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Palgrave Macmillan

Tycoons, Scorchers, and Outlaws

The Class War that Shaped American Auto Racing

ISBN 9781137322500
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Tycoons, Scorchers, and Outlaws charts the class and cultural origins of auto racing in America, arguing for the first time that auto racing was invented by millionaires who viewed the new sport like horse racing, where ownership and patronage counted for more than skill on the track. It reveals how these elites' plans to establish the sport along French lines with grand road rallies that usurped the common right of way were thwarted by a public backlash based largely on class. As these tycoons reluctantly moved racing onto tracks, they lost control to both manufacturers and working class drivers who saw the sport as a commercial opportunity. Soon the elite clubmen's grip on racing slipped away and auto racing emerged as a popular working class sport.

Timothy Messer-Kruse is a professor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green State University, USA, where he also served as professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies Department. He is the author of numerous books including The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists which won the best book prize from the journal Labor History in 2012.

1. Millionaires' Toys
2. Scorcher Rule
3. Seizing the Open Road
4. Man or Machine?
5. Outlaws


"A persuasively argued history of American auto racing from drivers as 'operatives' for wealthy owners to the sport becoming more broadly democratic. A fascinating class-based interpretation of a neglected topic in sports history." - Dr. John Springhall, Reader Emeritus at University of Ulster, UK, and author of The Genesis of Mass Culture: Show Business Live in America, 1840 to 1940 (2008)
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