Old Days of Drag Racing

With the advancement, technology in the car section rider’s obsession increased gradually. How did this ultimate speed racing or Drag racing become so popular in America?

Originally, the drag race was born in the deserts of California. Riders turned the dry lake beds into their racing tracks. 

Obsession with speed is a natural human factor but taking it to the extreme level was our own choice.

It started in 1930 with the improvement in engines, and they began to throttle more than before by increasing the velocity to 100mph. 

Initially, it was all unofficial and unknown by locals. A myth about a batch of kids who came out of nowhere started hanging around with their cars.

Racing commenced organizing because the popularity of drag racing grew steadily. In 1949 the first race was organized in California. They turned the disused military runways named Goleta Air Base into their racing tracks. 

Technology was not much developed at that time. Things were manual and ingenious in those days. Riders used to drive their cars towards the tracks, or sometimes toeing vans were employed to do the work. 

The length of the track was hardly equal to the distance of a city block, or you can count over a quarter of a mile. 

There were no safety barriers or regulated track conditions to assist the riders or to aid them.

In 1951, an organization took a step for drag riders and provided their services in the name of drag racing. An organization entitled The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was founded. Wally Parks was the originator and also known as the father of drag racing. He was the man who enlightened the path for the riders by making it official on the ground. 

There were two classes of competition in that era: 

1.    Unmodified Stock 

2.   Top Eliminator                           

Technology was not very powerful. However, there were some magnificent and powerful machines present to challenge. Alberton Olds and Dragmaster Dart were the two big names to beat up. 

Dragmaster was most famously owned by Dode Martina and Jim Nelson.

It was an ideal car that was the base model for every car they built afterward in that era.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, United States — Google Arts  & Culture

It was not only the cars taking their roots towards improvisation. Every other essential related to drag racing becomes up to date and better. 

The electronic lighting system replaced the Flagman who used to stand between two cars on the track to give a ‘Go’ sign.

The design of the cars was two baggy and old. Speed has a direct relationship with the body, which was the thought behind changing the aerodynamics of drag cars. They shifted the car design from wide and short to thin and long. 

A growing number of companies sprung up in the field to support drag racing. That is called the rising period of Drag Racing.

Drag racing caught the interest of the investors. Big names such as Ford and Chrysler jumped into the realm of drag racing, and their battle of making the best cars with the best designs is well renowned. 

The Concept of “Funny cars” was introduced during this period. These cars consisted of a one-piece Fiberglass body that allowed the driver to lift it so that the rider could jump into the cockpit.

Disaster is the prior demand of modernism. Same in the field of drag racing, it started after the most severe accident in history. That changed the fundamentals of car designs.

Don-Garlit was riding his front-motor dragster. He suffered a transmission explosion. Unfortunately, he lost his foot in that accident. His car split in half. After experiencing that loss, he vowed to invent a car with a rear engine. He succeeded in his vision. And within the time of two years, every drag car sat its engines behind the driver.

It was not only the modern design of the cars. It was also about the back support which big companies casting behind the teams of drag racers. Volunteer crew members getting paid, trailers converted into workshops.

NHRA announced huge prize money for the winner. It was a new generation of drag racing. 

It took drag racing just about a century to express its position in the core of America. Drag Racing has become so popular with advanced technology and safety precautions.

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