Once again, nostalgic pay-dirt is found on You Tube. It’s a three part video that covers the 1968 NHRA U.S. Nationals from Indianapolis Indiana. In the first video, once the groovy musical intro subsides, we are treated to an onboard ride in a rare vintage front engine dragster. The mere roar of the dragster alone makes it difficult to not to replay this scene over and over again. The video continues with an over view of how the NHRA operated at the time, and ends with more tire smoking track coverage.
Video two starts with more amazing on-track action, then introduces the drivers and provides a chance to see Hall-of-Fame drivers in their glory days. It all starts with Shirley Shahan and her “Drag-on-Lady” Super Stock Dodge. Shahan was one of the first women to gain recognition and respect in the NHRA. She went on to succeed driving AMCs, and provided inspiration for women in all forms of motor sports.
“TV” Tommy Ivo was a former television child star who became a drag racing legend by match racing all over the country. Ivo is also responsible for helping an upstart driver named Don Prudhomme. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme went on to win 35 finals in funny car and 14 in top fuel. He is currently ranked third on the NHRA’s All Time list. Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen enjoyed a 45-year-long career with five national event wins, but is best known for his rivalry with Don Prudhomme. McEwen is currently ranked 16th on the NHRA’s Top 50.
The third video showcases Don Garlits march through the field to a final round win over Steve Carbone. Garlits is considered to be the father of modern top fuel drag racing. He also holds the honor of being ranked number one on the NHRA’s top 50 list. Garlits won 17 championships and 144 events.
The footage provides an excellent opportunity to go back in time and enjoy the machinery and people who shaped our sport. Plus, it’s always cool to watch some old-school burnouts.