In an attempt to trace the origin of when magazines first began putting on drag races, we were taken back to 1964 when Hot Rod magazine staffers Bob Greene and Ray Brock brainstormed the idea to put on the Hot Rod magazine Drag Races at Riverside International Raceway. The event featured the top racers from all over the country, including Big Show draws “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Connie Kalitta. The Hot Rod Magazine Drags lasted until 1969.
Other magazines followed suit and created their own events as well. Popular Hot Rodding started their own drag racing event in 1968 in Martin, Michigan, and although not part of the NHRA World Championship series, it was a Division 3 points race that was considered a “must run” event by many of the “biggies” of the era. Super Stock and Drag Illustrated jumped on the quarter-mile bandwagon with their relatively short-lived event held at York U.S. 30 Dragway.
With the exception of Super Chevy, magazines, for the most part, decided to focus more on the publishing business and took a hiatus from the rigors of hosting drag racing events. Hot Rod magazine fanned the flames once again in the late-’90s with the Hot Rod Power Festival, and followed up a few years later with the Pump Gas Drags, which spawned the highly successful Drag Week.
In 2012, the gearheads at Chevy High Performance magazine had the idea of bringing back the old-school feel but with modern excitement by putting on an annual drag racing event at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. They teamed up with the folks at ProMedia (NMCA/NMRA) to host the inaugural Chevy High Nationals. For those who missed last year’s hard-core horsepower celebration, the ProMedia-sanctioned event features all of the exciting LSX drag racing classes that racers have become accustomed to. And with the recent boom in handling cars being built, a portion of the pits were blocked off for an autocross course that attracted some of the top g-Machines in the country. The American Street Car Series-timed course also brought out plenty of first timers who took their Chevy-powered muscle car through their paces.
Feeding off the success of the inaugural event, the 2013 Chevy High Nationals, held the weekend of May 31 – June 2, attracted more drag race and autocross participants while the show ‘n’ shine area was capped with hundreds of the coolest muscle cars the South had to offer. With so much going on, spectators were busy taking it in all weekend, and we can’t think of a better way to get summer started off in the right direction. Welcome to the new “must-attend” event of the summer.
With Sunday’s racing being cut short due to a late afternoon rainstorm, most drag race classes failed get in their final rounds. Racing will resume at the NMCA World Street Finals held October 10-13 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. By the time this issue hits newsstands the final rounds will have been concluded. See the results at www.nmcadigital.com.