Here is a long story mostly written by others, but is full of info on how the sport of Drag Racing grew up. The red is me and the black is the pickup stuff. Jim Miller
I was looking through some old car magazines and ran across an interesting story titled "Hot Rodding's Big Merger" so I just had to read it. The story posed more questions than it answered so it was time to do a little digging to find out what the whole thing was about. The best way to do research these days is the old internet so off I went to do a little surfing. Before getting out the board and heading for the beach to catch a wave on my unknown journey through the internet a scan of the story was done so you could read it and see how it was presented in the August 1958 issue of Rod Builder & Customizer. The first wave I caught led me to the official NHRA Website. Here's what I found.
The NHRA and the Automobile Timing Association of America, which had been founded in 1953 with the same general goals as the NHRA -- the universal acceptance of the hot rodding sport -- became one on March 14, 1958, when NHRA President Wally Parks and ATAA chairman Arnold Maremont signed an official agreement of consolidation. With the agreement, NHRA became the single sanctioning body for drag racing in the United States and the parent organization of nearly 10,000 car clubs. NHRA's successful Charter Club program alone boasted a roster of 700 clubs.
So far so go maybe. The search continued and on Drag Racing Online I found this credited from Drag News in 1957.
What happened to the A.T.A.A.? Most of today’s drag racers have heard a spattering of information about the group, but very few know where it disappeared to. The Automobile Timing Association of America was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1953. Their goals were pretty much the same as NHRA on the West Coast. In 1954, ATAA ran the first of three ˜World Series of Drag Racing” at Lawrenceville, Illinois on the border with Indiana. The series was then moved to Bob Bartel’s sparkling new Quad Cities Dragway at Cordova, Illinois for the 1957 edition. These early ˜Series” were huge events for the fledgling sport, and drew hundreds of competitors from all across the nation. This did not go unnoticed by Wally Parks and his start-up NHRA, so on March 14th of 1958, NHRA & ATAA merged and ATAA was no more. Bartel, however, did not agree with many NHRA policies and no early ˜Series” ever ran under the NHRA banner. He formed another sanctioning body, N.A.D.S. (National Association of Drag Strips), which grew to include many mid-west tracks including Tri State Dragway, at Kahoka, Missouri.
After reading the above one begins to wonder if the public relations folks got both sides of the story anywhere near right. Not satisfied with one group says one thing and the other says something else it was back to digging and I found more stuff on Drag Racing Online that kinda points out that both organizations were thought of as equally important as in this paragraph from an Art Arfons obituary.
“.....Out of all the performers in the early to late 1950’s, no one stood out in the crowd more than Arfons. That’s because he ran an Allison aircraft engine in his rear-engined Green Monster dragster. Arfons won two of the three first Automobile Timing Association of America/World Series of Drag Racing events in Lawrenceville, Illinois, in 1954 and 1956, and set Top Speed of the Meet at the 1957, 1958, and 1959 NHRA Nationals.....”
Now we’re getting somewhere. So I went back to the water with my re-waxed board and found this report from the American Society of Planning Officials that puts the state of Drag Racing into a pretty good perspective. It is Information Report # 74 that was published by the group in May 1955 that looks at the state of Hot Rods, Car Clubs and Drag Strips at the time. My only observation is that the American Society of Planning Officials group were based in Chicago, where Arnold Maremount resided and that politics in Chicago always took place in cigar smoke filled back rooms. You be the judge.
Young drivers, because of inexperience and recklessness, have gotten a reputation as dangerous drivers. Statistics show that people under 25 years of age are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic accidents causing property damage and death. Automobile insurance rates reflect the pattern of recklessness among younger drivers in families with drivers under twenty-five, liability and personal property insurance premiums may be as much as 65 or 70 per cent higher than for families which have no drivers in this age group. Newspapers contain many stories of accidents in which young drivers have had or caused wrecks through carelessness, inexperience, or excessive speed. Nearly everyone is familiar with their discourteous driving practices, their "scratching off" from dead stops when a traffic light changes, the sound of roaring gutted mufflers. Fewer people are familiar at first hand with the "chicken games," but most have heard of them. There are two variations of the "chicken game." In the first, two automobiles line up side by side on a road. At a signal both start and drive as fast as possible. The first driver to fall back in the race is "chicken." The second version is even more dangerous. Two cars line up some distance apart, straddling the center line and facing each other.
Both drivers start and drive at each other as fast as possible. The first driver to swerve is "chicken." If neither driver is "chicken," the game may make the newspapers twice, in the headlines and on the obituary page. "Pedestrian poker" in which the object is to brush but not knock down the victim, and "crinkle-fender" in which “dents are encouraged but crashes are frowned upon“ are other games indulged in by speed maniacs. All of the bad characteristics of young drivers have been lumped together in the mind of the public as "hot rodding." Police are deluged with calls at all hours from irate citizens protesting the use of public streets for racing, objecting to the roar of engines in the night. Organized campaigns of strict law enforcement and punishment of youthful violators have been used in an attempt to control their mania for speed. Surprisingly enough, among the leaders in the campaign for traffic safety has been a group of young drivers, referring to themselves as "hot rodders," which has come to the police and other officials to request public recognition and support of hot rodding.
The rapid growth and spread of hot rodding is bringing the problem of large numbers of young drivers in souped-up cars into communities which have not faced it before. Planning commissions will be called upon to work with other city departments and civic groups in developing policies and programs to control hot rodding and bring order to the sport. They will be asked to find sites suitable for hot rod racing and to make recommendations on zone locations for drag strips. This report shows how hot rodding has developed into a popular hobby among adolescents and other young drivers and how, under the guidance of responsible advisors and sponsors, it has been changed from a disorganized and dangerous sport into an acceptable form of organized recreation. The report also includes standards recommended by hot rod groups for laying out drag strips and conducting safe hot rod races.
What is Hot Rodding?
Automobile enthusiasts make distinctions between different types of speed cars; distinctions which are not often made by the public, which tends to consider all fast automobiles operated by young drivers "hot rods." Actually, there are several different kinds of speed and sport automobiles: Hot rods - automobiles, usually designed for speed, built by an individual or group from home-made or component parts. Stock cars - automobiles in generally the same condition as when they came from the factory. Minor alterations may be made in the engine, chassis, or other equipment, but these cars are basically production models. Sport cars - small automobiles designed for high speeds and maneuverability, usually seating one or two persons. Most sports cars are of foreign manufacture. Custom cars - automobiles built from stock and specially made parts to the specifications of the owner, usually to show original design rather than speed. "Gook wagons" or "shot rods" - stripped down and gutted automobiles, often without mufflers, which have been modified to produce fast starts, noise, and speed, usually without regard to safety. Each of these types is designed for special purposes and each attracts a different group of owners and drivers.
