There always seems to be a little confusion around the Meltdown Drags and the difference between “vintage” drag racing and “nostalgic” drag racing. I wanted to write a little something to help explain what it is and what it isn’t. Basically what makes the Meltdown different from other drag racing events.
Like so many other types of recreations or reenactments out there, this is specifically what the Meltdown Drags is trying to do for drag racing. A very specific place in time with very specific guidelines. This is sometimes where the confusion comes in because true “vintage” drag racing isn’t very prevalent in the sport. First a quick explanation on the difference between vintage and nostalgic or other drag racing events. Vintage drag racing centers around a place in time first and foremost. 1966 is that place in time. The guidelines used are from the 1966 NHRA rule book. Everything else surrounding it comes from what would be considered “historical reference” which equates to old photos, videos, magazines and those that were there. Trying to recreate history is no easy task. Period correct wheels, tires and speed parts are some of the most noticeable items on a car and also what can immediately determine the difference between vintage racing and nostalgic racing. So, in a nut shell, vintage racing consists of cars that ran then (in this case 1966 and older) utilizing as many period correct parts as possible and duplicating the “look” of 1966 and older. On a side note, nostalgic style racing involves those same cars just with a lot more of a modern twist to it.
So that’s when the rub starts. Why can’t I run these wheels or why can’t I have a couple Demons sticking out of the hood. Because vintage drag racing is newer to the sport there’s a lot less understanding of “why”. To understand “why” one can look to other recreation events to better understand. The Meltdown Drags is trying to reenact a drag racing event in 1966 (or earlier). As a comparison, Civil War reenactments would lose their allure if people were running around the field carrying M14’s while wearing fatigues. That’s why it’s not allowed at the Meltdown to hit the starting line with your car donning a set of Welds with white letter wrinkle walls and bouncing off a two step limiter. It would just become another drag racing event. Still cool in it’s own right but doesn’t have a place at a vintage drag racing event. The SCCA is another place to look. Specifically in their vintage road racing. While safety measures are ok, they still separate disc brakes from drum brakes and they apply limits to speed parts used in Group 6 (which to us is Mustangs, Camaros, Cobras etc.) The fans don’t like to see the guy with the most money just drive away from the field.
So why attend the Meltdown? Why run at the Meltdown? Well, on the participant side, if you have a car that is 1966 or older and it meets the criteria you can have just as much fun as every other person out there. There are no trophies, no cash to win. It’s not about who goes fastest. Sure it’s a blast to line up against someone and give it your all. But it’s certainly more fun to run heads up with someone motor to motor and not be worried about if they are spraying their way to the finish line. If your car runs 16’s and looks the part, bring it to the Meltdown! Many people have forgotten that there were a ton of cars running 15’s and 16’s back then. There were more cars running in “C/G” and below, it’s why classes were designated all the way down to H or something crazy! If you want to run that flathead or that Blue Flame 6, go right ahead. Why? Because THAT is exactly what people did back in the early 60’s. Another reason to participate in the Meltdown is because it’s all about you. You are part of that recreation. The entire event staff, all the give away stuff, all the raffles, the support from venders is all for you the participant. The Meltdown Drag Association is completely not for profit. It’s a bunch of friends that decided to do something different. 100% volunteer and we try to give it everything we have to make sure that every participant and attendee enjoys the event and gets to see something not done anywhere else.
Which brings us to why attend? Maybe you just like racing. Awesome, we got that! But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe your Dad, Grandfather, Uncle or heck, Mother or Grandmother raced back in the 60’s. If you want to experience what it was like back in 1966 then this is your event. With the largest field of vintage drag racers in the county there is sure to be something out there that interests you. Maybe YOU used to race or attend events back then and want to experience it again.
