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

Monday, June 02, 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.



Salvation Army Launches Holiday Assistance Programs In Tennessee Valley

The Salvation Army is beginning its Christmas outreach programs to help local families with material needs.  Tuesday is the start of the Angel Tree registration for local children, while Monday began registration for the senior citizens.   Families at or below the poverty line with children 12 years of age or younger and seniors 60 years of age and older are invited ... (click for more)

Walker County Holds Fundraisers For Stocking Full Of Love

The Walker County Stocking Full of Love will have two fundraisers, on Oct. 23 at the Rock Spring location, and Nov. 6, at the Fort Oglethorpe location. A percentage of all proceeds from the day’s sales (all day) will be donated to the SFOL. The  2014 Dino Richardson Memorial Toy Run, benefitting Stocking  Full  of Love will be Sunday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. ... (click for more)

Jo Ann Cronan Receives 6-Count Indictment For Bribing Voters In Polk County

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began an investigation on July 24, into allegations of illegal activities related to the August general election in Polk County. This investigation was commenced at the request of District Attorney General Stephen Crump. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, along with Calvin Rockholt, criminal investigator for the Office of the District Attorney ... (click for more)

Shooting At Woodlawn Apartments Claims Life Of 20-Year-Old Male; Victim Shot Multiple Times

A shooting late Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments has claimed the life of a 20-year-old male. At approximately 10:57 p.m.. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a gunshot wound call at 2300 Wilson St. Hamilton County EMS transported the victim to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to multiple life-threatening gunshot wounds. The victim has been transported ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)