smalldrobanner.gif (3353 bytes)
page 5 of 6

Not only did the number of races increase, but so did the classes. At the 1968 AHRA Winternationals at Beeline, a heads-up Super Stock Eliminator class was introduced where model year (or close to it) cars such as 427-cid Mustangs and Camaros and 426 Dodges ran heads-up in a classification which would lead to the formation of Pro Stock. These high 10-second, 128-130-mph cars proved to be a big hit with the fans.

Jim Tice, Jr., son of the late AHRA president Jim Sr., recalled the motivation for the class. “The sponsors were involved in the more stock appearing cars at the time,” he said. “We realized that they wanted real heads up competition to set performance standards and to contest the other brands. So that was the idea behind what we referred to as Heads Up Super Stock Eliminator.

Gary Kimball, the first AHRA Heads Up Super Stock points champ in 1969, seen here at St. Louis a few years later.
Photo by Doug Heuton

“In 1969, we gave points to the class and produced our first World Champion (Gary Kimball) and we went even further than that. We also ran a GT-1 and GT-2 class which were also heads up and could be seen as "junior Pro Stock" or junior Heads-Up Super Stock categories. There wasn’t all that much difference between them. I remember that outside of weight and some minor modifications the GT-1 cars ran a single four-barrel and the GT-2 cars ran a single 2 barrel. Of course, the big Super Stocks ran dual four-barrel carburetors.”

Although AHRA ran Heads Up Super Stock (eventual Pro Stock class) in 1968, there were no rules published in their 1968 rule book. If anything, it was a showcase eliminator. In 1969, AHRA ran Super Stock as a full-on eliminator with the first race taking place at their Winternationals in Arizona. Below are the semi-finals and finals of this historic encounter.

The pro racers were not the only ones caught up in the swirl of activity in AHRA. The organization's bursts of creativity showed at all levels of competition.

As one example, there was a story at AHRA races about this time that a particular entrant had some unusual off-beat brand of car and wanted to compete at one of the national events. AHRA tech officials looked askance at the car, believed to be an Isetta 300 (although not for sure) and told the concerned competitor that if they didn't have a class for him they would create one on the spot.

This probably is not a myth. According to a Sept. 1968 Super Stock magazine, the AHRA Springnationals at Bristol, Tenn., had 413 (!) classes and 15 eliminators decided on the weekend. If you recall, AHRA first referred to themselves in their beginnings as “the only democratic national hot rod association.” Those numbers show democracy bordering on seeming anarchy.


page 5 of 6

Copyright 1999-2001, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source