Set the time machine back to the early ’70’s and check out a racing scene long gone never to return. This may as well been a thousand years ago as the world has changed so much. “Drag Racing – Sport of the People” is a United States Racing Team promo film and well worth the 8:42 running time as it’s as close as you can get to being in the belly of the beast of the golden years of racing.
The film features big name racers like Ronny Sox, Dick Landy, Bill Jenkins, Arlen Vanke, Don Grother and Mike Fons to name a few. Check out the footage of each of them tearing up the strip in their Pro-Stock cars.
Car spotters will go crazy here and not just with the Cudas, Challengers, Comets and Vegas but with the iron in the pits and racetrack trucks. Racing culture folks will get a kick out of all the cool ephemera, i.e. stickers, racing jackets, logos and promotional items.
Barbers were an endangered species during these years of racing as all the dudes have wild mops and burly ‘staches. The girls have mini skirts and go-go boots and we even get to see footage of racing “queen” Linda Vaughan hanging on to a gigantic um, shifter on the trunk lid of a Hurst rig.
The film was ahead of it’s time pitching unity through racing with all colors,creeds and socio-economic classes welcomed with speed being the common denominator. An interesting statistic claims 600 racing venues in North America and 70 million Americans paid admission to racing events in 1971…sigh.