Stardust International Raceway

Motorsports Meets the Mob in Vegas, 1965–1971

Not Yet Published


FALL 2018

Available on backorder

About the Book

Professional motorsports found their way to Las Vegas in the mid–1950s at a bankrupt horse track swarmed by gamblers—and soon became enmeshed with the government and organized crime. By 1965, the Vegas racing game moved to Stardust International Raceway, constructed with real grandstands, sanitary facilities and air-conditioned timing towers. Stardust would host the biggest racing names of the era—Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, John Surtees, Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney and Don Garlits among them.

Established by a notorious racketeer, the track stood at the confluence of shadowy elements—secret wiretaps, casino skimming, Howard Hughes, and the beginnings of Watergate. The author traces the Stardust’s colorful history through the auto racing monthlies, national newspapers and the files of the FBI.

About the Author(s)

Randall Cannon is a freelance writer and lifelong motorsports enthusiast. He lives in Henderson, Nevada.
Michael Gerry is a race vehicle constructor and has worked on several championship drag racing teams. He resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bibliographic Details

Randall Cannon and Michael Gerry
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7389-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3291-9
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Thoroughly researched and a good read, this book casts a spotlight into the darkness behind the bright, loud, gaudy scenery that we fans of auto racing normally see. For us, a weekend at Stardust was about speed, sleek cars, fast racers and (as some might have hoped) racier women. But a few of those other characters we passed in the pit lane without a glance? Author Cannon tells us who they really were, and about their unsuspected roles backstage. Wow!”—Pete Lyons, Motorsports photographer, author of Riverside Raceway: A Photographic Tour

• “Randy Cannon chronicles, in graphic detail, the rise and fall of big-time auto racing in ‘Vegas. How strange bedfellows (mobsters, corporate hucksters and hinky politicians) brought racing to center stage then cut its throat.”—Pete Ward, editor Drag Racer Magazine

• “The Stardust is an important part of the history of Las Vegas, gambling, and organized crime, but there’s still a lot for us to learn about it. Randy Cannon has given us a great look at a part of the Stardust and Las Vegas experience that has long needed more attention.”—Michael Green, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, consultant to and appeared on
A&E’s Making of the Mob

• “The iconic superstars of racing rubbed fenders with the promoters of Stardust International Raceway. These promoters were just as noteworthy, serving as front-runners for organized crime, unintentionally making the name ‘Stardust’ synonymous with mob control!”—Jeffrey A. Silver, former member, Nevada Gaming Control Board