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I'm pleased, stunned, stupefied, terrified, ecstatic, worried, exhausted and relieved to report that our THE LAST OPEN ROAD
audiobook project is just about done. Following three years of grand plans, hard work, blind alleys, teeth-gnashing compromises, paths not taken, traipsing all over the damn country to record those elusive, authentic automotive sounds and our Mystery Celebrity Guest Voices and literally hundreds and hundreds of editing and mixing hours in the studio at Concept One Media, we came to the very last line in the very last chapter for what I truly believe will be the very last time on Tuesday of last week. Huge thanks and a gold medal for "Patience Beyond the Call of Duty" to sound engineer Ben Mathews, who truly "got it" as to what we were trying to accomplish and did amazing, consistent and conscientious work throughout.

And now it's DONE! Hallelujah! Break out the caviar, champagne and cigars! And the Tums & Zantac for later on. We have persevered! We have prevailed. We have climbed Everest and taken a selfie...
Sure, there's still some tidying up to do and wee bits to re-do or re-mix and the usual, last-minute "OMIGOD, DID WE REMEMBER TO (fill in the blank)???" conundrums, problems & panics. Most recent was discovering that Sony has newly revamped their rights compensation pricing in regards to audiobook projects, and that one small piece of music we recorded to play a few seconds of in the background of a party scene in Elkhart Lake (played by our own blessed band, BTW*) has now become prohibitively expensive. So we'll have to either pay through the nose (or pick any other preferred bodily orifice) or find something else--like something more Public Domain, if you know what I mean--to use in its place. Aaarrrggghhh!

Who knew we'd have to deal with all this complexity, aggravation & consternation? Surely not me. I come from the all-American, Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland "Hey, let's get all the kids together and put on a musical show in the barn!  school of dramatic/musical production.
But, as has been my experience with every major project I've ever attempted (from building racecars & learning how to drive them to writing my first book), by the time you get to the end of the gauntlet run, you've learned most of the shit you really should have known before you started.

Such is life. If you're lucky.

Our very first Press Release on The Last Open Road audiobook went out yesterday morning at 11:03am EDT (copied below), and was written and disseminated by friend, longtime motorsports insider and PR ace Judy Stropus. Judy's enjoyed an amazing career in the sport, including stints as the head of timing-and-scoring for first Bud Moore and then Roger Penske's team (she ran the watches and clipboard for Roger through much of the 1960s and 70s--including the 12 hours at Sebring and 24 at Le Mans and Daytona--and that's back in the old, pre-computer-and-transponder, pencil-and-lap chart days!). She's also an accomplished amateur racer in her own right, and has been doing professional motoring and motorsports PR work for many years. As you'll see, she's a lot more professional, succinct  and not anywhere near the blowhole that I am.

Here's the release:

Burt Levy's "The Last Open Road" Audiobook to Debut at Road America July 18-21, as Cult-Classic Book Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

