The life and characters of a fabled dirt track in New York

It springs up out of nowhere, amid the spiky hills of the Taconic Mountains along rolling U.S. 20 between Albany, New York, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Not much goes on in those parts except on Saturday nights, when Lebanon Valley Speedway turns on the lights and fires up the engines. What’s about to unfold is a firmly managed evening of short-track auto racing on a dirt track with sky-high banked turns and scary speeds. For a whole range of reasons, Lebanon Valley is one of America’s premier weekly motorsports facilities. Who better to tell its spectacular story than a guy who actually battled its banks in a thundering, soil-slinging big-block Modified?

Lew Boyd has spent an off-and-on lifetime manhandling Modifieds, the signature race car of the northeastern United States, and even though he’s lived a long time near Boston, he hauled west to the dirt tracks of upstate New York, including Lebanon Valley. Now, Boyd has told its seven-decade story in 288 softcover pages with 280 photos, bringing the Valley to life with the words of those who were there from the very beginning in the 1950s, to those who operate it today, led by promoter Howard Commander, and the words of its greatest competitors, from Tommy Corellis to Kenny Tremont Jr. Lebanon Valley is famous for compelling racing, a show run off with discipline and dispatch, and some legendary track food (the meatball subs are homemade and an absolute must). If you’re into stock cars and the great places that they run, you need this book. Go to the website of Coastal 181, Lew and his wife Cary’s publishing company, or call 1-877-907-8181. During the month of May, there’s a special on this volume, going for $25.95 that you can get by using the coupon code MaySaves. Flat out, this is one of the finest race track histories we’ve ever read. You won’t be disappointed.

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