Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



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 →

The Difference Between Race Cars and Street Cars 9

Posted on January 13, 2016 by Martin Banks

Stock car racing got its name from the early days of the sport, when racecars were strictly stock cars from the factory that had a few performance and safety tweaks. The stock cars we watch today have come a long way from their ancestors, constantly improving and resetting the standards of racing.

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How do today’s stock cars differ from what you can buy from the factory? There are several major differences:

The Engine

For comparison, we’ll use a NASCAR engine. NASCAR engine blocks are custom-made, not modified from the original engine block. They do, however, share some similarities with the original. They have the same number of cylinders, the same base displacement and the same cylinder bore centerlines. Where NASCAR engines stand in stark contrast to regular engines is in the power – they’re consistently modified so they can produce the maximum.

One main difference comes in the NASCAR engine’s cam profile. It’s designed to keep the intake valves open longer, which means more air can be packed into the cylinders. More air and fuel is let in through the use of carburetors, unlike street cars, which mostly use fuel injection. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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