Drag Racing Story of the Day!
By Jim Hill
Before the development and use of digital
"clocks," drag racing speeds were provided in the round glass of
the Chrondek timers. You read those "Speed Trap" numbers and then
looked up the true mph off a printed "Speed Chart." The true mph
corresponded with the reading on the speed clocks. Clock operators always
had to relay this info, plus the ET and the car number/class, to the
"Time Slip" worker in the "shack" at the finish line.
When this was done the clock operator did a "re-set" on the
clocks, accomplished by pulling down on the ET and MPH toggle switches on
the face of the Chrondek timers for that lane. The other lane clock worker
A typical set-up had an announcer, a couple of spotters who looked up the
car class, number, driver info, etc., off the printed entry card, and fed
that to the guy on the mike and the clock workers. Working the clocks at a
national event, where there were 1,000+ cars entered (yep, NHRA used to
regularly have 1,000+ car fields at the really big national races like the
Nationals!) could get hectic, especially when they literally emptied out the
staging lanes for Stock, Super Stock, and Street Eliminator. Pair after
pair, another pair of cars leaving as soon as the previous pair cleared.
Worst were the Comp Eliminator cars, especially the Comp dragsters. Very
small numbers and class designations, hard to see and record accurately.
Some were written on the tires, in white shoe polish! Back then there were
no permanent numbers assigned to drivers.
I do miss those long, long lines of race cars.