NationalGeographic.com [an error occurred while processing this directive]


 
Feature
More to Explore

Did You Know?
Related Links
Bibliography
NGS Resources

ZipUSA: 29550 On Assignment

ZipUSA: 29550 On Assignment

ZipUSA: 29550
Step into the world of writers and photographers as they tell you about the best, worst, and quirkiest places and adventures they encountered in the field.

ZipUSA: 29550 Zoom In

Get the facts behind the frame in this online-only gallery. Pick an image and see the photographer's technical notes.

ZipUSA: 29550 Zoom In Thumbnail 1
Click to ZOOM IN >>

ZipUSA: 29550 Zoom In Thumbnail 2
Click to ZOOM IN >>

ZipUSA: 29550 Zoom In Thumbnail 3
Click to ZOOM IN >>



ZipUSA: 29550 Map

ZipUSA: 29550

Map Thumbnail



ZipUSA: 29550 @ National Geographic Magazine
   
By Lynne WarrenPhotographs by Maria Stenzel



In car-crazy Hartsville, South Carolina, whole families prefer the fast track—satisfying their need for speed at the Darlington International Dragway.



Read or print the full article.

Most days Darlington International Dragway doesn't look like much: battered chain-link fencing, coarse asphalt, and weedy dirt surround a few cinder-block buildings and two quarter-mile-long lanes of pavement. But overnight a miniature city has sprung up here along Highway 151 southeast of Hartsville, South Carolina. This is opening day of the three-day Lucas Oil Carolina Nationals, and clusters of motor coaches, tow rigs, cars, pickups, SUVs, and 18-wheelers, from as far away as New York and California, pack the grounds.
 
More than 350 hot-rodders will drag race this weekend, and hardly anybody came alone. Husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, grandparents, even pets are part of the scene. Drag racing demands a lot of time, says Kim Wood, whose family operates a high-performance auto parts business in northern Florida. "When we're not at a race, my husband, my son, my daughter, they're practicing at our local track, or they're in the garage working on the cars. The whole family's got to be committed to the sport, or it just won't work."
 
Car nut. Speed freak. Gearhead. They're titles of honor among drag racers. All the citizens of this temporary internal-combustion metropolis share a passion for cars, engines, horsepower, speed—and winning. "I like going fast," Kim's daughter, Lindsey, says, "but I like winning better than anything." The 20-year-old especially relishes beating men more than twice her age. "I'm a girl and I'm young, so some people don't expect me to be very good," she says. "But you earn a lot of respect by winning."
 
Hot rod passion comes with a hefty price tag—another investment that demands whole-family support. Jason Cannon's dad gave him his first go-cart when he was three-and-a-half years old; the horsepower and expense of Cannon family speed machines have climbed ever since. Jason's friend Will Hanna is his crew chief. "Every time we go down the track, it costs us a thousand dollars," Hanna says, "and that's if nothing goes wrong."

Subscribe to National Geographic magazine.


E-mail this page to a friend

Subscribe


Forum
Nominate your own wonderful, weird, or wacky choices for this magazine series.



More to Explore

In More to Explore the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Did You Know?
Think your car is a gas-guzzler? Consider this: The top dragsters at the 2003 Lucas Oil Carolina Nationals burned three gallons (11 liters) of fuel for their five-second run down the quarter-mile (two-fifths of a kilometer) track. That is two-thirds the rate of fuel consumption that a Boeing 747 passenger jet burns per second. And that's not all: The hot rods will burn another two gallons (eight liters) between idling before and after the race and "burnout"—when the drivers spin the wheels before starting time to make sure the tires have plenty of traction.

Not only do these hot rods burn more fuel than the average SUV, they cost more to fill up. Nitromethane goes for about $20 a gallon (four liters).
 
—Julie Cederborg
Did You Know?

Related Links
National Hot Rod Association
www.nhra.com
At the official website of the National Hot Rod Association you can read up on your favorite dragster's stats, learn about the history of the sport, and find out about a drag racing event coming to your hometown.
 
Darlington International Dragway
www.darlingtondragway.com
Want to race in Hartsville's Wednesday night Test-N-Tune? Check out Darlington International Dragway's website for a complete list of goings on at the track.
 
City of Hartsville
www.hartsvillesc.com
There's more to this rural South Carolina city than the screeching tires at the dragway. The town's official website tells of its rich history, its parks, and local events.

Top


Bibliography
Genat, Robert. American Drag Racing. Motorbooks International, 2001.
 
Genat, Robert. Vintage & Historic Drag Racers. Motorbooks International, 1998.
 
National Hot Rod Association. The Fast Lane: The History of NHRA Drag Racing. Regan Books, 2001.
 
Post, Robert C. High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing, 1950-2000. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Top


NGS Resources
Thompson, John. National Geographic Guide to America's Outdoors: Southeast. National Geographic Books, 2000.
 
Dash, Judi. "South Carolina's Freshwater Coast." National Geographic Traveler (March/April 1995), 76-84. 
 
Sass, Herbert Ravenel. "South Carolina Rediscovered: A Native Son Finds Spectacular Changes in the 'Moonlight and Magnolia' State, Scene of a Huge H-Bomb Project." National Geographic (March 1953), 281-321.
 
Glenn, L. C.  "Applied Physiography in South Carolina." National Geographic (May 1897), 152-4.

Top


© 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe