Unfortunately I didn't bring the book with me to Texas. I'll do some proper scans when I get back. Has great photos from OCR, lions, Indy, e-town, etc...also great photos of cars like "pure hell", the bounty hunter rail, Phil bonner's comet, and loads of other cool old drag cars.
I am surprised you don't have any pics of the surfers rail or stone, woods, cook or Grier, black, prudhomme. Those were all west coast guys. Personally I have always loved the pro stock classes. Bill Mitchell and grumpy Jenkins were friends with my father's friend Charlie and I got to meet both of them as a kid. He even got me into John Force's pit once in the early 90s - before he was John force " racing legend and head of a racing dynasty". I was really sad to hear the grump died last week.
Anyway if you have more scan em. I love old drag cars.
I was never a big fan of the stockers. Super or otherwise. There was so much to choose from car wise I couldn't afford to photograph them all. We went to the Smokers meet at Bakersfield in '64. The biggest fuel meet of the year. 118 fuel dragsters trying to qualify for 64 spots. Try that today. 32 cars ran off on Sat. and 32 on Sunday. Winner of each day met for top eliminator. Regretfully the NHRA has turned todays drag racing into a travelling circus of spec racers. Innovationnot allowed.
I think the NHRA has it figured out pretty well. I went to E-Town last year for the Nationals. All access ticket is great. The show is run very well, integrating the brackets, pro stock and top fuel cars and bikes in a predictable format. So as a spectator, I thought they provided a great value wheher you go Saturday or Sunday.
The fact that they had to go to 1,000 feet for the nitro cars in the interest of safety is further proof that there is plenty of innovation still going on. The cars are developing north of 10,000 BHP when the clutches are fully engaged halfway down the track. That figure used to be around 5,000 to 8,000.
FR, you should have let me know you were there. I was there as well and will be there again this year. if you are going to be there let's meet up.
I don't watch 1/8th mile and I sure as hell don't consider 1000 feet a full pass. I may sound like an asshole traditionalist but drag racing is 1/4 mile. 1/8th mile is good for the test and tune racers but as a spectator there isn't that much meat on the bone, and as someone used to seeing a 1/4 mile pass out of fuel car I ALWAYS catch myself asking why they shut down early before remembering they don't do a full pass anymore, and then I feel slightly cheated.
The thing the NHRA has never figured out is safety. They have certainly tried and probably done more for motorsports safety than most other forms of racing, but it always seems to still be 5 years behind the cars and the technology. This new "problem" of cars being too powerful isn't the car's issue it is the track - the NHRA still is operating with 30 year old runoff requirements and their solution is to shorten the run instead of require the track to make the necessary runoff safety changes? that's bogus. The equipment is there to improve the track, the tech is there and isn't that expensive, but instead let's shorten the entertainment value for the spectator. I could understand if it was a temporary thing but it doesn't look to be. The accident that caused the shortening of the run involving kaletta was because the NHRA didn't have up to date safety requirements for the runoff area, it would have been perfectly safe 30 years ago (even overkill) but they just didn't pay attention to those requirements as the cars got faster, and the fan pays for their inattentiveness.
Shame on the NHRA, Restore the 1320 top fuel pass!
Geeto, good rant, but I'm not convinced. Most of the tracks have had to be updated to stay on the calender. I think the NHRA is doing the best they can with safety, certainly the cars have had to undergo some serious redesigns based on safety regs. Of course, I lack the insight to know whether I'm talking outa my *ss, or not. Above my paygrade.
But yeah man, if we go this year I'll let you know for sure. For me it's a drive down and stay with Scott Friday night, races Saturday and drive home Sunday. We've talked about it.
The back up safety measure is a gravel trap like they use for runaway trucks only it isn't as deep or long. Even truck runoffs have gone to the barrier system (flexible nets) when the loads started to get heavier. It use to be in the 60s the tracks didn't have anything but dirt in the emergency runoff but by the late 60's and early 70's most tracks had them and by the 80's all had them. By the end of the 1980s and beginning of early 90s the nhra was seeing runaway dragsters go deep into the traps and on a few occasions to the end. But the requirements were still the same. up until the kaletta accident they didn't have any regs dealing with objects beyond the trap or even a standard for how the trap is framed.
Sure elongating the trap is the best solution, the gravel doesn't destroy the car like a flexible net would, but as you point out some places don't have the room to expand. The navy has been using soft arresting barriers since the 1940s, a lot of highway runoffs use them as a backup to the gravel trap, I think it is time the NHRA look at them seriously as a requirement.
The NHRA has done a lot for safety. But they keep unsafe tracks on the calendar. Some tracks have a limited shutdown and safety is dependent on the chute opening. Chute failure means not enough room. Shortening the track was one "solution" but what the hell difference does 320 feet make when your chute fails at 320 mph? What I dislike intensely about the NHRA is the fact that the cars are now spec cars. When those photos were taken you had guys that loved Olds or Chevys or hemis or Pontiacs. Front engine, rear engine, twin engine,sideways you name it.
This is Kent Fuller and his "needle" car. Fuller was THE frame builder back then and innovative. The needle car had no front suspension. But depended on frame flex for wheel movement. Frame flex gave about 5" of vertical movement to each wheel. Would such thinking be allowed today? Nope. Top fuel is limited to 500c.i. Its TOP FUEL. Once unlimited. Now so tightly controlled it has become a travelling circus of noise and personalities But I am curious to know if the funny car bodies interchange? I'd be wiling to bet they do.
This is UK top fuel in slow mo - nearly identical cars to NHRA and watch how they flex:
Here are 2008 cars in the US - watch one of them pull the front wheels off the ground during a burnout. That is more than 5" flex:
The thing about it though is it is scientific flex, all vertical and engineered to be there, no lateral flex like the old rails used to have.
Is it a spec class? Yeah nobody knows it better than prostock, top fuel and funny car are virtually unlimited as compared to pro stock. You want to blame someone for it blame Keith black and bill Mitchell for making mountain motor hemis and chevies commonly available. I don't mind he motor restrictions as now to be competetive you need NASA grade engineers to build your engines but I think there could be a little more leeway as too aero and body. I still like don garlets swamp rat with the enclosed cockpit, and where did the single rail wings go?