By Joe Jennings

For a USAC National Sprint Car fan, or even someone with only a casual interest, the new book entitled MODERN THUNDER comes up a winner. The 384-page book details the USAC National Sprint Car wars year-by-year from 1981 through the 2017 seasons.

Noted media professionals Dave Argabright, Pat Sullivan and John Mahoney have combined their talents to produce a gem of a book. And It took them some two years to complete the well-laid out tome.

In addition to the prose, over 1,300 color and black-and-white photos are included; these alone make the book a winner.

Five-time USAC National Sprint Car champion and now the Director of Competition Levi Jones penned the Foreword, giving readers insights into his driving career and more recent leadership role with the sanctioning body.

Starting with 1981, a complete summary of each year is provided along with a statistical recap of each season and a profile of each champion. Reaching back into history, driver and owner champions along with yearly data are listed from 1956 to 2017 along with race wins for each year from 1961 forward. Somewhat unique is the listing of track appearances and major event winners, such as the Tony Hulman Classic and the 4-Crown Nationals.

One can read about the accomplishments of Sheldon Kinser, Jeff Gordon’s early foray, Tony Stewart’s rise through the ranks and numerous tidbits that may have been forgotten by even the most ardent fan.

While Argabright, Sullivan and Mahoney are the featured contributors, deserving credit also goes to behind-the-scene participants Joyce Standridge, for her role in the layout, design and overall direction, and to USAC’s Dick Jordan and Richie Murray, for their tireless efforts with the compilation of the myriad of statistical and historical records and the requisite fact-checking endeavors. Numerous others also provided guidance, advice and support.

In this reviewer’s opinion, no stone or significant statistic was left out and after pouring over the book, it is highly recommended reading and would make for an ideal Christmas present for a race enthusiast, particularly those with an interest in the history of USAC National Sprint Car history.

The hardbound book is priced at $49.95 plus $6 shipping and can be obtained at as well as at Coastal 181 and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum gift shop.

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