Hot Rod Deluxe - - Where It All Began -

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

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