A hot rod can be anything from a flashy roadster, beautifully finished with ten coats of lacquer to an unsightly combination of 4 wheels, chassis, and an engine, without hood or body enclosure. The one thing that distinguishes the hot rod from other types of automobiles is that it is built up from component parts and generally modified for speed. In outside appearance a hot rod may differ very little from a stock car; the differences are in the motor, the chassis, the suspension, and other mechanical features not visible from outside. For example, one hot rodder, in building his automobile from components, decided that his car should look as much as possible like a 1934 Ford Roadster. Using an old Ford as the basis for the car, he straightened out the body, upholstered the car. All modifications were under the hood. Here he placed a 1949 V-8 engine. Other modifications were made in the chassis, the wheels, the tires and other parts of the automobile which were not visible. The resulting hot rod was one which looked like a 1934 Ford but was, in fact, a much faster and more powerful vehicle.
Hot rods are designed primarily for rapid acceleration over short distances rather than for sustained high speeds. The most popular form of hot rod racing is the "drag" race in which cars are timed over a quarter-mile straightaway course. (The term "drag" refers to the changing of gears.) Usually two different readings are made: total elapsed time is used to determine the acceleration, and a top speed is determined by clocking the car at points 66 feet ahead of and 66 feet behind the end of the quarter-mile. Times are averaged to determine the speed of the car as it passes the quarter-mile mark. All races are run from a standing start and only one or two cars run at a time, depending upon the width of the track. The speeds attained in hot rod races are frightening. The National Hot Rod Association reports that in sanctioned meets; the highest recorded speed attained for the quarter-mile run was over 139 miles per hour. The record for the "dragster" (unlimited) class is 141 mph. Smaller cars regularly record speeds from 80 to 130 mph in drag races.
Who Are Hot Rodders? Although most hot rodders today are young people “high school and college boys” a number of leaders in the sport are older people, automobile mechanics, repairmen, and salesmen, as well as others interested in automobiles as a form of amusement and recreation. Hot rodding is an amateur sport; in order to compete in sanctioned events, the hot rodder must have a license certifying that he is not a professional driver. Trophies and scholarships, rather than cash, are the usual prizes at hot rod meets. For the devotee, hot rod races are but a small part of the hobby. Almost without exception, the true hot rodder has built his own machine, tested it, and taken it back to the shop for more work. A hot rod is never completed. As soon as the owner has finished his work or achieved his objective he finds that there are other things that must be done to improve performance. Building and maintaining a hot rod is an expensive and time-consuming job. Even a rudimentary hot rod will take months to build and cost several hundred dollars. Many owners have spent two or three years building their cars, and costs often run into thousands of dollars. For a high school boy, the cost of a hot rod is so great that he often gets a part-time job merely to finance his hobby.
In one New England high school, the football coach complained that he had barely enough players to field a team; many of his former players had taken afternoon jobs so they could buy parts for their automobiles. The teacher of the school's automotive shop said: "These boys all have part-time jobs to make enough to support their cars and girls." Hot rodding is today widespread and there are indications that the number of hot rodders is growing rapidly in most sections of the country. An official of the National Hot Rod Association estimates that there are now more than 2,000,000 hot rodders in the country and over 45,000 car clubs devoted to hot rod activities. This growth, from the small group of hot rodders in the early days in Southern California, has taken place despite the efforts of many local enforcement agencies to eliminate the sport. Today in several sections of the country hot rodding is accepted as a legitimate and worthwhile form of recreation, supported by public officials, police departments, and civic groups. Hot rod enthusiasts and police work together in many cities to promote safety among hot rodders and other drivers. It was not always so. Only within the past few years has hot rodding attained a status of respectability.
Hot Rodding in California
Hot rodding first began in California in the late 1920's, but for a number of years it was limited to a few people who held occasional races in dry lake beds or on country roads. Although hot rodders drove fast and dangerously on the highways, their number was so small that the authorities paid no special attention to them. If a hot rodder was caught for a traffic violation, he was treated as any other traffic offender. However, after World War II, hot rodding suddenly grew to such proportions that it represented a major traffic problem. Police departments throughout Southern California were flooded with calls from citizens demanding that the police stop street racing. Cavalcades of hot rodders, going to meets and rallies, stormed through towns, mufflers roaring, horns blowing. Traffic was blocked. Stories of wholesale raids on small towns by groups of motorcyclists had already received national publicity. Hot rods rapidly became a greater problem than most motorcycles. Sometimes groups of hot rodders blocked off streets, posted lookouts to warn of the approach of police and other traffic, and held organized drag races. Hot rodders banded together into clubs and pledged their dues to pay the fines of any members caught by the police. Most of the hot rodders were young, and as the sport became more popular, traffic accident and fatality rates among younger drivers soared. In one day of hot rod racing at Muroc Dry Lake, California, twenty-seven hot rodders were killed (Editor-I have never heard of this and the author of the article gives no data to back it up). On another night, Los Angeles County police arrested 187 hot rodders.
Attempts to Eliminate Hot Rodding:
Hot rodding had become a major headache for the public and law enforcement officials, but there was still no method of prosecuting hot rodders other than by standard traffic laws of the state. These laws were not effective, primarily because there was no way to handle the spectators who were watching but not participating in the races at the moment. They had not violated any laws and, therefore, could not be arrested. In 1947 the California legislature passed an act making it unlawful to participate in or witness a hot rod race. Temporarily this law was effective in controlling the problem. Hot rodders in a particular locality would be arrested, and for some time racing would cease, only to start again when excitement abated. The same drivers were caught time and again. While the law could be used to control hot rodding for a short time, it was obviously no solution to the problem.
California Highway Patrol Program:
Because a large number of hot rod races were conducted on rural roads in unincorporated areas, the California Highway Patrol was faced with the responsibility of enforcing laws against hot rodders and motorcyclists. Having tried all negative means, the patrol decided that it would attempt to work with, rather than against these groups.
The program evolved by the patrol was first used to control motorcycling. Briefly, it consisted of working with already existing clubs to promote safety. But the work was not limited to sermons. The advisers picked by the patrol from among its members were specially selected because of their interest in the sport and their understanding of young people. The advisers organized programs, helped arrange activities and made the members safety conscious. The program with motorcyclists was so successful in lowering accident rates involving motorcycles that the program was extended to cover hot rods, which had now surpassed motorcycles as a problem.
With hot rods, the problem was slightly different. Motorcycles, with their cross-country runs and hill climbs did not require special sites for their activities, but hot rodders, interested primarily in timing and racing their cars, needed a place to operate without danger to the public and with maximum safety for themselves. The answer was the creation of the "drag strip," an off-the-highway strip of pavement where hot rodders and other automobile enthusiasts could time and race their cars without interfering with other traffic. These strips were not sponsored or run by the highway patrol, but by local police forces and civic groups. The California Highway Patrol program, inaugurated in 1948, was in effect until 1953, when a new order from headquarters forbade members of the patrol from participating in any automobile speed events and prohibited their acting as advisors to any clubs whose chief purpose was to promote speed events. The groundwork laid by the highway patrol has, however, been carried on by local enforcement agencies and civic groups.
Local Police Programs:
Several local police forces, working separately and with the highway patrol, had developed programs in their own communities similar to that of the state patrol. Pomona, California, assigned a police sergeant, a hot rodder himself, to the job of controlling hot rodding. He became an advisor to the local hot rod club, organized drag races and other club activities. Finally, the city, seeing that there were no adequate facilities for drag racing, built an asphalt strip on the Los Angeles county fairgrounds parking lot. The local hot rod club signed an agreement to pay back from dues and admissions collected at races the city's original investment of more than $5,000. Los Angeles County, Pasadena, Madera and other communities, inaugurated similar programs under police auspices.
