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When I worked at DRAG WORLD in 1965 and '66, a totally independent newspaper before it was sold to the AHRA, I would write a weekly column. This is reprinted from Feb. 4, 1966.

And for you new kids, this was decades before the ballistic nylon blower diaper was invented. This was also back in the days when they would have more than 100 Top Fuel dragsters qualifying at Bakersfield, not like today's NHRA meets where they can't even come up with 16 cars to fill out the field. Sad but true. Now you know why we call 'em "The good old days." We were spoiled rotten with great drag racing in that era, but took it for granted at the time. And I'll never forget the sound of a blower going "WHOOF," with the following silence being broken by the shower and tinkle of chunks of aluminum hitting the ground around you.

cartoon by Bernie Shuman

Now, from 1966:
…And that brings us to this week's topic, which also marks the start of that famed 31 day period beginning February 5th. The famed "Spring Tour" officially begins this Saturday when the 3rd annual UDRA extravaganza gets under way at Lions. This meet is closely followed by the AHRA Winter Nationals, the NHRA Winternationals, and capped off by the biggest fuel dragster race of them all, the U.S. Fuel & Gas Championships at Bakersfield (which incidentally rounds out that 31-day period previously mentioned.)

The Spring Tour plays host to over 150 AA fuel dragsters, and competition, to say the least, will be keen. Qualifying at these big meets is really a chore simply because of the multitude of rails trying to squeeze into a few available qualifying slots. The key word is "lean it." That is often the ragged-edge road to qualifying. Unfortunately, a lean condition can have disastrous results, and because of the tough competition in qualifying and actual racing, we again welcome that glorious 31-day period known as "National Blower Explosion Month."

For those of you unfortunates who have never seen a real quality blower explosion, which usually occurs in the traps, words simply cannot describe the awesome grandeur depicted by a set of injectors being catapulted to the moon, or half a GMC rotor bouncing gaily down the strip. Mind you, I'm not speaking of a mere cracking of the blower case, but rather a full fledged explosion, with that glorious showering of Van Hamptymann parts.

Actually this famed month kicks off the early contest in which all blower explosions are rated, tallied and totaled, and the 1966 champion is crowned. Starting and ending dates center around the UDRA meet, since that is an unbiased (association-wise) milepost.

Exactly who was the first fuel racer to inaugurate the precedent of total destruction of the blower case has been swallowed up into obscurity, but one of the first recorded incidents of greatness occurred when Art Chrisman blew his crank driven front mount while racing Garlits. This notoriety was achieved because not only the case disintegrated but the ducting was turned into instant shrapnel and flew for a reported 100 feet.

Another 1959 breakthrough came when Jim Miles lost the puffer on his '34 Ford coupe, lifting the hood some 150 feet in the air, with the blower under it. Some maintain that the altitude record must go to the team of Stellings and Hampshire for their Bakersfield effort which was applauded by the experts as really "a good one." Sid Waterman achieved immortality when Modern Rod Magazine featured a color cover shot of his car immersed in a ball of flame resulting from a popped blower.

And then there was the time the Chrisman-Cannon "Hustler" popped a blower, with an accompanying "shoestring" catch, as the blower was found nestled between the drag link and the body of the car.

One must understand that a truly great blower explosion is not the easiest thing to accomplish, as those who can't make the grade often blow the bottom out of their blower manifold without even twitching the actual case. Others, like Art Malone, tried to achieve blower explosion greatness but only sneezed them, resulting in a case separation but no altitude.

Yabsley and Mitchell are trying their best to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. They have lost a blower four weeks in a row. Unfortunately, they can't seem to get any further than simply cracking the case. Keep working at it -- as everyone is behind you boys.

With the sport of drag racing developing at a rapid pace, it is time that an accurate and handy scoring system for rating blower explosions was established. After many long hours of research by a competent panel delegated the task of founding a system for rating, the following stipulations for points scoring has been established.

Before getting into exact point scoring, a few introductory remarks are needed. The committee felt that the difference between day and night explosions had such different effects that a daytime and night-time rating system should be set up, as night explosions, where the vivid flames are easily distinguishable, are naturally more spectacular than the day occurrences. This puts the two categories on a par without competing against themselves, where night explosions have a definite advantage.


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