Muscle Cars

The Beginnings Of Muscle Car Racing: Racing 101

By  | 


By Mark Weisseg

Most of you gear heads have been to a race or at least watched it on the TV. Today you see big trailers, big teams and enough extra parts to build another car. But back in the first days of racing the driver was lead mechanic, water boy and had very little help. That was racing 101.

I have in my video collection a scratchy film of the racing that went on in Daytona way back when they did it on the beach.
One scene a car rolls over while making a sharp turn. The small crowd watching these fools race out onto the beach and roll the car over. The driver restarts the jalopy and continues racing. Obviously dangerous but it’s still funny.

Today, it would be a yellow or red flag and NASCAR would send out tow trucks, ambulances, a fire truck and it would take twenty minutes to clear the track. All in the name of safety. Now, I am all for safe racing but I tuned off NASCAR a while ago. I was one of those junkies that went to as many races as I could, spent tons of money and watched racing.
Then, cautions were thrown to tighten up the field and cars became all the same. It became very boring. So, I go to local race tracks now where it’s fast, fun and safe.

I saw this picture and I got a chill. This is what I remember. Guys racing on the weekends trying to break even with all the money they shelled out. They worked out of their own garage at home, scratched every penny to race and loved every minute of it.

Today, it’s all vanilla. Drivers worry about sponsors. The drivers need to act a certain way and interviews are boring. The only hope we all had at one time was Tony Stewart. He was the bad boy of racing and you never knew what he would do next. But, in the end NASCAR won and we lost. They tamed the tiger over time.

Just look at the grandstands today. Nearly empty. I recall going to Bristol in the very early 2000’s and you would be there with 161,000 of your friends. The seats were all filled and thousand were outside camping and listening to the race on the radio. It was an event just to go there. Hotels would double pricing, food costs were silly high and yet we all came. Today, walk up to the gate at race time, buy a ticket and go in. And NASCAR says everything is alright. Huh?

So, guys like me just stay away. Drivers become millionaires after a few seasons, nearly all the cars run one of about three engines and if they did not put ‘Camry’ on the front hood you wouldn’t know it was. But do I miss the old racing. If you found an advantage you used it. Today, get caught using anything not approved by NASCAR and you get fined, points removed and beaten up by the press. It’s like watching paint dry.
So, the folks who run the races say everything is fine. Have you ever turned on the truck series racing? It looks like they have 75 people in the grandstands. The minor league racing which at one time was called the Busch race is just as bad. They cover up most of the seats with big banners as to make it appear better. Big sponsors have left as they realized they do not get a return on the money spent. Now I see Target is leaving the Chip Ganassi teams. Target was one of the biggest sponsors and they made a business decision to move on. Can you blame them?

Boy, do I wish racing was what it was. Poor dead Dale senior must be rolling over in his grave wherever that is. ( it’s a secret folks) Racing is very different than what it once was. Sure it’s safer and that is golden. But, racing is a bore a thon now unless you go local.
There are great tracks all over the country that are small, run thin profit margins and put on a great show. I went to a dirt track race in New York a few times and had the best experience. They played the national anthem over the loud speakers and everyone rose to attention. The cars were loud, they spit up dirt and the grandstands were full. If there was a wreck they cleared it fast and got back to racing right away. The night went so fast because it was so much fun. That my friends is racing 101.

More Muscle Cars For Sale –


Donate To Fast Muscle Car
We spend a lot of time bringing you muscle car content. If you would like to donate something to help us keep going, that would be fantastic.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
The Beginnings Of Muscle Car Racing: Racing 101, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Signup To Get The Latest Muscle Cars!