Effectiveness of the Programs:
Today there are an estimated 100,000 hot rodders in California, and there appears to be little trouble with the organized groups. The following statements by public officials are testimonials to the effectiveness of the program of encouraging hot rodders: “The most gratifying result of this cooperative program has been the reduction in accidents and violations among organized hot rodders and motorcyclists. There is not statistical proof of a decrease in accidents involving hot rods, for accident reports do not ask whether a vehicle is a hot rod or its driver a hot rodder. But there are other indications.
Complaints from citizens regarding highway racing are becoming rare. News stories concerning joyriding hot rodders are more infrequent. More and more speed enthusiasts are coming into our organized fold where they will be exposed and more susceptible to safety programs such as the Patrol's. If it were possible to make an accurate statistical survey, it would probably be disclosed that in proportion to their numbers, hot rodders are one of the safest groups which make up the motoring public. An average of more than 10 persons a day die in traffic accidents in California; hot rodders are seldom on the casualty lists.” (From The California Hot Rod & Motorcycle Safety Program, by the California Highway Patrol.)
Ralph E. Parker, Chief of Police, Pomona Police Department, in Living at Peace with the Hot Rodder, on page 103 of the Transactions of the forty-first National Safety Congress in 1953, says: “The hot rodders have become a forceful group for the promoting of a sound safety program throughout the community. Their spirit and desire to be helpful have accrued to the benefit of everyone. The energy of this youthful group has been channeled along sound and progressive lines. It can be proudly stated that through the cooperative program carried on between the hot rodders and the local police department, there has been a sharp decline in accidents involving the younger drivers. Also, the nightly calls received by the police from complaining citizens concerning racing hot rods on the city streets have become practically non-existent and are usually the work of those who have no knowledge of the program. The alliance between the police and hot rodder has caused the young drivers to use more consideration in their driving habits toward the public, and the public has responded by taking a marked interest in the hot rod program and is reflected in the attendance at the "Drag Races" held each Sunday on a well-planned and police-supervised drag strip. The hot rodder is no longer a problem in Pomona. He is part of a program.”
Another testimonial is the acceptance of hot rodding by groups dealing with juvenile delinquency. In May 1954, a special committee of the Federation of Community Coordinating Councils of Los Angeles County completed a study of hot rodding and came to the conclusion that properly conducted hot rodding programs have been an effective means of combating juvenile delinquency and lowering the number of traffic accidents and fatalities among young drivers. The Federation, composed of all agencies dealing with juvenile delinquency in Los Angeles County, suggested the active participation of these agencies in hot rodding. The following is the resolution adopted by the special committee of the Federation: “WHEREAS hot rodding is an accepted national sport in the field of recreation. WHEREAS numerous studies have revealed a reduction of traffic accidents and violations among individuals participating in car club activities. WHEREAS social behavior of the hot rod enthusiasts has been substantially improved in those communities which have recognized and supported organized car club activities. THEREFORE the Special Committee empowered by the Federation to study information concerning Hot Rods, Car Clubs and Drag Strips hereby recommends that the Federation of Community Coordinating Councils inform local councils of the high degree of interest in car clubs and encourage them to recognize and support car club activities in cooperation with existing agencies.”
Spread of Hot Rodding:
Although hot rodding is relatively new in areas outside California, it has spread rapidly to other sections of the country despite the efforts of many communities to suppress the sport. The hot rodders learned that they had to overcome the effects of the bad publicity their hobby had received in its earlier days. The result has been an active publicity campaign carried on by both national associations and local hot rod clubs. This program has consisted chiefly of:
1) An organized campaign of courtesy. A number of local clubs have adopted a policy that all members stop and assist motorists stalled or stranded on the highways. If there is a tire to be fixed, the hot rodder fixes it; if there is motor trouble, he will try to fix it; if the car is stuck, the hot rodder will tow it without charge. After the car has been repaired and is ready to run, the hot rodder presents a card to the motorist stating that this is part of his club's policy of promoting courtesy and safety on the roads.
2) A strong stand on automotive safety. Members of hot rod clubs, in addition to enforcing strict regulations upon members, offer to speak on safety to any group interested in the subject. Often courses on safe and courteous driving are given to new members.
3) A policy of going to the police and other public authorities requesting assistance in running the club and in setting up a drag strip. In return for this help, the hot rodders promise to obey all safety regulations and race their cars only on authorized strips.
4) Publicity given to the cost of their automobiles. Many of the automobiles cost several hundred or thousand dollars for parts alone; time is never counted. The hot rodder argues: "I've invested $3,000 in my hot rod. Do you think I'm going out and wrap it around a tree?"
5) Promotion of a better understanding of the hobby. One of the most widely used methods for popularizing the sport is the hot rod exhibit where the automobiles are displayed and the builders are given the opportunity to answer questions about their cars and demonstrate their mechanical, rather than driving ability.
In short, hot rodders have attempted to present themselves as serious technicians whose chief purposes are to gain an understanding of automobiles, to develop their ideas, apply them to their cars, and test them under safe conditions on drag strips. The program has been largely successful. Police departments in a number of cities cooperate with hot rod clubs; civic organizations underwrite the clubs' expenses and often provide drag strips. The president of the National Hot Rod Association reported that in only one of the cities visited during a tour of drag strips throughout the country was there any opposition to organized drag races and hot rod clubs from police officials. In this city, the hot rod races were sponsored by the county sheriff's office.
The hot rod movement has received support from local officials and from national groups. Among others, the National Safety Council has declared itself in favor of publicly supported hot rod clubs and drag strips as a means of reducing traffic dangers caused by speeding young drivers. Ned Dearborn, president of the Council, recently made the following statement on the subject: “...hot rodding offers a challenge to young people and to adults to conduct the sport along such lines that lives and property are not endangered. A number of localities have demonstrated that this can be done. The key is the development of attitudes that lead to respect for others and a desire to share the privilege of the use of the highway, plus the provision of a few facilities.”
Effective means of achieving these ends usually have included the organization of hot rodders into a club which adopts a standard of performance and then polices its own members to compel compliance. Club activities have frequently included a "drag strip," or speed timing area, on which supervised speed runs can be made by one or two cars at a time. Abandoned airstrips or similar locations far removed from the highway are used. Cars and drivers are inspected, and sound safety rules are observed. Such operations have been conducted in complete safety.
Hot Rod Organizations:
Although formal hot rodding clubs are relatively new, in the past few years they have been organized on all levels, national, regional, and local, to work with public officials and civic groups in promoting safety among hot rodders and in developing uniform standards for conducting drag races and other hot rodding activities.
Two national hot rod organizations, the National Hot Rod Association and the Automobile Timing Association of America, have tried to establish standards for the sport. They have carried on active publicity campaigns among local officials, police and safety groups, and have, to a large measure, succeeded in providing a sane basis for local and national competition.
