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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Top Fuel, Grand American Style

By Pat Green

On the subject of AHRA... I have always thought that part of their downfall was the fact that they got the leases on several tracks and tried to run them. The Grand Americans were pretty successful, at least the ones at Fremont Raceway, but they didn't have enough talented people to do the day-by-day on a track.

I'm sure someone else besides me remembers the first Grand American they had at Fremont (late '60s, early '70s). As I recall, there were eight Top Fuel cars that were booked in to all GA's and then anyone else could run too. Well, there were a ton of T/F cars, but what was incredible was the number of spectators. Once the parking lots were full, people started parking along the roads from the freeway, all around the exit grass areas off the freeway, on the other side of the freeway, along the freeway, and were even taking taxies from the Hub Shopping Center in downtown Fremont. 

As I recall, they had something like 18,000 spectators. Garlits commented it was one of the first times he got out of the car at the turnoff and was congratulated by a spectator. They were lined all the way down to the turnoff roads (potentially very dangerous). The California Highway Patrol went nuts... They threatened to close it down because there was no escape road out. Heck, everyone wanted IN, not out!

It was an incredible race... The surrounding area talked about it for months.

Pat "Ma" Green


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