Saga of the Roaring Road

Saga of the Open Road Image on First Super Speedway
Saga of the Roaring Road
By Fred J. Wagner
The AAA's premier starter from 1903 into the 1920's, Fred J. Wagner was the dean of his profession. He started all the William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Cup races except 1904. He also started all the American Grand Prize races, the first two Indy 500s, as well as the early Ormond-Daytona Beach races and time trials.
This book is less a history than a memoir; Fred's recollections of his first-hand accounts of the great events and the great drivers of the day: Ralph De Palma, Barney Oldfield, David Bruce-Brown, Bob Burman, Harry Grant, George Robertson. Like all of us, with the passage of time, the details can get a little fuzzy, so this is not a book to single source for facts. For example, Fred's accounts of David Bruce-Brown promulgated some myths about the great driver, such as his attendance at Yale University (he did not) his time as a boxer (he was not) and even his date of birth, popularized as 1890 when it was 1887.
The book is valuable because it captures the spirit of the early days. Fred was a man with many friends and brings insights to the personalities of his life and times. With the understanding that point of view of the book comes through the lens of  a proud man who took himself very seriously (I think that will be readily apparent to anyone reading just the first few paragraphs) and it will be one of your best experiences in understanding what it was like to walk among the wonderful characters of his era.

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