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
Pat "Ma" Green