1) National Hot Rod Association: This organization, founded in 1951, is the older of the two national groups. At present it has a membership of about 25,000 hot rodders and lists more than 3,000 clubs as members. Among its chief activities has been the standardization of operations and safety precautions at drag races and the development of classifications for different types of cars entered in these races. The NHRA sanctions drag races and has been successful in obtaining liability and participants' coverage at reasonable rates for all sanctioned races. In addition to promoting races, the NHRA emphasizes safety in propaganda sent to members, clubs, newspapers and public officials. It also suggests many activities not involving speed for local clubs. If a local club is unable to obtain a drag strip, the NHRA will attempt to work with local police, officials, and civic groups to obtain adequate facilities. This organization also maintains a field team which travels through the country supervising drag races, talking with local clubs and civic groups, cooperating with local clubs in holding hot rod shows and exhibits.
2) Automobile Timing Association of America. This organization, originally sponsored by Maremont Automotive Products of Chicago as part of its public relations campaign, has operated largely in the mid-west and eastern states. In addition to sponsoring a publicity and public relations campaign similar to that of the NHRA, the ATAA has, in the past, sponsored a "world series" of drag racing at the Municipal Airport in Lawrenceville, Illinois. The safety regulations and competition classes suggested by the ATAA are similar to those of the NHRA and there is no basic disagreement between the groups on safety regulations and the staging of drag races.
Regional organizations such as the Long Island Hot Rod Association and the Southern California Timing Association have been active in promoting hot rodding in their respective areas. Members of these organizations must adhere to strict regulations on safety and courtesy on the highways and at meets. The LIHRA has worked with local police in promoting drag races and has brought the sport to a state of respectability on Long Island. The SCTA, operating under similar rules, has sponsored drag races throughout the region and, in addition, sponsors an annual meet on the Bonneville, Utah salt flats where hot rods are tested over longer distances than are possible on drag strips.
Local Car Clubs:
Most hot rod activities are conducted by local clubs. In larger cities, or in areas where there are large numbers of hot rodders, there may be several such clubs in the city. Usually these organizations have colorful names such as "Cluster Busters," "Road Runners," "Piston Pushers," "Dragsters," "Igniters." (Names such as "Sideswipers," "Hell Drivers," "Fender Rippers," once common, are today considered to be bad public relations, and no clubs bearing such names can become affiliated with either national organization.) The stated purpose of these clubs is to promote speed events and to encourage safe driving practices among members and other young drivers.
Most clubs have adult advisors who are familiar with automobiles but are also interested in working with young people. The advisor should be able to organize and assist the members in conducting a program. In a number of cities policemen have been assigned as advisors to hot rod clubs as part of their duties. In others, policemen have worked with these clubs on their own time and initiative. High school automotive teachers have also acted as advisors to hot rod clubs.
In early hot rod clubs, membership was limited to car owners who possessed a valid driver's license. However, experience has indicated that a club can perform its functions best if it is also open to those who don't have cars. Membership in the clubs may be limited in number and only those with "good character" are admitted. Fees and dues are kept low so that boys will not be kept out of the clubs because they cannot afford to join. In about forty per cent of the clubs, girls are also admitted to membership.
The chief requirement of a club is a permanent meeting place and, if possible, a shop area where members can work on their cars during meetings and at other times. A room in the local police station is sometimes used for a meeting place. This has the advantage of improving relations between the authorities and the hot rodders. High school automotive shops and local garages also may be suitable. In some automobile clubs, there is no immediate demand for a drag strip, either because the members are not primarily interested in racing and timing, or because they have not had time to get their cars ready for testing. In most cases an individual club is too small to support a drag strip, and usually, these strips are provided and operated by local timing associations rather than individual clubs.
While the chief purpose of many clubs is to promote drag races, most of these clubs realize that they must maintain good public relations. In order to do this, the clubs have established strict sanctions on members who violate the law or are involved in accidents. Members offer their services as speakers on safe driving to high school classes; no one complains more vehemently over flagrant discourtesy and unsafe driving practices among young drivers than do the hot rodders. Here, for example, is the statement of purposes from the constitution of a hot rod club in New York state: “To improve the safety and performance of automobiles, to promote safe driving, to help prevent racing on the public streets, to establish fellowship and good will among the members, and to establish and maintain a high standard of citizenship and behavior at all times.”
Safety is given more than lip service:
For example, clubs will conduct regular safety inspections of all members' cars, and if a vehicle does not meet state safety requirements, the member is forced to correct the fault. If proper repairs are not made, the member is subject to a fine or suspension or expulsion from the club. If a member is arrested for a traffic violation, he may be fined, suspended or expelled, depending upon the seriousness of the offense. This part of the program has paid off for many clubs â€” it is common to see clubs report that in three years there have been no members arrested for a moving violation, or that over a period of time no member has been involved in an accident. In a number of clubs the members cooperate to build a car to be entered in local and regional meets in the name of the club. A club car is considered an important project because it can bring the club good publicity in a drag race. In addition, it gives members who do not own a car an opportunity to work on a car during workshop meetings.
Because some club members may not be particularly interested in racing and timing, most hot rod and car clubs have a number of other activities. Club members also believe that the public will approve of their organization if the sponsorship of drag races is but one of its activities. Some of these are specifically designed to promote safe driving, others are purely for amusement. Among the activities engaged in by a typical club are the following:
1) Economy runs - Clubs conduct long distance tests to see which car operates most economically. Maximum speeds are set for such races and any cars arriving at the destination of completing the circuit in less than the minimum allowed time are disqualified.
2) Reliability runs - The officers of the club and the advisor stake out a course and drive over it, observing all speed and safety regulations. The time for the run is recorded and sealed in an envelope. All of the contestants are then started at two or three minute intervals and a strict record kept on their time on the route. After the run is completed, the times of all contestants are compared with the official time, and the contestant coming closest to this time is declared the winner.
3) Safety Inspections - A number of clubs perform regular safety inspections for members. If trouble is spotted, the member must repair the car or face temporary suspension or expulsion from the club.
4) Library - The library usually includes technical books and magazines as well as items of general interest to the motorist; maps, descriptive folders of points of interest, history of automobiles and highways, etc.
5) Auto shows - One of the chief methods of arousing public interest and understanding of hot rodding is through public shows of the automobiles. Often automobile dealers are willing to sponsor these shows, and many clubs have made large sums of money from auto shows. Such a show might include competitions on spotting and correcting mechanical failures in cars.
6) Gymkhanas - The "gymkhana" is an obstacle course for automobiles. Such a course should include tests for maneuvering cars in limited areas, backing, turning, parking, and the like.
7) Club trips - Orderly motorcades to points of interest, the coast or the mountains.
8) Safety campaigns - Members of hot rod clubs are often active in local traffic safety groups. In order to establish and maintain a good reputation for their hobby, they are among the most vociferous groups in attacking reckless driving by other teen-agers in "shot rods."
