NHRA - National Hot Rod Association Drag Racing
NHRA Drag Racing like most motor sports started from humble beginnings on the back roads of America and moved to dry lakes to eliminate drag racing on the streets and getting on the bad side of the law.
In the 1930's Hot Rodders would gather on the dry lakes of the California Mojave Desert for drag racing to find the top speeds their vehicle. 1937 saw some of the drivers form the Road Runners Club. In 1949 the Southern California Timing Association, arranged the "Speed Week" event on Bonneville Salt Flats for drag racing against the clock, this idea produced quick times, not just fast speeds. Santa Anna Dragstrip, an airport runway, saw the first running of the traditional drag racing format in 1950 with a computerised speed clock to measure speed and "et" (estimated time taken from the start line to the finish line). The Hot Rod Magazine advertised the new format and the place to race and was such a success that in 1951 NHRA - National Hot Rod Association was formed to legitimise drag racing as a sport with safety rules and performance standards for the vehicle and drivers. Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona became the home of Californian drag racing in 1953.
The NHRA Drag Racing Museum owned by Wally Parks has its
home near the dragstrip in Pomona and houses vehicles from times gone
by to last years winners and the history of drag racing on the walls in
written word and historic photos.
Drag Racing vehicles may have started as streetcars with hotter motors and chopped bodies to reduce weight and grew to purpose build dragsters with very souped up engines in front of the driver ran on exotic fuel mixtures initially for safety. This is what we call Nostalgia dragster these days. Don Garlits, Big Daddy, one of the founding fathers of drag racing, had a horrific explosion and blow over in a front engine dragster in 1970, decided that drivers would be safer with the engine behind them. He kept improving the dragster with wings, different wheels sizes and driver safety for the whole of his career. Although he is retired he is still seen at the drag racing, NHRA and Super Chevy Shows plus at the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum in Ocala, Florida, with vehicles, souvenirs and phenomenal history of Drag racing. Drag racers like Don Prudhomme, Connie Kalitta, Joe Amato and Shirley Muldowney (the first women to be licensed in a Top Fuel car), may retire from driving but are still round the sport as team owners or supporting family members and spectators.
Top Fuel Dragsters today are computer designed, wind tunnel tested, machines that send 5,000 pounds of down force to the back wheels to keep these monsters stuck to the track with engines making 8,000 horsepower. Recent deaths in drag racing has made Driver safety the most important area of improvement in recent years
The ¼ mile Drag Racing Speed records over the years
The NHRA Drag Racing 23 event season across the USA each year, starts in February with the NHRA Winternationals and ends in November with the NHRA Finals.
The US Nationals is still the biggest event, running over 6 days, this is the one race every drag racer wants to win, besides the Championship. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike are the main categories with Sportsman series Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car right down to Jnr Dragster also participation.
Australians drivers in NHRA Drag Racing are too many to list and some go back and forwards to the USA for a season or just some events.
David Grubnic or Grubby as he is affectionately known, originally from Queensland has lived in the USA for some years; driver of a Top Fuel dragster for the Kalitta team is our most famous Australian son. In recent years the Kalitta family members and David have come back to OZ and West Sydney International Dragway for the International Top Fuel event between Christmas and New Year drawing huge crowds (See ANDRA Australian Drag Racing on this website for details). He can beat the best and is sure to be an NHRA Champion one day.
Steve Harker driving in the Alcohol Funny Car category has moved to the US and is making he name know and perhaps one day will be as well known as he is here in Australia.
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