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For the past year and a half I have been writing about the Nostalgia Drag Racing, mostly the NHRA Heritage Series, and I know that a majority of the coverage has been dedicated to the fuel car ranks. I think the reason for that is that nitro sells. It’s loud and brash and an attention getter. Everybody knows the sights, sounds, and feelings associated with the fuel cars, and it's like a drug that you can’t get enough of. That said, is fuel car racing the end-all and be-all of nostalgia racing? No, I don’t think so. This might come as a shock to many in the nitro ranks. There's another group of racers who are the backbone to this sport and who don’t get a lot of press or publicity, unless it's the type that comes from a devastating crash at the Hot Rod Reunion or March Meet. These are the racers of Group one and Group two, which includes A Fuel, Junior Fuel, and 7.0 pro, Nostalgia 1, 2, 3, the gas classes A-D, and Hot Rod.
These racers have long been supporting the series for many years. One of the most intriguing aspects to these classes is that there are such a variety of vehicles: dragsters, altereds, roadsters, funny cars, and a giant variety of door cars. A majority of the classes are index based, therefore racers build a car to fit that template of an index, and within the rules, which seem to be flexible.
These classes are where ingenuity, brains, gumption, and outside the box have their advantages, especially in when it comes to the Nostalgia Eliminator classes (NE 1, NE2 and, NE3). Mad scientists have a hayday here. If you can think it up, these guys can figure out a way to make it run. Take a flathead Ford, put a 6-71 blower on it, and then top it off with a set of three deuces, on alcohol, with a powerglide behind it, then put it in a left hand drive roadster… That may be a bit on the farfetched side, but not by too much.
Many of the classes are on an index which makes it easy to put something together and plan for a specific class. The only two non-index classes are the Junior Fuel and A Fuel classes. Those are, as one competitor put it, "First one with the largest wallet to the finish line wins," which is more like how today’s alcohol classes are conducted. Spend well into six figures to win a trophy and one tenth of your investment in prize money (a subject for another time). Not that they all don’t have many attributes, but the class that, to me, that has the most appeal is the 7.0 class. Seven second index, dragsters, funny cars, roadsters, altereds, some with blowers, some with nitro, just a great mix of cars. I think that if somebody had the resources, it might make a very interesting touring series. Great show for the smaller drag strips, in my humble opinion.
I guess that what I'm trying to say is that the next time you go to an NHRA Heritage Series Event that showcases these classes, or to the California Hot Rod Reunion, instead of jumping up and running to the pits when the fuel cars are done, go get a dog, a beverage, and go back sit back down and enjoy these other classes. You'll be amazed how well they run and how good the show is. It might be better than watching some slightly overweight mature gentleman with a buttcrack bending over while trying to pull off a cylinder head or something like that. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
In closing for this month, I would remiss if I didn’t mention that this is the month for the 40th Annual Pepsi Nightfire Nationals at Firebird in Boise. There shouldn't be a shortage of floppers at the Nightfires this year, headed by Tim Boychuk and a fleet of the plastic fantastics. The Top Fuel field is going to be the question. We know that “The Sherriff” Jack Harris will be there, as will longtime supporters of the Nightfires Jim Murphy and Mike Fuller (with Mindy Fry up), as will the over-the-top personality of Tony Bartone. Let’s hope that more of the quality fuelers show up for some of the best drag racing fans in the country.