The Physics of NASCAR: How to Make Steel + Gas + Rubber = Speed by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky (Dutton, $25.95)
Ever wondered how to keep a race car traveling 180 miles an hour from flying into the stands and killing a bunch of people? Read this book. You will know everything there is to know about the application of science to Nascar racing. Diagrams of the octane molecule will bump around in your brain; restrictor plate subversion tactics will keep you up at night. This knowledge might make you insufferable, though. At a recent party I mentioned that the two-way radios used by most Nascar teams operate in the 400- to 500-megahertz range. I will not be invited back.