You can almost smell the burning rubber and the fuel-filled air by looking at these photographs by Steve Banks. It’s everything you can expect from a night out at the drag strip, only this time you’re in the 60s and all you can see are souped-up hot rods and dragsters roaring down the strip.
Nitro, Drag Racing In The Sixties is an ongoing online exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery. It’s a celebration of a sport where being fast is rewarded with fame and fortune. Steve Banks writes a detailed retelling of the history of drag racing including his experience photographing the scene every weekend. The sixties was a busy decade for the sport and racers from all over the United States flocked to South California to experience the thrill either on the stands or on the strip.
The earliest quarter mile cars weren’t the aerodynamic carbon fiber cars we see nowadays. Back then they were hulking machines made of metal and racing them meant you either had the guts or simply lacked common sense. Any gearhead and race fan will fall in love with these classic photographs. Not only are they beautifully composed frames, but they also show the passion of the people at the races and those who organized them. There’s more to the exhibition than just pictures of fast cars and crazy burnouts. Nitro is about this lively era in drag racing history and car culture — delightfully preserved in these beautiful images.
All information used in this article was sourced from Joseph Bellows Gallery.