National Hot Rod Association
In 1947, Wally Parks, a military tank test-driver for GM, helped organize the Southern California Timing Association and later became its general manager.
The first SCTA "Speed Week," held at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in 1949, was the result of a diligent effort of Parks, then its executive secretary. It was here that racers first began running "against the clock" - actually, a stopwatch - coaxing their vehicles to accelerate quicker rather than simply to attain high top speeds.
The first dragstrip, the Santa Ana Drags, began running on an airfield in Southern California in 1950.
When Parks became editor of Hot Rod Magazine, he had the forum and the power to form the National Hot Rod Association in 1951 to "create order from chaos" by instituting safety rules and performance standards that helped legitimize the sport. He was its first president.
NHRA held its first official race in April 1953 on the parking lot of the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif. Today, Pamona hosts the NHRA season-opening Winternationals and the NHRA Finals.
In 1955, NHRA staged its first national event, called simply "the Nationals" in Great Bend, Kan. Six years later, as the Nationals criss-crossed around the country to introduce the growing sport of drag racing before settling in Indianapolis in 1961. The Winternationals then became NHRA's second event.
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