Between the publicity generated by the first NHRA national event the year before, the enthusiasm that mounted with each stop of the 1956 Safety Safari, and a weekend of clear weather, the second NHRA Nationals in Kansas City was an unqualified success. Over the long Labor Day weekend some 352 entrants, “representing most of the 48 states, and some prime winners who came from British Columbia and Hawaii, turned out to make this the year’s outstanding hot rod sports event,” said HOT ROD in its November 1956 issue’s coverage.
According to the magazine’s editors, one reason the event went so well was the amount of logistical planning that the local Kansas City Timing Association did to prepare for the race. They “worked relentlessly to make this event a complete success,” right down to details like having coffee and donuts available for entrants at the 24-hour reception area.
“Farther on down the road was the official registration and inspection station, established on a six-lane city street that had been officially reserved for the operation.” This is where the NHRA Technical Committee, with their brothers in the KCTA, “supervised the inspection and classification of all entries.”
Eric Rickman captured the scene at that registration and inspection station, offering a look not only at the long line of entrants queued there but also their various tow vehicles. Our main image appeared in the HRM story about the race.
That image, though, was the second on this roll of Rickman’s film. The first was our inset photo: this same scene, but minus the sign that explains what’s going on at a glance. It’s possible the KCTA organizers set it up after Rick got that first shot, but we’d like to imagine him dragging it into frame, staging the photo with a little creative license to get a better shot. —DREW HARDIN