When I was a teenager in the 1960's, my friends and I would spend Sunday afternoons at the drag races. We always went to Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey. It was a straight quarter-mile track, two cars side by side and the one with the lowest time is the winner. Anyone with a driver's license and a car could race. The cars were categorized by performance, then matched with equal opponents. My high school boyfriend at the time raced his 4-cylinder 1963 (or 64) Pontiac Tempest. Like I said, all you needed was a car, any car.
But then for the grand finale came the dragsters, they're called dragsters because the drivers 'drag' each gear to the limit. These were the professional racers who traveled the country. Some of the people I saw race at Island Dragway were 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits, Conrad 'Connie' Kalitta, Chris Karamesines and Shirley 'Cha Cha' Muldowney. I remember the announcer introducing her as 'Shiftin' Shirley'.