One of the other reasons to attend or participate comes down to the tribute that we do at the Meltdown. Our Veteran’s continue to make our country great and we celebrate that. People ask sometimes why 1966. ’66 was a pivotal time in the World and also in drag racing. Remember drag racing was still a very young sport and evolving very quickly. Month by month in a lot of cases. After ’66 racing started to look more of what we know it to be today. A lot of the young men running in the early to mid 60’s went off to serve their country and when they came back not only did the country look different but so did drag racing. Almost nonexistent were “run what ya brung” classes and many cars and setups that were competitive in ’66 were already obsolete. The cost to be competitive rose dramatically and many were off to find jobs and start families. So with all that in mind the Meltdown Drags picked 1966 as the stopping point. It’s a perfect time to recreate and to celebrate those who served our country.
Last thing. We are trying to recreate history, not rewrite it. While we do have a list of things your car can’t have on it, with the exception of some safety items there isn’t anything we require your car TO have on it. Racing in 1966 included all types of vehicles and they all fit into a class. So it doesn’t matter if you run a 6 cylinder with a push button automatic or a V8 with a 4 speed, we have a class for you just like they did in 1966.
If your car meets the criteria and you want to run, the Meltdown wants YOU! Just remember to keep that M14 and fatigues at home.
Meltdown Drags – RULES TO RACE
Non-Negotiables & Guiding Principles
The following rules are required to race at the Meltdown Drags! Cars must look like vehicles at a drag strip in 1966 or earlier.
CARS MUST BE 1966 or earlier – The only exception being body style change. Such as a 66 – 67 Chevelle, 66-67 Farilane, 66-67 Falcon, 66-67 Nova, 66-67 Chrysler products, 66-67 Mercury products etc. These are cars that with slight changes keep the overall previous model years styling. And it was possible that these cars could have ended up at the drag strip in the fall of 1966. This rule would EXCLUDE 67 Firebirds and Camaros.
MDA Wildcard – Every deck of cards has a wildcard. The MDA reserves the right to allow a car to participate that is to cool to miss the event. The MDA President and VP make the final decision. Respect our decision!
ALL DOOR SLAMMERS – Wheels are REQUIRED to be a reproduction or original 60’s style wheel. Moon disc’s MUST be the screw on style, GM 1st series ralley wheels are allowed remove center cap and trim ring to race. OEM style wheels are allowed. A wheel that is a Nostalgic wheel, such as a slat flats wheel or gasser front spoked wheel are allowed. ( See the ‘not allowed’ section below for more wheel details) If you have safety concerns DO NOT run an original wheel upgrade to a modern copy at the end of the day the look is what is important……SAFETY FIRST.
Moon disc’s MUST be screw on style and are only allowed as a one year exception. In 1966 the widest wheel that was made was 10 inches wide. All wheels must be 10 inches wide and tires cannot be wider than 12 inches.
No…modern stickers or lettering in windows such as “PRO”.
No…to excessively long wheelie bars on door cars.
Typical track safety items such as overflow can etc are required. Meltdown Drags Assoc. does NOT make the final call on vehicles at tech. They may point out safety concerns, the track Tech Official is has the final say. Please ensure your car is safe to race and YOU have inspected your car for potential issues PRIOR to race day. BE SAFE!
What type of equipment is allowed on my car………..
YES to…. tribute cars, or restored gassers, rails, altereds, super stock, hot rods, stockers, bikes, etc
YES to…. original / unrestored race cars, barn finds, running or not running – BRING IT.
YES to…. most front engine dragsters, does not need to be original pre-66.MUST fit the theme of the event.
YES to…. current built FED chassis as long as car/wheels fit the overall look and the car fits the event.
YES to….Edelbrock carbs, Holley Carbs, Demon, Stromberg repro, vintage style carbs. Injection, Enderle, Hilborne, Crower, and others that are vintage style.
YES to….reproduction finned aluminum valve covers, intakes, scoops, gauges etc.
YES to….GMC type superchargers new or old. Or factory equipped superchargers, example – Studebaker.
YES to….modern safety equipment, cage, helmet, belts, fire suit , modern scatter shields, slicks (see no section for slick criteria, wheel studs, drive shaft loops, engine diapers,
YES to….vintage paint, or recently restored cars.
YES to….rev limiters, electronic ignitions, MSD, alternators, etc.
YES to….modern scatter shields, slicks (see no section for slick criteria, wheel studs, drive shaft loops, engine diapers,
YES to….disc brakes front or rear.
