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The Inside Track

Hot Corner

March 17, 2003|Steve Rom

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

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What: "Speed Dreams: A Guide to America's 23 NASCAR Tracks."

Author: Jay Ahuja.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.

Price: $18.95.

Attending NASCAR races isn't always a pleasant experience, particularly if you find yourself stuck on the only road out of town, along with 150,000 others. And there are other snags that can make attending one of the 23 NASCAR Winston Cup racetracks in the U.S. an exercise in frustration.

Here's a book that might help. Jay Ahuja, author of "Field of Dreams," shares tips on how to make going to the racetrack, "the getaway of a lifetime," in his new book, "Speed Dreams: A Guide to America's 23 NASCAR Tracks."

Ahuja calls his 240-page, fully illustrated paperback "the ultimate guide for the ultimate NASCAR fan!" It provides assistance in getting the best seats for the best price and finding affordable hotels and restaurants, happening nightspots, local sights and attractions. And, of course, it gives tips on avoiding annoying traffic jams to and from the track.

Ahuja supplies phone numbers and Web sites to aid in coordinating trips to the NASCAR racetracks, and also provides a history of each track.

For example, California Speedway in Fontana, Ahuja says, "was built on the site of a former Kaiser steel mill that is said to have been the film location for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator 2.' A 137-foot water tower emblazoned with the track logo is the lone remnant from the old steel plant."

Chapters begin with a quote from some of the most popular NASCAR drivers on the circuit on their experiences at the particular tracks.

"This place is the Monster Mile -- it chews up cars," said Kurt Busch, on Dover Downs International Speedway in Delaware.

-- Steve Rom

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