Sport: King of the Road II

In the rural South, where every filling station harbors a budding pit crew and every stop sign is a potential starting line for an impromptu drag race, auto racing is a way of life. At the drive-in hamburger stands, kids who first soloed on John Deere tractors fuss over their souped-up cars and talk endlessly about "axle ratios" and "camshaft durations." Their heroes are the stock-car drivers who ride the Grand National circuit, a highballing competition that first took hold in the 1950s. The king of the road then was Lee Petty, a lead-footed...

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