Chattanooga Area Author Fills Need For Speed With Talladega Superspeedway Pictorial History

Monday, June 2, 2014

East Ridge author Kent Whitaker, often known as “Deck Chef,” has stepped out of his familiar genre of cookbooks and culinary titles with his second historical pictorial history book titled Talladega Superspeedway.

From Creek Indian land to a World War II airfield, Talladega Superspeedway has a history as exciting as its NASCAR races. Author Kent Whitaker chronicles the track’s development in Talladega Superspeedway, Arcadia Publishing’s newest addition to its NASCAR Library Collection. “The book could not have been written without the help of the Public Relations team and museum staff at Talladega Superspeedway,” Mr. Whitaker said. “The staff at the track and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and museum let me hang out in the museum and library with my note pad, camera, computer, and scanner for hours on end.” 

In more than 200 vintage images, Mr. Whitaker recounts the dreams, challenges, and triumphs of businessmen and race car drivers with a national dream.  Mr. Whitaker even devoted a chapter to female drivers. “Being able to include so many wonderful female drivers and record-setters in the book was a pleasure. Having the input from drivers such as Janet Guthrie and others was incredibly helpful in telling the complete story,” Mr. Whitaker said. “In addition teams from across motorsports help including Michael Waltrip Racing, Wood Brothers, Cotton Owen Garage, ARCA Racing, and even legendary gas man Chocolate Myers offered images and stories to include.”

Mr. Whitaker points out that Talladega becomes one of the largest cities during race weekends and that it is filled with history. “It started out as Alabama International Motor Speedway then finally became Talladega Superspeedway but it all started as a World War Two airstrip. Many race fans have no idea that the paved areas in the infield where they stand and park their RV’s are actually WWII runways.”

The speedway remains a local and national landmark for NASCAR fans and Mr. Whitaker thinks that his third history title, as well as his other books, would make for a great Father’s Day gift. “I happened to be standing near the tunnel entrance swapping stories with one of the track employees while taking a break from researching. A car load of visitors drove up to just have a look even though there was no race that weekend. I could see how excited the kids in the family were to be at Talladega,” Mr. Whitaker said. “I had that same feeling when my dad took me to the track and museum years ago, and when I took my son almost 20 years ago.”

The book is available at local outlets around Talladega Superspeedway, at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum as well as the gift shops at the track during race weekends as well as online at several traditional retailers ranging from Barnes and Noble to Amazon and more.

Mr. Whitaker says that race fans in Chattanooga and surrounding area can contact him for a signed copy and local pickup around the Chattanooga area. “I’ll be happy to sign Talladega Superspeedway to the buyer or personalize it for a gift – just shoot me an email or visit my site.” 

You can reach Mr. Whitaker at his email address: thedeckchef@hotmail.com or visit his website www.thedeckchef.com for more information.



SCWN February Marketplace Luncheon

Scenic City Women's Network will hold their February Marketplace Luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Mountain City Club, 729 Chestnut St. Ardena Garth Hicks will be speaking on "Comfort Comes from Trusting God In and Through Everything" Networking will take place from 11:30 a.m.-noon, with lunch from noon-1 p.m. Reservations can be made at reservations@scwn.org, or by ... (click for more)

Father-Daughter Dance Saturday

A Father-Daughter Dance is planned for Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at the Alhambra Shrine off East Brainerd Road, across from CSLA.  The dance is open to the public. Music will be provided by Mark Howard and light refreshments will be available. The cost is $25 per couple.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 423-892-0223, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., or after ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools Closed Tuesday Due To Icy Road Conditions, Other Closings Announced

Due to icy road conditions in the mountain areas, Hamilton County School will be closed today. School age child care will be also be closed. Twelve month employees will report by 10 a.m. Chattanooga Christian School began closing early at 10 a.m. Marion, Grundy and Polk schools are closed Tuesday due to the inclement weather. There will be no Bradley-Polk County ... (click for more)

Couple Arrested After 373 Grams Of Ice Meth And Loaded Gun Found At Their Hickory Valley Road Apartment

Federal authorities have arrested a Chattanooga couple after finding them with 373.4 grams of Ice meth at an apartment in East Brainerd. Charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance are Sergio Lizaola and Amy Lee Ramos-Collazo. Lizaola is also charged on a firearm count. Agents said two small children were present along with the couple during a search of ... (click for more)

Rick Smith Should Not Be Paid To Leave

Taxpayers of Hamilton County should take note that a majority of the members of the school board are getting ready to give Rick Smith the buyout that he wants.  Do you agree that someone should be paid for taking the coward's way out?  Rick Smith should be fired for cause. Not paid to leave.   If you don't want the board members to pay him off, call or ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)