On the 7th Day God Created the Chevrolet

By Sylvia Wilkinson

Tom Pate wants to go fast. He can’t leave the family farm behind fast enough. First he’s drag racing with the Night Owl Car Club in Summit, North Carolina, where his candy-apple-red ’55 Chevy Bel Air becomes the car to beat. He leaves the straight road behind to try his luck banging around the Yellow County dirt track in a ’14 Fora. Then he leaves home to find a better; faster future. as his younger brother Zack tries desperately to keep up.

And so begins his search for a bigger track, a better ride, and his best shot at glory.

Lucky for Tom this is 1963, when a country boy with a car and an ounce of natural talent can still hope to be a hero, when Bobby Isaac’s simple advice to a young driver still holds true: Get a real good ride, drive real fast, and try not to hang your ass on the wall.” It’s a time when two brothers can put together a winning car. When small-town race shops like Ned’s All-American are just as likely to take on street work as haul moonshine on the side, and Tom can practice his racing moves on the bootleggers’ back roads.

Though Zack tries hard, he cannot keep up with his brother. As changes come to North Carolina-racial tensions are running high and Vietnam is starting to make demands on the lives of its young men-the family and farm seem a safe haven, and Zack must decide if he will continue to follow in the dust tracks of this man whose talent involves leaving people behind.


“Brings back the old days of stock-car racing in vivid style.  Wilkinson knows her stuff.”

Paul Newman


“Sylvia Wilkinson knows stock-car racing, but even better, she understands the competition between men and brothers in the human heart.  Her high-octane writing vividly captures a people and a place in time with a strength and clarity that is as good as anyone writing today.”

Tim McLaurin, author of Keeper of the Moon


“Shows a wonderful imagination and way with words:•

Ned Jarrett, NASCAR Hall of Famer


“A sight for tired eyes. What energy, what humor, what accuracy of idiom!  And-most of all-what unforgettable fun!”

Fred Chappell, author of I Am One of You Forever


“Sylvia Wilkinson is a great storyteller, and her good old boys are as good and as bad as they come:•

Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina


“This is the best racing novel I’ve ever read; in fact, it’s probably the first fine novel about racing ever written.”

Leon Mandel, publisher and editor of Autoweek

***Signed editions available***

  • Price: US$18.95
  • Publisher: ‎Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1993
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎410 pages
  • Dimensions: ‎5.75 x 1.5 x 8.75 inches

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