A book that lives up to its title

We’re all used to it, more or less, when things in life just don’t measure up. Earlier today, I spent an hour trying to convince a bank that the credit card they issued me really wasn’t expired, before I got disconnected. You get the picture. We deal with disappointments and frustrations like this every day. That makes us very appreciative when somebody, or something, actually delivers the goods they promise. One case involves drag racing itself, the most riotous, ear-splitting consciousness overload that most of us will ever experience during our lifetimes. Drag racing is deafening, blindingly fast and prone to the outbreak of calamity with next to no warning. Literally, anything is possible in this noisy, sudden variety of motorsport. My pal Steve Reyes, one of the best photojournalists that the quarter-mile sport has ever spawned, now has a volume out that clearly documents the outrages that drag racing can abruptly toss out to both competitors and onlookers.

Here’s what you need to know: Steve’s new title from CarTech, Quarter-Mile Chaos: Images of Drag Racing Mayhem is something like this: Take all the Mad Max movies and combine them. Then multiply them by a factor of 20. That’s the level of disaster and spectacle that this 180-page softcover work dishes up. It’s a razor-sharp, high-resolution recounting of fire, flying metal, tumbling cars, errant tow rigs, wheelstands, disintegrating fiberglass and the creative natural display of grenaded engine components. Imagine a Night of Fire or Night of Destruction at your local dragstrip that you can keep in your bookcase, magnified by a dozen or so. The action spans the whole heritage of drag racing from the 1960s forward. It’s sensational, unforgettable stuff, and you can enjoy it without stuffing plugs into your ear canals. This look at motorsport historic run amok lists for $36.95.

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