High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing, 1950-2000


Dr. Robert C. Post

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High Performance is a dramatic, firsthand history of this daring sport, from the earliest “legal” drags run on rural airfields to the spectacular — and sometimes tragic — careers of drag racing’s most daring innovators. Post, a former racer himself, was an eyewitness to many of the episodes he describes. He has interviewed many of drag racing’s legends and superstars, such as “Pappy” Hart, who opened the first commercial strip in Santa Ana, California, in 1950, and Florida’s “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, the first person to define himself as a professional drag racer.

Post looks at all aspects of drag racing: the sport, the business, the means of personal affirmation. But most of all he explores it as a case study of technological enthusiasm, tracking the innovations that permitted racers to disprove on pavement the “laws of physics” authorities had laid out on paper. What emerges is a compelling look at the men and women who have devoted their lives to this extraordinary pursuit. In this revised edition, Post continues the story into the present, surveying the dynamics of the sport during the past decade.