CHICAGO (June 11, 2019) - "The Last Open Road," the first book in author/racer Burt Levy's acclaimed six-novel series, will debut as a radio-play audiobook with sales and signings during the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., July 18-21. 
David Hobbs and Redman, both of whom voice supporting roles in the audiobook, will join Levy in the Road America Paddock Shop to sign copies of their own books, "Hobbo: Motor Racer, Motor Mouth" and "Brian Redman: Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks," as well as copies of the new audiobook and a commemorative Audiobook Premiere poster.
"The W.I.C. debut is an excellent fit, since the original book debuted at the same event exactly 25 years ago," said Levy. "And Brian is one of many famous racing personalities (along with Hobbs, Ray Evernham, Tommy Kendall, Patrick Long, Skip Barber, Spencer Pumpelly, John Morton, Mark Greene, Marino Franchitti, Bill Warner and several others) to play supporting character roles in the new audiobook." 
"The Last Open Road" is a humorous and historically accurate tale of 19-year-old New Jersey gas-station mechanic Buddy Palumbo's adventures as he's swept up in the glamorous, dangerous, upper-crust and occasionally decadent world of open-road sports car racing during the Eisenhower '50s. 
Originally self-published after being turned down by major fiction publishers, it is currently in its 10th hardcover printing and has emerged as a cult classic on the motorsports and collector-car scenes.
The audiobook is presented in the style of a 1950s radio play, including professional voice actor Greg Beastrom as narrator, sound effects, period music, authentic engine noises and celebrity guest voices in smaller character roles.
"I'm thrilled that 'The Last Open Road' audiobook is finally finished - it's taken three years of effort - and that so many famous motoring personalities wanted to be a part of it," Levy added.
The new audiobook runs nearly 22 hours in length, and will be available as MP3 files on a USB flash drive (at $55), and as a 22-disc CD set (at $65). Both will include a bonus video file or DVD disc of "Ride with Burt" videos, features and interviews. Pre-orders are now being taken at
Individual, club, team and group sponsorships, which include mention in the audiobook credits, an audiobook copy and a listing, plus a copy of the exclusive, numbered, suede-bound 25th Anniversary Collectors' Edition of "The Last Open Road," are also available at $250. 
Corporate chapter sponsorships are available at $3000. Contact for additional details. 
Excerpts from the new audiobook may be heard on or on YouTube at
To request review chapters or schedule an interview, contact the Think Fast Ink office at or call (708) 383-7203.
About the Author:
Dubbed "The World's Fastest Novelist," Burt Levy has been racing and writing about the sport for almost 50 years. He's an accomplished amateur and vintage racing driver with nearly 100 race wins and eight season championships to his credit, and regularly serves as a driving instructor for car clubs and race-sanctioning bodies. Some of the cars he's raced may be viewed at "Ride With Burt" videos may be viewed at
He's also an award-winning motorsports journalist, a sought-after car-club banquet speaker and an occasional race track color announcer. There are currently six novels in "The Last Open Road" series (plus a seventh on the way) along with his short-story anthology, "A Potside Companion." He and wife Carol were married 45 years ago on Valentine's Day, 1974 (also her birthday), work together and are avid bicyclists and fitness enthusiasts.

Probably the most significant Rude Lesson I've learned through our experience with the books over the years is this: "If you think writing the effing thing is hard, just wait'll you try to tackle the blessed marketing and promotion!" I regularly get calls and emails from [usually motorsports-oriented] writers who have either written a book or are thinking of writing a book or are halfway done with a book or have an irresistibly, compellingly fabulous idea for a book that I should drop everything for and begin writing immediately! I try to be honest, kind and straightforward with these people (hell, I was one of them) but I have to explain that their best bet is finding a real publisher, because doing it "our way" (i.e., doing almost everything yourself) is a great way to go broke. Or get old in  a hurry. Or both.

Oh, we've done pretty good thanks to a lot of effort and some tremendous word-of-mouth support from people who like the books, but for the new audiobook project we decided to enlist Judy's aid and expertise. Fingers crossed.
Here we go...

If you haven't already done it, please:
If you are subsequently moved to become a greatly appreciated sponsor (or just want to pre-order a copy so you can be the first person on your block to enjoy the audio story) try checking in at:

As mentioned above, we have a few of the 19 chapter sponsorships still available @ $3000 each. Great way to spread the word about your brand, product, company or service in what we're certain will be a unique, highly visible and attention-getting format. And--like the book--not just now, but for years and even decades to come! 


OK, so we're down to the short strokes on the audiobook and I've been fooling around (mostly at 3:00am, if you must know) with some different looks for the packaging. The USB drives will be pretty cool (not to mention easy). See chrome-plated metal USB drive with a printed and/or embossed leather strap with magnetic closure below:

NOTE: if we land a presenting sponsor (a few irons still in the fire on that score) their logo will of course appear on the back and on all other packaging, ads, posters & promotional materials, as well as a video message and a full page ad in the upcoming and all future editions of The Last Open Road. The above will come in a nice little metal box with logos on the top, etc. But it's pretty small for major graphics.
The CD set wallet, however, gives me a much bigger canvas and a LOT more creative freedom. So I've been working on two different ideas, and Carol and I have mixed opinions as to which one we like best. So, as they say down South: "Why don't y'awls help out?" Just let us know which one you prefer:


Let us know, please.


