NHRA Motorsports Museum releases historical videos

(December 5, 2021) Museums aren't just places to store old stuff, they're places to tell the stories that mean something to us using that old stuff as a medium. The staff at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum knows this all too well. A video series that curator Greg Sharp and racer Jack Beckman put together earlier this year tell fascinating stories of drag racing and hot rodding history.

The videos in the series spotlight cars in the museum's collection — influential and significant vehicles that went on to become legends in the hot-rodding-derived sports of drag racing and land-speed racing - but they also examine the people who made those cars great, people like Jim Nelson and Dode Martin of Dragmasters, Tom Woods and Fred Stone and all the others involved in the Stone Woods and Cook team, CJ "Pappy" Hart, and Art and Lloyd Chrisman.

It's not just Greg and Jack talking beside cars, either; the archive footage that punctuates each video brings each of these pioneers up off the page and endows them with vibrancy and immediacy. The videos are short, but taken as a whole, they're a great look at the history of hot rodding.

We have included a couple of the videos from the extensve series.

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, Calif. Operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The museum was created by a group of long-time NHRA staff members led by founder Wally Parks, for whom the museum was renamed on his 90th birthday. The Automobile Club of Southern California stepped in as the presenting sponsor of the museum. Steve Gibbs, now a retired vice-president of NHRA, led the team that reconditioned a WPA-constructed 28,500-square-foot  building on the grounds of the Fairplex to house the museum, which opened to the public in 1998.

Among the exhibits are one of A. J. Foyt's Coyote Indy Cars, Kenny Bernstein's first dragster to reach speeds in excess of 300 mph, the Bob McClung helmet and photo collection, a collection of Indianapolis 500 credentials and artifacts from early events in the history of land speed records and hot rods. Temporary exhibits have also been created to honor participants in hot rodding including Vic Edelbrock, Don Prudhomme, the 1932 Ford, Track Roadsters, Parnelli Jones, and the So-Cal Speed Shop.