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Drag Racing Some of the most spectacular vintage race cars are off the quarter mile. Drag Racing from the 1950's, 60's and 70's produced some auto racing's most memorable cars and drivers.

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Old 05-03-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
Olen McGuire
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Default The Start of Drag racing

There are many theories about the origin of the term "drag racing". Over the past half century explanations have ranged from a simple ("Drag your car out of the garage and race me!") to geographical locale (the "main drag" was a city's main street, and usually was just wide enough to accommodate two vehicles), to a mechanical term (to "drag" the gears meant to hold the transmission in gear longer than normal).

The first "dragsters" were street cars with souped up engines and bodies chopped to reduce weight. Soon,chassis builders made purpose-built cars by bending and welding together tubing and putting the engine in the traditional spot, just in front of the driver. Like almost all racing cars, they underwent an evolution as racers experimented,and tested their equipment.

Once when drag racing legend Don Garlits - himself a victim of the front-engined configuration when his transmission, which was nestled between his feet, exploded in 1970, severing half of his right foot - perfected the design of rear-engined Top Fuel cars.Today's Top Fuel dragsters are computer-designed wonders with sleek profiles and wind-tunnel-tested rear airfoils that exert 5,000 pounds of downforce on the rear tires with minimal aerodynamic drag (there's that term again).

Soon the speed barriers fell: 260 mph toppled in 1984; 270 in 1986; 280 in 1987; 290 in 1989: and the magic 300 mph barrier fell before the wheels of former Funny Car champion Kenny Bernstein on March 20, 1992. Just seven years later, Tony Schumacher became the first to top 330 mph in February 1999, in Phoenix, Ariz. The last record I can find, Schumacher turned 336 mph in 2005 in Hebron,Ohio.

Top fuel picture by Rich Brierty.
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Last edited by Olen McGuire; 05-03-2009 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Start of Drag racing

Good stuff, Olen. Probably won't see those speeds again, because NHRA won't go back to 1/4-mile in the nitro categories until they figure out a way to slow the cars down.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Start of Drag racing

Just happened to think - Bob Daniels told me that the spark which actually began NHRA came when Wally Parks looked down an old airport runway and said, "I have a dream."
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