In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, drag racers will remember the 25th anniversary of the passing of Orange County International Raceway in Southern California. CompetitionPlus.com, in tribute of this race track legend, has resurrected a story penned by then Hot Rod magazine reporter Dave Wallace and reproduced at CompetitionPlus.com in 2003. - Editor
Drag racing was a far different motorsport back in 1967, when construction concluded on the original quarter-mile "Supertrack": a ground up drag strip project funded by a hard-to-believe budget of over $1,000,000. In 1967, drag racing was still struggling to shuck its notorious public image as weekend recreation for ducktailed juvenile delinquents wearing the inevitable black leather jackets and greasy dungarees. Our image crisis wasn't helped much by the typical quarter-mile, eighth-mile, or fifth-mile dragstrip of that era. A volunteer crew using plywood sheets and two-by-fours, period usually erected timing towers in a single weekend, then brush painted white. "Guardrails" often consisted of stacked hay bales, old tires, chain-link fences or nothing. Paved turn roads and pit areas, permanent restrooms and bleachers, and uniformed strip employees were still considered luxuries, if they were considered at all.