Some Typical Clubs:
Hot rod clubs, when actively supported by public officials and civic groups, have been able to improve safety practices among young drivers. The result has been that hot rodding is now accepted as a legitimate form of recreation for young people. The following are typical of hot rodding programs started in a number of towns and cities:
1) Columbia, Missouri - The Columbia Motor Sports Club was started in June 1954 by the Columbia police department after a number of teen-agers had been arrested raiding a local auto parts yard. In less than a year, the group, advised by a local traffic patrolman, has grown to a membership of 100. Meetings are held every Tuesday, alternating business and workshop sessions. Annual dues are $2.00. More than $2,000 has been contributed by local businesses (including the auto parts garage) to underwrite the expenses of the club and pay the rent for the clubhouse, a converted hatchery. So far, the emphasis has been on rebuilding old cars rather than drag racing; when the question of a drag strip was raised in the club, only 16 of the 100 members voted for a drag strip, but the sponsors expect that there will be a demand for a strip in the future. Club members have been involved in only two accidents since the club was founded and only two members have received suspensions for traffic violations. More striking has been the effect upon juvenile delinquency. From 31 police juvenile cases in January 1953 and 39 in May, the record dropped to no cases in December, one in January 1954, and none in February. (These figures are apparently for the whole city, so the direct effect of the club may be questionable.)
2) Sioux Falls, South Dakota; In Sioux Falls, the "Igniters" hot rod club was formed after police arrested local hot rodders racing on the highways. While the city government was sympathetic with the hot rodders, it had no funds available to support a club, so the local Lions' Club has led a drive among local businessmen to raise enough money to provide a clubhouse, tools, and eventually to build a drag strip.
3) Kansas City, Missouri; The Kansas City Timing Association, an organization representing hot rod clubs in the area, has worked with the Kansas City Police to promote safety in hot rodding. At present, the association is attempting to lease a site for a drag strip in the Northeast Industrial District.
4) Glen Cove, Long Island; The Long Island Hot Rod Association, consisting of 450 members and nineteen clubs in Nassau County and Queens has sponsored hot rod races which have been supervised by a Glen Cove traffic patrolman, who is the sponsor for the Glen Cove Road Panthers. Until recently, a city street was blocked off for these races, but the association has recently acquired a drag strip specifically designed for the purpose.
5) Grand Rapids, Michigan; The Grand Valley Timing Association, which started as a local hot rod club, has, in two years, become a regional association consisting of ten local clubs near Grand Rapids. Members of the association range in age from teen-agers to a few enthusiasts in their fifties. The hot rodding program and drag racing has been actively supported by the police department and the office of the traffic engineer. The police sergeant assigned to the association reports that moving violations among members have been negligible. Although the organization has had some trouble in getting public acceptance for hot rodding, apparently the program of courtesy conducted by club members is paying off. The association is now paving a drag strip at an abandoned airport from its own funds, and local businessmen and merchants are furnishing a large part of the labor and materials at cost or a small profit.
6) West Toledo, Ohio; In West Toledo, the local Kiwanis club, recognizing that hot rodding had become a major problem in the city, invited the officers of each hot rod club in the city to a meeting at which details were worked out for promoting safety among hot rodders and other teen-age drivers. The club agreed to sponsor a drag race in the summer of 1953, guaranteeing insurance and police supervision. In addition to the hot rod program, the club encouraged fathers and sons to sign "safe-driving agreements" in which the youth promises to drive only when allowed to use the family car, to handle the automobile properly, to obey all traffic regulations, and to refuse to race other cars on the streets. Legally this agreement between an adult and a minor would not be binding, but both the municipal court and the juvenile court judges agreed to impound the license of any young driver who does not follow the conditions in the agreement. This action can be taken only at the father's request, through the legal authority of a father over his child, or when a violation has occurred.
Municipal Judge Geraldine Macelwane evaluates the program this way: “Results of a campaign like this, being negative, are difficult to ascertain. But there are a few easily recognizable facts from which we may draw some conclusions. No boy or girl who has signed one of the father-son, father-daughter agreements has appeared in this court on a moving violation. No father has requested that we impound his son's or daughter's license. The list of violators in Juvenile Court is growing smaller each Wednesday, although enforcement agencies are still zealously watching for teen-age offenders. It is apparent that the psychological impact of that agreement and the positive approach of giving the youngsters an opportunity to learn proper driving from hot rodders whom the youngsters respect as real experts is the most powerful means we have yet discovered to control that aspect of the traffic problem.” (Quoted in The Kiwanis Magazine, May 1955, pages 28, 46.)
Drag Strips and Drag Racing:
The most controversial part of any hot rod program, and probably the one element which keeps interest high in a number of clubs, is the drag race in which cars are timed over a straightaway one-quarter mile run. The drag race had its beginnings in challenge races on highways, but the modern drag race, conducted under supervision and controlled conditions guaranteeing a maximum of safety, is a far cry from its ancestor.
Many people, remembering the safety slogan, "speed is the greatest killer," believe that drag races should be outlawed and that public officials and police departments should not encourage them. Hot rodders, on the other hand, contend that these events are a safe and necessary part of a legitimate program. Wally Parks, president of the National Hot Rod Association, speaking to the National Safety Congress in 1953, summarized the hot rodders' position as follows: “Hot rodders are not pure scientists or researchers. They are inspired in their hobby by the zest of competition. When they create something, they want to see how it works. The by-product is usually speed. The indulgence of speed is the spice that stimulates them in their technical endeavors. We, of the National Hot Rod Association, insist that speed in itself is not evil. We argue that organized speed events, conducted under safe, supervised auspices, provide the answer. We point to what has been accomplished in California, Texas, New York, Ohio and other areas to prove our point.” (From Transactions, forty-first National Safety Congress, 1953, p. 101)
In 1954, the NHRA reported that in all drag races in Texas and on the Pacific Coast between 1951 and 1954, there had been only one fatality, and that had occurred on a track which did not meet adequate safety standards. In a recent letter to PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE, Al Davis, Executive Director of the NHRA reports: “We are proud to say that there have been no fatalities on NHRA sanctioned drag strips since our program was inaugurated almost a year ago. In over 100,000 individual acceleration runs or drags on NHRA sanctioned strips, there have been two injuries, one of which happened on the strip proper and the other occurred in the pit area. One of the chief problems in hot rod racing has been obtaining insurance for drag races at reasonable rates. Recently the NHRA has succeeded in getting standardized insurance policies for drag races conducted on strips sanctioned by that organization. In order to receive NHRA sanction all drag races must be sponsored by public officials, civic groups or by hot rod clubs and timing associations. In no case may these races be used for advertising or commercial purposes.” The following standards are required for all NHHA sanctioned drag strips:
