Book Review by Joyce Standridge, originally published in Speedway
Illustrated, March 2017
Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny
by Joe Garner
In spite of countless dads and granddads promoting their youngsters as "the next Jeff Gordon," there has truly been only one. Having traded a steering wheel for a microphone and calling it a career, it's probably the appropriate time for an authorized biography.
Much of the book chronicles Gordon's extraordinary career, sometimes in more detail than necessary for those who didn't revel in his accomplishments. However, there is more attention to his early years than has normally been expended, and that is the delight in this tome. Most people forget that even though Gordon started the kiddie-racing craze, he didn't have as much success early on as is usually credited. It's also valuable to note that he didn't always have the best equipment money could buy, and he had to work on the cars. In fact, the most fascinating person in the book is Gordon's step-father and Svengali guiding Gordon's early career, John Bickford.
As NASCAR fans know, there were some bumps in the road, too, but let's face it, if you are looking for behind-the-scenes gossip about NASCAR in its hey-day of growth, you probably wouldn't look to Gordon to be the siren.
Not quite coffee-table sized, the book is exquisitely designed. While it's a feast for the eyes, it's also a bit of eyestrain thanks to the small font. That's a quibble. The author, Joe Garner doesn't come from inside racing, so there are a few mistakes (Holman, instead of Hulman, for example). Again, a quibble, although one can't help wondering what the book would have been if written by Bones Bourcier or Dave Argabright. Nonetheless, Garner's writing style is engaging, and it's refreshing to be reminded just how competitive Gordon was.