Review of 5-10-32: McBride, Parker, Anvelink book
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
Anytime Late Model racing in northeast Wisconsin is discussed chances are the conversion will begin with the names of M.J. McBride, Pete Parker, and Terry Anvelink. After all, those three, who have come to be dubbed “The Big Three” dominated the Late Model ranks at area dirt tracks in the 1980s and 1990s.
The driving careers for those three drivers spanned from the 1970s into the 2000s, and all three staged some classic battles to the delight of local race fans. Joe Verdegan explores the racing career of each driver in his latest book, “5-10-32: McBride, Parker, Anvelink. Verdegan shares with readers the stories about their careers as shared by each particular driver, members of their pit crews, and drivers the three raced against. The stories shared by McBride were obtained by Verdegan in interviews with McBride prior to McBride’s death in 2016.
One of the cool aspects of the careers of all three drivers is the fact they raced during a time when drivers could race the same car on both a dirt and asphalt track. Race cars are so sophisticated now, that technology doesn’t allow for the crossover. Stories about races on both surfaces in the late 1970s and early 1980s are shared in the book.
I don’t want to get too specific about these stories in this review because I want you to be able to read it for the first time in the book. But one thing that caught my attention while reading those stories was the implication that the regular asphalt drivers at Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR) in Kaukauna didn’t necessarily want the dirt drivers racing at the track.
I was part of McBride’s pit crew from 1990 until he retired in 2010, and there was information in the book that I wasn’t even aware of. You’ll learn about McBride’s time in the 1970s when he traveled the Midwest following the USAC tour. You’ll also learn about his time winning track championships at area dirt tracks in the 1980s and the pit crews that helped him along the way.
I really enjoyed the many stories shared by Donny Paiser. Paiser was in the unique position of being part of McBride’s pit crew in the early 1980s, and then being part of Anvelink’s pit crew later in the decade and beyond. Again, I don’t want to ruin the pleasure of reading the book, so let me just say Paiser’s stories are a must read.
You can debate all day long about which of the three was the “best” but part of that debate would have to include the fact Parker spent a lot of time traveling the Midwest to race in the 1980s and 1990s, while McBride and Anvelink stayed closer to home. Stories of Parker’s travels are included and are a joy to read, especially the story about when he let Tom Nesbitt race his back-up car.
While reading the stories about Anvelink’s career, it became evident that he got the most out of a shoe-string racing budget. There was also a point in his career where he was going to have to leave his race car sit in his garage due to lack of funding. That changed, though, when he had a sponsor step in to help.
The book concludes with chapters about the next generation of racing, as Nick Anvelink and Paul Parker keep the racing tradition alive in each of their families. While Late Model driver Lukas Postl, son of Tom Postl, who was a longtime crew member for McBride, keeps the No. 5 tradition alive.
If you are a fan of local racing and its history, it won’t take you long to read this book. And when you finishing reading it, you’ll be wanting for more.
Verdegan has several book signings planned in early December. They include:
Dec. 4 – Lenny’s Tap – Green Bay, WI, noon-3 p.m.
Dec. 7 – Lighthouse Bar & Grill, Shawano, WI, 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 9 – Pepermint Josie’s, Navarino, WI, 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 11 – Hustle Inn, Seymour, WI, noon-3 p.m.
Dec. 16 – Club 117, Bonduel, WI, 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 18 – Bosse’s News Stand, Green Bay, WI, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.