Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



How to Get Involved in Auto Racing 1

Posted on June 08, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing is one of our nation’s most popular past times. However, if you’re watching Formula One or NASCAR, getting behind the wheel of one of those automotive marvels might seem entirely out of reach — especially if you’re just an average fan of the sport. While you might not find a place on the NASCAR track, there are still plenty of ways to get your fix and get involved in auto racing. Here are a few tips and tricks to start. 

Start Small

Don’t head into your nearest NASCAR track and demand to sit behind the wheel of one of their multi-million dollar race cars. At best, you’ll get laughed out of the stadium, and at worst, they’ll have you arrested for trespassing. Instead, consider starting small. Nearly anyone can do go-kart racing with a little time, effort and a small investment. Plus, before you buy your first kart, you can head to a go-kart track and try out the sport to get a feel for it. 

If you decide you don’t want to invest in a go-kart, or it just doesn’t scratch your racing itch, move on to our next suggestion. 

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The 6 Best Cars for Drag Racing 0

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Martin Banks

Drag racing is a unique sport. Instead of focusing on things like handling, a dragster’s sole purpose is to generate as much torque and speed as possible. These aren’t the kind of cars you take to the track on the weekend and use for your daily driving during the week. If you’re looking to break into the world of drag racing, the first thing you’ll need is an automobile. What are the best vehicles to use on the drag strip?

1. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

You can’t go wrong with the car Ford designed for the drag strip. The Mustang Cobra Jet debuted on racetracks in 1968 and then appeared again for its 40th and 50th anniversaries. Each of these incarnations saw a limited run. However, you might still get your hands on one if you’re looking for something made for the strip. Ford is even working on a new all-electric prototype — the Cobra Jet 1400 — that should debut sometime later this year.

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How to Get Started in Truck Racing 0

Posted on March 10, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing isn’t a word that naturally evokes images of trucks in your head. At least, it isn’t for most folks. Trucks do go racing, though! If your interest in motorsports centers on truck racing, you might not know where to get started. 

Like all motorsports, the secret to going truck racing is to get out and take the plunge. Many first-timers feel intimidated if they lack enough information about where to get started. It’s a big leap to start racing, so we’ve gathered a few good suggestions about how you can make your first foray into truck racing. 

Join the SCCA

As the country’s preeminent amateur racing body, the Sports Car Club of America will play a role in your racing career sooner or later. If you want some guidance on where to begin, there’s no better move than to join your local SCCA chapter. From there, you’ll get info about events happening around you and other motorsports-focused groups that you can participate in. You’ll connect with fellow racers, learn where to sign up and find out about the types of events you can participate in locally. 

Go to Rally School

Even if you’re not into truck racing, you might want to do this for fun. Across the country, driving professionals are opening schools on large farms and open spaces where you can learn the basics of rally racing. Will you be in a truck? Perhaps not, but the things you’ll learn about how to accelerate, brake and position the vehicle for corners on dirt will translate to your truck-racing career. In racing, robust fundamentals are everything.

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The History of Truck Racing 0

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Martin Banks

When most people think of racing, they usually picture NASCAR cars or horses running in circles, but there’s an entirely different breed of racing that has a rich and varied history. Let’s take a closer look at the history of truck racing.

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Smokey and the Bandit II

We can thank the 1979 sequel to Smokey and the Bandit for the inception of truck racing. The first truck race was featured in the opening scenes of this movie, taking place on the Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 17, 1979. The sport started as the American Truck Racing Association and transitioned into the Great American Truck Racing Circut when N. Linn Henndershott purchased the competition in 1982.

Most of the truck used in these early races were work trucks with tandem rear axles that still had their street tires attached. Truck races took place on both dirt and paved oval tracks, and in spite of the lack of modification to the vehicles, these trucks were able to attain speeds of 150mph or more efficiently. Read the rest of this entry →

How Racing Safety Has Evolved 0

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Martin Banks

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Former F1 pilot Hans Stuck is credited with one of the most memorable quotes in autodom.

“When I raced a car last,” Stuck proclaims, “it was a time when sex was safe and racing was dangerous, now it’s the other way around.”

Social commentary aside, Stuck is right. The advances made in safety for racing drivers over the last half-century have reduced the sports mortality rate by orders of magnitude, and even allowed drivers to walk away from crashes that at one time would most certainly have been fatal.

Even now, engineers and medical experts work tirelessly to continue to improve the safety record of a sport that is inherently dangerous. Let’s take a look back at how things came so far.

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A Look At Some Of the Weirdest Races in History 2

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Martin Banks

Racing is a pastime shared around the world, although the form it takes may differ depending on where you are. From NASCAR to rally cars, from cross-country to the 100 meter dash, we’ve found a huge variety of ways to race. Of course, some races are stranger than others.

Robot Camel Racing

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Camel racing in the Arabian Peninsula is akin to horse racing in Europe. It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and it’s fiercely competitive. The United Arab Emirates in particular has a strong camel racing community, but in recent years the tradition has undergone a transformation. In the 80s and 90s, it was common to train children as jockeys due to their lighter weight. However, camel racing is a dangerous sport, and injuries were common. That’s where the robots come in. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

      Read more »

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