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Today corporations race each other, but there was a time when the biggest drag race publications sponsored big racing events. Certainly the sport's first king weekly newspaper Drag News was the originator with their Drag News Invitationals in the middle 1950s, but monthlies like Super Stock, Cars, Drag Racing, and Popular Hot Rodding got on the band wagon within a half decade. In general, these were not some small four- to eight-car, single class get-togethers, but full-on "national event" type confabs or gala pro shows.

Alan Green competed at Riverside in 1966. (Photo by Jere Alhadeff)
The first and possibly the most prestigious of the "magazine" (as opposed to newspapers) events were the Hot Rod Magazine Championship Drag Races, held from 1964 through 1969, at Riverside Raceway in Southern California. These were the equal of any NHRA national event of the time. A full eliminator slate and opportunities to set national records characterized the races for the contestants.

Undoubtedly, the chief impetus for hosting the races was exposure for the magazine. At first glance, Hot Rod (at least for the car show, drag race, Bonneville, and Indy Car racing aficionado) appeared to need no help in this area at all because it was the topper on the news-stands. Wally Parks was the first editor for the magazine in 1947 and helped co-founders Bob Petersen and Bob Lindsay get the book rolling to the point where it became one of the largest circulation performance enthusiast magazines.

However, you can never get too much of a good thing, and it came to pass that Hot Rod publisher Ray Brock and editor Bob Greene got together with NHRA and the two worked out a plan to host a huge prize-oriented drag race in the early summer of 1964. At the time, drag racing was a young but rapidly growing racing discipline, and it looked to be a natural to hook up with one of Hot Rod's founders and his organization to put on a big race, given the large and rapidly growing fan base.

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