When I was twelve, in 1971, the walls of my bedroom in southern New Jersey were covered with full-page photographs of rail dragsters and “funny cars” with swollen engines which I carefully razor-bladed from hot-rod magazines. My older cousin Charlie Seabrook and his car, the Jersey Jimmy, were well known on the East Coast drag-racing circuit. On Saturdays in warmer weather, Charlie and his brother Larry would work on engines down the road from my family’s farm, and I would hang around and watch, in love with the words they used—which showed up a few years later in Springsteen lyrics like “Chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line,” in