Mel Austin didn't want to be just a farmhand for his brother, so after the Army and World War II, he attended college on the GI Bill. But after graduating, he couldn't stand the thought of teaching in a big-city slum high school, either. A wartime friend asks him to join his ragtag midget auto racing show, Mel figures it's better than pumping gas until school starts. In love with the thrills, action, and a chance to see the country, he spends several years vagabonding with the show through the turbulent and now half-forgotten world of the early 1950s. Adventure and new friends abound, and his life winds up going to places he could never have dreamed.