Basic Requirements for NHRA Sanctioned Drag Strips
1. Paved Strip - 60' x 3,000' minimum, smooth surface condition.
2. Parking Area - To accommodate spectators and cars.
3. Pit Area - Completely fenced or isolated from general public.
4. Inspection Area - Double Lane, stocks and hot cars, pre pits.
1. Barriers - Adequate to protect close-in spectators or to isolate spectators at minimum distance of 50' from course.
2. Ambulance and First Aid - On duty all times during running.
3. Control Stand - Elevated, at edge of strip, l00' from start.
4. Timing Equipment - To clock top speed, elapsed time, or both.
5. Communications System - Phones linking control with finish line.
6. Public Address System - Adequate to reach pits, spectator areas.
7. Scales - Suitable for weighing cars, preferably platform type.
8. Rest Rooms - Should be adequate in number, convenient and clean.
9. Signs - Posting speed limit and prohibiting beer, wine or liquor.
1. Minimum recommended operating force; 16 officials, 2 police:
2. Inspection (3) - 1 for stocks, 2 for hot cars.
3. Weighing (1) - All except stock cars.
4. Classifying (2) - 1 for stocks, 2 for hot cars.
5. Number Painting (1) - All cars.
6. Pit Gate Operators (2) - 1 issues passes, 1 handles money.
7. Control Stand (3) - 1 Timer, 1 Recorder, 1 Announcer
8. Starting Line (2) - 1 Flagger, 1 line-up man.
9. Finish Line (1) - Observes, reports to Control via phone.
10. Track Manager (1) - Supervises, handles business details.
11. Police Officers (2) - 1 at Start Line, 1 at Pits & other area.
1. Adequate Public Liability and Property Damage coverage.
2. Hospital, Medical and Disability coverage for all Participants.
NOTE: Drag Strip Insurance, underwritten by Aetna Casualty and Surety Company and The Indemnity Company of North America, is available to all NHRA sanctioned strips at low cost. Trophies, Scales, and Timing Equipment may also be obtained through NHRA at special discount savings. To apply for NHRA sanction, send a layout drawing of your strip showing dimensions of paved runway, pit area, spectator area and outlining operation procedures. Also include history of sponsoring group and copy of by-laws, rules, etc.
In addition to the requirements for the physical layout of the drag strip, the NHRA requires that all participants in drag races must have a valid operator's license and an amateur competitor's license. Drivers under 21 years of age must have notarized consent to race signed by their parents or guardians. All drivers of open cockpit cars, motorcycles, or closed cars having alterations must wear approved helmets, and drivers of all classes except stock cars must wear safety belts. All vehicles must meet a. rigorous safety inspection. (Safety requirements are included in Appendix A on page 24 of this report.)
The expense of grading and surfacing a 3,000 foot strip with asphalt or concrete has usually precluded the construction of special drag strips. In Chicago the ATAA found an abandoned unpaved air strip but was unable to find a sponsor willing to pay the cost of paving; over $18,000. In most cases drag strips have been developed at abandoned airports or on private roads where the expenses of improving and fencing the site are not too high. Local clubs, timing associations, or club sponsors have usually been willing to lease their sites so long as the rentals are not excessive. The federal government has occasionally leased abandoned air fields to local hot rod groups. In at least one case, Pomona, California, the city has paid for paving a drag strip and has been repaid by the hot rod club from entrance fees and admission charges.
Unless a local sponsor is willing to spend the money needed to build a drag strip specially for hot rod racing, drag racing must be confined to existing facilities that can be adapted to the sport. In some cities where no other suitable site can be found, drag races have been conducted on public streets which have been blocked off by the police. Only those streets with limited access and removed from residential areas are appropriate, and if the width is less than the recommended sixty-foot minimum, timing should be limited to one car at a time instead of two.
Popularity of Drag Racing:
Wherever authorized drag races have been publicized, they have attracted participants from distant states as well as the surrounding areas. These races also draw large crowds of spectators. In Livonia, Michigan, for example, monthly races during the summer attracted between 100 and 130 cars for each meet and crowds of from 5,000 to 6,000; about 25,000 saw drag races during the season. The Lawrenceville, Illinois, "Worlds' Fair" attracted 150 drivers from states from Maryland to California, and between 7,000 and 10,000 spectators. An unpublicized meet in Toledo, Ohio, drew about 10,000 spectators. Similar crowds were reported for meets in Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Texas, and Ohio. In California, crowds of 10,000 are not uncommon. Even allowing for exaggeration in the estimated sizes of crowds, drag races have proved popular with the public.
Site Layout - Drag Strip. Typical drag strip layout (from Layout suggested by National Hot Rod Association)
Since it appears that hot rods and hot rodders are here to stay, public officials who have not already been faced with the problem may soon have to decide what policy the local government will take with regard to the sport. Clearly the public streets and roads, designed for speeds of from 35 to 75 miles an hour, are not suitable for hot rodding. Yet, if some action is not taken in the early stages of local hot rodding development, it will probably get out of hand as it did in the late 1940's in California. In cities which have faced the hot rodding problem, successful regulations have generally been evolved as the result of a three-step process: first, while the number of hot rods was small, no special attention was paid to hot rodding and hot rodders were simply handled as any other traffic violator would be: second, special measures designed to control or eliminate hot rodding were passed, and the enforcement agencies attempted to stop hot rodding; finally, programs were devised whose purpose was to encourage hot rodding so long as it is carried on at specially maintained and supervised drag strips.
The first step, paying no special attention to hot rodding, proved to be unrealistic when the number of hot rodders increased to an extent that the streets were used for organized hot rod races. The second step, the prohibition of hot rods and hot rod races, has been tried in California and other places, but it has provided only temporary and unsatisfactory control of hot rodding. Perhaps today, through the use of radar and other speed measurement and traffic control devices, this method might be more effective than it was in the past, but it appears probable that even though the hot rodders are arrested and fined or sentenced to jail or have their licenses revoked, they will come back to the sport as soon as the pressure of enforcement eases up. The most successful approach yet used is that developed in California; the encouragement of hot rodding sponsored by supervised clubs and associations and the promotion of races supervised by the police. In general, where this method has been used, the police have found hot rodders to be cooperative and conscientious. Almost without exception, public authorities dealing with hot rodders have been impressed by their seriousness and acceptance of the responsibility of automobile driving.
The characteristic elements of a successful program already conducted are: The organization of supervised sponsored clubs for teenagers and adults interested in automobiles. The development and promotion of a campaign for traffic safety conducted through the schools and clubs. The provision of a club house where the organizations can hold their meetings and work on their cars. The development of a drag strip for testing cars and drag races. Such a program is, however, still only a partial answer to the problem of fast cars and irresponsible drivers. Such a program may not affect the driver of the souped-up "gook wagon" or the incompetent hot rod driver who is unaware of safe driving practices unless they can be brought into the organized hot rod program. Experience has shown that an organized program of encouraging hot rodders can provide a relatively safe method of controlling those drivers who are seriously interested in automobiles, who want to build their own cars and race and test them under safe conditions.
Planning and Hot Rods:
When hot rodding becomes a local problem, the planning commission may be called upon by the governing body to make recommendations for a local program and to find sites for drag strips. Because the question of hot rodding is likely to be discussed with more emotion than common sense, the commission must be able to support its program with facts on local hot rodding. How many hot rodders are there in the community? Is hot rodding a legitimate recreational activity and, if so, should it be supported by the government? Are satisfactory facilities available for hot rodding and drag racing? How is the program to be financed? The fact that hot rod programs have been successfully conducted in many communities is no guarantee that a similar program will be successful in others. Local hot rodders and the police must be willing to cooperate in working out the local program. Sponsors sympathetic to the hot rodder and willing to offer financial support must be found. Advisors, interested in the sport and who are able to teach safety practices to the hot rodder, are essential.
