This Article is About
spark plug wires
finish line
winning side
personal story
Drag Racing Then And Now Part 2
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As I stated in a previous article going to the drag races was the most exciting thing in the World to me. I could not wait for the next week-end to get here! I would help my buddies work on their cars, we would wash and wax them so they would look sharp for the up-coming race. Those were the good times, I would not want to change a thing!

Personal Story

I remember one time when my friend Steve and I decided to change the spark plugs in his 55 Chevy, we pulled it up under a big shade tree (don't laugh now) pulled all the plug wires off, removed the old set of plugs and installed a new set of spark plugs. That's right we were feeling pretty good about ourselves at that point, then we started putting the spark plug wires back on, huh, they were all about the same length, oh well, we will just put them on a plug it should work as long as they are all connected, wrong, nada, no way, it ain't happening. That engine sounded like you had set off a whole package of Baby Giant Fire Crackers, it was spitting and popping and even caught fire a couple of times. WE had to swallow our pride and ask for help, our friend asked us if we wired it according to the firing order, man what is wrong with you, we don't even know what a firing order is. Since that day I have memorized the firing order of a V 8 Chevy engine (18436572) I have not worked on engines for years, but I will never forget that.

Finish Line Then

There was a man in the tower at the finish line with a flag, when the cars would cross the finish line he would point the flag toward the winning side. This worked just fine until the race was really close then all heck would break loose. All in all it worked pretty well. In the early years there was little margin for error, the tracks were not very wide and the shut down area was too short, but amazingly there were very few accidents.

Finish Line Now vs Reaction Time

Now each lane has its own set of timing clocks, it is not unusual to see a race that looks like a tie to the naked eye, then hear the announcer say that so-n-so won by a margin of 15 ten thousands of one second. I don't care who you are, that's close! The starting line reaction time (R.T.) is a huge factor in any race, example; Car A has a reaction time of .50 and runs a 7.35 in the quarter-mile, Car B has a reaction time of .75 but has a quicker E.T. (Elapsed Time) of 7.15. Who won the race? Let's break it down, Car-A has a R.T. of .50, Car-B has a R.T. of .75 so Car A was .25 seconds quicker leaving the starting line than Car B, that is a .25 advantage for Car-A. Now let's look at the E.T. of Car-A --7.35, Car-B--7.15 so Car B has a .20 advantage on the E.T, however, remember Car-A left the starting line .25 quicker than Car-B so Car-A won the race by a margin of ,5 hundredths of a second.

Pit Area Then

Some people drove their race cars to the track and others towed them with tow bars, if you were a well-funded team you might have a trailer, but most of them were flat-bed trailers. The pit area was usually dirt and grass with the only paving being the staging lanes. There was maybe a small concession stand available, but there were no awnings for the race cars.

Pit Area Now

Today's pit area looks like Corporate America, there are rows and rows of custom-built 18 wheelers that house the race cars and act as a mobile race shop. They contain numerous parts, complete engines, computers, showers and sleeping quarters. They are truly elaborate! The pit area is all asphalt, there are many vendors offering a variety of foods, T-shirts, hats, jackets and racing memorabilia, it is truly an experience.

I hope you have learned how racing was in the early years and about the importance of a good Reaction Time. Visit my site at nhrastyleracing.com I am still building it so please check back often.


Street Talk

Sal Falco  

I remember the days of drag racing on back city streets...yeah it IS different today. LOL

Reply
  about 4 years ago

i like this im in to car stuff to i had a 1990 chevy cavlier put in plantuim bosh kn filter high performance radiator it ran nice 0 to 60 in 15 min for four cylinder was nice working on stratus now

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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