Smokin’ in the Distance

Digging through the archives again, scraping up some vintage images from the quarter mile. The venue: Thunder Valley Dragway outside of Marion, South Dakota.

The timeline was the early 1970’s. Having never attended a “live” event at a dragstrip until then, my only experience with the quarter mile had been through the pages of the car magazines I had digested. This, though, was the bone-shaking reality. I wandered the grounds and the pits freely, with never so much as a question from the track staff. I had even gone so far as to ferret out a (then-expired!) “Press” card from my local newspaper, just in case I might get tagged.

But that never happened. Trackside security at the time, it seemed, was a lot more relaxed. So I was riding high, just like those “big dog” magazine photographers, crouched with my camera next to the launching pad, bathed in the heady flow of cylinder pulses and tire smoke.

What I wouldn’t give to re-live those days. Enjoy the pics.

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