In the early stages of hot rodding, while it is still, in a sense, on probation, an attempt to provide publicly financed drag strips will probably meet strong public opposition. However, if the hot rodding program is successful in gaining public support, the community may find that eventually it should build a drag strip with public money in order to assure the continuation of hot rodding as part of a community recreation program. Whether or not the planning commission is called upon to make recommendations on the development of a hot rodding program for the community, it may be asked to find a suitable location for drag racing. Because sites for drag strips are almost always limited to existing airports or roads, there is usually little choice in their location. However, when there are several possible sites for a strip, the following considerations should be made to determine which site is best so far as the public is concerned:
1) Traffic - Crowds of 5,000 to 10,000 attracted by drag racing will cause some congestion on nearby streets and highways. The best site is that which has easy access to major streets or highways.
2) Parking - The suggested layout of a drag strip includes areas for spectator parking. Since most drag strips have no fixed seats or grandstands, zoning ordinance off-street parking requirements for stadia and other places of public assembly will probably not apply.
3) Noise - Because only one or two automobiles run at a time in drag racing, the noise level should be somewhat lower than for other types of automobile racing.
4) Safety - Pavement on the drag strip should be smooth and in good condition to offer a maximum of safety for the participants and spectators.
If a drag strip is accepted by the city as a desirable recreational facility, zoning should not present a difficult problem. If the existing zoning ordinance is basically written as prohibitive, drag strips will be permitted in any district in which they are not specifically prohibited. In some cities this may even be in residential districts. If the ordinance is permissive and there is no provision for drag strips, automobile race tracks or similar uses, the ordinance must be amended if the drag strip is to be permitted. In considering an application for amendment to allow a drag strip, the factors considered in selecting a site should be studied to determine the effects of drag racing on surrounding areas and streets. We have seen no zoning ordinance in which drag strips are specifically mentioned. Several ordinances do, however, make provisions for race tracks. In the comprehensive zoning plan for Los Angeles, California (amended to 1953) race tracks are first permitted in an M-2 Light Industrial District. In the basic zoning ordinance of Los Angeles County, California (1951 edition) race tracks are handled as special exceptions in quarry, heavy industrial and unclassified zones. Redondo Beach, California's zoning ordinance (1948) treats race tracks as special exceptions in all districts, and the zoning ordinance for the Maryland - Washington Regional District in Prince George's County, Maryland (1949) treats race tracks as special exceptions in C-2 General Commercial Districts.
The information in this report could not have been made available to our subscribers without the generous cooperation of the following persons: Mr. David Baldwin, Director, Traffic Division, National Safety Council, Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Al Davis, Executive Director, National Hot Rod Association, Los Angeles, California. Mr. Victor Perry, Public Relations Board, Chicago, representatives for Maremont Automotive Products, Inc., and the Automobile Timing Association of American, Inc.
I. SAFETY REGULATIONS
Required at Drag Races Sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association
1. INSPECTION: Each car, regardless of class, must satisfactorily pass the inspection of the Safety Committee before being allowed to participate in any NHRA sanctioned events. Vehicles found faulty during an event will be withdrawn from participation until suitable adjustment or repairs have been made and approved.
2. OCCUPANTS: Only one person will be permitted in any car during its participation in qualifying and/or elimination runs.
3. CREDENTIALS: Each driver of a vehicle entered in any sanctioned event must have a valid driver's license, subject to inspection by officials.
4. SAFETY BELTS: All open bodied cars, all closed cars having any body modification (i.e. gutted, chopped, channeled or sectioned) and all fuel-burning cars must be equipped with an approved type driver's safety belt in good condition and firmly attached to the frame, cross member or suitably reinforced mounting.
5. HELMETS: All drivers of open bodied cars, closed cars having any body modification (i.e. #4) and all motorcyclists must wear an approved type safety helmet while running on the course. Drivers of open vehicles not having windshields must wear windproof, shatterproof goggles.
6. ROLL BARS: All open bodied cars and all closed bodied cars having any body modification (i.e. #4) must be equipped with roll bars or suitable structure for protection of the driver in case of upset or collision. Roll bars must be at least shoulder high to driver and should be made of steel tubing (minimum 1 1/2 inch I.D. with 1/8 inch min. wall thickness), well fabricated and securely mounted, gusseted and braced.
7. WINDSHIELDS: Windshields on all competition cars shall be of shatterproof material; safety glass, Plexiglas or other suitable transparent plastic. Windshield and windows must be in good condition and must afford driver an unobstructed view ahead and to both sides.
8. BODIES: Each car entered in competition, regardless of class, must be equipped with some type of body surrounding the driver's seat. It must be made of some fireproof material, at least waist high, and must be so constructed as to protect the drivers' legs from extending out of the cockpit in case of spin-out, collision or upset.
9. FLOORS: All cars not having floorboards must be equipped with floor pans made of steel, aluminum or fiberglass which must extend the full length of the driver's compartment. Belly pans enclosing the engine compartment must contain suitable drain holes ahead of the firewall.
10. FIREWALLS: Each car in competition must be equipped with a flameproof firewall extending from side to side and top to bottom of the body. It must be so constructed as to provide a seal between the engine and the driver's compartment, with all unnecessary holes sealed.
11. HOODS: Each car in competition must have a hood over the top section of the engine compartment. Hoods must be constructed of fireproof material and must be securely fastened. Side panels may be omitted but carburetors must not be exposed, uncovered.
12. FLYWHEEL COVER: Any car not having adequate floorboards to protect the driver from fragments in case of clutch or flywheel disintegration must be equipped with a suitable shield made of 1/4 inch minimum steel plate, securely mounted to the frame structure.
13. FUEL SYSTEM: Fuel lines alongside the flywheel bell-housing area should be routed either outside the frame rail or through a 16-inch length of thick walled steel tubing as a protection against their being severed. Cars having pressurized or gravity flow fuel systems must have a quick-action shutoff valve in the main fuel line between the tank and carburetors, located in an unobstructed position within easy reach of the driver. All fuel lines and tanks must be firmly secured to body or frame structure.
14. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: Each fuel burning vehicle, other than motorcycles, must be equipped with a loaded, serviceable fire extinguisher which must be properly mounted on the inside of the car within easy reach of the driver.
15. IGNITION: Each car in competition must have an ignition switch or magneto kill button, in good working order, located within easy reach of the driver.
16. If VENTING: Each fuel burning, closed bodied car must be equipped with a suitable vent directing fresh air to the driver.
17. THROTTLES: Each car, regardless of class, must have a foot throttle. Hand throttles will be permitted only on motorcycles.
18. EXHAUSTS: Each car, regardless of class, must be equipped with exhaust collectors or stacks installed in such a manner as to direct the exhaust gases out of the body, away from the driver, fuel tank and tires.
19. CLUTCH: Each car in competition must be equipped with some sort of de-clutching devise permitting the driver to disengage the engine from the final drive unit.
20. WHEELS and TIRES: Hubcaps must be removed for inspectors, who will check for loose lugs, cracked wheels, out-sized lug holes, spindles, axle nuts and cotter pins. Snap-on hubcaps must be left off during participation in events. Tires must be visually checked for condition, pressure, etc.
21. BRAKES: Brakes on each car, regardless of class, must be tested for pedal "feel". Brakes must be in good working order with two-wheel hydraulic (rear wheels only) or four-wheel mechanical brakes as minimum requirements. (Strips having minimum stopping distance should require four-wheel hydraulic brakes.)
