Where it all started…The Valley

Written by J.K. Kelly on February 19th, 2022

Huge weekend in American motorsports with the Daytona 500 and the NHRA Winternationals taking the green. This past week revealed the FIA’s plan of attack to avoid another Abu Dhabi cluster and F1 race fans got to see the new cars revealed for 2022. To celebrate a waning COVID and this great weekend of racing we’ve posted a very revealing excerpt from DEADLY DRIVER. Hope you get caught up in it as so many other book lovers around the world have. Special thanks to Lebanon Valley’s Howard Commander for his encouragement and friendship over the years.

Lebanon Valley is a nationally known motorsports facility located southeast of Albany in New York. There’s a quarter-mile drag strip at one end of the property and a dirt oval track at the other. Bryce had cut his teeth on ACT stocks and NASCAR’s open-wheel modified cars racing on asphalt ovals in New England. From time to time he tried to secure a dirt-car ride. Racers want to race. Pursuing their passion on different tracks, types of race cars, and competitors can afford a novice driver with big ambitions the opportunity to learn a lot and make a name for themselves.

There were a handful of drivers like international legend Mario Andretti, and from more recent times retired NASCAR champions Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, who seemed to find victory lanes in America no matter what they drove or the type of surface they raced on. Having the right horse under you always helped most drivers. But a few drivers brought something special to the table that allowed or propelled their success.

Bryce’s reputation and career trajectory had started on a pace that could have put his name in the history books right alongside Andretti’s. That fateful night at the Valley, after making his way to the front to take the lead, the engine in Bryce’s ride failed and ended his night prematurely. Frustrated, he abruptly parked the car behind the team’s hauler in the dusty infield pits.

With lap after lap of action continuing on the track, Bryce must have been the only person not glued to it. Instead, he headed for a personal pit stop, distracted and furious at being forced to drop out. He entered what at first had appeared to be a vacant men’s room, the sound of the thirty race cars still flying around the track making it impossible to hear anything else. It took a moment before he realized that something strange was going on and it was very, very wrong.

There, in a stall, he saw the back of a big man, perhaps 6’3 and 250 pounds, in a dirty white t-shirt, denim coveralls, and work boots. He seemed to be struggling with someone. Then Bryce realized the animal was trying to force himself on a woman. All Bryce could see of her were her long legs, flips flops hanging off her feet as she screamed and tried to fight the man off. He jumped into action.

If you’d like to read more about this young racer’s personal and professional journey you can order DEADLY DRIVER for yourself or to give as a gift in print, Kindle, or Audible formats anywhere in the world right here.


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