What Is Drag Racing? Essay

1705 words - 7 pages

Is Drag Racing to Blame?
"Several cities and counties have successfully addressed their legal street racing problems by creating their own, or in collaboration with other organizations, a legal racing venue. This is intended to divert people to a safer racing enviorment, which allows racers to experience some positive aspects of the legal drag racing..." ("Responses to the Problem of Street Racing") Many people are not fully informed about the sport of drag racing so here is a little bit of information. In 1947, Wally Parks, a military tank test-driver for General Motors who served in the army in the South Pacific in World War II, helped organize the Southern California Timing Association and later became its general manager. In 1949, the Southern California Timing Association held the "Speed Week" in Bonneville Salt Flats, this event is what started "drag racing" or racing "against the clock" as some like to say. The first drag strip, the Santa Ana Drags, began running on an airfield in Southern California in 1950 and quickly gained popularity among the Muroc crowd because of its revolutionary computerized speed clocks. When Parks became editor of the monthly enthusiast magazine Hot Rod, he had the forum and the power to form the National Hot Rod Association in 1951 to "create order from chaos" by instituting safety rules and performance standards that helped legitimize the sport. He was its first president. (NHRA) Though police believe drag racing encourages illegal street racing, drag racing provides a safe legal way to race and actually discourages street racing.
The whole idea of drag strips being created is to provide a safe and legal way to race and to get people off the streets therefore discourages illegal street racing. Drag racing is a sport that has been around for years, legally and illegally. “The form grew directly from illegal match racing on rural roads by high-schoolers in the postwar 1940s-early 1950s. Teenagers, “souping up” their rebuilt cars, wanted to show off their mechanical skills. The most objective way was the standing-start race of two cars over an identical short distance.” (America on the Move) Drag racing started illegally but gradually citizens found a safer way to participate in this sport by buying land and laying down ashpalt. In the early 1950s promoters built legal drag-racing strips. With little investment, an organizer could lay just over 1/2-mile of asphalt in two wide lanes , add some bleachers, add timing apparatus, and go into business on sunny weekends. Local law enforcement authorities were pleased that such tracks gave the drivers a legal, and safer, place to race. “The first drag strip, the Santa Ana Drags, began running on an airfield in Southern California in 1950 and quickly gained popularity among the Muroc crowd because of its revolutionary computerized speed clocks. When Parks became editor of the monthly enthusiast magazine Hot Rod, he had the forum and the power to form the National Hot Rod...

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