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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
When our young heroes began returning from World War II, they applied the knowledge gained from Uncle Sam towards the fledgling hot rod movement. While speeds increased, rodders learned the hard way just how dangerous it was to "drag it out" on the city streets. In the mid 50s, organized drag racing gave hot rodders a safe place to race. Cars evolved from pre-war coupes and sedans to crude "rail jobs," which were stripped and narrowed frame rails with nothing more than an engine, driveline, seat, and steering gear.
As hot rodders were the true Mothers of Invention, the cars later became hand-made, finely crafted "Slingshot Dragsters." Dubbed the "Kings of the Sport," these supercharged, fuel-injected Slingshots burned exotic fuels and captured the attention of every young enthusiast from coast to coast. The cars dazzled with gleaming chrome, Candy Apple, Pearlescent, and Metalflake paint jobs, while the nitromethane fuel produced an unforgettable thunderous sound. This new volume contains all the stars that waged war on quarter-mile strips of asphalt from California to Maine. It's a vivid pictorial display that captures the true essence of extreme acceleration in all its glory.
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