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History Mystery: The Night Drags of 1957

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Jive-Bomber, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,218


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Mystery: The Night Drags of 1957


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    LOU WELLS, Tim, chryslerfan55 and 2 others like this.
  2. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,617


    Maybe the flag guy is a NASCAR flagman and is "Moonlighting" as a flagger for illegal street racing! LOL! :D
    Deuces, rpm56, loudbang and 1 other person like this.
  3. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,890

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Neat photos. They may be night racing to gain access to a remote airstrip (or county road) that was closed during night hours. One pic has some older 'suits', possibly the local mayor, etc. so I'd guess this was well organized.
    Possibly, there was finish line lighting. In the pics featuring that nicely hammered 34, you can see tripod lighting set up for the spectator area.
    Possibly area NASCAR area officials ran or had a helping hand in getting the drag meet rolling as they had the means and contacts to make things materialize?
    Deuces and chryslerfan55 like this.
  4. Again, another set of killer images. I remember one of those images from that series of photos being used on a Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys album cover, "It's Time". I always thought it was a Big Sandy jacket instead of a NASCAR jacket.
    MI0001608172.jpg Drag57l.jpeg
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  5. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 481

    Stan Back
    from California

    If you think visibility was not up to snuff, you shoulda seen Colton with one huge Kleig(sp?) light. Colton was always an innovative place. When dragsters started going too fast and overran the strip into the dirt and up the hill, they instituted 3/16-mile drags. That didn't catch on, either (along with the boatless water skiing park right over the hill.
  6. 1929rats
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 596


    Regarding the Nascar jacket: There were Nascar sanctioned drag races and drag strips in the 50's and 60's. I've read (probably here) that Nascar co-sponsored "the Nationals" in the 50's with the NHRA. There were Nascar sanctioned tracks as well...closest to me was Niagra in NY. Great photos, I LOVE night-time drags!
  7. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,783


    I seem to remember the first "night race" for drag racing at Seattle International Raceway, was done with cars parked diagonally towards the finish line with their headlights on. Now, there's a single pole at the start line area, with multiple lights on it , that shines down track. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    Deuces and oldsjoe like this.
  8. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 9,996

    from Raytown Mo

    Reminds me of some of @travisfromkansas photos of the dirt drags at night. Love seeing all the hotrods shining light down the track
  9. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,735


    Applying today's standards to events in the '50s is futile. Times have changed, we have grown older and wiser and less willing to take risks. Looks like those kids were having a great time flirting with death and arrest by actually racing their cars...something we just don't do any more in this day of $50,000 roadsters, $50 car show entry fees and lawn chair "excitement". Gawd, what have hot rodders turned into...?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  10. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,974

    from Nicasio Ca

    Not your typical drag racing crew. Looks like some kind of big business/political/racing organization higher ups had a hand in it.

    kidcampbell71 and Deuces like this.
  11. To me,,, it was like,,,
    (Life Magazine Headquarters)Yea,,, we need some art photos of those kids and their cars,,, Send Hank over, he knows what to do,,,,
    Hank: so what we want is some of your local kids out where they race their jalopies,,,, we'll bring in some lights I got from the National Guard Armory,,, have the kids dress up in their Sunday best,,, can your city get this together??? This is Life Magazine!!!
  12. 59Tele
    Joined: Feb 5, 2016
    Posts: 128


    Who cares? A couple of '56 Chevy 265s smokin' the tires or more likely valve seals outweigh the concerns. Can't put a price on fun.
  13. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,112


    The pics are neat-o, daddy-o
    Deuces likes this.
  14. What 1929Rats said....
  15. rd martin
    Joined: Nov 14, 2006
    Posts: 2,288

    rd martin
    from indiana

    very kool. always like history of racing!
  16. Yes most N.A.S.C.A.R sectioned oval tracks added a drag stirp to get an added night of racing.

    The closeted to you @1929rats was Fonda just west of Albany N.Y.
    I will post photos latter.
    1929rats likes this.
  17. Fonda speedway/drag strip is about an hour north of me.
    The strip is still here, it is the black top in the infield.
    The start lane was by turn one and two. The arrows point to the remains of the dragstirp
    A Comp Coupe couldn't get slowed down, hit the banking of the oval track got airborne and hit the Cow Place.
    That put an end to the drag strip.

    They still run Stockercars every Saturday night, no longer N.A.C.A.R
    upload_2019-3-7_12-9-28.png upload_2019-3-7_12-10-42.png

    Shirley Muldowney's home track-
    upload_2019-3-7_12-11-40.png upload_2019-3-7_12-12-23.png
  18. Utica Rome drag strip (Arrow) Also N.A.S.C.A.R
    When the drag strip was active the Oval tack was 1/4 paved. Now it is a 1/2 mile dirt track which now run over the former drag strip.
    upload_2019-3-7_12-17-40.png upload_2019-3-7_12-18-9.png upload_2019-3-7_12-18-33.png upload_2019-3-7_12-22-58.png
  19. Big Bill France with the Suite and hat shaking hands
    blowby and kidcampbell71 like this.
  20. I will have to check my archives, but I believe this is from the N.A.S.C.A.R Nationals during speedways in Daytona.

    I seems like weather caused the days event to be delayed and run at night.
  21. oldfordnutt
    Joined: Sep 6, 2011
    Posts: 26

    from Modesto,Ca

    Ran at Kingdon drag strip 57-59 thought we were fast. Looking at E.T.s & speeds of today blows my mine.
  22. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,718

    from SW Wyoming

    The coupe in the PR photo looks like a freshly painted Modified, and I am inclined to agree with you.
    Andamo likes this.
  23. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,974

    from Nicasio Ca

    Thanks. I had looked him up but couldn't be sure.
  24. N.A.S.C.A.R. Sportsman/Modified rules (oval track) required the use of Stock steel roof cars 36 and up G.M. 37 and up Ford.

    Of course this was sometimes overlooked if car counts were low or if a car was winning too much the rule was suddenly enforced. I.E. Pete Cory at Fonda with a 34 Ford Sportsman. As well as the Kortary Bros. from Utica
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  25. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,093

    from Australia

    Looks like WW2 searchlights, two of those would light up the whole track plus some, probably easy to come by post WW2.

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