Book Review: CarTech’s ‘Lost Road Courses’ by Martin Rudow
Motorsport racing seems like it’s bigger than it ever has been before, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering for just one NASCAR or Formula 1 race–and millions more tuning in on television. But racing has a legacy that’s more than the sponsored Sunday afternoon spectacles of today.
Ever since the invention of the automobile, motor racing has made impacts on towns all over the world. And over the years, many racetracks have been established that are no longer standing today.
While many of these courses have been forgotten and left in the dust, Martin Rudow has gone to painstaking lengths to document the legacy of some tracks in his book Lost Road Courses.
Lost Road Courses: Riverside, Ontario, Bridgehampton & More
By Martin Rudow
Product Details: Paperback, 176 pages, 11 x 8.5 inches
Publication Date: July 2016
Publisher: CarTech Inc.
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This detailed, painstakingly researched tome examines the heydays and downfalls of 17 various race courses from around North America. Each of the 17 chapters covers one speedway, with each chapter being 8-10 pages long. Such notable inclusions are names like Watkins Glen, Bridgehampton, and Ontario Motor Speedway.
Each chapter starts with a map of the course, a legend, and a description of the arena. The spotlight is organized into a timeline of its years activity, from its inception to its closure and current state. Much detail is given to major events held at the raceway, how it came about in the community, its construction, and honest speculation of why it closed.
Each chapter also includes many original pictures, promotional print items, and images of the current grounds. The bottom of each page identifies the chapter and course it pertains to.
The book also includes a table of contents, though the listing does not mention the location of each course.
Lost Road Courses might not be a colorful or flashy book, but it’s well-made and finely printed. Its softcover shell is resistant to scrapes and scratches, and its pages are sturdy enough to flip through. The text is the perfect readable size and, although overly wordy at times, easy to get pulled into reading. Some of the pictures could’ve been printed larger and are hard to see the details in.
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When I was young, my dad used to take me to local racetracks throughout Ohio. Although some of the tracks are no longer running, I still remember the adrenaline, tension, and joy of watching those competitions transpire.
That’s what Rudow recognizes, and what makes Lost Road Courses such a great book: memorializing a road course is more than just gathering facts and figures from search engine results and libraries. It’s about recapturing the essence of what the venue was like when it was alive.
Rudow’s book offers far more than what a Google search would yield on a racetrack; there are many descriptive details you won’t find online because it’s been gathered from personal testimonies. The description of certain races and scenes are so specific, it’s like the author was there. Lost Road Courses could’ve only been written by someone who lives the culture and cares about the legacy. It simultaneously builds a portrait of racing history and the vehicles involved.
In honesty, Lost Road Courses won’t grab the interest of young readers or non-fans; it won’t win new converts. If you don’t already know the terms and names, they won’t be explained to you here. But as a trip down memory lane for those who grew up in this culture, it’s a valuable piece of history. What lives on in the memories of those fans will now also live on in the pages of Rudow’s work.
Lost Road Courses is available through the publisher’s website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and other retailers.
Product provided for review by publisher.
- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.