22. SHOCKS: Each car in competition must be equipped with one shock absorber, in good working order, for each sprung wheel.
23. STEERING: Each car's steering system must be inspected to determine its condition for safety. Steering gear must be securely mounted to frame. Steering wheel "play" must be at a minimum. Drag link and tie rod ends must be secured and keyed. All units on altered systems should be closely checked for insecure welds and faulty parts.
24. BALLAST: Any material used for the purpose of adding to a car's total weight must be firmly attached as a part of the car's structure. No loose ballast (i.e., sandbags, rocks, metal weights, etc., allowed).
25. PUSH BARS: Any car not capable of being started under its own power must be equipped with a suitable bumper-height pushing attachment. Towed starts will not be permitted.
26. DRIVE LINES: Any car in which the driver sits over or back of the rear-end quick-change center section, or in which driver is in close proximity with an exposed drive shaft, etc., must be equipped with a suitable steel protective shield made of 1/4 inch minimum steel plate, securely mounted in place.
27. GENERAL: All nuts, bolts and component parts on each car's suspension system, chassis and running gear must be secured with either lock nuts, lock washers or cotter keys. Any condition considered to be unsafe by the Safety Committee will be adequate grounds for barring a vehicle from participation in any NHRA sanctioned event until the fault has been remedied to the satisfaction of the Committee.
II. SUGGESTED BY-LAWS FOR LOCAL HOT ROD CLUBS
Prepared by the National Hot Rod Association
By-Laws for the ________________________
Name and Insignia
Section 1. This organization shall be known as the _________________________.
Section 2. The Organization shall have such official insignia as the membership may determine.
Section 1. To promote interest in various types of hot rod activities and to create an attitude of good sportsmanship and good citizenship among all its members.
Section 1. Any person of good character interested in hot rod activities is eligible for active membership in this organization with full privileges thereof.
Section 2. All applications for membership must be in writing and must be accompanied by initiation fee and dues in advance for the first year.
Section 3. All applications for membership must be sponsored by a member in good standing and names of all applicants for membership must be read at a regular meeting and applications must be accepted by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Directors.
Section 4. Any member may be reprimanded or expelled for violating the rules by a majority vote of the members present at any regular meeting or at a special meeting called by the Board of Directors.
Section 5. Any member may withdraw his membership by submitting a written request stating his reasons for withdrawal. He may be reinstated at his request by paying his dues upon return, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.
Initiation Fee and Dues
Section 1. The initiation fee for application for membership shall be ____________________.
Section 2. The annual dues for members of this organization shall be ___________________.
Section 3. The annual dues for members of this organization are due and payable on or before of each year.
Section 4. Any member whose dues are not paid by ____ of each year shall automatically be suspended from membership; any member whose dues are in arrears for a period of 30 days shall automatically cease to be a member. Notice of dues owing shall be given members by the treasurer not less than 30 days before date payable.
Section 1. The government of this organization shall be vested in a Board of Directors consisting of _____ members. (Note: Board of Directors should include the four officers and in case of large membership, above 40, should include one director for each ten members of the membership, but in no case to exceed eleven directors).
Section 2. The Board of Directors shall have control and management of the property and management of the organization subject to the will of the membership. Funds of the organization shall be withdrawn from the bank or banks, with which they are deposited, by the joint signature of the ___________, and ____________. (Any two officers).
Section 3. Vacancies in the Board of Directors or in any office shall be filled by vote of the Board of Directors. Such appointees to serve for the duration of the term of the individual being replaced or until the next regular election.
Section 4. The officers and directors of this organization shall be elected in the manner prescribed in these By-Laws and shall hold office for a period of one year or until successors are duly elected and qualified.
Section 5. A majority of the membership in good standing shall constitute a quorum.
Election of Officers & Directors
Section 1. Election of officers and directors shall be held at the first regular meeting after the beginning of the fiscal year.
Section 2. Voting for election of officers and directors shall be by secret ballot.
Section 3. Nominations for office shall be made from the floor and each officer elected in turn before continuing the nominations and balloting. (This is essential only in small organizations where good men are few).
Section 4. Nomination and balloting on members of the Board of Directors shall follow election of officers.
Section 5. New officers shall take office at the first regular meeting following election.
Section 6. Nominees shall be a member in good standing for at least 90 days.
Section 1. Regular meetings shall be held once per month or oftener as determined by the membership.
Section 2. Date, time and place shall be determined by the membership.
Section 3. Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held on prearranged dates selected by the Board of Directors or at the call of the President. At all meetings of the Board of Directors members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 4. Special meetings of the membership shall be called by the President or Secretary at the request of at least _____ Directors.
Duties of Officers
Section 1. The President, as chief executive officer of the organization shall supervise the organization's affairs.
Section 2. The Vice President shall preside at membership and Board of Directors meetings in the absence of the President and shall also work with the President on such internal affairs of the organization as membership, finance, and public relations. He shall also work on external affairs including project and committee activity.
Section 3. The Secretary shall give notice of all regular and special meetings and shall keep a permanent record of the minutes of such meetings. He shall be custodian of all records of the organization and shall handle correspondence as directed by the Board of Directors.
Section 4. The Treasurer shall issue notices of dues payable and shall be responsible for collection thereof, keep the books of the organization, disburse funds at the direction of the Board of Directors and the membership, and shall report in detail at least semi-annually and at such other times as directed on the financial condition of the organization.
Section 1. The Board of Directors shall determine the committees deemed proper and necessary to fulfill the object and purpose of the organization.
Section 2. All committee chairmen, vice chairmen, and members shall be appointed by the President, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.
Section 3. The President and Vice President shall be ex-officio members of all committees.
Rules of Order
Section 1. Roberts Rules of Order shall govern the proceedings of all meetings of the organization and its constituent parts except as provided in these By-laws.
Section 1. Delegations or special committees shall be appointed by the President subject to the approval of the Board of Directors to represent the organization at any convention, meeting, or assembly as may be necessary. Such delegations or committees shall exercise only those powers specifically vested in them by the Board of Directors.
Section 1. The By-laws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the members present at any regular or special meeting, provided written notice of the proposed action has been given each member at his last known address at least five days prior thereto by mail.
INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM HOT ROD ORGANIZATIONS
The two national hot rod organizations have prepared a number of pamphlets containing standards for the conduct of drag races and hot rod clubs and describing the activities of the national organizations. Most of these are available to anyone wanting information on hot rodding.
National Hot Rod Association, 5959 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles 28, California.
Operation Drag Strip
Outline - NHRA Drag Sanction Insurance Program
Basic Requirements for NHRA Sanctioned Drag Strips
Competition Class Rules
How to Form a Hot Rod Club
Suggested By-Laws for Local Clubs
NHRA Club Safety Check Sheet
"Why Hot Rod?"
The NHRA and You
Automobile Timing Association of America, Inc., 1705 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago 8, Illinois.
The Dragster (Periodical)
Your Answer to the Shot Rod Problem
Why Should I Join ATAA?
All this stuff is more than I bargained for in my search on the board, but at least we have an idea of how our sport went through its growing pains and became the "Show" that it is today. It's also sad that it grew up because most of us can't play in the sandbox anymore because it costs too much money. Jim Miller