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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
One of drag racing's very popular classes formed was the Gassers. During the `50s, Model A and 1932-`34 Fords were considered the hot set-up for these gas classes. Using Ford V-8 "flatheads" and later overhead valve engines, Gas Coupe and Sedan classes had to maintain stock wheelbase, and the engine relocation was limited. By the mid-60s, it was rare to find an upper-class gasser with any other body make than Willys, Studebaker, Austin, or Anglia. They were the stoutest full-bodied cars on strips nationwide. Touring teams ran four to six times every week, often traveling several hundred miles day and night to make their next dates. This was old-school racing! However, interest waned as flip-top funny cars took over in popularity. The battles in A/GS (later AA/GS) ranks created many heroes and villains who etched their marks into drag racing history. Gassers shared with fans of the quarter mile one the most thrilling overall racecar types, and for an era that was all too short, they were literally the Kings of the Sport. Enjoy this photo book that takes you back to that time.
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