car racing for years and as always, he pays close attention to detail and accuracy. According to the author, this book is result of three years of work, or in his terms, a labor of love of sports-car racing.

Having been involved with racing first with National Speed Sports News, O’Malley’s career path took him to Watkins Glen International as communications director and then to the Homestead-Miami Speedway as public relations director. Thereafter, he became more involved with stints at the Grand-Am Sports Car Racing Association and the International Motor Sports Association. In these roles, O’Malley had the opportunity to gain insights not available to even the most seasoned fan or competitor.

The new book is available on Amazon for $50 and for those who missed out on Volume 1, the two books can be had for a bargain price of $100. If bought together, an enthusiast receives the second book free. And who doesn’t like something free, particularly when it enhances a library.

Never one to sit still, O’Malley is now focused on the history of Daytona Prototypes, and this book is targeted for publication in mid-2019, possibly to coincide with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at the end of June.

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