Drag racing, an acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles covering a measured distance, is probably as old as the automobile itself. As a legal and commercially organized sport, however, it began on Sunday, June 19, 1950. On that day at an airstrip near Santa Ana, California, C. J. Hart, originally of Findlay, Ohio, hosted with two partners the Santa Ana Drags. A year before that, in Goleta, California, a drag race was held on a closed-off section of road with approval of the police, but it was only a one-time event. The surge of returning veterans at the end of World War II, many of whom could afford an automobile and had a sense of adventure as well as a desire to test the performance of their machines, gave rise to street racing or "hot rodding." It was street racing, illegal and dangerous, which led to the need for safely organized events. Today drag meets take place all across the United States with some contests attracting upwards of 50,000 spectators. Although drag racing has become more professional and commercialized than in the beginning, many hobbyists still have the opportunity to participate. There are a multiplicity of race classes, each held to certain rules regarding the weight of the vehicle, engine size and modification, and body configuration. In any major drag-race event there will be dozens of class winners. Drag meets in the United States are sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA), or the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). These associations establish and enforce contest and safety rules. The NHRA, founded in 1951 by Wally Parks, remains the most influential drag-racing entity. The first NHRA national championship meet was held inGreat Bend, Kansas, in 1951. The measured course for most races is a quarter-mile, although some competitions are limited to one-eighth of a mile. The track is a straight strip made of asphalt or concrete. Race events usually begin with each class conducting trials; the 16 drivers with the lowest times are allowed starting positions in the official competition. After the 16 compete, eight winners advance to the semi-finals until the two remaining victors drag for the championship. The format and rituals of the race are generally the same for all race classes. In the "burnout box" behind the starting line, drivers will spin their rear tires to generate heat for better traction. Then on signal by the Christmas tree, the electronic starting pole, they will advance to the staging area and then to the starting line. The race will begin when three amber lights, mounted in a vertical row for each driving lane, flash in quick secession from top to bottom, followed by the green light. Should a racer start too soon, a red light at the very bottom of the Christmas tree will turn on, meaning automatic disqualification for the driver at fault. Most races, which last from five to ten seconds, are won and lost at the starting line for either "red lighting" or for not "attacking the green," respectively. Beware of drag racing addiction. It is just a powerful as any other addiction. Too many trips to the strip, track, and street has caused many couples some serious problems. There are good and bad things which you can become addicted to. Unfortunately, any addiction can pose serious problems. Gambling poses one of the biggest problems in the United States today, not because it's gambling, but because people become addicted to it and lose perspective on the important things in life. Alcohol, cigarettes, and other drug addictions are at an all time high throughout the world, especially in this Country. These are the most common and well known visual addictions. It's pretty hard to hide behind one of them, time will tell. The closet addictions (I call them) such as porno and other sexual addictions are much more difficult to recognize in people because you can't look at a person and tell if he or...
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