Know I promised this before (been REALLY busy) but look for another e-blast next week covering my first track events of the new season, including hopping into a genuine ShitBox BMW in the rain at the Lemons race at Autobahn, instructing an eager MGB rookie at the VSCDA Drivers' School at Gingerman and a fine Morgan drive (including a nifty class win) at the HSR Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta, Lou & Abby's incredible Old Car Folk (you can read that as "old car" folk or "old" car either way) gearhead gathering open house, signing not very many books inside the huge but cozy Paddock Shop while fog, cold mist and drizzle ruled outside at SVRA Road America, flogging the crap out of some really nice cars at the big, midweek Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rallye in Elkhart Lake (including staying at The Osthoff, great meals, hot-lapping Road America, go-karting, off-roading, an autocross, all the latest poop on all the latest cars and an effing OPEN BAR at Siebkens!), SPAMSTOCK the following Saturday, honorary Grand Poohbah and guest speaker at the Champagne British Car Festival the following weekend, instructing at the Lotus Club Track Day at Blackhawk the very next day and signing a few books, seeing some really neat (and varied!) cars and and meeting some really special people raising money for a really good cause (the fund for families of officers killed in the line of duty) at Burt Richmond's "Cars and Cops" show at his highly impressive Classic Car Garage facility in Chicago. And that's along with all the audiobook re-recording, mixing and editing. I said, I been busy.
And then this coming weekend I'll hopefully be hawking books, sponsorships and audiobook pre-orders, doing a little color announcing on the P.A. and racing an Autodynamics Formula Vee with longtime pal/ride-mooch enabler Bill Griffith's "Bigger Hammer Racing" team out of Texas at this year's VSCDA Fathers Day race meeting at Blackhawk. At least if I can work the damn pedals after doing a clumsy, "WHOASHIT!!!" stumble going down the last of a steep set of basement stairs in my brother-in-law Vince's soon-to-open new restaurant (Mancini's on Lake Street in Oak Park...much-deserved plug) and banged the living shit out of my near-side Achilles tendon. You folks who have never owned a British car or read a British-car shop manual, go look it up! Getting better following lots of icing & elevating and skipping this morning's bike & yoga classes, so hopefully it'll come good for the weekend.
More anon...


OK, this is almost TOO delicious. Our perennially pedantic, infuriatingly accurate and most-usually insufferable British know-it-all Bob Allen got it WRONG for once! HAHAHAHAHA!Oh, he was first in with his answer (so what's new?) and he got it factually and historically correct in his usual, irritating way. Here's the pic again followed by his answer:

O.k., the latest one also easy (so sending this while at work to try not to be beaten again!). Who? Porifiro Rubirosa. Car? That inspiration for Cliff Davis' JOY & LOY500s and thence the AC Ace prototype, the Ferrari 166 Barchetta. Where? Le Circuit de la Sarth (Le Mans). When? 24/25th June 1950.
So what did he get wrong? The effing SPELLING! It's PORFIRIO Rubirosa! NYAAAH! BTW, his story is covered at length in Toly's Ghost, but suffice to say that, even if he wasn't much of a racing driver, the fellow was quite the charmer, coxman, playboy and scoundrel. Not to mention the quintessential "Latin Lover."
Born in the Dominican Republic where his father was a well-connected general in the iron-fisted Trujillo regime, the young Rubirosa married Trujillo's daughter and became a globe-trotting Dominican diplomat who moves freely and easily among the rich, famous and powerful, She was the first of five wives, including a beautiful French actress followed, quite literally, by the two richest available females in the Western Hemisphere (and, quite possibly, the world?), tobacco heiress Doris Duke and Woolworths and E.F. Hutton heiress/"poor little rich girl" Barbara Hutton. During their marriage, Rubirosa infamously used Hutton's private plane to travel to New York, where he was carrying on a torrid, semi-clandestine affair with ZaZa Gabor. She reportedly once said that "a night with Rubi is the greatest gift that a woman can give to herself," and the waiters at the posh Stork Club and 21 in New York nicknamed the long, tall pepper grinders they use to put pepper on your salad as "Rubirosas."

But enough salacious commentary and on to our new, more typical and on-topic Motorhead Trivia: What the hell is this thing. And, while you're at it, where?

Photo from Getty Images forwarded by Louis Galanos (and, no, Louis, you are not allowed to answer!)

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: