Pictorial: The Meltdown Drags at Byron Dragway

The 7th running of the Meltdown Drags was another very successful event for Byron Dragway outside of Rockford, Illinois. Run as a benefit for the track, the Meltdown Association worked almost every day in the previous year to make this as a success. As a joint effort by the track and the association members, the track is able to not just exist, but now thrives on an idea that started eight years ago. The first year was a very modest event for the association. It was paired with another event, with track officials unsure of the events attraction to the public. Looking back, it was a step forward into the darkness & unknown hazards of track management. Time has erased all doubts of the appeal to the racing industry & general public of this event. All over flow parking lots were full. It is a race of 550 plus cars, a huge car show and swap meet.

Spectators now come from around the world to the Meltdown Drags as a pilgrimage to a holy site. The track tries to create an atmosphere at the event that mimics the summer of 1966. By restricting the use of speed and technology that came after the time period, the cars will appear as America drag raced in that great summer of ’66. That saw the second year of funny cars and the nitro fuel cars were in full swing. Many novel ideas surfaced with multi engines, four-wheel drive burnouts, muscle cars were well on their way at every car dealership and dragstrip. Joe Public was able to walk into their favorite dealer and buy a 400 horsepower muscle car with a warranty. Straight axles were all the rage. Real racing slicks were becoming more common and over taking the re-caps of years before. It was an anything goes time period. The rule books were not inches thick. Regulations were at a minimum. People could invent new things and choose how they wanted their car to look. Freedom was in the air.

It was a time period never to be repeated in American history. Some have called it a golden period of racing.

The 2017 Meltdown will be held on July 14-16 at Byron Dragway. Be there or be square!