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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Lizze Small Contributing Illustrator
How to help our Earth
April 12, 2024

Drag Racing

On Nov. 12, 2022, Fernie Kimball ‘25, India Wickers ‘25, my British dad and I embarked on a trip to Pomona for the National Hot Rod Association Drag Race (NHRA). Just an hour’s drive outside of Los Angeles, we indulged in inexpensive hot dogs, sported cowboy hats and listened to the loud roars of automobiles driving at indescribable speeds.

This drag race might not be the one you have in mind. It’s actually a competition where automobiles or motorcycles race along a track, two at a time. The colorful cars drive at an average speed of 300 mph and have airbags on the back that open up to slow down other cars. Drag racing was invented in Southern California during the 1930s, but didn’t become a commercialized spectator sport until after World War I, according to MotorCities. 

In 1953, the NHRA held its first official drag race in Pomona, California. However, around four decades later, the arena was remodeled with food trucks, grandstands and fan attractions after a 6 million dollar renovation. 

“I wasn’t really sure what drag racing would entail but as soon as we got there I felt welcomed by the lovely crowd of people, ” Wickers said. 

It’s important to note that drag racing is a male-dominated sport, and the majority of the crowd who watch it are men. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that drag racing is one of the only sports where women compete against men. 

One of the top drag racers in the world is Shirley Muldowney, aka the “First Lady of Drag Racing.” In 1973, Muldowney was the first woman to gain her drag-racing license from the National Hot Rod Association. She was also the first person to win the Top Fuel World Championship three times, according to Rookie Road. 

“As I have never been before, I didn’t know what to expect when I went drag racing for the first time but it ended up being an amazing experience,” Wickers said. “It was inspiring to see so many talented women drag racers doing something they are passionate about, even though the sport is generally powered by men.”

At the race, there were also rows of booths explaining the history of automobiles and small prizes to win by spinning a wheel. Our personal favorite activity was trying on military uniforms while holding bazookas at the “Sign Up for the Army” booth. Neither myself nor my company had ever had a particular passion to join the Army, but after meeting the amicable soldiers and trying on their uniforms, we began to reconsider. 

The most memorable part of our adventure was feeling the ground shake as the cars sped along the track, but my favorite part was remembering that my city has so much more to offer outside of my West LA bubble.

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Jade '25, Commentary Editor
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