Story continues below this advertisement
have been quiet too long! During 2010, the debate and comments have raged. 1,000 feet vs. ¼ mile…Two wide vs. Four wide… Electronics vs. ‘heads up’…Nostalgia vs. ‘State of the Art’. It goes on and on. Here, in four parts, is my perspective:
PART ONE: THINK DEEP ABOUT 1,000 FEET!
Several months ago, DRO published an interview with Don Schumacher and Lee Beard. If you have not read this interview by Jeff Burk, please go to the archived issues for June & July 2009 and carefully read it.
When Don Garlits and Chris Karamesines were in their prime, top speeds for the ¼ mile averaged around 230 MPH. E.T.s for their runs were in the 7.00 to 8.00 second range.
Development, especially track preparation, has drastically improved performance during the last 15 years. It is not the same today as during the time of the Drag News Standard 1320. And as much as a ¼ mile purist may not want to believe it, back in the early times, there were tracks of all sorts of lengths in operation every week. I am talking ½ mile drags, 1/8 mile drags, 3/16th mile drags (actually 1,000’ minus 10’), and all for a wide variety of reasons, but not because of ‘killer’ 300+MPH speeds.
The comment Lee Beard makes about allowing the driver to begin the stopping procedure 320’ quicker is huge, given today’s level of performance. Read the article and really think about it.
So far, I have not read one post made by a licensed driver, asking about running the full ¼ mile again! They know what is best.
My first seven years as a track operator were at an 1/8 mile drag strip! It was a good track for its day, and because of our success, twelve more 1/8 mile tracks sprang up in the mid-west during the 1960s. No one died at Tri State Dragway, or was seriously injured there. When O.C.I.R. opened in 1967, during the first five years at America’s ¼ mile SUPERTRACK, four racers lost their lives
NHRA and other sanctioning bodies should ‘get off the fence’! Stop trying to do it both ways. Make Pomona in November the final ¼ mile record runs and start 2011 with 1,000 ft. for EVERYBODY! From Top Fuel to T/Stock, 1,000ft. is the new distance, period! Allow new records for ALL classes. Move the score boards up to the 1.000 ft. finish line,. Spectators can see better, drivers will feel safer, and the cost of racing will drop. It is WIN, WIN, for everybody! Next month: Part Two.
HALL OF FAME
Drag Racers who raced at Tri State Dragway
During the seven seasons of operation, the small 1/8th mile Tri State Dragway at Kahoka, Missouri, hosted appearances by several racers who were later honored by various Halls of Fame. They include:
DON GARLITS: Don came to Kahoka in 1963 to compete in our annual ‘Fall Festival of Drag Racing’. He faced the ‘Guzler’ in the final and prevailed with a new 1/8th mile record of 5.07e.t. at 158.76 m.p.h. Don went on to win more Top Fuel events than anyone in his time. He presently operates the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida, plus the Don Garlits Museum, a must see exhibit of drag racing history!