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When the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was formed in 1951 by Wally Parks, the reasoning for the formation was to “create order from chaos” by instituting safety rules and performance standards that helped legitimize the sport of drag racing. Some organization was certainly necessary. A postwar boom in automotive enthusiasm was reaching new heights, and Hot Rod magazine and the NHRA were right in the thick of it.
The NHRA hosted its first drag racing event in 1953, and in 1955, the organization staged its first national event, which was simply called “The Nationals.” The AHRA formed in 1956 as an alternative to the NHRA, where the drivers voted on the rules (rather than sanctioning bodies and tracks), and their influence on the sport was felt almost immediately.
When the NHRA denied the use of nitromethane in 1957, the AHRA approved it. When the NHRA banned aircraft-powered dragsters in 1961, the AHRA welcomed them. When the NHRA said no to the emerging Funny Car in 1965, the AHRA said yes. When fans and racers screamed for a heads-up Super Stock category in 1968, the AHRA delivered. The AHRA was called a rebel association. Some say that it was more of an association that got things done—to the delight of fans and racers. The AHRA was on equal ground with the NHRA by the 1970s, drawing enormous crowds and racer entries.
In this fascinating history, veteran author Doug Boyce tells the story of the AHRA: the rise, the competition, the events, and the eventual downfall of the organization. After AHRA President Jim Tice passed away in 1982, internal fighting for control of the association resulted in its doom. Get the whole story here, and add this wonderful volume to your drag racing library
Don “The Snake” Prudhomme reveals for the first time ever his incredible life and career on and off of the drag strip.
Imagine spending a year with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, having coffee together and talking about his life, his racing, his friends, and his family. He’d tell you about how he rose from being a high school drop-out who was painting cars to a respected Top Fuel dragster driver and successful businessman. You’d hear how he toured the country with Tommy Ivo and “The Hawaiian” Roland Leong, racing all the legends from “Big Daddy” Don Garlits to “The Golden Greek” [Chris] Karamesines.
He’d say how he met Tom McEwen and recall how they became the Snake and the Mongoose, leading to a career in Funny Cars that netted him four championships in a row. He’d talk about the thrill of first wins and owning his own teams but also the struggles of bad seasons, crashes and fires, broken parts, and broken contracts. Along the way, he’d speak about the people in his life, such as engine-builder Keith Black and NHRA president Wally Parks, and those who were killed in the wild and unpredictable sport of nitro racing.
It wouldn’t be only racing, though. Prudhomme would share lessons he learned about business and life from such varied sources as a neighbor in Granada Hills to Ford GT40 driver Dan Gurney. He also would talk about the importance of family: how his wife, Lynn, and daughter, Donna, changed his world and how finding out about his African-American roots opened his eyes to a culture and inheritance he’d always wanted.
• Don Prudhomme is arguably the most famous drag racer of all time
• This will be the first time Don Prudhomme has talked publicly about his life both on and off the track
• Don Prudhomme won 49 NHRA races, 4 NHRA Championships, and won the US Nationals 7 times
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