Sport: The Sudden Irons

It was enough to give a motorcycle cop ulcers. On the slick asphalt pavement, the cut-down, exhaust-blatting hot rods stood poised for takeoff. Hunched over steering wheels, leather-masked drivers squinted through their goggles as the crowd shouted: "Stripe it, Chevy!" "Twist him off!" At the signal, the cars roared away—but not to the wail of a police siren. In Pomona, Calif., last week, the country's foremost hot-rodders were holding their Winternational Drag Racing championships before 39,000 cheering auto buffs.

Strip Off the Bumpers. Drag racing, that dangerous pastime of speed-happy youngsters, has...

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