Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 5, Page

What was the exact date of this?

PARKS: The first one was 1948. 

And it was called?

PARKS: Hot Rod Magazine.  Which everyone said wouldn't work.  But that's the great thing about the hot rod world, you don't know if things can be done, so you go ahead and do them anyways.

HART:  Just like old Mickey Thompson.

PARKS: That was the very humble beginning of that magazine and Pete with his diligence and his determination and Bob Lindsay, who fortunately had a father in the publishing business with a tail wagger, dog lover magazine.

Are you and Mr. Petersen the same age?

PARKS: I'm younger than he is.

I've never met the man. I mean, I work for him, but I've never even met him.

PARKS: I think Pete right now must be around 60, I should know exactly what his age is, but he is considerably younger than me.  I'm 61.  CJ feels the same way I do to, when somebody says what's your age, you just say, what day is it?  Some days I'm 40 and some days I'm 90.  I don’t believe in celebrating birthdays.  Who cares about that?  You're either here or you're not here.

HART:   That's the way I feel about it.

PARKS: Anyway, that's the way that publishing company started and nobody, very few people recognize what Peter's went through and struggled through. 

  How did it come about that you became the editor?

PARKS: I had this position as general manager of the SCTA, which was a very fascinating thing because everything you did was trial and error.  So, Pete and Bob, after

they got the thing started, neither one of them wanted to be the editor so they came over tothe SCTA headquarters and asked me if I would be interested in taking the thing and I told them I don’t know that I'm qualified.  I haven't had that much experience in the publication world.  I've been putting out the programs and stuff like that. 

Bob Lindsay said. “Look, we can go out and hire all the editors out there, but we happen to feel that it's easier to make an editor out of a hot rodder than to make a hot rodder out of an editor.”   I said, okay, you're willing to take a gamble on me.  So, in September 1949, I was officially named the editor.  I was contributing stuff and providing the Dry Lakes information and stuff from day one.

When did you decide…you know, what brought about the NHRA?

PARKS: Well, Hot Rod Magazine was instrumental in it, in trying to get the various timing associations organized into a group for everyone's common interest. We had groups that were using the Dry Lakes and groups up in the north and so we tried to get them united.  So, we spent a whole year going up to Oakland, meeting up there and at the end of the year, we couldn't even agree on a name of the organization.  And I was there, not as the SCTA rep, but as a magazine editor.  So, after a year of that, I went up and told them that we had been wasting all this time since we first started meeting and said I just wanted to let you all know that we are going to form a new national association and it's not going to be based on individual sanctioned groups or timing associations or anything.  It's going to be an open membership and anyone that wants to join you'll be welcomed.  So we went back and announced the formation of the NHRA.  Drag racing wasn’t our main motivation at that time.  What we were trying to do was get the car clubs organized around the country and find different kinds of activities that they could be involved in other than racing on the street.  We had the same goal as he had, except he used a method of setting up the facility and saying come run on it.

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