Humpy Wheeler’s GROWING UP NASCAR: Racing’s Most Outrageous Promoter Tells All, an unprecedented peek inside the racing world, is now available in Charlotte-area bookstores and at online retailers. Co-written with Peter Golenbock, one of America’s top sports authors whose bios include Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin and Bobby Allison, the 304-page hardcover, retailing for $25.00, is published by Motorbooks, the world’s leading publisher of motorsports books for enthusiasts. Wheeler’s book can be found in Joseph Beth and Barnes and Noble Charlotte area locations as well as online at amazon.com and booksamillion.com. In 1947, when Humpy was nine years old, he put his thumb out on Highway 29 and hitched a ride to the Charlotte Speedway. At age 11, he attended the very first NASCAR race. For the next ten years, he spent as much time in the pits as he could, and came to know many of the sport’s pioneers. Eventually, Wheeler began promoting races at Carolina tracks such as Concord, Robinwood and Starlight Speedways. Racing was so rough back then that he kept a gun by his side when he paid the purse, and often used his fists to keep order. By the time Humpy retired in 2008, he had helped NASCAR become the six-billion-dollar-a-year industry it is today. Filled with photographs from his personal archives, Growing up NASCAR presents the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR from the consummate insider. “I’ve been writing this book in my head for more than 50 years,” said Wheeler, now 71. “It was time to let the gorilla out of the cage and there’s more where that came from.” Wheeler’s book, his first, has quickly become #2 in Amazon.com’s racing history category and, according to Motorbooks, is already headed for a second printing. Humpy’s first local book signing takes place this Saturday, Apr. 17 from 2-4pm at SouthPark Mall’s Joseph Beth Booksellers. A second “Humpy Hour” is planned in Uptown Charlotte on Apr. 28 from 5-8pm at the new Dandelion Market on E. Fifth Street. Joseph Beth will be on site selling books at this event.