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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
Drag racing is a very regulated sport. In the history of the NHRA, IHRA, and other sanctioning bodies, many classes existed in an effort to make sure the cars racing against each other are as equal as possible. It is a noble, if not futile, pursuit. You have two cars facing off that have very similar statistics in terms of weight, transmission type, fuel type, estimated horsepower, and all other sorts of measurables. The byproduct is that often the races that were “fair” were not the races that the fans wanted to see.
During the golden age of drag racing, fans didn’t care as much about class racing as much as they wanted to see scores settled, rivalries battled, and interesting match-ups. There were the manufacturer rivalries, Ford versus Chevy, Chevy versus Mopar, Mopar versus Ford, as well as numerous driver rivalries. Match races were also a great way to feature wildly popular cars that no longer had a class in which to compete, yet the fans still wanted to see them. So popular and intense were these races that many track promoters didn’t bother to promote class racing at all. Instead, they used the match races as headliners, similar to the marquee at your local arena or a billboard in Las Vegas, all resulting in putting more fans in the stands. And the drivers loved it too.
Veteran drag race author Doug Boyce tells the tale of the history of match racing through the cars, the drivers, the events, the classes, the rivalries, and everything else that was fun about match racing during the golden era. It’s all here, complemented by wonderful vintage photography provided by fans and professionals in attendance.
Author Bio: NA
Publisher: Midlife Classic Cars
Binding Type: NA
Printing Status: In Print
Country Made: NA