By Holli Harms
There was that infamous car scene in the movie Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean. Everyone was young, beautiful, exciting, and dangerous. And the cars, reflections of the spirit of the drivers and works of art unto themselves.
Outside the movies, the real men who raced those cars were just as young, beautiful, and dangerous, odd rebels all of them. But they had a cause – driving and being the fastest, the best. That “drive” became part of their living and breathing. A way to legally legitimize and show off the driving skills of the moonshine runner. Director Michael Starr’s documentary, It’s In The Blood, is about the history of race car driving in this country, how it came to be, and the men whose names have all but been lost. These were rock-and-roll men of the ’40s and ’50s, the ’60’s and ’70’s who first brought the sport it’s excitement and made it what it is today. It’s In The Blood is a story of passion and speed.
Making a documentary is a labor of love. It’s important to honor, respect, and do what you can to fully tell the tales of those whose stories are no longer part of our country’s fabric, to shine a light on a community’s truth and history, and that is precisely what It’s In The Blood does. The stories of those who lived the early days of racing are told by the actual drivers themselves, now much older. They look back with excited remembrance and share moments when stock car racing was raw.
My mother used to say if you want to get someone to talk about their past, put them next to someone the same age as them with a similar background and the talking will take care of itself. Mr. Starr has done just that, bringing these gentlemen together to tell their stories and the stories of those no longer with us. These men, these old-timers as they call themselves, relate unbelievable accounts of hauling moonshine, police chases in the dead of night, of building their own cars from scraps found at junkyards, these souped-up Frankenstein’s sometimes fell apart in the middle of a race, literally pieces of the car falling off until little was left. They tell of every weekend, somewhere in the South, there was a race and they were going to be there, of the strain this way of life put on family and of the lives lost to the sport. These were the young slick-haired leather-clad boys of Rebel.
Watch and celebrate the men who made NASCAR what it is today. You will learn about badass baby faced tough cool young racers Freddy Fryar and Charlie Griffith, Friday Hassler and Dale McDowell, Dave Wright Jr, and more.
Directed by Michael Starr, Produced by Michelle Griffith Talbert, Executive Producer Tim Talbert, Co-Producers Clayton Abercrombie & Jessica E. Reynolds.
It’s In The Blood Coming this February 2021 for Rental and Purchase at: