Blog by RaceChaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker – January 8, 2013 –
“Wicked Fast” is an easy-to-digest, informative and often hilarious biography of New England racing legend Bentley Warren that was written by Bones Bourcier and published by Coastal 181 Publishing out of Massachussetts.
You just have to buy this book. It’s as simple as that.
Having been blessed enough to have known Bentley and had numerous occasions to talk with, interview and watch him race over the past 25 years or so, I could take up four times this space sharing my own stories about him. I’ll just say that it’s about time someone wrote this book, which opens with some poignant remarks from Bentley’s close friend and former teammate Davey Hamilton.
Dividing Bentley’s unique story into periods of time, beginning with his youth, “Wicked Fast” takes less than 15 pages for even someone who doesn’t know Bentley to get the sense that it’s going to be a fun and easily digestible read. He talks candidly and in great detail from the first person point of view about his parents, his upbringing in Essex, Massachussetts and his early appetite for thrills and speed. He talks about family, choices and consequences.
It’s a tale of a boy who grew into a man who started a trucking business that has become highly successful. But it’s also a tale of a racer who has been blessed enough to experience success in Supermodifieds, Modifieds, Sprint Cars, Midgets, TQ-Midgets and of course Indy Cars as well.
The detail Bentley recalls about the people and places he’s been to in his 70+ years on planet Earth makes this a history piece on short track racing nationwide. Indy Car fans will love the details of his exploits in that series and the people who helped him along the way.
He plays a little “name association” later in the book, talking about each of the car owners he’s raced for, fellow competitors and others in the sport and the experiences they’ve had together. Others talk about Bentley through short stories woven throughout the book’s nearly 260 pages.
Oh, yes. There are also the stories of Bentley the carefree daredevil driving his car down the highway with his toes while standing up and poking his head through the sunroof, or being pulled over various times by the cops while riding his Harley…”wicked fast”.
Here’s a sample gem from long-time Supermodified series promoter Russ Conway… “Bentley’s in Florida for a sprint car race and he’s pulled over for speeding on I-4. He’s got a Massachussetts driver’s license and the officer, one of these real ball-busters, says, ‘My, my, a Yankee. I’ve been waiting for you all day.’ Bentley doesn’t miss a beat. He says, ‘Well, I got here as fast as I could!'”
Dare ye’ not read this book while dining alone in a restaurant lest ye’ be given angry looks by your neighbors trying to enjoy their meals because you’re belly laughing out loud!
This is not a book for Bentley fans. It’s a book for racing fans. It’s also a book for those who just enjoy a fun story about a fun person who has had quite the slice of life for nearly three quarters of a century now.
I’ve always been a tremendous respecter of Bones Bourcier as a person and a writer. I was fortunate to be able to work with Bones and Dean Nardi back in the 90’s when Trackside Magazine was being published.
I cannot thank Bones enough for the time and trouble he took to undertake the laborious project of writing about a man who is part of a dying breed of racer – those who raced as hard as they could every lap for the shear sake of doing it without regard to making a living from it or having to be politically correct. These were the “Marlboro Men” of motorsports and Bentley is right at the top of that list.
We all should be grateful to Bentley for being willing to share his story with us. He is truly one of the funniest, most entertaining people you’ll ever meet. He has been fortunate enough to be able to live life mostly on his own terms, something we all desire but few of us ever achieve, but not without having to endure hard times along the way.
Go to www.Coastal181.com and buy this book as “wicked fast” as you can. Browse through their catalog of other racer reads as well. Leave me some comments on what you thought of Bentley’s book once you’ve read it. I’d like to know if you enjoyed it as much as I have.