We came across an awesome video from the site Vimeo, that was taken back in 1973 at New England Dragway in Epping New Hampshire. It features some early footage with some of our favorites, Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, and “Jungle Jim” Lieberman. This is just a very cool piece of history that you have to watch, for some of us it brings back a lot of memories.
It’s not until you review the video, that you begin to realize how primitive and dangerous the race cars seem, compared to the cars that race today. Take a look at the crews working in the pits, there are no data loggers, no computers, and all the wrenching is done by hand!
We had to laugh when we saw the guy putting the oil pan back on with a Craftsman ratchet. Think about how long they spent in the pits tearing down an engine. It had to be hours between rounds. Even the early dragsters had to be pushed to get them started, that surely sucked up a lot of time between rounds.
There are two very rare interviews with Shirley Muldowney and “Jungle Jim” Lieberman in this video. She talks about what it’s like to go down the quarter-mile in a top fuel dragster, and what she thinks about during the run. Jim describes the fear and dangers of fire inside a funny car, and emphasizing how important it was to install fire extinguishers after he experienced a fire.
We also noticed the funny cars of that era were not equipped with the escape hatches like they are today. All in all, it’s a great video, and we wish we could find more like it. This is what drag racing was all about, competing and having fun before all the big corporate sponsors were involved.