'Daytona' sketch gets gas; Pocket tracks horse

NEW YORK — Late last week, Warner Books took “Daytona: the Men, the Machines, the Myths” a few times around the track, purchasing Ed Hinton’s proposed tome about the legendary auto race for just under a quarter of a million dollars.

The book is described as a personality-driven history of the event, and some who have eyeballed the 32-page proposal say the book has the potential to be “The Right Stuff” of auto racing.

According to the proposal, “Daytona” will look at how and why the race has gripped the imagination of Middle America, while also taking us into the pits and showing us the strange characters the sport has attracted since robber barons first began racing carts in Florida at the turn of the century.

A legend in Nascar circles since he started to cover auto racing for the Orlando Sentinel more than 20 years ago, Hinton has written about the sport for Sports Illustrated since 1991.

The deal was negotiated by Dallas-based agent Jim Donovan of Jim Donovan Literary. He is also handling the film rights.

* * *

Mystery is swirling around a racing book of a different stripe that Pocket Books acquired late last week: “Inside Out” is the story of blackmail and the FBI set in the often-shady world of top-flight horse racing and horse breeding.

According to the name on the manuscript that had been circulating to Gotham publishers, the book was written by Eric Porter, but in truth that name is a pseudonym.

Apparently, the author (or authors) may be trying to maintain anonymity due to some of the explosive material that the fiction book exposes about racehorse owners and insurance scams.

Aaron Priest of the Aaron Priest agency negotiated the deal with Pocket’s Jason Kaufman.

CAA is repping the film rights.

* * *

Publishers are circling “Misconception,” a legal thriller from the first-time teaming of author-screenwriter Walt Becker (“Link”) and attorney Robert Shapiro, who previously penned with Larkin Warren “The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case.”

With subplots involving NOW activists and the abortion pill RU-486, “Misconception” follows the murder trial of a nominee for U.S. Surgeon General who, a short time before he is to be confirmed for the post, is notified that his mistress is pregnant.

The ambitious medico-turned-civil servant then takes drastic measures to try to keep his marriage and appointment on track, steps that result in his indictment for murder.

Lit agent David Vigliano is repping the book, which Endeavor is expected to submit to producers later this week.

— Chris Petrikin

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