YES to….crate motors, big blocks, after market Hemi’s.
YES to….pie crust slicks – Hurst, Towel City, etc.
YES to…. vintage drag bikes, we are looking for the look more than the year. NOTHING that screams modern!
NOT ALLOWED….What type of equipment requires me to remove it, or make a change to my vehicle. FAILURE to follow the rules will grant you car show parking ONLY, no racing.
NO….to any car that does not have the correct era wheels PERIOD!
NOT allowed….Showing up with a car that does not match the picture you submitted, meaning, I forgot to change my wheels. Or I forgot to remove my cowl hood, etc.
NO….Cowl induction hoods, bubble, snorkel, or clearly later than the 60’s hood scoop.
NO….Pro-street, pro touring, 80’s graphics, pastel paints, florescent paints, even if the car is 1966 or earlier but just does not seem to fit the venue of this event.
NO….NITROUS OXIDE – bottle NOT ALLOWED TO BE IN CAR, if your caught using it. Your on your way home!
NO….Turbo’s of any kind.
NO….Weld wheels, Centerlines, Pro-Stars, Super Tricks, or other Billet wheels that came out in 1969 or later.
NO….Goofy weird blower setups that do not look period or are unsafe and homemade.
NO….BILLET VALVE COVERS, unless under a closed hood, change them they look BAD!
NO….DELAY Boxes, stutter boxes, or other annoying electronic devices that makes your car sound like a chainsaw with a stutter. NO ONE wants to hear your car stuttering on the line while you wait to launch.
NO….to exposed modern engines such as Modern LS engines….unless under a hood KEEP IT CLOSED. NOT allowed in rails or altereds.
NO….to White or Yellow lettering on modern slicks……Hoosier, Phoenix, or Good year MUST have the lettering removed. Please remove them from the backside also. Youtube has a video detailing how to do this safely. Search Meltdown Drags. (we allow small old school type white lettering)
NO….golf carts after dark, track is now requiring that you buy a permit to operate it at the Meltdown, NO underage drivers.
NO….whining about the rules.
Please respect the track, the staff, the MDA, other participants, and others property.
Remember….the Meltdown is creating a specific point in time. We realize original race cars from the 60’s that were raced into the 80’s were constantly updated and modified to be competitive. Some of these cars can have slight alterations made to them to attend, some are to far modified and modern to participate. Please understand, if your car does not meet criteria this DOES NOT mean we do not like you or your car, it simply means it does not fit the event. The Meltdown is re-creating a specific point in time. Again this is a VINTAGE DRAG MEET, NOT NOSTALGIA the racing is not taken seriously, there are no prizes for who is fastest and no eliminations. The event pays tribute and homage to the guys who raced in the purest and coolest time frame in history, in our opinion.
Imagine going to a Civil War re-enactment and seeing hundreds of people dressed in Blue and Gray uniforms, with black powder rifles, looking totally authentic…..you then saw 2-3 guys wearing modern military camo and carrying M-16’s. walking among them. Now it’s not that you do not appreciate the modern uniform….it just does not fit in at the Civil War re-enactment. Same at the Meltdown Drags, there are a lot of cool cars out there that we wish could attend, but the people have spoken and they want the Meltdown to be as authentic as possible. PLEASE DO NOT be the square peg trying to fit into the round hole!!
The goal has been to give the event the feel from the grandstand that it is mid 60’s, so you truly feel like you stepped back in time to 1966.
The Meltdown is Not for everyone, if you want to bracket race, race for blood, money trophy’s this is NOT the event for you. If you want to meet like minded people, who appreciate history, pay homage, and respect what came before…..then WELCOME ABOARD!
We THANK the participants that ‘Get it’ and year after year bring the right iron and the right attitude to this event and allow Grandpa sitting in the stands to accurately show his grandchildren what it looked like when he used to race. Remember, this is and always will be more than a drag race.
Meltdown Drags …..where the guys go that GET IT!
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If you have a wheel question please ask. Here are some examples of allowed and not allowed wheels: