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Author John Havik

February 17, 201438 min
Get Up To Speed On The Daytona 500 And The Authentic Early Story: The Ghosts Of NASCAR Stone Mountain, GA, January 20, 2014 – Who won the first Daytona 500? Fans still debate whether it was Midwestern champion Johnny Beauchamp, declared the victor at the finish line, or longtime NASCAR driver Lee Petty, declared the official winner a few days after the race. It's all here in The Ghosts of NASCAR: The Harlan Boys And The First Daytona 500 (University of Iowa Press). Author John Havick puts the controversial finish under a microscope. After interviewing scores of people, analyzing film of the race, and poring over newspaper accounts he presents all of the evidence. It's also a much bigger story: the tale of a multimillion dollar sport coming of age. When John Havick's grandfather sold his car to local boy and aspiring racecar driver Johnny Beauchamp, the young Havick went to see how the car performed. Falling in love with the sport, he kept scrapbooks of newspaper articles and programs tracking the triumphs and defeats of successful racers from the town of Harlan, Iowa. Then he went away to high school and college, leaving his childhood hobby behind but never forgetting it. After a career teaching public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he revived his interest in the sport and decided to tackle one of its longtime controversies: who really won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959? John Havick has a Ph. D. in political science from the University of Iowa. He was a professor at Georgia Tech for thirty years, authoring two books and a number of research papers, including the widely read article, "The Impact of the Internet on a Television-Based Society,” Technology in Society (2000). John Havick lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia. For more information, please see

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